The story started
Oh, how fast time flies! Today marks my 6th month with Pearl Lemon, the longest I have worked with any company in my 5-year career.
To a freelancer like myself, it’s all about a hit-and-run scheme we follow as to generate the highest revenue in the shortest period of time. But who would have thought I’d stick around for 6 months? (And I’m not planning on leaving anytime soon!).
In these 6 months, I’ve learned all about Digital Marketing. Even though I’m an Architecture Student – with very good experience in Marketing thanks to my 5-year long career – I’ve learned more in those 6 months than I have in my entire life. From things as little as stopping the ‘Errs’ in my voice note updates all the way to ‘running a sales company’.
Imagine the scene; I’d just had my business closed because of the lockdown. It’s June, the sun is shining, I’m on the beach (wearing a mask because of COVID). There are no jobs available because everyone’s in a lockdown. I’m desperate for work and I’m sending out proposals on every job platform there is on the internet!
And then I get a notification from PPH:
‘You’ve been invited to send a proposal for the project Cold Caller Needed for ONGOING PROJECTS’.
I send a proposal, and then jump into the swimming pool, thinking it’s going to get ignored just like all the other ones. I get out and then there’s a notification from a guy named ‘Deepak S’:
I send a voice note and wait…he doesn’t reply. 😓 I’m not going to get the job, and I need to work!
I pick my courage up and text him again, twice. And BAM! he replies, and so starts my journey with Pearl Lemon, and my journey with a person I am proud to call my brother, Deepak.
After our back and forth ‘voice notes’ on WhatsApp, Deepak told me I was going to work for 2-weeks only on a cold calling campaign.
What? 2-weeks only? Ok, I think to myself, I’m going to take the job and do my best and let’s see how this works. 3 hours a day cold calling an already prepared list. Couldn’t be easier.
I start calling for a company called QTap, an in-house food ordering application. Their gimmick was that with one tap (instead of waiting for a waiter, holding menus, and waiting for a cheque), everything came together through the app.
It’d be fair to say that the campaign wasn’t a huge success in terms of results. But I did well enough to be offered a full-time contract in Pearl Lemon.
At the time, I was new to full-time contracts. The last time I have worked full-time was around 2016. But Pearl Lemon was different. It was fully remote with flexible hours and you’re pretty much your own boss.
The only thing they’d care about was getting the task done. And you get to choose how to get it done. If you ever face an obstacle, you’ll find the rest of the team around you, ready to help you with anything you need.
I was impressed that Deepak always had the time to support me, reply to my texts and even get on calls to help me understand anything that I couldn’t. At the time, I had only worked with Deepak, but after getting a full-time contract I then met Ion.
Ion is one of the best sales guys I have ever met. But we’ll get into that later. I started calling internally for Pearl Lemon, partly for Kemistri – a partner of Pearl Lemon – and was waiting for the next cold calling client to be onboarded.
The more I worked with Pearl Lemon, the better my relationship with Deepak grew. One Friday, he sent me a text: ‘Hey dude, would you like to join the internal team group?’. I was happy that I was invited to the internal team group chat but was mad that I wasn’t invited sooner!
I then met the team. We weren’t too many at the time; I joined Pearl Lemon at a time where things were just getting better. Let’s call it the ‘Renaissance Period’ of Pearl Lemon.
I met Lydia, Skylar, Federica, Fares, Tenny, Paula and some other guys from the team. I was overwhelmed with meeting so many people from so many different countries and backgrounds all working for the same company driven towards the same goal.
We then started to join weekly meetings where we’d update the team about our week and share experiences we’ve faced.
Now, remember Ion – the Greek god of sales in Pearl Lemon? At the time, I was working parallel to Ion to try to understand how sales are done in Pearl Lemon. I was also looking at what could be done better and how to improve myself.
I was already a good sales guy but there’s always room for improvement; there’s always more you don’t know about. Ion was very helpful and helped me a lot in my first 2 months at the company.
We then agreed that if I was going to be here for long, I need to know all about our tools and how to use them. So, Deepak sent me over 20-hours’ worth of tutorials and training videos for our tools.
These included Optimer, Nusii, Drift, and a bunch of other tools that I knew nothing about. Plus, I had a weekly task of reading a book and then summarising it in a voice note to Deepak. It was all overwhelming!
But I knew that these were the things that’d help me reach the top of the mountain in this company.
We always discussed the idea of me becoming the Head of Outbound Sales and having Pearl Lemon Sales built around me. So Deepak had asked me to start building my team so that we could generate more cold calling clients.
I was already experienced in managing a team, as I had a similar business before. But now I had to learn how to build a team capable of working for a big company like Pearl Lemon. It was challenging at the beginning – I had to train the team, work on the sales side, and take care of cold calling clients all at the same time.
So, I had my focus shattered and my energy drained. In other words, I wasn’t producing on either side of the business. So, I had to take some time out and focus on one thing: cold calling.
I was acting as the head of outbound sales (but I wasn’t officially appointed), managing clients like All Services 4 U (one of the biggest maintenance companies in England).
I was also joining Kick-off calls, generating reports, sending and receiving emails, generating leads, etc. All of that was new to me, all I did before joining Pearl Lemon was focus on getting the sale closed. No more no less.
But to be completely honest, that changed me, on a personal level and on a managerial level. My focus levels were sky-high, and I basically learned how to run a company.
My client relationship management skills doubled over the past few months. So I was ready to take on my second client as a manager, CollectivFood – a raw food material delivery service for restaurants.
Things were at their best. I was running two clients, I had 4 agents in my team, I was getting sales for Kemistri on commission, what could be better? Or should I say what could be worse?
Deepak had been trusting me by heart, so he depended on me for CollectivFood. I was managing both All Services 4 U and CollectivFood alongside my team: Amy, Amy, and guess what, Amy. Well, actually their Real names were Hana, Farida, and Manar.
But I had to pick just one name for all of them so that Deepak would remember that Amy is the nickname for cold callers in my team! And It was easier for emails and account setup.
In my first call with this client, I was very nervous that I got a bit defensive and I f***ed up the call. The client who was very excited to be with us was now worried. They were too technical, and I wasn’t well prepared to face such a thing. So, I started being negative.
And right then, they lost trust in me.
I then assigned Farida (Amy 1) to the campaign and took a step back to just manage it. I was so unconfident that I even assigned Manar (Amy 2) to All Services 4 U and I was just managing the campaigns, not making calls myself.
But after a conversation I had with Deepak, I regained my confidence and started calling again. In parallel with Farida (Amy 1) leaving, I got back to CollectivFood. But it was too late, the client had already left with negative feedback and a dispute for Deepak to deal with.
That was the first time I had felt responsible, for f***ing up. But Dee had reassured me that I had nothing to do with it and that it wasn’t my fault. He encouraged me to focus on other campaigns.
I was left with All services 4 U, but Manar (Amy 2) had already been calling for them. So I used the free time for working on my sales and was trying to generate sales and get some clients on board myself.
They say only fools rush in, and, in this case, I was a fool. I had been dealing with lots of potential clients for the SEO and Lead Gen side, and at the same time, I had been running some side projects for my small business.
One time, when a potential client failed to sign for Pearl Lemon, they directly messaged me to work with me instead of working with Pearl Lemon. I had had verbal confirmation from Deepak to stop chasing them for Pearl Lemon. So I made a big mistake – I took them and signed them for me.
Even though they had nothing to do with Pearl Lemon, and my intentions were good (onboard them until they make enough money to sign with Pearl Lemon), it was inexcusable from me to not tell Deepak about it.
There’s a saying in the sales world that cheap clients will always bring you more pain than they bring you money.
Deepak had the vision that I hadn’t and that’s why he asked me to stop chasing them. When I worked with them, they expected way too much for their budget, and things got bad.
And I couldn’t help but ask for Deepak’s help. He was – rightfully – shocked, and I could understand where his anger came from. It wasn’t a problem of taking these guys on board, it was a problem of ‘Why haven’t you told me earlier?’.
Of course, that drove him to think of ‘How many more clients has he taken off of Pearl Lemon?’. So he immediately decided to take me off internal leads, removed me from the group, and almost fired me. And we were back to square one in our relationship.
I was left with the most difficult weekend that I had ever passed. Deepak said he’d decide by Monday if I would still be part of Pearl Lemon or not.
I was too guilty to even text him to apologise. I was desperate, but I knew I deserved it, so I waited for the guillotine to chop my head off on the next Monday!
To everybody’s surprise (Including myself), Deepak decided to leave me on the cold calling side. I was to take care of All services 4 U. They were a good client that had been with us for months and I knew them better than anyone else.
But he communicated to me that he no longer trusted me. And that hurt me more than anything.
I was working like a robot – my morale was down, I was finishing my shift, reporting, and invoicing Deepak by the end of the week. This was the one thing I had promised myself not to do – working in an environment where I’m not comfortable.
And in this case, it was me who had dug my own grave. But I decided I wasn’t going to let it all go down the drain.
I picked myself up and had one thing in my mind: gaining the company’s trust back, and getting back on track with the original plan of me becoming Head of Sales.
I spent the next two months working doing my best.
As time passed, Deepak started trusting me again. I knew that he had brought in a new sales team, and asked them not to sell cold calling services as he didn’t trust me. But in mid-November, we had had a conversation that a new client was around the corner and that I should be well prepared.
I was happy that things were starting to get back to normal. He was too; I was committed and I had stuck around even though there was unclear air.
So, I proved to myself that I had earned the right to be forgiven. And on the 1st of December, we started with a new client: 3G-Medical, a multinational medical supplies company with offices in South Africa, The UK, and the US.
Things were pretty good with them in the first 2 weeks as we were following a system. With this system, we were chasing quality over volume. I was glad that things came back on track, and my best days in the company were back.
I had a much-needed conversation with Deepak. We cleared everything; we were all good and work was all good. Plus, in these 6 months, Pearl Lemon grew to become the undisputed top SEO and Lead Generation company in the UK.
I’ve been informed I am to be made the Head of Outbound Sales department in 2021, with big plans and even bigger ambition to drive Pearl Lemon to a world-ranking position.
I have ditched my small business and decided to focus on the Pearl Lemon Group. I’ve grown as a person and as a sales rep in the past 6 months. The company, in general, has big plans and it’s a great place for everyone to grow.
I was lucky that I joined Pearl Lemon at a time where the company was moving and changing so I witnessed the whole process. It’s why I’ve stuck around for so long, and I am planning to be here for the longest I can be.
Even if this is instead of better offers with better pay. It’s their system and ambition that have made me stick. It’s the growth I’ve witnessed in others and in myself that have made me believe that it’d be the best place for me.
I have met people from England, the US, Spain, Italy, India, Turkey, Poland, and who knows who might be joining us next!
Pearl Lemon is a Digital Marketing Agency that is the most energetic organisation I have seen in my life. The team’s support, the founder’s presence, the room for improvement, everything about it just makes you want to be here, and for a long time too!
I am so excited for the beginning of 2021. I’m excited to see what It holds for me and to see how it might change my life.
I’m keen to see how the New Year will affect my journey with Pearl Lemon and where it would be taking me to. What I know for sure, is that by the end of 2021, Pearl Lemon will be continuing to grow.
This is just the beginning.