Name – Davina Schonle
Nationality – British/German
Occupation – Entrepreneur, Strategic Advisor, Business Growth Consultant
Countries lived in – UK
Hello Davina, as a founder and CEO of DS Consulting Group and S2C, what is that you do for small and large business?
I help businesses achieve exponential growth easily and strategically setting them up for sustainable success. For small businesses I help them get clarity around business offering, business direction including their selling into corporates plan and their growth plans (including future team structure). Some of the businesses I work with have investor pressure so I help them come up with a strategic roadmap and help them identify and implement the highest value course of action that will give them the most returns.
I also speak, deliver training, strategy sessions and support on an advisory and consultancy basis.
What is your expertise in Selling into Corporates?
My background is in corporate and having worked both in corporate and in sales I didn’t realise how much knowledge I had which I took for granted. I have worked in strategy in some way for over a decade and seeing the bigger picture and spotting opportunities are what I do best when its relating to selling into corporates. For me selling into corporates is not just about sales, it’s about partnerships and about being visionary in what you want to achieve. I help keep CEOs, Founders, Business Owners, Sales Leaders & Teams accountable so that they can achieve their goals on a bigger magnitude then they thought possible. I love helping businesses with their Selling Into Corporates strategy, helping with their pitch and proposals and prepare them for negotiations. Ultimately, I know how to make a small corporate deal into a big corporate deal.
You are a serial entrepreneur by all means, why it is important for entrepreneurs to be connected to corporations?
If you are a business that operates in the B2B world then I think you could be leaving money on the table by not engaging with corporations. Ultimately every business exists to solve a problem. Have a think if that problem exists in corporations and if not, think again to make sure. More and more companies are going to need the expertise and services of SMEs. If you choose the right corporations that match your values and ambitions, it could be a very good fit. Adding corporations as a client base will add a lucrative revenue stream into your business. Working with certain brands can help open doors and raise your creditability as a business.
How did you decide to leave the solid corporate industry and started a new journey, founding your two companies??
10 years ago I left my old life to live in India to determine what I wanted from life. We can get caught up in a job, career or lifestyle that just happens instead of being planned or what we truly wanted. When I was younger, I had all these dreams and aspirations and I found that a temporary situation started becoming more and more permanent. I didn’t want to live a life of regret, so I decided to make a change. The challenge with that is that if you make rash decisions, you could make the same mistake and another temporary change leads to a permanent one and you climb up the wrong ladder again. Which is why I took the time to determine what I wanted and becoming an entrepreneur was always part of that plan. I hadn’t expected it to happen so soon but the more I worked in corporate and achieved what I wanted, then I wanted my next adventure to happen when it did. I wanted more freedom and to build something that made a difference.
What are the 6C of Selling into Corporates?
The 6C’s is something I developed whilst on a business retreat in Morocco in 2019 when I was trying to articulate the path in takes for B2B sales and business in general. The first C is the building block of everything and its clarity. Without clarity then you are thrashing about with no direction. Clarity is your lifeboat. And clarity starts with you, then you can focus on who you want to serve as a business, and then we get into the problems that you solve for those people or businesses. The next step is Collate, this is your market research and your client research. Then you Conversation with your potential clients, there are actually 7 ways I have identified on how you can get corporate leads. Once you have connected and had a conversation then you need to Clarify their needs. This step was added in later as I noticed a lot of people went from Connected to trying to sell without understanding their needs first. Then we can Create our proposal or pitch and then we Close the deal. If we do the first five steps right the Closing the deal is easy. So, to recap the 6Cs are Clarity, Collate, Connect, Clarify, Create, Close.
What is the most common problem you help your clients solve in your work when they are a small enterprise?
Mainly playing too small. There is so much potential in the market and often businesses are not making the most of it. Sometimes they have a vision, they know what they want but they don’t know how to get there. And when there is lack of strategy, then there is overwhelm, when there is overwhelm then too much is trying to get done, so nothing gets done, or procrastination sets in. Decision fatigue is common and its easier not to make a change or do anything than it is to make a decision.
In your experience, which industry was the hardest to get a contract with?
Every industry will have its own challenges. Highly regulated industries such as the financial services and pharmaceuticals can be tricky but it is often about navigating the system and including that in your sales cycles and cash flow management. Once you are in though, it is about making the most of those opportunities which I see a lot of SMEs failing to do.
In your bio you mention to have worked in numerous countries. Which location suits you the most?
I am happy to be based in UK for now but I love travelling for business having been to the US, Bulgaria, Portugal and Netherlands in the last 12 months. I haven’t been back to Asia since pre-pandemic but I am excited to get back there soon.
Do you think having a social network only for women in business is helpful? Why?
Yes, definitely. When I left corporate, I wasn’t keen on women only networks but now being part of a few has only enhanced my journey as an entrepreneur. There is something magical and powerful when a group of women get together and I find that if we can champion each other, we will all win. Being connected with a group of women who have my back and supports me has helped me be more confident in being visible and setting out to achieve what I really want to.
You have worked alongside CEOs of different levels, women CEOs or men CEOs are more likely to listen and learn?
I don’t think it really matters about the gender as it is often dependent on their development as a leader and their EQ. I think having a diversity of leaders, advisors and mentors is important which is why I advocate for more women on Boards.
What is one thing in common that all your clients have?
They all want to make a difference and they want to do a good job. Regardless of what the end service or product is, the clients I work with are keen to deliver. I don’t work with businesses or leaders I don’t believe in.
What excites you the most in your work?
The fact I can help other entrepreneurs and business leaders build their businesses faster, and more efficiently whether that is more profitability, more sales, quicker sales, clarity of direction or better, happier and healthier leaders. I know I make a difference to everyone I work with and that fills my heart with joy. I say if you don’t do work that makes your heart sing, then what is the point.
How IWC members can get in contact with you?