Before starting Primaseller in 2013, Mohammed Ali – Founder and CEO of Primaseller has had an interesting mix of experiences. He worked at Oracle after his engineering from NIT Surathkal, and then did his MBA from IIM Lucknow. After that he worked in a diverse range of companies: A Commodity Trading Company in Ivory Coast, Africa to two of Rocket Internet’s ventures in Gurgaon, before finally taking the Entrepreneurial plunge.
Primaseller is a SaaS platform for Small & Medium Enterprise retailers to help them manage Inventory and Orders across multiple channels of online and offline sales. For example, a Seller who sells on Amazon, eBay, or Shopify will have his/her inventory synchronized, all orders to be processed in a single place, and integrated with a shipping management software – all thanks to Primaseller! The seller can also manage his/her retail store billing with Primaseller. In this edition of our Expert Interview Series, here is Ali with his candid take on the successful journey of Primaseller!
Q1) What according to you are the four pillars on which Primaseller stands upon?
Our Values – Customer Focus, Teamwork, Integrity, Entrepreneurship
Our Team – Closely knit efficient machine that has evolved to work together and contribute collectively to the product
Our Product and Our Customers
Q2) How did you hit upon the idea for your Company?
While working for Rocket Internet, while discussing with suppliers, we discovered that they were struggling with managing their inventory and sales commitment to multiple online and offline channels. This clearly was a problem that needed to be solved, and that is how I came up with Primaseller as the solution!
Q3) Apart from Primaseller which other Software do you use and would advise others for increasing productivity?
Intercom, FreshSales, Github and Google Apps.
Q4) Who do you consider your biggest Competitor and how do you differentiate yourself from them?
Our biggest competitor is ourselves. Everyday, Primaseller needs to be better than it was yesterday and we listen to only our customers. That keeps us focused and prevents us from being distracted by competition.
Q5) How has Sales evolved since you first got into the business? What hasn’t changed?
In the last three years, I see more customers in India and globally focusing on discovering the product themselves to make an informed choice. The importance of sales has not changed – It has just shifted from ‘feet on the street’ to Inside Sales.
Q6) Say you are having a bad day, and a very important Meeting is up in a few moments; how would you cope with the emotions and redeem the meeting in full fledge?
I would mostly walk it off or do a physically strenuous exercise which never fails to calm me down. Founders have no option but to figure out the best way to handle stress and over the last three years, I guess I have gotten better at it.
Q7) Would you rather be respected or feared?
Q8) Think of something you’ve done in the past; what would you have done differently?
In our first year, we provided a Service as a partnership with a niche marketplace for free hoping to generate paid leads from them. Looking back, one of my biggest regrets is not asking for a Fee for our service. Anything that adds value to a customer, should carry a fair fee to it otherwise, it becomes a de-motivator to yourself and your team.
Q9) How do you approach a decision where people disagree with you?
The most important thing to understand is the Context – when people disagree what context are they coming from? Is it the same as mine? If not, it is my responsibility to set the right context.
Once the right context is set, superior logic wins. This is possible when you enter a discussion without the intent of convincing everyone that you are right.
Q10) What do you expect to see over the next 5 to 10 years in the Marketing and Sales Industry?
According to me, a lot of value and weight will be given to Influencers who are experts, and less to company promoted content. With Social Media, such independent ratings, groups, and Influencers will determine the fate of the Sales.
Q11) What are your experiences with highs and lows at Primaseller?
On such occasions, I try and remember these lines from the poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling:
“If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;”
Every new customer is a high and every customer not liking our product is a low – both experiences ultimately help us build a world class product.
Q12) Lately, more and more Professionals are leaving their cushy and well-paid jobs to follow their passion. What’s your take on this?
Whether a person is cut out for entrepreneurship or not is not something anyone can judge. So I think it is great that more people are at least giving it a shot. I would call it a better way to understand oneself and explore new opportunities.
Lastly, We would be glad to have your valuable suggestion for the new age Entrepreneurs thriving in the Industry today.
It is important to always remember why we started up. Whatever that reason may be, stay true to yourself and do not fall into illusions of grand words like “Passion” and “Impact” without convincing yourself why you started up.