Customer Relationship Management (CRM) industry is evolving rapidly, and is expected to be a market that is worth $82 billion by 2025. In an interview with DataQuest, Sunil Jose, SVP and Country Leader, Salesforce India, outlines the challenges faced by sales and marketing heads in terms of customer expectations, how India is evolving from a CRM perspective, and the future roadmap for Salesforce India.
What are the main challenges that sales and marketing heads of organizations facing in India?
Customer expectations are skyrocketing, and it’s changing what it means to be a successful businessperson in any role. Today, we live in an instantaneous world, but also one in which tailored, consultative experiences built on strong relationships are table stakes.
The recent State of Sales report 2018 calls out meeting these rising customer expectations as one of the key trends shaping the future of sales. When customers demand more personalized, consultative engagement, it’s the salespeople on the front lines who carry the onus to deliver. It’s no wonder that customer satisfaction is now the most-tracked sales KPI. Secondly, with the richness of data available a data-driven sales playbook is emerging, leaders and teams are increasingly amplifying the ingenuity of salespeople with data-driven insights.
According to the research sales reps have increased their time connecting virtually with customers at a rate 3X greater than connecting in person. Virtual selling has hit a tipping point and while relationships will always be fundamental to sales success, sales reps need to spend time embracing technology to build virtual relationships as they develop. Lastly, embracing a free and open internal flow of customer data is super essential. Research shows that top sales teams break from the silos mentality with eighty-one percent of teams saying a connected view of data across the customer journey is important. From a marketing perspective as well the biggest change the industry is facing is changing customer expectations.
How is the market in India evolving from CRM to (or complete sales life-cycle management) in India?
India is in a constant state of reinvention, from being a technology greenfield to innovating as a mobile-first nation with a vibrant startup ecosystem. Customer expectations are changing as 87% of customers in India say their standard for good consumer experiences is higher than ever.
Organizations across sectors are already adopting advanced AI driven technologies for high quality and personalized service. CRM not only helps companies to handle data and communications but also enables them to target the right customers, understand their requirements and address on a real-time basis. This has resulted in a sales life-cycle management approach which has enabled organizations to create 1-1 personalized interactions, promoting improved customer loyalty and better brand reputation, while tapping into the motivations that help turn leads into brand evangelists. This approach is driving more qualified leads allowing sales teams to efficiently direct their resources towards leads that are likely to become customers.
What is the kind of growth that you expect in this category in the next few years in India?
The Customer Relationship Management (CRM) industry has changed considerably over the past decade. Cloud services are now standard. Globally, the CRM market potential is projected to be $82B by 2025 and growing at 12% annually. Today the fourth industrial revolution has become very significant with technology innovations such as cloud computing, IoT, AI and blockchain. CRM is the new center of gravity for businesses and the digital accelerator driving customer experience and growth. As every company is looking to grow by connecting 1:1 with customers, employees, partners, supply chains, patients, students, etc there has never been a more important time to deploy CRM.
How is Salesforce positioning itself in the India market in terms of large, medium and small customers?
Today, every company wants to deliver connected customer experiences across channels and departments. Even small and medium business enterprises have today realized the importance of customer relationships and also understand that technology enables them to chart a more effective growth path for themselves. Therefore, companies are increasingly turning to Salesforce to accelerate their digital transformation journey to deliver intelligent and connected customer experiences across every touch point. A customer-centric digital transformation is essential to drive business value, growth and success for our customers. Digital transformation is not just about taking some processes; it is beyond that. That’s where we start talking to people about the fourth industrial revolution. Today, customers can look at data in different ways, and we are helping them by bridging the gap between an organization and its customers and see how organizations can serve the new-age customer in a very different manner.
In 2019, we will see more companies deploy the right technologies and implement the right processes to seamlessly connect customer data. Experiences powered by AI delivering automation and personalization will enable companies to move faster and work more efficiently. Voice assistants will change the way we work, not only making tasks simpler but also providing quick and easy access to information. End-To-End Customer Experience with Connected Devices will revolutionize the relationship between organizations and their customers.
What is Salesforce India’s go to market strategy?
When you’re focusing on your core business, finding the time to compare and contrast competing CRM solutions isn’t easy. Whether you choose CRM in the cloud or traditional CRM software, finding the right fit for your business is critical. You want to be sure you choose the right CRM not just for what works now, but what will make your business successful in the future.
Salesforce has put cloud-based customer relationship management on the map, and is committed to innovating and moving the industry forward. Our 150,000+ customers — from small businesses to FORTUNE 500 companies — are growing their businesses on our secure, scalable cloud platform along with our class-leading applications for sales, service, commerce, marketing, and more. Our award-winning account and contact management, sales automation, opportunity tracking, lead scoring, forecasting, and reporting all accessible from your desktop or mobile makes Salesforce the #1 CRM for businesses of all size.
Salesforce today is the fastest growing software company in the world. Our ambition is that by 2020-22, we will be 20 billion dollars in revenue. By putting our customers first, we’ve become one of the fastest-growing enterprise software companies of all time.
India is a very important market for us. It’s where we see a tremendous amount of growth opportunity and where we are investing very heavily in India to be able to get the advantage of that. India is home to some of the best technology talent in the world and is known for its incredible innovation. It has even recently surpassed the U.S. in the largest amount of Internet users. It’s this type of growth, speed and innovation that made us want to double down and make India a key focus for us as a company.
Typically who all are getting involved in or tech decisions complete sales life-cycle management solutions, besides the CIO, and why?
As digital business becomes increasingly digital the focus on achieving business outcomes leveraging technology becomes the basis of technology decisions. Today, several business executives are involved in decision making right from the CMO, CFO, HRO, heads of various functions and sometimes even the CEO get more involved in design and investment decisions for digital capabilities. Im my opinion the real decision-makers with power are your customers. These digitally savvy natives are motivated for success, and on track to be our future leaders. They’re socially connected, have extremely high expectations of themselves and of businesses, and they want it all NOW.
Are there enough Salesforce implementation partners and developers to support the demand in India?
India is pivotal in driving Customer Success, providing our customers with 24/7 support around the world. India also has the largest developer ecosystem outside of the US, which has resulted in a unique ISV ecosystem that addresses unique use cases, customer pain points and solutions. Salesforce investments in ISV’s across India have accelerated over the last 3 – 4 years and we believe this is a crucial platform to drive innovation in the region and even around the world.
Salesforce’s world-class Partner ecosystem includes global and regional consulting partners, digital agencies, ISVs, system integrators and resellers focused on accelerating customer success. By amplifying and extending our platform and industry capabilities, and tailoring approaches that meet customers’ unique needs , partners accelerate the time to value and return on investment. Through a combination of business, technology and marketing benefits and leveraging the world’s leading enterprise cloud marketplace – the Salesforce AppExchange– the Salesforce Partner Program enables partners of all sizes and industries to build successful businesses. The APAC ecosystem includes a broad range of partners, including ISVs and consultants with a significant number of individuals being trained on Salesforce in the last year alone. The APAC addressable market is a great opportunity for partners and there is a high demand for Salesforce-related skills in the market, and partners are a core strategy for Salesforce as we look to grow the business beyond $20B by 2022.
Partners underpin our growth strategy at Salesforce and our program is focused on adding more value for our growing community of consulting partners.
What is the total number of customers that Salesforce has in India; and what kind of number growth you project over the next 3-5 years?
We have been in India since 2005 and it is one of the fastest growing regions for Salesforce globally. In India, we work with clients across manufacturing, retail, financial services, IT/ITeS, healthcare, e-commerce and many more sectors. Some of the clients that we work within India include, Janalakshmi Financial Services, HCL, United Breweries, Urban Ladder, Godrej, KFC, DTDC, Edelweiss Wealth Management and Inmobi. We’ve been growing double year-on-year and will continue to expand our team of engineers, customer success representatives and sales executives driving transformation for customers in the region.