Siddharth UpGrad

“Sales just happened in my life, like how love happens – Unpredictable” – Siddharth Maheshwari

How does someone go from being a Political Consultant to being Director of Sales at an EdTech startup? Meet Siddharth Maheshwari, Director of sales at UpGrad. UpGrad provides online education programs co-developed by industry experts to help working professionals stay sharp. Siddharth’s passion for EdTech and sales becomes apparent the moment you start speaking to him about work. An innovator at heart, Siddharth’s meticulous data driven and customer oriented approach towards sales seems to be doing wonders for UpGrad.


sshb1This is a part of our special blog series Sales SuperHeroes. The series showcases the very best of sales & marketing leaders, business heads, CXOs  across the globe giving us an insight into what it takes to be them. The blog offers valuable sales and marketing knowledge, future industry predictions, strategies and career advice to professionals in the industry.


Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you originally from? Where did you go to school and college?

I am from Delhi and did my schooling from a boarding school – The Scindia School.  I completed my Engineering from Rajasthan University in 2011 and then did my Masters from IIM Bangalore in 2013.

 

You are the Director of Sales at UpGrad. Tell us a bit about your journey

I always wanted to pursue or work in an entrepreneurial setup. After IIM Bangalore, I worked as a political consultant to the Honorable Prime Minister, Modi. I also worked on large scale implementation projects like Chai Pe Charcha, Modi in 3D and other digital/on ground campaigns and post his election as PM, I co-founded Pickingo, a hyperlocal logistics Company along with my colleagues. I worked as Business Head, leading ecommerce, F&B and Industry sales. Post our acquisition by Fidelity backed ShadowFax, I served as Director of Business Development there and in 2016 switched to the industry I am passionate about – EdTech. I am presently serving as Director of Sales.

 

You have been an entrepreneur earlier. Tell us about your experience around building a company from scratch

Entrepreneurship is an amazing journey. You learn business and personal life hacks in a very fast forward way which is priceless whether you succeed or not. When we were building our business, we always had two things in mind, focusing on pain points we intend to solve and building an amazing likeminded passionate team. You can never succeed alone, you need people better than you in your business, always!

 

You learn business and personal life hacks in a very fast forward way which is priceless whether you succeed or not.

What does a typical day at UpGrad look like for you?

I have always been a believer of energy driven performance and its all about the amazing energy we have at UpGrad here. There is a lot going on in Sales as we are innovating and experimenting with lots of processes and plans. There is no ‘typical’ day kind of schedule with the day mostly occupied in building the team, number crunching and continuous building of consumer insights.

 

What criteria do you use to evaluate sales skills?

I somehow don’t agree to the market fact that sales is about lying or sales is about just selling. To me, sales is like an enabler that communicates just the right kind of information required by a customer. So being a good listener is important. Also, being passionate about offerings and taking a process and data driven approach are key sales skills.

 

To me, sales is like an enabler that communicates just the right kind of information required by a customer

 

What’s your best career advice for young people today?

Don’t settle, keep experimenting till you find the right passion-opportunity fit.

 

Name a few companies and people you look up to 

Amazon Web Services for their incredible market fit and automation of sales and Hindustan Unilever/Patanjali for their incredible offline scale and market hack.

 

According to you, what’s the best way to close a sales deal?

You may have a hundred different kinds of offerings, but the customer might just want two of them. Listen patiently, try to understand the business and offer only what suits customer needs.

 

Name two things you believe will shape the world market in the next 5-10 years

Fintech, AI/ML – It has begun!

 

Where do you see the gig economy headed?

For one thing, in this digital age, the workforce is increasingly mobile and work can increasingly be done from anywhere, so that job and location are decoupled. Digitization has also contributed directly to a decrease in jobs as software replaces some types of work and this means that others take much less time. Other influences include financial pressures on businesses leading to staff reductions and the entrance of the Millennial generation into the workforce. With these considerations, the gig economy is here to celebrate and contribute significantly in high quality work at much lower prices making talent available to everyone.

The gig economy is here to celebrate and contribute significantly in high quality work at much lower prices making talent available to everyone.

What’s your favorite quote?

“One who fears failure limits his activities. Failure is only the opportunity to more intelligently begin again.” – Henry Ford.

 

OK, last question: tell us a fun fact about yourself

Sales just happened in my life like how love happens – unpredictable.

 

Sales just happened in my life like how love happens – unpredictable.