Over the past few months, I have also started doing what I should have done a year or two ago – going out and meeting customers. If there is one learning that I have from the past couple years, it is that customer interaction should not be delegated to the sales team only. While building businesses based on breakthrough ideas, top management has to lead from the front by interacting closely with potential and existing customers.
I used to meet customers a lot when I was running IndiaWorld during 1995-1999. Later, since there were others to do that bit, I would only do it occasionally in NetCore. Now that I have resumed meeting with customers I realise that I had made an almost-fatal mistake by not going out earlier. New ideas are sold on a vision of a different way of doing things. One has to understand a customer’s problems, and package the tools that exist in the form of a solution. The actual solution doesn’t necessarily exist in a perfect, replicable way. Besides, customer feedback about what is missing and what needs to be one leads to new ideas.
Personally, going out and meeting customers has been something I have liked because it enables me to use the mix of passion, vision and on-the-spot ideation to open opportunities for us. That is what had helped us in IndiaWorld when we were a fledgling start-up. In NetCore’s early days, I forgot my past lesson.