Huawei started with just RMB 21,000 in registered capital when it was established in Shenzhen in 1987. A vital element in the company’s rise to prominence is its cutthroat sales team, which has steadily developed into a well-trained division of pragmatic and results-oriented professionals.
Li Jiang, who started in the company’s sales department in 2000, detailed the company’s unique sales culture in a book he published in 2020, titled The Way of Huawei Sales. In the book, Li explains how to break into a new market and introduces sales strategies to attract enterprise customers. One of Huawei’s strengths is that every team member is highly flexible, adaptive, and constantly learning, Li said.
He described the company’s sales tactics in the early 1990s as “wolf-life and guerilla-style,” as Huawei’s products did not have the quality to win over clients in urban markets, and they were limited to scrounging for customers in rural areas where their solutions were better than nothing. In this context, winning contracts was the top priority, and the team formed its results-centric mindset.
Li worked his way up within the company to manage Huawei subsidiary 3com in the Asia Pacific and introduced the “wolf culture” to more than 240 sales teams he oversaw in more than 30 countries and regions, with annual sales reaching USD 600 million. Describing this journey in his book, Li revealed his knowledge about the full cycle of enterprise client acquisition and retention. Since around 2013, when Huawei’s international business matured, the company’s young sales recruits have not been entering new, untouched markets. Li hopes his book will provide guidance where they lack personal experience.
Going forward, he believes that while Huawei faces tight competition, the company will benefit from a more mature industry with ample funding opportunities. “Resources are allocated more accurately now. If you are good, venture capital will find you,” Li said.
KrASIA Connection features translated and adapted content published by 36Kr. This article was originally written by Yong Yi for 36Kr.