6 Best Tools for Sales Growth Hacking (Beyond LinkedIn and Evernote…)

I heard someone saying – sales is an unappreciated job profile.

May be the context, person, organization or the manager could be wrong. Because sales is a universal profession. Every day I meet people from various walks of life. Inadvertently they all are selling something. Most of the times it’s their service and protect that is on sale. It’s essentially exchange of ideas, inspiration and thoughts that we are buying and selling every day. Be a doctor, scientist, student, teacher, CEO, janitor, all these people are exchanging their services in order to get something.

Sometimes the “sales associate”, “sales manager” designations may sound cliché and daunting, but the reality is everything artificially created in this world is for business, so somebody had to sell.

Having said the above, let’s come to the context which is how to make the daily life of a sales guy hassle free. These 6 tools I use to hack growth to achieve my sales goals.

1. HubSpot CRM

Most features of this great CRM is free to use. I love it’s tracking features and lead generation strategies. Most of my b2b sales leads were developed using HubSpot email templates by sharing useful content, reminding client etc. This is probably the most versatile, easiest CRM which runs on web, Android app and iOS app. Advanced teams can opt to buy a premium subscription, it’s a no regret CRM.

2. Email Id Finder

I’m sure we all get stuck at some point because we didn’t have that email id of the decision maker. The gatekeeper keeps us deprived of the office, at times we can’t even talk to the front office executive without an appointment. Internally, employees in a company are instructed not to share contact information of the top-notch employees or the decision maker. So how do you find the email id of the decision makers.

Tools like hunter.io can help you with this. Hunter.io is a website which offers email if finding service for free trial (first 1000 finds) and also has a chrome extension. The findings, I have observed are 90% correct, this tool gets smarter if the company is a popular one and has a wide web presence. There are few other similar tools like hunter.io, but I have found this one the best among all.

3. Contact Number Hack

This is an incredible idea for smart salesmen. A very popular app Truecaller (available for Android and iOS) serves the purpose of finding contact information. I had been using the premium version of the app which isn’t at all expensive, and I have really got a lot of useful leads by using this. If you just know the person’s name and company name, you may just try searching it in Truecaller with few combinations, and chances are that you got the bullseye. People generally save the official contacted with their respective company’s name attached to it, so Truecaller works on crowdsourcing idea of generating the search results. It’s nothing like if you get the direct contact of the decision maker or even an important person in the system.

4. Google Assistant

Often, I used to forget basis tasks like doing travel arrangements, sending literatures to clients etc. Now I frequently use Android’s Google assistant for all my reminders, alarms, settings appointments in Google Calendar and may other tasks. Once you start using Google assistant, it surely helps to ease the day during your travel, meetings etc.

5. Manual Leads

10times.com is a great app/website for events lead generation. This unique website lists all the events organised around the world according to industry and sector. I often stumble upon this website to find out prospect attending a particular event, so that I can take a decision whether to attend/sponsor the event. I also use this to understand the attendee demographics in a particular sector. This website lists the exhibitors, sponsor and the attendee names.

This apart there are many businesses classified websites, which I regularly use (e.g.: tradeindia.com, indiamart.com, europages.com)

6. Sales Search Chrome Extension

This is an easy to use search tool for sales reps looking to streamline their constant searching and tracing. Just highlight a name (first, last, or both), email, phone number, or other information, right-click and choose a search engine. A new tab will open up with your search results. A hassle free easy solution for prospecting research. Sales search is a unique free tool for the advanced sales researchers.

10 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make- By Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki is a Honolulu-born entrepreneur-investor-mentor-evangelist and a Bestselling author of books like “The art of social media “, “Enhancement “and many more. He represents Mercedes-Benz as Brand Ambassador and had been on the mentoring panel of many Blue-chip tech and non-tech companies. Being an evangelist to “Apple Computers” has been an ace introduction for Guy since a long time. Now he’s mentoring a graphic design company “Canva” and doing public speeches for corporate and other organizations. A Stanford and UCLA alumni, Guy Kawasaki, is now giving it back to the entrepreneurs as he has been on almost all the sides of a developing company/start-up.

Let us now look at Kawasaki’s “Top 10 mistakes Entrepreneurs make- & the solutions”. Precisely and very minutely Guy voices the art of pitching, business plan making, talking since during investors meet.

(This article is an excerpt of Some of the speeches given by Mr Kawasaki at various public platforms.)


Talking of Business pitches, the average founder makes a pitch which feels like the investors and the other panellists are making fools out of themselves. The conservative approach of an entrepreneur, Guy mocks that “conservative” word. Most naïve founders pitch like that- they just think that they could just simply address the 1% of the total market and they come with a big blunt number.Well, this is a big blunder.

The solution is “Always Calculate and Pitch Bottom Up Analysis”. Calculate the minimum keeping in mind to sustain or survive in business. When you do that, you actually end up finding that the bottom-up approach is much more realistic and it is vastly different from the number you got from the “multiply by 1%” approach. Research says that you are going to be much closer to that bottom-up analysis number than that of the “multiply by 1” big number. He says, you have to be realistic and you start from the bottom. From his experience, Guy shares there was not a single big or small start-up he worked with which did justification to its financial projections in last many years.


This goes back to the mistake no1. Because of the conservative 1 % they start burning the money in hand. Investments in people, infrastructure are essential but not at level one. In board meetings – you then justify how you are going to achieve that target within 6 -9 months and again you have more demand coming in etc. Ultimately after 5-6 board meetings, your investors won’t believe you.

The solution is “Eat What You Kill”. You have to make it a mandate with yourself and your team, that you don’t get a coffee machine, pantry, fancy office, a receptionist or anything of that sort unless you earn that by doing more sales so that demand is way too higher than the supply. Guy says don’t scale too fast, he adds that he had never seen a start-up die because it couldn’t scale. First do the sale, then build everything around it.


Forming partnerships at level 1 of your start-up shows you have no sales at the moment. Concentrating on getting other companies on board is a bizarre decision. Guy emphasizes again – sales fixes everything. Forming partnerships shift focus, attract time and money investments, you got to make people happy for nothing. All these are not required when you are booting up, you need to fix your income vs expenses graph first.

The solution is “Increase Your Sales”. Focusing on sales and other marketing avenues to maximize your income is the only way to survive in a competitive economy. While pitching, entrepreneurs often say -they have partnerships with so and so the company and prove their authenticity, this is just to avoid the topline statistics. The investor is purely interested in sales first, if that’s taken care of then you can talk about everything else. Guy says the ideal number of times you talk about your partnerships in an investment pitch is once.


Too much of preparation makes a dull and recited presentation. And spending weeks on making your pitch perfect isn’t going to help you in the pitch session. This perfect pitch will prove their one percent theory (Mistake no1), they will ultimately and anyway connect the dots to prove their point and make the pitch boring and rhetorical.

The solution is “Focus on Prototype”. According to Guy, at some point all the pitches are similar, all are going to say they have a proven tech, world-class team, etc. Everyone will explain in an excel spreadsheet with tall charts so that they justify the numbers. If you can dare to be different and make your prototype so strong that you don’t have time to adjust fancy adjectives in between words, your chances are high. So focus on the prototype. Guy goes on to say- the ideal pitch for an investor is simply to explain- “let me show what it does”. It’s all about the prototype and the demo, and sometimes existing early users.


They often make it look cosy and explanatory, while too many slides, in any case, is boring to everybody.

The solution is “The 10/20/30 Rule”. The simple fundamental rule, as per Mr Kawasaki is to follow this rule. It says every investor pitch must not have 10 slides, time to explain shouldn’t be more than 20 minutes and finally font size shouldn’t be too small-the ideal size is 30 points. To make it very simple for everybody in the room, just present it as simple as the 10/20/30 rule. And take off fast like a rocket. Quick introductions are what is sought not beating around the bush explaining you and your team’s ancestry.


What this basically means is a start-ups journey theoretically has to be in order. Work on the idea-get seed funding-then makes the prototype-ship it to customers-get another round of funding-recruit people-build infrastructure etc. Well, this method doesn’t work in real life. An entrepreneur’s life is always zigzag and so is the new venture. It never works if you proceed methodically all the times.

The solution is “Proceed Parallel-ly” It is not a serial world, so you have to do everything parallel-ly. You have to time-slice and do multiple jobs at a time. Recruit, build, market, engage socially and struggle, you have to hustle every day for this.


This is always highly mistaken. To control isn’t to micromanage things. Your goal of finance, funding, ideation, the effort isn’t to retain control of your company. As you are the founder, so retain at least 51 % or the lion’s share. Well, everyone knows it. On a calculative basis, it’s understood to have a majority of the stake. But is doesn’t work like that in reality, there are no board meeting decisions taken on basis of majority in a startup. It is always consensus building, collective approach. Entrepreneurs, here tend to forget that they owe it to the company, which is an independent entity. You as a founder are working for the company and you have big responsibilities. Guy also goes on to say, at this stage, don’t take outside money, because otherwise, you will be working for someone else from day 1. And this isn’t good for your less ripen idea.

The key solution here is to “Make a Bigger Pie”.  It is always good to have 2% of a $100 Bn company rather than to have a 51% of a $0.2 Mn company. Computing 50% each if there are 2 co-founders isn’t real. Because you have to allocate 50-60 percent for investors and future employees of the company. So make a bigger pie so that ultimately your chunk will be more valuable.


Patents are the worst way to defend your business. Many think that filing a patent is to secure the product or service. But litigation is time taking and expensive, the time you invest to win the case is much value to you. On the other hand, your patent doesn’t guarantee that there will be no infringements in the future as there are a lot of patents filed every day. The most stupid answer, as per Guy, to the question – “what makes your company defend-able” is “we have a patent”.

 The solution is “Make Real World USPs” for your company. Unless you do that it’s really difficult to be in the game. Use success for defensibility, as in, you may have some lead over other peers, you may show the expert team for the product, you may get to have an early market access. These create value for your company. So unless it is Biotech industry, which is an exception, patents don’t help you much.


This is one of the biggest mistakes founders do all the time. They have an illusion of people of their calibre and goodness. Recruiting people who are like you will get you going in the short run. But you have a bigger vision in mind, so you need to act very smart and find people who complement you.

The solution is “Hire to Complement”. You want a lot of diversity, you want people to manage things which you cannot manage yourself. If you are a coder, then partner with a strategist, marketer or if you are a sales guy hire a tech nerd so that he or she makes your life easier. People love to work in such environments where they are able to share their expertise.  Hence always hire to complement.  You can go and hire people who are not your age, not your colour, not your expert league, have a lot of diversity to solve daily problems.


This is of no help anyway. Being friends with your investor won’t fix up a bad deal. This is just a hoax. Investors / VCs are simply doing a business with you, and this is the hard truth. They don’t need your friendship and you neither. Its just a give and take relationship. They give you their money and you grow it and give it back to them in one way or the other.

Rather you focus on the solution which is “To Exceed Expectations”. It means always promise less than what you can deliver to the investor. Here should be conservative. If you promise $ US 5 Mn a month as revenue but getting close to that you are a loser. But is you say you are going to get $US 3 Mn and you exceed it even by 5 %, you are a winner. Everybody loves winners.

The very essence of entrepreneurship is to exceed your own. Good Luck.


Simon Sinek’s Top 3 Ted Talk – Gist

Simon Sinek, a renowned name in leadership coaching. He is much more than a management consultant (based out of New York), TED, and corporate speaker, evangelist, and a celebrated author of bestseller books like “Start With Why” and “Leaders Eat Last”. He speaks across various podiums on leadership and strategy. Simon Sinek contributes to the society through his not-for-profit organizational works.

Here are Simon’s top 3 studies that has impacted my attitude towards leadership and being the best.

1. How Leaders Inspire Action:

This is probably the most popular Ted talk of Mr Sinek.

Simon says, all big leaders, think/ act/communicate the exact same way i.e. they don’t wait for things to happen, they make them happen. Be it Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King, Wright Bros all of them are sought to follow the same pattern. Surprisingly, it is complete opposite what all others usually think.

So let us analyse the situation by taking the example of APPLE, as a consumer electronics company. Why and how they became the world leaders in so many spaces? Why there is not a single competitor at the top alongside APPLE as a consumer electronics company?

It is because of the sheer leadership abilities of the company’s great visionaries who stick to their vision and objectives and proved the world that with strong determination and perseverance you can be at the top, no matter what others say/think.

The people at the helm took a simple vow, that to produce and deliver products which exceed the customer expectation with a great customer experience. Of course, there is a price for everything, but the quality of a product trades off the preciousness of the premium products.  Let us observe the below diagram to understand how it worked for them.


IMG 1 represents the strategy of a company wherein firstly they boast about the product (WHAT is it), then they tell you how do they do it (better quality, peer comparison, in a budget theory, better customer service etc). They may or may not tell you the WHY part, which is most important.



Whereas in IMG 2 ie the Golden Circle or the inside out theory, the great leaders thought it differently. So happened at Apple as well. They told you the story behind the product and WHY did they want you to have that excellent mobile phone experience, Why they believe that you deserve the best, Why did they emphasize the quality. And then by default, organically the HOW and WHAT passed on to the customer. The customer immediately relates to your story or the spontaneous emotion behind what you BELIEVE. Everything else fell in place. So did happen for other great leaders who thought differently and inspired action among the team. Clearly, we can take out from that the Inside Out theory takes a big leap in any universal market in the long run.

2. What “Leaders Eat Last” means

The title is the name of a book written by Mr Sinek. He says real relationship means you eat last.  Leadership in business is not just leading a bunch of colleagues/subordinates, it is to have a real empathetic relationship with them. It has to be from inside.

A leader always considers his colleagues as the most dependable people around and stands by them when required. He says, always face the danger first, don’t put the newly recruited trainee in the jeopardy, the layer system never works when slog is on war-footing. You have to throw yourself into the shock before it takes on to your fellow colleague.

I carefully observe Simon enthusiastically remembering a recent photograph he had seen during the Kenya Shooting. The picture was taken by a photographer who happened to be inside the building, It is chaotic, he says. The image hunts him every day, it shows a mother lying on top of her kid to protect him from the wrath of the militant. In a real world, that’s leadership. It’s a biological leadership, though business leadership is no different than this. The only thing you got to understand is that how true and real you are to your subordinates/colleagues.

A leader’s acts are scrutinized when he fails, but the work of his colleague/subordinates count when he succeeds.

3. What Does It Mean To Lead?

You are allowed to take shortcuts; you are very much allowed to do what others are not doing. But what you are not allowed is to push someone and be in the middle of the queue. He goes on, you should go after the thing you want, and yes by any means you should also get it but not at the cost of fiddling others.

Simon explained one incident when he visited Quantico Marine Base in the US. One of the colonels threw one marine out of the job just because he slept few minutes on duty. Mr Sinek asked the colonel why it is a big deal where there are many others patrolling and this guy just dozed for few minutes, maybe because of heavily loaded duty schedule. Then the colonel explained, the marine wasn’t suspended for sleeping on duty, rather for denying the fact when he was asked. Later on, he accepted it when shown the recording proofs. The colonel reiterated you are allowed few mistakes here, but you shouldn’t repeat them, most importantly you should agree and take the responsibility of what you have done.

A leader cannot lie to himself, it is too difficult and if he does then he isn’t a true leader. Discipline and accountability are the two most important traits of a true leader in action.

The other side is asking for help. And accept help. Being a leader or boss, do not pretend that you know it all. Most leaders believe that their leadership comes from their intelligence. It simply doesn’t. Leadership and intelligence can be poles apart.

Here, Mr Sinek goes on to tell this very interesting story to explain this.

He is a member of RAND Corporation (is an American non-profit global policy think tank) as an adjunct staff member, where he advises on matters of military innovation and planning. Therefore, he gets to meet a lot of people from the defense. He met one Retd. Capt of Sub-Marine, a gallant commander of his time. This Capt. Says he spent a year on a boat which he was given the command for a specific mission. Two weeks before, he was allotted a different ship, of which he has no idea. One fine day, they submerged the ship and run a pilot test undersea. The colonel ordered “AHEAD 2”, a specific signal to move the ship. The ship didn’t move an inch. He also noticed his junior ordered the same to the navigation team. So he asked the junior to find out what’s wrong? Then to his utter surprise and embarrassment, he realised that the boat didn’t have that particular movement setting, in fact, the boat was quite an advanced piece of engineering. Ultimately he learns about the boat from all his subordinates before running the 2nd pilot.

Hence, Simon says leadership isn’t all about the Capt. Knowing all the answers, it means to trust his crew knows more than he did. You should admit things you don’t know and learn as quick as possible. In the meanwhile, you may push the authority down, this shows a trusted build up at the bottom.

When you trust people, they rise to the occasion. And when everything goes right you share the credit with your people. Never forget how you started.


Seaweed To Replace Plastic


Jakarta food and beverages retailer Ong Tek Tjan sells ice cream in cups his customers can eat afterwards, instead of throwing away – they are made from seaweed and taste like jelly, in flavours from peppermint to green tea.

Indonesian start-up Evoware, which makes the cups, as well as other containers, from farmed seaweed free of chemicals, is relying on its biodegradable alternative to plastic packaging to reduce contamination of the environment.

“I too support this environment-friendly cause,” said vendor Ong, who uses Evoware’s Ello Jello container to serve ice cream, though he feels consumers may take time to adapt to the product that is pricier than current options.

Indonesia, which has some of the world’s filthiest rivers and once-pristine beaches littered with plastic waste, has joined a United Nations-led clean-up drive after being rated the second-biggest plastic marine polluter, behind China.

Evoware co-founder David Christian said the idea of seaweed-based edible packaging was spurred by his desire to fight an explosion in plastic waste over the last few years in his home city of Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital of 10 million people.

Seaweed Packaging
Edible Packaging from Evoware- Image Courtsey: http://www.evoware.id

From the first product it developed, the seaweed-based jelly cup, Evoware is expanding into other types of packaging, such as dissolvable sachets for coffee or seasonings.

Indonesia produces 10 million tonnes of seaweed each year and targets 19 million tonnes by 2020, said Christian. But Evoware’s products, now made by hand, still have some way to go before they can compete with plastic on price.

The edible seaweed Ello Jello cone can be up to five times more expensive than ordinary crepe cones, according to Ong. And it uses wrappings of plastic and paper to preserve its texture.Seaweed is classified as algae, and there are more than 30 commonly eaten varieties categorized by color: brown, red or green. Each is unique in its shape, taste and texture, but all types contain a rich store of essential minerals that includes calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, vanadium and zinc. Sea vegetables also provide a potent array of vitamins, including B vitamins riboflavin and pantothenic acid; vitamins A and E; and vitamin C, which aids iron absorption. A single serving of seaweed contains almost one-fifth of the daily recommended value of vitamin K.

The nutrients in sea vegetables make them useful for maintaining good health and for fighting disease. Seaweed is rich in phytonutrients, including sulfated polysaccharides that are known to have significant anti-inflammatory, antiviral and cardiovascular benefits. A 2011 review of 100 studies on the benefits of seaweed published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reported that seaweed may be a better source of bioactive peptides than milk products, and it validated the usefulness of seaweed for lowering blood pressure and promoting heart health. Research has shown that eating seaweed may help protect against certain cancers, too. The folic acid in seaweed is thought to lower the risk for colon cancer, and its cholesterol-lowering properties may reduce the risk of estrogen-related cancers, such as breast cancer.