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Contributors

Writers

Priscilla Thomas

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A content writer who has worked for Infosys Technologies and other technology startups in India and abroad.

Avanish Tiwary

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An independent journalist who writes on business strategies.

Priyanka Bhatacharya

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She has been covering the Indian information technology industry since its early days.

S.Sahu

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Sahu was with TCS as the editor of their house magazine before he became a freelance content writer.

Prajwala Hegde

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An independent journalist who has worked with The New Indian Express and City Today.

Rajesh Nanarpuzha

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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.

Designer

Priyokumar Singh Naorem

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He is a passionate UI & UX designer who thrives on creating engaging creative solutions.

Artists

Dyuti Mittal

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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.

Sumakshi Singh

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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.

Parul Gupta

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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

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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

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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

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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 Jolad

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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.

Concept and Direction

Nimish Vohra

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Head of marketing at Regalix, Nimish drives research in emerging technologies and customer experience, and takes a keen interest in creative arts.

Enquiry

+91 9916326475

venkatesh@regalix-inc.com

Know when a new article is published

Lee Levitt is the Managing Director and founder of the Acelera Group. He brings over 30 years of hands-on sales enablement experience, including five years of sales transformation work at Oracle.

Prior to joining Oracle, he built and managed IDC’s Sales Advisory Practice, where he worked with leading tech companies, including Fujitsu, HP, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, Savo Group, and many others, to improve their sales productivity. He launched the first industry research into sales enablement best practices and authored the IDC Sales Productivity Framework.

Lee is a founding member of the Sales Enablement Society and active in the Strategic Account Management Association.

He holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics from Colgate University and is an active cyclist and runner.

Interviewed by Arunh Krishnan


Lee Levitt is a sales enablement evangelist. Sales enablement is not new, he told me as we began our conversation. Back in the 1880s, Henry Patterson, the founder of National Cash Register, published a sales primer. The intent of the document was to help Cash Register sales people have better conversations with store owners on how Cash Register could help them in running their business better. That was probably the first instance of sales enablement that I could find. Sales Enablement (SE) in large parts, he said, is designed to help the sales person have a meaningful conversation with a customer, something that may not come intuitively to each sales person.

// Why the sudden buzz around SE?

20-30 years ago companies selling technology had all the power since they had the information with them, and customers depended on them for that information. And so the sales person could manage to have a very controlled conversation around the product.

Today that’s no longer true. Today, if a sales person walks into the customer’s office, the customer may have already done 75% of the research on the product on his own. So the sales person is at an extreme competitive disadvantage when it comes to guiding the conversation. The customer is no longer interested in just knowing about the product; he probably already knows enough. He wants to know why your product is better at solving his problem or in meeting his need. He may want to know what kind of problems he could encounter if he puts the product on the shop floor. The sales person has probably never been on a shop floor, so how is he going to know that? Here’s where SE could help the sales person pick-up the information that is necessary to carry the conversation forward.

With rapid change in technology, customers are asking questions like, “What are the risks I’m going to run into? What changes can happen if I adopt this product? What would happen if I don’t?”

Good sales people bring a consultative approach to the table and not merely a product pitch. They bring pattern matching skills learnt from similar previous experiences with other customers. And SE could vastly help them in this process.

Today the number of stakeholders in the buying process have gone up. Let me give you an example. If I’m selling a strategic product to a midsize company, I need to be talking to different people within the company, each of whom would have a different concern with regard to investing in the product. It could be the CEO, the CFO, or the CMO. As a sales person, I may not be fully aware of their different perspectives. SE helps me carry out those conversations with people whom I may not natively understand.

// Companies are investing in building SE teams but there seems to be uncertainty as to who they should report to. Your thoughts?

True. I’m the founding member of a group called the Sales Enablement Society. And we are constantly debating such issues as a group (laughs). Typically, in the past; SE was a part of the sales operation. Today, we see more of the function in marketing.

// While I understand its benefits, what are the pitfalls that we need to be aware of when investing in SE?

The tendency normally is to apply technology early. That may not be the right way to go.

The question you need to ask yourself first is this: What’s the problem that we are trying to solve or fix here? What’s going on in the field that we need to improve? Where are we failing; where instead we should be winning? Is sales productivity a problem? Is my sales team focusing too much on the product in their pitch?

The reality is, today, product alone just doesn’t matter. What matters is the comfort that a buyer has that the vendor will be able to solve his business problem.

Let me tell you this. When you are investing hundreds of dollar in an ERP system, cool doesn’t count! A buyer is typically concerned with knowing what the risk is that he’s exposed to going with you as against another vendor. Sales people don’t typically know how to have that conversation. He or she would need help. “Here’s how we will help you manage your risk”, that’s all what a customer wants to hear. SE helps the sales person help the customer evaluate those risks!

// The SE process is often driven by the SE or marketing team. How important is the sales person’s contribution in it?

Being closest to the customer, I think sales people should be actively involved in fine-tuning the SE process. Organizations should have a process by which the best sales practices are captured and fed into the system. Sales people should be allowed to rate the content that is there and also add their own to it.

The selling process can get quite complex. First, there are the different stages in the sales cycle. Then different personas within an organization have different requirements. And each sales person comes with a different background. To address all these variations, you need to develop multiple assets. SE helps greatly in serving up content pieces at different levels in the sales path to address different requirements, making each sales encounter more productive. And at every stage, the effectiveness of the content should be evaluated to make the process efficient. Again, as I said before, this is process first, and technology next.

// How does one choose between home-grown technology and third party tools?

My advice is, don’t rush into automating things. Home-grown could be a good way to start. Learn what’s working before you decide to institutionalize and automate processes. The value you deliver is more important. Sales people will invest time if they see it is adding value to their sales call. Marketing needs to respond fast to the sales team’s inputs on the content. The more they use it, the more value they get out of it. It’s a virtuous cycle!

// Okay, let’s say we have our SE in place, how rigid should we be in enforcing it?

You can’t force people to use SE. They need to gradually see the benefit of using it themselves. It’s not like one of those office sales training programs where you compulsorily take the whole team out for a week, only to get back to business as usual.

SE, as a process needs to be very fluid. Here’s typically what the sales person is telling you: “Don’t overload me with information when I don’t need it. Give it to me a day before my presentation so I can effectively use it. Maybe it’s just a 10 min video that I can watch on my way to the client’s office.” If you listen and respond to their needs, they will use it.

I remember, it was some 30 years ago, I wanted to put an odometer in my car that only read in kilometres. To match the mileage that I already had in my current odometer, I asked the mechanic to add mileage to the new odometer that I had just bought. I must be the only person who’s ever asked you to add mileage to an odometer, I remember saying to him. Turns out I was wrong. Apparently a lot of sales people showed up at his workshop every month wanting to add mileage to their odometer so they could fulfil their company’s travel requirement without actually travelling! That kind of thing doesn’t work.

So if you’re planning to roll out SE in your organization, here’s my advice. Keep the odometer story in mind and invite the sales person to travel with you (laughs).