For customer facing teams to have a deep understanding of their customers and prospects, they need to breakdown several criteria, from understanding the overall challenges a prospect is facing to knowing specific trends in their industry to how they prefer to communicate. What should sales teams be doing to drive better results out of these efforts? Catch this interview where Nishant Mungali, Co-founder and Chief Product Officer at MindTickle discusses a few tips.
Can you tell us a little about yourself Nishant? We’d love to know about the story/inspiration behind MindTickle and it would be great to hear about some of the biggest challenges, highlights you’ve faced as a tech entrepreneur in your journey at MindTickle so far!
First of all, thank you so much for inviting me to give your readers a bit more information about MindTickle.
Quick background on me – I was born in Almora, India, went to IIT Guwahati, India school and then landed my first position at D. E. Shaw, an Investment Firm in Hyderabad .
In 2010, Krishna, Deepak, Mohit and I first started to dabble in gamification.
This success inspired us. So in 2011, we founded MindTickle. MindTickle initially focused on employee engagement but we quickly realized that employee learning was severely lacking. As we continued to secure more customers and better understood their requirements, we made iterations to the platform along the way.
However it wasn’t without challenges. When we first started we had difficulty landing one client, let alone five. But we stayed focused and are so grateful for early adopters. Whenever you’re introducing something to the market that’s new and unknown, leaning on your network to get a few referenceable clients can make all of the difference. Fortunately we had great success with our pilot program and capitalized on those early successes to grow MindTickle into a comprehensive, data-driven solution for sales readiness and enablement that fuels revenue growth and brand value for over 200 companies.
What according to you are the five top signs/indicators of a highly productive tech sales team?
This is a very interesting question especially in today’s dynamic environment. With COVID-19 affecting every aspect of business, specifically sales teams, the key indicator that represents a highly productive sales team is agility. Most organizations had to quickly shift – basically overnight – from an inside/field sales team to a fully functioning work from home team. Although some might think that this was only a shift for the field sales team, it clearly affected the entire sales organization. Employees went from conducting training, coaching, QBRs and SKOs in-person to videoconference. And from shaking hands and networking with prospects to remote selling. The other top signs that come to mind, specific to the new normal include:
High Morale: Next to agility, morale ranks high in a highly productive sales organization. It is more important than ever for business leaders to be present during this time. The team needs to clearly understand that they have the support of not only their sales leader but from the entire leadership team(MindTickle).
Consistent Collaboration: Successful sales teams have pivoted to tools that help streamline communications and content/messaging updates and track sales training effectiveness. In addition, Sales Readiness technology must integrate corporate collaboration hubs and channels, content repositories, email, and web-conferencing and work-management platforms to enable native content collaboration and authoring, as well as interactive elements like gamification, social learning, surveys and polls.
Measurement, Hold Entire Team Accountable: There’s no denying that metrics are important in every aspect of business. However, they’re particularly crucial in sales. Here’s why: Sales teams can’t rely on their intuition to improve. Instead, they must track essential metrics so they can evaluate their performance with accuracy, improve key skills, and increase visibility among management for planning and reporting.
Companies can analyze these metrics as a leading indicator of whether or not they’ll meet sales quotas and can also use that data to optimize their sales cycle.
Improved Sales: At the end of the day, one of the key indicators of a highly productive sales team is increased revenues. And in today’s environment, if companies are able to maintain and/or increase revenues, they are an extremely productive team.
How have you seen the martech / salestech segment evolve over the years- what are some of the top in-demand features when it comes to data and insights that you feel every tech sales person and marketing team should have easy access to, to drive their efforts?
AI and machine learning have progressed significantly over the past few years. While automation is typically how many see wide applications of this technology, the real benefit will be how it provides guidance to help us not only complete our tasks, but also improve our skills that ultimately and hopefully drives revenue. For example, MindTickle’s Missions virtual role play enhanced by AI provides a system for contextual feedback and accelerates improvement cycles against the desired baseline. The solution automatically highlights areas for improvement and enables sales enablement admins and managers to provide high-value coaching and feedback from improvement in real-time.
Another area is in keyword analysis and transcription. We see this, for example, in Google Meet and its ability to caption conversations in real time. In the area of sales readiness and enablement, AI technology can transcribe audio to text and perform keyword analysis, highlighting the use and context of key phrases during a sales conversation. Combined with machine learning, a sales readiness platform can also analyze soft skills such as tone and emotion to gauge the demeanor and impression a sales rep conveys. More importantly, intelligent guidance directed and presented by AI can help managers and other leaders identify strengths and skill gaps, and thus key coaching opportunities to improve their sales teams.
Recently, conversation intelligence technology has generated a fair amount of attention, and rightfully so. Leveraging artificial intelligence and automation to capture, share and deliver learnings from previous prospect and customer conversations are immensely useful for understanding the effectiveness of messaging used in the field to have more meaningful conversations in the future. But insights from conversation intelligence is even more useful when used as part of a broader sales readiness strategy. While conversation intelligence to provide visibility into the strengths and weaknesses of reps, a complete sales readiness strategy goes further by using that insight to upskill sales reps and guide them while selling through coaching and collaboration with managers.
In today’s time, companies need to adopt videoconferencing, collaboration tools and a comprehensive sales enablement platform, with the ability to personalize onboarding, coaching, learning, practicing, etc. in today’s taxing environment.
As a tech entrepreneur, in a challenging environment due to the Covid19 pandemic: what are some of the ways in which you are enabling a balanced remote work culture while maintaining motivation levels?!
We emphasize how important it is for customer facing teams to have a deep understanding of their customers and prospects. This ranges from understanding the overall challenges their team faces to knowing specific trends in their industry to how they prefer to communicate. The same rings true of your own sales organization, especially as employees are working from home. Companies need to push information to its employees in consumable chunks. Every salesperson should have information delivered to them in a personalized way.
For example, communications that pop up in the flow of a sales rep’s daily work life — such as in an email or app, through the Salesforce dashboard or other CRM, or in newsletters — drive higher engagement.
Companies also need to deliver information in different formats that caters to different learning styles. For example, microlearning in the form of videos, polls, quizzes, podcasts and gamified content tends to drive higher consumption and retention among reps. Video is also a powerful tool for practicing and polishing pitches through guided role play. With it, reps can practice interacting with customers in simulated sales scenarios to improve their presentations and get real-time feedback from managers or coworkers.
How according to you will the typical role of tomorrow’s B2B/Tech sales person evolve, given the dynamics and innovations in SalesTech, specifically sales enablement?
As the markets are becoming more and more competitive with information overload for buyers, the role of a sales person for a buyer is changing into a problem solver and a sense-maker. Hence, the sales technology vendors including sales enablement need to develop tools that help sellers play this role of a problem solver to the buyer’s expectation and establish credibility as a trusted partner.
Tag (mention/write about) the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read!
Marc Benioff. Being a visionary and undisputed leader of sales technology of our times, his perspective on sales enablement would be interesting and important.
Your favorite Sales/SalesTech quote and sales leadership books you’d suggest everyone in tech Sales reads
“Everyone has an invisible sign hanging from their neck saying, ‘Make me feel important.’ Never forget this message when working with people.” One of my favorite quotes from a legendary salesperson Mary Kay Ash. I would recommend ‘High output management’ by Andy Grove, Intel CEO to sales managers and leaders. It has lessons from Andy’s personal experience on how to build highly productive teams.
Tell us about some of the top sales/salestech/fintech/ other events that you’ll be participating in (virtually, given the current global pandemic) (as a speaker or guest!) in 2020!
We’re attending several virtual events through the end of the year, but here are a few that I’m most excited in attending:
On June 25th, we’re hosting a Peer Power Hour, which is an invite-only peer learning virtual event. We will also be attending the Chief Learning Officer Exchange on August 17-18; Sales 3.0 Conference on August 24, and wrapping the year at the Sales Innovation Expo 2020 on November 10.
We’d love to know a little about your future plans!
As a start-up, we are relentlessly working to establish Sales Readiness as a category. As a product team, we are bringing together, simplifying and improving all the essential building blocks that are required to build a ready sales team. Coaching, Competency Benchmarking, New Readiness Dashboard and Sales Capability Index are some of the upcoming features, I am personally very excited about.
A few concluding tips for sales and marketing teams (businesses) trying to navigate through the current pandemic crisis…
A remote workforce can be difficult to navigate especially for sales enablement leaders. And as some employees begin to return to an office, the ‘new normal’ of a hybrid environment will continue to increase these complexities. Regardless of location, sales enablement leaders must keep customer-facing teams actively engaged through sales training and coaching. Although challenging, working remotely is no excuse to pull back on training and coaching because it can be done just as well as in the office — that is, if communication is consistent and compelling, if everyone is aligned on sales methodology and processes, and if you have a Sales Readiness strategy in place.
Nishant Mungali is the Co-founder and Chief Product Officer at MindTickle