In conversation with Mr. Subhank Rajguru, Sales Head, Times Internet.
Please tell us a little about your professional & academic background. Can you also brief us about your role at your current organization?
I am the National Sales Head for a product called the ‘Speaking Tree’. It is a spiritual product of The Times of India Group. I am responsible for the entire monetization of print, digital and on ground events of the product.
I am an MBA by qualification from the Birla Institute of Management Technology, with a Certificate of Management from Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow.
What is the single most important skill that you think is required to do well as a Sales professional?
According to me, the single most important skill-set that a person must possess is confidence and ability to think of an alternate solution immediately. A salesperson is not only the face of the company for a product, he is also the first point of contact for a complaint and any other new scheme, offer roll out, finance query. His ability to manage these mundane tasks along with a bird’s eye view on his assigned targets is what makes a sales person great.
What drove you to choose a career in Sales and what motivates you to go to work every day? Is it the numbers?
As a person, the drive towards sales came from the fun associated with it. As a salesperson you get an opportunity to meet a lot of people from various backgrounds, who have their own learnings. The stories they tell, and the life hacks they use. I have always admired the way sales people were admired in any organisation, being referred to as the ‘blood and soul’ of the organisation. But on field, the ability to take your organisational goals to a win-win situation, makes me feel pumped up.
(A glimpse into the work culture at Times Internet)
Tell us about any critical project that you’ve handled and what were your main takeaways from it?
There are many critical projects that I have handled. The biggest is post demonetization, wherein all ad monies dried up . It was a critical time as it was the middle of the 3rd Quarter with 1 more Quarter depending on it.
As a seasoned sales person, the ability to think beyond regular schemes, offers and discounts, we decided to create an IP which would be independent from the market volatilities and worked day-in and day-out for about a fortnight to approach all advertisers presenting it as the next big thing in our line-up. Although it was initially projected as a stop-gap arrangement, we ended up making 100% profit on the costs incurred, let alone cover up for our quarterly missed targets.
Regrouping and thinking aloud, within a team always helps in putting an idea. When you talk your idea and align timelines and responsibilities, it becomes easy to do the unpredictable.
What has been your most significant achievement till date and key learning in your career so far?
One of my key achievements in sales today is the ability to take almost all products to the market and initiate revenues based on thorough market research and price point expectations.
What are the different methodologies/techniques used or implemented by you to stay ahead of the curve in the field of sales?
It is a learning curve, daily. But if I say one strategy which in general every sales person should believe in, is to stay ahead in maintaining high customer contact. There could be a good customer, a bad customer, an angry customer and a trouble maker. But all of them deserve a hearing and a patient ear. It is always possible for sales people to try and give answers. But sometimes, they just need to listen and empathize. The other person also understands that at one point it is beyond a sales person’s capacity to help. But please provide him a hearing.
Describe working at Times Internet in one sentence.
It is a roller coaster ride with a lot of fun, pressure, joy and happiness.
Reading Books, Solving Puzzles and Watching Movies.
If not an expert in sales, you would have been?
Favourite/most relatable movie character and why?
I can relate myself to Lumière from Beauty & the Beast as he is the one who keeps things going even in adversities.