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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.
Kevin Strange is the Vice President of Global Sales and Channel Sales Enablement for Verint. He has a successful management track-record as a highly innovative team leader, revenue generator, change agent and presales champion in driving new business growth, opening up new revenue streams and identifying profitable markets. Kevin is highly skilled in the entire sales lifecycle, including partnership building, competitive analysis, sales enablement, deal execution and detailed executive presentations.
Interviewed by Aishani Majumdar
/ / What are the technologies/trends driving sales enablement today?
Mobile apps that let you present video and interactive content on a cell phone or tablet are powerful tools for enabling a sales team on the move, and are in line with the overarching industry migration towards mobile technology to enhance customer and employee engagement.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools open new doors for taking the information that is gleaned during the sales cycle and distributing it teamwide, so that everyone can benefit. To that effect, my team has developed “SalesTing” and uses it to help us track the information, attachments, assets, hyperlinks and more, that are being sent to customers. This information helps us make data-driven decisions about our content development strategies. We push out a lot of content at different points in the sales cycle, and for years we had no quick way to gauge – other than anecdotally – what got attention and what didn’t. Now, there’s science behind it. We can see how prospects and customers interact with what we send them, like when a white paper, video or five-point deck is opened, and when it is closed. It’s a huge step forward in helping us develop material and deploy our “Sales Briefcases” with key assets that really engage people. I haven’t seen technology like this in 10 years of working in sales enablement, and I am excited to now have AI tools at my fingertips to enable our sellers.
/ / What are the top benefits that your organization enjoys as a result of sales enablement?
Our sales enablement program – and the new tools we are using – really gives us visibility into what’s happening, what customers want and how they want to be communicated with. This visibility can inform many other parts of our organization on how to have meaningful and effective conversations with customers.
In addition, our company has a program called “Customers4Life” that builds loyalty and helps customers develop long-lasting relationships with us. The program extends across the customer lifecycle, but the onus is on the sales team to get it off to a good start. We enable our salespeople with the right tools, the right training and the right content that is relevant to a customer’s needs, and we also ensure that they focus on business outcomes and understand what’s best for our customers. By showing they are invested in our customer’s success, they lay the foundations for a partnership that will last.
/ / In your opinion, what are the major roadblocks in the sales enablement journey?
A critical component is understanding how to be a trusted advisor to the customer. Because we have such a large portfolio, it is difficult for the seller to know all the key capabilities and business challenges about every solution area. However, when our sellers sit down and have that one-on-one conversation, they must know enough to be able to drive the conversation and uncover the key outcomes our customers are looking to achieve. So, we work hard with our sellers to be sure they have key pieces of information to know the customer better. Sure, you can do a lot with technology to serve up engaging content on mobile devices, but you must have the right people too – people who can absorb the information needed and who can connect with prospects and customers as trusted advisers and loyal business partners.
/ / How do you conduct the training and onboarding of your organization’s sales team?
We have a three-pronged approach to onboarding that leverages online training with knowledge validations, live virtual training and in-person training with role play. The online training program for newcomers allows them to “get their feet wet.” It is divided into three to five-minute modules that sellers can view on their mobile device at the airport, on a tablet at home or on their desktop at the office. We use the short format because it’s easier to absorb in small bites. This is followed by a three-day virtual training course, three hours per day, with WebEx technology to provide an environment where sellers can interact with subject matter experts, ask questions and get answers.
After that is complete, we bring them to our office in Alpharetta for some face-to-face training so they can get in front of their peers, do some role playing and have their presentation style professionally critiqued. During those sessions, they are required to interact with the technology and learn how to leverage all the resources at their disposal when they are out in the field. For additional training in the field, we have a feature that allows sellers to record themselves giving presentations and then place that recording in the Learning Management System (LMS). The LMS will alert others to review the content and comment back. This platform is great for peer-to-peer, as well as mentor-to-mentee, connections, community and feedback.
/ / What types of collateral do you use for your organization’s sales enablement efforts?
Our Sales Briefcases contain print and video content that we are continuously fine-tuning. We also have a weekly newsletter that we distribute via SharePoint with articles from across our organization. It’s a great forum for sharing ideas among colleagues.
/ / What are the different channels that you use to share content with the sales team?
SharePoint, as I mentioned, and we also use LearnShare’s LMS (UL Knowledge Solutions) as channels to share content with our sales team. We were using Allego sales training, learning and coaching software because of its robust features for sharing materials, but then we pulled everything into our LMS because it has the capability to house video and all the other content we produce. Mobile access is available to everyone, including our channel partners, who are an extension of the Verint salesforce. They go through the same onboarding processes as direct sales and have access to the same tools. Our goal is to be sure everyone can have the best-informed conversation possible with our prospects and clients to build more business.
/ / How do you measure the success of your organization’s sales enablement collaterals? What are the metrics that are monitored?
Inside our LMS, we can see if sellers are taking assigned training, the date of completion and whether they’ve passed a knowledge-validation exam. We follow up with alerts to leadership when assignments are past due to make sure everyone stays on top of our continued education offerings. We also look at the videos of their presentations and see what comments have been made by subject matter experts, so we can measure improvement there. We look at these three aspects to measure how the enablement process is moving along. My team also develops and distributes a weekly newsletter, in which readership is a key factor in measuring success. Since the template itself is housed in SharePoint, we can track readership article by article. All of this information is married together in a dashboard that is updated weekly. Of course, the ultimate measure, once the seller is standing on their own two feet, is whether the pipeline is filling and they are closing businesses.
/ / What tools does your organization use for sales enablement?
Since the demand for more interactive and video content is growing everywhere, we use video and interactive training to engage with our sellers. We use Articulate Rise for online training creation, WebEx for live virtual meetings, UL Knowledge Solutions (LearnShare) for online content delivery and SharePoint for sales tools storage and delivery.
/ / What are the important features that you feel a sales enablement tool must have?
It’s all about the conversation. A good sales enablement tool must help develop a seller’s empathy for, and understanding of, the customer. A tool must provide enough knowledge for the seller to effectively steer the conversation. We want our customers to have the best experience possible and for our sellers to treat their experiences as if they are their own. If a tool can help bring about that understanding, that relatability, then it’s a tool that works for us.
/ / What are the trends/technologies that you think will drive sales enablement in the future? How should businesses gear up for this?
As more companies adopt technology like SalesTing, we’ll see the kind of intelligence it can gather that influences the sales enablement process and makes it more effective and focused. We’ll see AI utilized frequently in serving up the right materials for sellers to use, learning what they need in their day-to-day activities and providing it in a seamless workflow that is constantly learning from real-world experience, and growing accordingly.
I think as technology continues to evolve, we will see the introduction of more ways to easily and securely share information. But the one thing that can never be replaced is that one-on-one connection that happens between a truly engaged seller and a buyer. Buyers will always want to feel that you understand them and are trying to resolve their business issues.
/ / In which areas of sales enablement does your organization plan to invest over the coming years?
We are in the process of looking at our sales portal, which is currently on SharePoint, and enhancing it with Verint’s Community offering so that we can put more of our own technology to use and learn from each other by increased collaboration and sharing of best practices. AI is another area that we have started investing in for sales enablement initiatives and I expect our investment in this area to grow, given automation is the future. How to take what we learn from successful sales cycles, identify FAQs and stumbling blocks in the sales process, and share “next best actions” with others in the sales organization will always remain our constant focus so that we can help our colleagues be better sellers and create Customers4Life.
Paradigm shift from traditional to modern sales enablement methods
Dan Carusi, Senior Director of Global Sales Effectiveness & Enablement, Ellucian
Use feedback from internal business partners for enabling sales
Brenda Dwyer, Senior Director of Sales Enablement, Omnicell