Key Factors that Drive Efficient Sales Strategies

Having completed his Global MBA in Strategy & Leadership from Indian School of Business, Shitendra is an experienced sales professional with proven excellence in Enterprise Software Selling, Change Management, People Management, Consultative Selling, Relationship Management, Strategic Initiatives, Cross-Functional Liaising, and many other areas. He boasts of an illustrative 18 years long career during which he was associated with Biocon and IBM, prior to joining NI in 2008. In a recent interaction with Siliconindia, Shitendra Bhattacharya, India Head - Sales, Strategic & Enterprise Business, National Instruments (NI) shared his insights on various aspects pertaining to developing successful sales strategies. Below are the excerpts from the exclusive interview  

What are the key factors to keep in mind while developing efficient sales strategy?

The first and most important step towards formulating successful sales strategy is to have a clear understanding of various market dynamics such as the kind of market you are foraying into, customer pain points that need to addressed, market size and many others. Secondly, understanding various customer personas and accurately predicting what their requirements would be is another key aspect that will play a pertinent role in the success of any sales strategy. Thirdly, you need to do a thorough competitor analysis prior to entering into any market and accordingly develop USPs for your offerings. These three aspects are not only the cornerstone of any sales strategy, but they also enable businesses to get to know their target audience better and serve them more efficiently.

Explain the importance of having different sales strategies within a single organization in a vast country like India.

Today’s customers have varying needs, the way they prefer to engage with sales organizations has undergone a complete transformation. They have a perfect clarify of what they want and are averse to engaging directly with the vendor, seller or service provider. Just like how the B2C or D2C business works, they just go ahead with ordering whatever they wish to buy. Thus, it is important for an organization to adapt to changing market dynamics and accordingly make adjustments with its processes. At NI, we have an omnichannel strategy, wherein we directly engage with our customers via our distributors and various e-Commerce platforms. This way, we give our customers the flexibility to engage with us through any medium of their preference. I personally believe that for any organization to be successful in today’s dynamic market, it must not stick to just one sales strategy and have a hybrid sales model in place. This is mainly because of the increased awareness among customers due to easy access of information across multiple channels.

How can organizations leverage technology to enhance the efficiency of sales strategies?

It is paramount for organizations to implement latest technologies to ensure the success of their sales strategy. Although data plays a crucial role here, you must have the right technologies in place to analyze the huge amount of customer data and derive useful insights regarding changing market dynamics, customer preferences & pain points and many others. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have been the true enablers for companies in this regard, wherein they are able to easily analyze vast datasets within a short time period and even offer recommendations to companies in terms of the changes/adjustments that might be deemed necessary based on the analyzed data. Additionally, technology has also enabled companies to hyper-personalize each of their offerings as per every customer’s current preferences and past data, which in turn has resulted in an enhanced customer satisfaction with the brand.

As an experienced sales professional, what is your advice to young professionals aspiring to be future sales leaders?

Sales as a profession will no doubt make an individual to experience various highs and lows in life. This experience of tasting success and failure teaches a lot of lessons in life. Thus, my advice to young sales professionals is to be persistent, resilient and hungry for success. Also, do not hesitate to gather more knowledge on new technologies and freely experiment with them. Most importantly, make sure to clearly understand customer requirements and accordingly predict their future demands, pain points and preferences.