Stories30 March 20223 min

#StartitStories Davai Dumplings on their skyrocketing sales

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Sales is the holy grail of any company. So it’s in a startup’s interest to build a well-oiled sales machine as quickly as possible. Davai Dumplings, brainchild of Maybritt Devriese and Ruslan Podgaetskiy, knows all about it. Ruslan sat down with Start it @KBC to tell us how the Ghent startup took their sales to a higher level with Market Me.

For those who aren’t familiar with the startup yet: Maybritt and Ruslan have been making plant-based dumplings under the name Davai Dumplings since their student days. “We started doing it because we saw that vegan food was considered ‘boring’ or ‘complicated to prepare’ by a lot of people,” Ruslan explains. “Our dumplings had to be plant-based, but simple to prepare. You can throw them in a pan, oven or deep fryer, and they’re ready within five to 10 minutes!

Accessible & interactive sales bootcamp

But marketing a consumer product isn’t that easy, Davai Dumplings discovered. “Initially we wanted to sell directly to consumers, but we switched to a B2B2C model,” Ruslan tells us. “We focus on supermarkets and food service companies, but we wanted to go faster. As a startup, it’s crucial to find those first return customers as quickly as possible.”

That’s why their business coach at Start it @KBC advised them to participate in Market Me. “Many entrepreneurs learn by reading books, but it’s impossible to compare the Market Me workshops to that,” says Ruslan. “I experienced it as an interactive sales bootcamp in a pleasant and casual setting. There was always a speaker standing in front of you who was five steps ahead of you: there were no stupid questions. “That suddenly made it all very accessible. The themes were also broadly discussed, which means that some of the insights gained will become even more relevant for our company later on.”

Human methods

So what where those insights exactly? There are too many to list, according to Ruslan, but he particularly remembers the wise words of pitch coach Malcolm Larri. “Thanks to Malcolm I learned the SPIN (Situation, Problem, Implication & Need-payoff) method,” he recalls. “Put simply, this technique helps you ask potential customers the right questions that focus on fulfilling their needs. This is useful because it can be applied to many other operational aspects of a business. What I really learned is that sales is first and foremost a human process. Market Me illuminated each phase of the sales funnel so efficiently and concretely that we could immediately translate the concepts and tools into practice, and convert prospecting into retention.”

Long-term perspective

No sooner said than done. Davai Dumplings landed on the radar of a large national supermarket chain, which the startup had been hoping to nab as a customer for some time. “In the end, the chain contacted us,” Ruslan reveals. “The deal has been sealed, and it would have never happened without Market Me. A big name like that gives us extra continuity and credibility heading into the future. In the long term, I think we’ll recoup our investment in this sales process a hundredfold. Time is dumplings, and we won both.”

The next edition of Market Me, the sales acceleration program that helps startups build their professional sales machine, is starting soon. You can still register via this webpage!