The story began at the end of December 2019. After the summer internship at an international technology company, I was hoping to have a chance to work at a startup. I found Giftpack while I was searching for gifting platforms during the time of Christmas. 5-month-internship is actually not very long, and it’s even shorter than I thought while really going through it. In this article, I want to share the story of how I learned the way BD deal with work from scratch.
Giftpack.ai provides AI-powered enterprise gifting service to send personalized corporate gifts to any customer or employee in the world in seconds. The software takes care of automatic gift picking, packaging, logistics, performance tracking and feedback, to assist corporates to build good relationships between employers and employees, companies and their important clients.
While our TA is oftentimes enterprises, but on the other hand, we provide services for individual users as well. We use the quantitative database to analyze our customers and pick and the most suitable gifts for them.
Giftpack.io provides global luxury gift delivery service. There are all kinds of gifts on our platform for customers to pick. After the gift is picked, the gift will be delivered by the Giftpackers to the hands of the gift receivers, creating a unique gifting experience for both the sender and the receiver.
It is touching to see every feedback we got from our users, no matter it is a student who is studying abroad sending a bouquet to his/her mother on Mother’s Day, or a couple who are having long-distance relationships sending gifts to each other on their anniversary as a surprise.
Mr. Morris Chang once came to my school to give a speech and share the lessons he learned as a President. I was very impressed by a quote in the speech, which goes, “many technology companies are contemptuous of Sales & Marketing and value technical things the most. The fact is, without salesmen, you wouldn’t be running your business. You wouldn’t make profits. Your company wouldn’t live.”
This got me into deep thinking. If I were to represent my company and have conversations with our clients, then I’d need to be very clear about the services our company is providing. Meantime, I can cultivate myself with practical working experience at the company, communications with different vendors, and knowing people from different industries. As a result, the lucky me who was interested in having a BD at a startup came across Giftpack.
After considering my personality and ability, one of my main job duties is building sales pipelines for B2B and B2C from finding potential clients to closing deals. These pipelines will be adjusted based on different vendors and industries. Therefore, in-depth and thorough background research is a must at every single approach.
While conducting background research, the first thing to do is to know the pain points of clients. We need to understand how clients will get interested in our products and have a need for it later because this is the key to closing a deal. Needs can be created, and the success depends on how much we understand our own products and vendors so as to find the intersections.
Under most circumstances, we take proactive strategic actions. This is a common but low successful rate way. That includes getting TA’s phone numbers or emails and use them for cold calls/emails. Additionally, being a part of exhibitions or business seminars are great ways to build all kinds of relationships, too. It is likely the one giving a speech on the stage becomes your client the next day!
Surely, there are clients asking for a demo voluntarily. This type of client usually already has a basic understanding of our company and comes to us with specific needs. This will allow us to analyze their pain points and have bigger chances to cooperate with them.
Chance favors the “un-prepared” mind.
No matter it will work or not at the end, as long as you start, there is 50/50 chance to succeed. BD is all the same. While facing all the uncertainties, we have to know our products and services very well and have different sales pipelines and strategies based on different modes, so that we can give promises and incentives properly while communicating with corporates.
Every time we pick up the phone or meeting a client, we must be well-prepared for the conversations about to take place. This may include possible questions from clients or necessary negotiations. Every contact might be a starting point, as well as an endpoint. Therefore, a drill beforehand will let us know the situations better. Not only we can leave a good impression but have 2~3 options for clients to choose from.
Every failure is a seed for the upcoming success.
I have to admit that either using phone calls or emailing for BD, getting “No” is a norm. I can actually categorize these failures. For example, when being turned down, we can analyze the reasons behind it. Is it the clients have other appointments at the moment so the conversation had to be stopped? Or the person we’re contacting isn’t the decision maker? Or they just don’t have any intention for cooperation?
When we get responses from clients, we can sort of getting more information out of them, like the current revenue performance of their company, or even the current trend of their industries. We can always adjust our next sales strategy and our own soft skills based on their responses.
All the tasks I completed in Giftpack during the 5-month internship were new challenges for me. Working with a bunch of excellent people, I was very afraid that I didn’t contribute to the company enough at first. But through a long progress of self-improvement, I can really see my transformation. I was so fortunate to have a boss who provides numerous resources for learning. At Giftpack, the CEO gives interns much authority and independent projects. We can negotiate directly with clients, hold online seminars, or interview upcoming interns. As long as we’re willing to try, everyone can find a world at Giftpack. Besides, I benefitted a lot from the morning department meetings. In the meetings, we can look at the proposals from interns in different countries, and know the logistics gap from others’ feedback. The CEO sometimes would have practical tutorials for us, like scraping or Github.
Since Giftpack has a remote working culture, most of the time I had to self-learn and find resolutions when the managers can’t give instructions in real-time. Hence, the biggest take away of working at a startup is that sometimes I don’t feel that I excel at certain skills while being fully responsible for the work and the only way to survive is to find the answer yourself so that you can overcome any kinds of difficulties. In conclusion, if you are interested in working at startups, this is a place where you’ll get yourselves well trained. 5 months is not a long time period, but the experiences I have here was beyond my imagination. I thank every partner on the team for spending these 150 days together!
article written by Caitlyn Yen | Translated by David Chen