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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.
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.
Philip Cleary leads Sales Enablement for Salesforce in APAC, building and delivering onboarding, product training, business acumen and selling skills programs for sales professionals across Australia, Singapore and India.
Interviewed by Shwetha Mahesh
/ / What are the technologies/trends driving sales enablement today?
The fundamentals of sales enablement remain the same. However, today it’s definitely a lot more structured, with tighter tracking and a much deeper level of accountability. Organizations are formalizing the relationship they have with their stakeholders (sales leadership, business development, marketing, operations, finance, etc.) through charters and annual plans, detailing focus areas, levels of activity and financial investment.
From a technology perspective, learning curricula are now being created, assigned and measured using tools that are easy to use, mobile and collaborative. At Salesforce, we have developed our own tool using the Salesforce platform and learning journeys are being designed so that sales representatives can learn in their preferred modality that maximizes their effectiveness in the field. We’re blending self-paced learning via our online learning platform Trailhead, with in-person or online workshops, and “stand and deliver” assessments in a 70:20:10 ratio.
Tenured, experienced sales representatives benefit best from the right piece of up-to-date content, in the right place and time. We have tools to share marketing collateral, pricelists, policy docs and how-to videos both on their desktops and mobile devices. And we track the adoption of these tools, across regions and segments, along with satisfaction levels. The system learns to surface the freshest content and makes it easy to share.
Consumption and retention have to be easily measured by sales leaders if we’re going to see an improvement in business performance, which of course is the ultimate goal.
/ / What are the top benefits that your organization enjoys as a result of sales enablement?
Our sales leaders need fully “ramped” sales representatives as quickly as possible to drive more predictable revenue with less risk. Our focus is on product competency from the buyer’s perspective, ensuring our sales teams understand what business problems we can help solve, and have a point of view specific to the customer’s industry, region and organization size. Skill development is also a crucial element to ensure we execute well when building pipelines, working deals, forecasting and closing.
All of this helps us grow deal sizes, diversify risk, introduce new products to the market and achieve better business outcomes for our customers overall. As a subscription business, we believe in helping our customers achieve extraordinary things so that we can continue growing together because their success is our success.
/ / In your opinion, what are the major roadblocks in the sales enablement journey?
It comes down to the trends I mentioned earlier, where sales enablement leaders are now recognizing the roadblocks and getting ahead of them. The crucial element with enablement is strong alignment with the sales leadership and getting that executive sponsorship. Sales enablement is a relatively nascent function, so it's hard to source experienced talent. Resourcing of enablement is key, in terms of headcount, funding external vendors and technology investments.
/ / How do you conduct the training and onboarding of your organization’s sales team?
Onboarding of new-hire sales reps is a six-month journey that follows the 70:20:10 ratio I mentioned earlier. 70% is self-paced learning via our Trailhead platform to drive product/buyer knowledge, skills capability and a deep understanding of company culture. 20% is in the format of live workshops, both in-person and online, including a week-long boot camp at headquarters within their first month. The remainder of the time, they’re learning and doing their jobs concurrently, which includes additional Trailhead modules, practical hands-on workshops, and challenging “stand and deliver” assessments.
Tenured reps focus on product and process updates, learn how to use new tools and continually sharpen their skills through vendor-based workshops and assessments. Additionally, a CMO in the pharmaceutical industry requires a very different conversation compared to a CFO in a manufacturing company. A big focus for me last year was on business acumen and being able to speak the language of the customer, depending on their role and industry.
/ / What types of collaterals do you use for your organization’s sales enablement efforts?
The majority of learning is via self-paced Trails, delivered and tracked on our Trailhead platform. We love this modality as the content can be consumed anywhere, it's gamified (and, therefore, fun) and we can measure completion easily. In-person, multi-day workshops are still popular as it allows everyone to learn both from the experts and from their peers. Video continues to be a scalable and engaging method for us and so do the traditional playbooks, guides and cheat sheets we distribute via Quip, our own collaborative productivity suite.
/ / What are the different channels that you use to share content with the sales team?
The majority of the content goes out through Trailhead as sales personnel get the context as well as the content and know how to apply it better. The other proprietary internal tool mentioned above is called Ask Astro, which is a self-learning search engine that helps to find documents, help articles, training and so on. Reps can access it from the desktop, within Salesforce or via a mobile app. Product info, buyer guides, pricing, policy info, competitive collateral, etc. are provided right when they need it.
Chatter, the collaboration layer of Salesforce, allows us to make announcements and share content, targeting both groups and individuals. The best part is that it’s all searchable and you can follow specific items of collateral so that you’re always up to date with the latest version.
Quip is the productivity suite that allows us to push out content that would usually have been in PDF or PPT format in the past. With Quip, we can make changes in one central place and everyone is up to date. With the conversation function, folks can discuss the content, give feedback, make requests and @mention/tag colleagues when they really need it.
/ / How do you measure the success of your organization’s sales enablement collaterals? What are the metrics that are monitored?
This is the eternal challenge for sales enablement organizations. With Salesforce CRM, we can see who’s used what piece of collateral in which sales opportunity, and whether it’s a traditional PDF, PPT, DOC, etc. or a Quip document. We can see how many people have subscribed to or downloaded a piece of content if they’ve given it active feedback (thumbs up or down) and also track the version control and changes. With Salesforce, we can measure the content with an opportunity lens, and monitor things like collateral by pipeline amount, revenue closed, win-rate, deal size, lifecycle and so on.
/ / What tools does your organization use for sales enablement?
We really do as much on our own platform as we can. Third-party enablement tools are rare. Content and learning curricula are easily managed, shared and measured using tools built on our own platform using things like Communities, Heroku and Einstein Analytics. And, of course, Trailhead is our self-paced learning environment. The gamification aspect with badges, points and status levels create a healthy competitive spirit internally. Trailhead Rangers with over 100 badges get special recognition in the company, and some folks are even double or triple rangers.
/ / What are the important features that you feel a sales enablement tool must have?
First and foremost, enablement tools must be easy to use as a learner, a leader and/or an enabler. They need to measure activity and achievement against enablement milestones, and they need to be accessible anywhere, anytime. The tools should make it easy for the sales rep to access information anytime, anywhere. They need to celebrate sales progress both with the representative and their managers while also enabling personnel to learn during their commute, between sales calls and just in time for a deal.
/ / What are the trends/technologies that you think will drive sales enablement in the future? How should businesses gear up for this?
We’re seeing many of these already today, and the future is even more exciting. It’s all about AI and machine learning, optimizing learning and predicting when it’s most needed. Wearable devices tracking biometrics will start to become popular, correlating activity and energy with deal success, while ensuring that stress and other external factors don’t impact employee well-being.
Peer learning and assessment, with reps enabling reps and making sure they’re a match-fit are trends on the rise. And I think we’ll also see more enablement organizations looking at their own capability and making investments in people, processes and technology to be the best they can be.
/ / In which areas of sales enablement does your organization plan to invest over the coming years?
Overall investments in our enablement team will continue to drive capability, knowledge, skills and experience. It’s been an insightful journey for our product design teams too, stretching the functionality and developing new use cases all the time. Our platform continues to be our key success factor and we will continue to innovate with it. Lastly, external training vendors will help us bring in additional expertise and scale while reducing risk. Consolidating a small number of key vendors, who we will view as partners and keep close to our people and processes, will improve efficiency in the coming years.
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