Zubin Vandrevala, VP and Head of Business and Partner Development at Gr4vy chats about ways to enable stronger partnership models for B2B organizations in this chat with SalesTechStar:
Welcome to this SalesTechStar chat Zubin, what inspires you about being in the B2B-Tech marketplace?
I have an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering and was convinced growing up that I would work in the automotive industry. In fact, my first job was at Tata Motors – India’s first indigenous car manufacturer. Through some combination of chance, circumstances and sheer luck, I found myself right in the middle of a digital revolution in payments. Fifteen years into my journey, I feel like I have just started to scratch the surface.
The opportunity in payments is massive, and tech is playing an increasingly important role in democratizing payments. At Visa, the work I did on the team to secure the flagship partnership with Bank of America over a decade ago was a stepping stone in the successful transformation of Visa from a payment network for plastic cards to a trusted network driving commerce forward. The previous work I did at Google to help secure the pivotal partnership with Stripe six years ago now functions as a model to scale Google payments with third parties. Most notably, in my role at Gr4vy, I am inspired by the team we are assimilating and exhilarated by the opportunity to lay the groundwork to become the platform of choice by which all merchants and platforms deploy payment infrastructure worldwide.
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We’d love to dive into your journey so far and learn more about your role at Gr4vy… along with observations on how you’re seeing partnership management and business development processes change in today’s marketplace?
I lead the teams driving the development and growth of Gr4vy’s business through direct sales and strategic partnerships. Many of the merchants we work with are concerned about their inability to deliver user choice with the growing number of alternative and local payment methods.
Fortunately, Gr4vy’s cloud-native payment orchestration platform and capabilities enable them to seamlessly deploy and manage all their payment connections using our no-code platform. We are also building a vast network of partnerships and connections across the payments ecosystem to support our merchants.
Our merchant-centric approach means that we have usage-based pricing for the capability of adding infrastructure that a merchant uses – that’s it. There are no ad valorem fees based on the payment method and no revenue share or kickbacks from the providers based on the merchant connections. It’s a fresh approach to payments, and I’m excited to see more businesses focus on taking a similar approach in relation to their core customers.
When it comes to driving global partnerships in today’s market, what do you feel B2B sales teams have to focus on easing or doing to ensure better output for both parties?
I am a big fan of the infinite game mindset and of applying it to my professional and personal life. The objective of an infinite game is to ensure the continuation of play by bringing more people to the table.
Payments is an extremely intertwined space with a high level of dependence across the entire ecosystem. The teams that achieve excellence are the ones that approach sales and partnerships as a positive-sum game, with no finish line and no losers. I have been lucky to work at organizations like Visa, Google and now Gr4vy that embody this approach to sales and partnerships. Focusing on business outcomes that last generations and survive their leaders are the ones that ultimately provide better output for all parties.
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Why in your view will partnership models become more critical to technology sellers and B2Bs?
I am biased towards partnerships because that is how I have built my career in payments. I have had the opportunity to see firsthand the scaling effect driven by a robust partner ecosystem. I have always found it useful to think about and understand the buying pattern of the target customer for your business. In our case, finding partners at the point of relevance is helping us accelerate our sales pipeline and merchants’ decision to use Gr4vy.
Can you talk about a few tools/salestech/ partner relation management tools that have enabled your efforts so far?
Asynchronous communication is becoming the new normal in the digital-by-default world that we are now living in. My favorite tool thus far has been Loom. The short videos have enabled us to circulate internal team updates and celebrate team wins asynchronously and allowed us to put a face to our outreach to prospects.
Another tool that I am learning to love is Slack. While I’m not necessarily a fan of the instant nature of the messaging format, I am a massive fan of the asynchronous knowledge-sharing aspect of the platform. We have been using Slack for many of our early customer interactions. The ability to pull in subject experts into these external threads and give them visibility to the full context of the conversation is priceless.
A few thoughts on how you feel salestech as a segment will move in 2022?
Something a mentor of mine once told me and has stuck with me is that “your pipeline is only as good as your customer says it is.” Yet, we all still rely on the “seller” to best predict what stage the “buyer” is in the sales pipeline.
My best deals have been ones where there is not only mutual alignment on the deliverables and timelines but a shared Google document with accountability on both sides to keep up to date. I have come across a couple of interesting salestech startups that are templating this to auto-populate into the CRM – every salesperson’s dream. And as a sales leader, your CRM pipeline is now an accurate reflection of what your customer says it is.
Some last thoughts, takeaways, digital sales/customer communication tips and best practices before we wrap up!
We are starting to see a lot more virtual events and an interesting trend to use double-blind matching, similar to how Tinder works, to make business connections. I have found this tool extremely valuable to cut through the noise of cold-calling and quickly help the team qualify leads. As we slowly ramp back up into a world with more live events, I am eager to see more organizers adopt these hybrid salestech tools into the live experience as well.
I have really enjoyed this conversation and welcome the opportunity to engage with your readers one-on-one at firstname.lastname@example.org in case they have any questions. Thank you!
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Zubin Vandrevala is the Vice President of Business and Partner Development at Gr4vy responsible for commercializing Gr4vy’s cloud-native modern orchestration platform with customers globally. He leads the teams driving the development and growth of Gr4vy’s business through direct sales and strategic partnerships. Previously, Zubin served seven years at Google as Head of Payment Partnerships, where he played a pivotal role in building and growing global partnerships and relationships with payment networks, financial institutions, payment processors, merchants and cross-border remittance partners. He also served as Senior Director leading digital product solutions at Visa.
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