When I decided to get into Sales post-MBA, my parents were worried about how will I manage it! They even asked me, “Are there not any other profiles coming to campus?” “Why only Sales !?” More so, when companies were coming to my campus for placements, most of my friends ignored Sales profiles as if they were Elaichi in Biryani.
It got me thinking about why everyone is so pessimistic about Sales and sales roles. Unfortunately, in our society, Sales is perceived as a career of leftovers.
However, if we look back, we can find the sales profession’s roots right in the barter system. Trust was the currency back then, and in every transaction, every person had to trust that the other represented their product or service fairly.
Coming back to the 20th century, the situation is quite similar, as buyers have to make complex decisions because of an array of options available. Hence, earning and scaling that trust in today’s distributed global economy has become extremely difficult.
Introduction of Bravado
Bravado, the first network platform built exclusively for sales professionals, works precisely on a similar framework. Bravado, founded by Sahil Mansuri in the year 2017, currently has more than 1,000 organization’s sales teams as members on the platform, including the likes of Salesforce, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Slack, WeWork, Uber, Oracle, and IBM.
Bravado is on a mission to make every sales professional successful and support sellers at every stage of their career journey. Bravado provides job matching with vetted, quality sales organizations, free educational resources, and the world’s largest online community for sales pros.
Because of his father’s health issues, Sahil was forced to take a job straight out of college. Sahil’s career counselor advised him to get into Sales for the same. After spending his entire professional career in sales, Sahil realized to excel in sales; sales professionals should build their digital reputation and take firm control of their personal brand.
It took the start-up (Bravado) four years to hit 10,000 users and then quickly hit 200,000 members just 12 months after the milestone. Sahil’s vision is not to try to solve this challenge with another sales software. Instead, he wants to build a community where sales reps can exchange information and notes and get trained.
Now, the sales training is still pretty conventional in the majority of the companies:
When you raise your hand for sales: You get a lead list, then a quota, a pat on your shoulder, and then the sales guys have to figure it out themselves.
Sahil’s vision is to make salespeople better at their job, uplift the entire profession, and change their perception and approach toward the position.
Solution-Based Approach of Bravado to help people in Sales
LinkedIn is usually a flawed way of picking which salesperson is more efficient. LinkedIn can’t show if any salesperson left a job because they were overachievers (exceeded their quotas) or underachievers.
Yet, the majority of organizations use LinkedIn as a tool to extrapolate if a person has done well previously or not! It makes it difficult for excellent employees with unbranded experience to rise the pyramid.
Bravado can present a complete story with the additional benefit of redefining the playing field for everyone to have uniform access to building success.
A salesperson’s actual value lies in the relationships they have been able to blossom with fellow customers. Sales are never about resumes, but are about their success with customers.
Bravado helps you better understand the person’s success- it puts sales experience into context. It is a complete portfolio of salesperson’s work as seen through the lens of their customers.
The second dynamic that Bravado is shaping is the importance of trust in the sales process. Day by day, B2B products are getting more and more complicated. Customers want to buy from someone whom they can trust. Eventually, a sale is just a human connection, and the salesperson- is just a proxy for the product and company.
By the end of 2021, Bravado launched its marketplace for jobs and to help enterprise companies land the best talent. It made its first acquisition in a deal to buy Compguage.
Compguage helps sales professionals decide organizations to choose to work with their salary data, company reviews, and interview insights. This helps salespersons discover if they are being fairly compensated.
Today, the Business model of Bravado has three main products:
- Bravado War Room (Community for sales professionals to network)
- Bravado Academy and also in-person events
- Bravado Jobs
Bravado’s marketplace gets 20% of base salary per hire it helps get a job. In addition to this, it charges the employers a platform fee to access the technology. This business model helped the Bravado scale from $0 to $4M in annual recurring revenue. This came after years of building up a free user base of sales professionals.
Sahil Mansuri feels only two jobs are of prime importance in any company:
- Ones who build the product
- Ones who sell the product.
Also, Sales is the blood of any organization. So, sales roles would always be important in every business enterprise.
When answering a user in one of the chat sessions of the war room, Sahil says there are two kinds of monetization models. Ones that hampers growth/engagement. And ones that don’t.
He believes the kind of monetization is where: You make money, and Bravado gets a cut. The benefit of this type of monetization is that it has economies of scale. The more money you make, the happier you are. If you make good money, Bravado, too, gets paid well. If you don’t’ make people, Bravado also goes penniless. It very well fits Bravado’s interests and perspectives.
In Series A funding, led by Freestyle Capital, Redpoint Ventures, Village Global, and Precursor Ventures, Bravado raised $12M funding. Bravado utilized the funds to expand its operations and business reach.
Also, last month, Bravado raised $ 26 M Series B, which Tiger Global led with participation from 250 angels, including Zynga founder Mark Pincus, Lenny Rachitsky, Packy McCormick, and Sahil Bloom. Their existing investors, Redpoint ventures, and Freestyle capital also participated in the round.
This second round is notable for two reasons: Its lead investor- Tiger Global. Mr. Sahil went ahead with Tiger Global even though it was a 20% lower valuation compared to the other term sheets offered by Top-Tier VCs. Also, since Bravado’s mission is to diversify sales and get a broader range of people thriving within the profession, it’s wise to make money from over 100 first-time angel investors- women or people from different backgrounds.
It is exciting to see how Bravado shapes up after two rounds of funding- Sahil Mansuri always promises on his LinkedIn posts that he is building something disruptive and badass!! Sales reps can explore the Bravado platform to see the user experience and how cool it is!!