Pioneering technology solutions for remote selling – An interview with Diwaker Singh, Founder & CEO of Crikle
The workplace has been disrupted on all sides. Not only are sales teams working from home, but buyers are too. Comprised of five core components - customer engagement, feedback management, sales enablement, content management and sales analytics - Crikle is an integrated all-in-one solution that is built to facilitate remote selling.
Diwaker Singh, CEO of Crikle, discussed with us how businesses can make the most value out of their high-cost sales teams.
SeedBlink: What kind of entrepreneurial experiences prepared you to start Crikle?
Diwaker: I have been an entrepreneur for over 30 years and enjoyed every moment of it. Each entrepreneurial experience as a founder, CEO, investor or an advisor, enabled learnings that were mostly diverse and different. Not usual, as different circumstances present different challenges and need bespoke solutions. It is the sum total of these diverse and unusual opportunities that propel me to seek new ventures.
I enjoy waking up every morning to the realization that the day could be filled with interesting challenges and go to sleep each night knowing that tomorrow will be another interesting day. This is a pattern that I have learnt to enjoy.
Crikle, for me, is a very interesting opportunity and a new challenge that I am looking forward to lead to success.
What key personal skills helped you the most during these years of entrepreneurship?
There are a few that I can easily identify: Curiosity, with the ability to think outside the box is the most important. The ability to deal with failure as well as celebrate success in the same breath, is the hallmark of a seasoned entrepreneur. Also, acknowledging that 90 percent of today’s problems are caused by yesterday’s rash decisions and the need to have a more balanced approach to problem solving. And lastly and most importantly, a skill that is essential for every successful entrepreneur - the ability to understand, respect and empathize with people, including customers, investors, partners or fellow employees. Good and happy people are the path to success for every organization.n
How much time did it take you to build version one of the products? How many times you started from scratch?
****It took over a year to build version 1 of the product and it went through three attritions, a number of pilots and finally a good MVP, before we could claim product market fit.
What’s your decision-making process like concerning the platform? Is there a long period of customer development interviews & user testing before features make it into the pipeline? Or is it more of a "build it quickly and see if it works" approach?
In my view, the way that products are designed and built today is a lot different to what it was a decade ago. For most start-ups, time is of the essence for a number of reasons – there is always competition knocking on the door and getting first or early to market is important; today’s products are more innovative and complex and customers find it difficult to pass judgement without actually experiencing them; the marketplace is global and customers in different parts of the world have different needs.
Whereas a fair amount of pre product design market intelligence is always good to have, I prefer the approach of building pilots and MVP’s quickly and then testing the waters. Product led growth is becoming more and more popular as the quick, yet tested, way forward.
How important is customer research and how much time you invested in it?
Successful customer research is dependent on a number of factors including the diversity, size and skillset of the potential customers being researched. This is an area that is becoming more and more complex and expensive despite the investments in automation.
I believe that the feeling in the gut is the most important decision-making tool for an entrepreneur. Believe in what you do, and success will follow.
What is your secret to being an effective CEO in terms of building the company culture and values you need to make the company successful?
I try to build the best teams in the business. I share my vision with them, empower and incentivise them to serve our customers, explain why ethics are important, I trust them and get them to trust me, and then, finally, lead example. Good teams are the easiest patch to success.
Crikle already developed a customer base. What kind of industries do you serve at the moment with your remote selling solution?
We presently have customers in multiple industries which include – SaaS, marketing services, event management, financial services, DIY, interior decorators and architects, travel, pharmaceutical companies, gaming, and general product sales.
Do you think it’s important to get a market leader as a customer to be followed by the rest?
This always helps to build trust. Any form of endorsement or customer recognition plays a very important role in today’s cluttered marketplaces. However, in practice, you almost always need a few small fish before attracting the whale!
Can you close million euro deals remotely?
Of course – our customers can sell yachts, airplanes, luxury homes or large service deals. Crikle’s platform is agnostic to the value of the transaction and provides solutions for all sizes of business.
Start-up founders really need to be extremely perseverant. Do you recall any event or milestone that changed everything for the better for Crikle?
Yes, our “moment of truth” was when we realised that although Crikle works well for many different types of products, but we need to focus on a chosen few. This would then enable us to provide the best user experience for our customers in our preferred segments. Our customer acquisition strategy today is a lot more productive and efficient that the original shot-gun approach.
For business development teams that are used to boots-on-the-ground closings, what tips do you have as they migrate to video conferencing meetings and virtual handshakes?
The reality is that customers are less patient on a video call than they are in person. Remote sellers need to keep their customer constantly engaged by maintaining eye contact and ensuring that the sales pitch is concise and to the point. Customers find it much easier to escape from a video call than they would from a brick-and-mortar meeting room if they are distracted!
What’s next for Crikle?
Our vision is to pioneer technology solutions for remote selling. We still have many miles to go before we can claim to have achieved our vision. Crikle will hopefully become the remote sellers best friend – this is what we are going to continuously strive for.
By Bianca Iulia Simion
PublishedFebruary 19, 2021