Someone should have told Venkat to run hard and fast, and not look back. Not that he would have listened. It's certainly what normal people would have done in his place. As the vice president of sales of Digital Track Solutions, Venkat wanted to close a deal to implement a wireless solution for an existing client. The challenge was that a competitor—126,500,000,000 times the size of Digital Track Solutions—wanted it too.
Worse, the company Venkat worked for didn't really have any experience with implementing the technology. None of that, however, was going to stop Venkat from making a pitch. If the cards he was dealt with forced a David vs. Goliath kind of stand-off, he would play his part and take a swing.
It was a June morning in 2012 and Venkat had just walked into Hetero Drugs' plush headquarters in Hyderabad's industrial estate.
Outside, the summer heat beat down heavily on the company's well-watered lawns causing little drops of water to sparkle. As Venkat took in the view, he prepared mentally for the meeting with Niranjan Bakre, Hetero's head of IT and a client for about a year. Venkat remembers them discussing a solution for the company's headquarters. "It was a routine customer-partner meet and we were talking about the pros and cons of the particular solution," says Venkat.
That's when Bakre shared a problem Hetero had been facing for sometime. Two years ago, the Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical had installed a 2-MBps lease line from BSNL's to link 14 of its branches across the city. But over time, Bakre said, the company began facing bandwidth and connectivity challenges. "Sometimes, our employees at other locations could not even access SAP during the day. We also faced multiple link failures every week," Bakre says during a recent interview.
It's unclear whether Venkat knew that Bakre's team had already began scouting for a solution to solve its connectivity challenges—it had reached out to industry bigwigs including the $46 billion Cisco and Motorola Solutions--but Venkat saw an opportunity and jumped. He proposed using a Ruckus Wireless solution.
Digital Track had previously worked with Ruckus Wireless and was aware of their portfolio of solutions. He quickly turned down. "We were already evaluating solutions from other vendors in this vertical," says Bakre. "During the very first stage of discussion, we did not agree on Digital Track doing this implementation for us."
Trial by Fire
Back at Digital Track's headquarters in Chennai, Venkat chewed on the problem of convincing Hetero to give Digital Track the deal. Over the next few weeks, he had multiple meetings with Bakre using persuasion and presentation to make his case.
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