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Susan is an independent digital communications and user experience strategist. She helps companies discover their brand voice and grow their business.
Shubharthi is currently part of the strategic marketing team at Regalix. His expertise mainly lies in the account-based marketing and programmatic advertising space.
Priscilla is a content writer who has worked for Infosys Technologies and other technology startups in India and abroad.
Moulishree is a freelance journalist with over 7 years of experience, she writes research-based analytical stories on technology and business.
Avanish is a Bangalore-based journalist who writes on business with a specific focus on technology companies.
Priyanka has covered every aspect of the IT industry as a tech journalist since its early days. She is now an independent writer, working on subjects like digital marketing, enterprise technology and high-performance computing, among others.
A freelance content writer, S. Sahu was the former editor of TCS's house magazine at Tata Consultancy Services. He developed tech marketing collateral for the company and helped compile and edit books and journal articles on TCS's technology innovations. He also ghostwrites print and online publications.
Prajwala is a Bangalore-based freelance journalist who writes on social issues, stories of human interest, and art and culture, among others.
Rajesh Nanarpuzha is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at IIM Udaipur. Previously, he has worked as a brand manager in Dabur, and as a business consultant in the retail and consumer goods domains at Cognizant and Tata Consultancy Services. Rajesh has an MBA from IIM Indore and a doctorate in marketing from IIM Ahmedabad.
Priyokumar Singh Naorem
He is a passionate UI & UX designer who thrives on creating engaging creative solutions.
A freelance illustrator, artist, graphic novelist and designer. She has designed and illustrated several book covers. Her personal illustrations so far have attempted to seize the fleeting absurdity and mood of places, things and people she encounters in a childlike, intuitive and expressive manner with closure, beauty and innocence – the things that she desires.
She is an artist and an educator who has taught and lectured at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Oxford University, the Victoria and Albert Museum among other institutions. Her installations, paintings, thread work and sculptures have been exhibited in Saatchi Gallery - London, C24 Gallery - New York, and Museum of Contemporary Art – Lyon, among other notable galleries and museums from around the world.
Purna Chandra Mahato
A commerce graduate from Delhi University, Parul pursued a masters in fine arts from Nottingham Trent University in the UK. As an artist, she is interested in line as a subject which has led her to follow architectural lines in built environments. She says she is also interested in how we perceive the environment that we inhabit and what happens when a subtle shift is made in things which we have been used to seeing in a certain way. We present six of her artworks here.
Shweta Malhotra is a graphic artist and designer from Mumbai, based in New Delhi.
After working with ad agencies and design studios for close to 8 years, she branched out on her own and currently works independently.s Her overall design aesthetic is minimal, bold and graphic, a response to the maximalist visual language prevalent in India.
Rithika Merchant (b.1986) received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from Parsons the New School for Design, New York in 2008. She has exhibited extensively since her graduation. Recent exhibitions include a duo show “Reliquaries: The Remembered Self” at TARQ, Mumbai; “Language of the Birds: Occult and Art” at 80WSE Gallery, New York; and group shows at Summerhall, Edinburgh and Artry Gallery, Kochi. Her work has been included in multiple group shows at Stephen Romano Gallery and The Morbid Anatomy Museum, New York. Born in Mumbai, she now divides her time between Mumbai and Barcelona.
Aniruddh Mehta is an artist based out of Mumbai, India. Trained in graphic design from the London College of Communications, Aniruddh is a self-taught illustrator and currently works as an independent freelance designer. He believes in finding the right balance between art and graphic design. He has worked closely in collaboration with Bhavishyavani Future Soundz, Qilla Records, Taxi Fabric, Adidas, Dell and United Colours of Benetton. He also goes by the moniker, ‘thebigfatminimalist’ and his style ranges from bold minimal forms to more intricate pieces exploring patterns and geometry.
Paramesh is an artist who enjoys working in both the realistic and abstract style of painting. He loves working with water color. Featured in this issue are a set of water color works that he has created exclusively for us on the subject of digital transformation.
Based in Mumbai, Chandrashekhar Thakur is a Senior Art Director and Illustrator at Truebil.com and the Founder of HAPPiNESS For You. He loves working with new styles of art and considers illustration to be his forte. Chandrashekhar has completed his BFA from DY Patil College of Applied Art.
Concept and Direction
Head of marketing at Regalix, Nimish drives research in emerging technologies and customer experience, and takes a keen interest in creative arts.
Steven Kok, based in The Netherlands, works for the world’s third largest vendor of business applications, Infor. Steven has been in several leadership roles in the company and is currently the Regional Sales Director, looking after Benelux, Nordics and IMEA, with a focus on Customer Experience Solutions. With these solutions – like Customer Relationship Management (CRM), e-commerce and Configure Price Quote (CPQ) – he has created quantified value in the Quote-to-Order processes for his customers. Prior to Infor, Steven worked for several international software companies.
Interviewed by Aishani Majumdar
Over the last few years, most of the professional sales organizations have become familiar with Customer Relationship Management (CRM). If used correctly, this application is a valuable tool for sales executives and management in the entire process from lead generation to aftersales. With all the account and contact data structure in one place, enriched further by data from external databases like Graydon (credit info), you have a great base to build a file for each account with all your activities like calls, emails, meetings and proposals. There is a lot more to say about CRM but that is a separate topic.
Another tool that we see used by sales organizations (and even by extended sales, like dealers or agents) quite often is Configure Price Quote (CPQ). The CPQ application enables users to do exactly what it says, i.e., configure a customized product or service, calculate the specific price for that configuration and dynamically generate a professional quote document, optionally enriched with elements like pictures, drawings, additional text, as well as T&C. This application is so powerful that an Aberdeen research concluded that organizations using them see an average increase in deal size by 104% as the solutions sold can be more complex and of higher value. Another outcome is the incredible increase in reps achieving their quota of 26%. How? Well, this application increases the average deal size, supports clear processes and helps novices perform faster.
Other applications that we could consider as sales enablers are marketing automation tools for lead generation and new technology like Artificial Intelligence (AI). I’ve seen applications that salespeople can use like a Siri or Alexa. You can verbally ask to list your top 10 accounts or the accounts in which you have a committed opportunity in Q3. This is nice, but not really intelligent yet. These applications will also provide you with information you didn’t ask for, but it will be based on other parameters that the AI application would have identified as relevant for a specific action.
/ / What are the top benefits that your organization enjoys as a result of sales enablement?
The value that sales enablement brings is sometimes hard to quantify but easy to qualify. The usage of CRM and CPQ has helped our organization shorten sales cycles, decrease the number of approvals, focus on the right opportunities and enable management to make data-driven decisions.
/ / In your opinion, what are the major roadblocks in the sales enablement journey?
Not every seller is instantly open to use applications like CRM. It forces him or her to be transparent in all the activities, and sometimes, they feel as if someone just said, “Big brother is watching you.” And even if they have started using it, you will find they sometimes push back to maintain the data accurately in the system. The roadblock to use sales enablement applications is not infrastructure or organization-related but, most of the time, it’s the employee.
/ / How do you conduct the training and onboarding of your organization’s sales team?
Our organization has a monthly ceremony to onboard new salespeople. This happens partly in our headquarters in New York, where meetings and information sessions are scheduled. The other part is an e-learning program that requires you to follow all of the applicable sessions, which are then completed after a quick exam. This onboarding varies with the role.
/ / What types of collaterals do you use for your organization’s sales enablement efforts?
We have a rich stack of collateral available, like recorded webinars; “Lunch & Learn” sessions; an internal portal where all the different products, departments and processes are represented; print; video and local meetings.
/ / What are the different channels that you use to share content with the sales team?
We use Outlook, our internal portal and an e-learning portal.
/ / What tools does your organization use for sales enablement?
Our organization uses CRM, CPQ and Marketo (marketing automation) for lead generation.
/ / What are the important features that you feel a sales enablement tool must have?
We see that work and private life have increasingly converged. We easily respond to a private message during work time and answer a business call when we’re on paid time off (PTO). This behavior should drive the features of a sales enablement application. It should be mobile so that you can use it with any device you’re using at that time. And it should be easy to use. You don’t want to fill in dozens of fields to just give an update. Modern interfaces support data entry by checkboxes, radio buttons or sliders.
Another important feature is the reuse of data so that double data entry can be avoided. This can be done with the help of smart integration of applications in a secure environment.
Finally, the applications should be great from a usage and appearance perspective. Good appearances make you a proud user, willing to show your business applications to friends and family, showing them the cool tools you have at your disposal. Because the better the application’s user interface, the higher the user adoption.
/ / What are the trends/technologies that you think will drive sales enablement in the future? How should businesses gear up for this?
I mentioned earlier that I see AI as a new technology that will be added to sales enablement. An important requirement for leveraging this tool is the need for your data to be available. AI is all about analyzing your data and eventually combining that with an analysis of your peers in the industry. To gain the most benefits from AI on short notice, it is mandatory that you have your historical data available.
/ / In which areas of sales enablement does your organization plan to invest over the coming years?
From what I can see, I think that one of the main investment areas is AI. We’re investing heavily in knowledge, technologies and platforms that allow us and our customers to gain from the insights that are still hidden in the massive amount of stored data we have at hand. This is what I read in a Fortune article: “While the human brain tends to focus on the most obvious correlations between the input and outcome, a deep-learning algorithm trained on an ocean of information will discover connections between obscure features of the data that are so subtle or complex, we humans cannot even describe them logically. When you combine hundreds or thousands of them together, they naturally outstrip the performance of even the most experienced humans. AI algorithms now beat humans in speech recognition, face recognition, the games of chess and Go, reading MRIs for certain cancers and any quantitative field – whether it’s deciding what loans to approve or detecting credit card fraud.” We can expect many more benefits from AI, which has already been identified as the next big wave.
Paradigm shift from traditional to modern sales enablement methods
Dan Carusi, Senior Director of Global Sales Effectiveness & Enablement, Ellucian
SE tools must develop seller’s empathy for, and understanding of, the customer
Kevin Strange, Vice President of Global Sales and Channel Sales Enablement, Verint.
Use feedback from internal business partners for enabling sales
Brenda Dwyer, Senior Director of Sales Enablement, Omnicell