SalesTechStar Interview with Sanjay Gala, CEO and Founder at SMARTe
Account-based Marketing, Sales and SalesTech Tips with Sanjay Gala, CEO and Founder at SMARTe
Business intelligence provider SMARTe, has witnessed steady growth since their inception in 2005. The company now serves the core data needs of over 300 global customers. Sanjay Gala, Founder and CEO joins SalesTechStar in this interview to talk about the company’s 15-year journey while sharing a few snippets into the intuitive products, capabilities and integrations that the team is working on, over the coming quarters. Catch the complete QnA:
Can you tell us a little about yourself Sanjay? We’d love to know about the story/inspiration behind SMARTe and it would be great to hear about some of the biggest challenges, highlights you’ve faced as a tech entrepreneur in your journey so far!
When I founded SMARTe, back in 2005, I had a vision to offer ‘Data-as-a-Service’, considering the value high quality data can bring to businesses who are looking to improve their sales and marketing ROI. I was committed to creating the most intuitive, feature-rich, easy-to-use platforms allowing sales and marketing professionals to operate more efficiently with their data quality approach.
Like all new age entrepreneurs, I was faced with a challenge-> should I engage investor money to enable growth or do I choose the rather rocky and uncertain road of bootstrapping my own business? Although I was approached by investors frequently, I made the difficult choice and bootstrapped SMARTe. SMARTe has grown massively since then and we’re celebrating our 15th year in business!
Tell us a little about SMARTe and its core products…what challenge does it help solve for marketing and sales people?
We’re backed by two of our flagship products – InfoGenie and DataGenie. For over a decade, we have helped our clients find accounts to target, and turn any new lead into a complete and detailed customer profile within seconds and in a few clicks. We have provided them with relevant insights to target their Ideal Customer Profile with precision, impeccable content and perfect messaging. Our products are backed with high-end tech that offer limitless possibilities.
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 easier access to?
Technology continues to transform companies and impact customer behavior. There are always newer methodologies to build real, meaningful relationships with your prospects and generate a sustainable revenue stream. Technology is playing a critical role in marketing, especially assisting with efforts such as allocating marketing spend. MarTech has become a staple in digital marketing campaigns, but can also be used to optimize marketing efforts across any marketing channel.
Business decisions are increasingly driven by data. Organizations invest a lot of time into CRM implementation and management, but a CRM is only as good as the data it is fed with. In a data-driven world, insights of the technology used by your prospects can give you a great competitive advantage. Just like how demographics and firmographics provide a profile of the person or company to be described, technographics gives you a detailed picture of the person or company’s IT landscape. It is useful to identify your prospect’s technology usage patterns, purchasing behavior or their attitude towards a certain technology product or brand.
What according to you are some of the must-have sales technologies that everyone in technology sales including field sales teams should integrate into their overall tech stack?
Which technology is best for sales and marketers to invest in is highly dependent on who their target market is.
CRM is more common for B2B companies that focus on lead generation, but these platforms can also help your company manage leads. CRMs can help you figure out where leads are in the funnel and assess opportunities. Marketing automation platforms are best used for lead nurturing, email auto responders and leads qualification to advance prospects through a predefined customer journey.
Business Intelligence tools are also equally important. Sales Intelligence is much more than just contact data. It points to a wide range of technologies that help salespeople find, monitor and understand data that provides insights into prospects’ and existing clients’ business and behavior.
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 better remote work culture while maintaining motivation and productivity?
Sales leaders must be able to adapt to the shift from field sales to inside/digital sales models. They should equip their teams with all the technology and intelligence required to sell remotely. Team members should be prepared with a perfect virtual pitch and should be willing to adapt to digital tools for collaboration to enable the company create a virtual culture. Leaders must empower sales teams with accurate contact data and business intelligence to help sales reps reach out to the right prospects.
Enterprise sales has its own set of must-haves and demands: what are some of the top strategies or fundamentals you’d advise teams use when they are facing challenges when selling in a time such as this? Some tips on sales technologies that can especially help here?
Account Based Marketing is more important today than ever before. You must be careful about the accounts you’re selling to, the message you lead with, and the way in which you sell. You must shift your focus and investments to your best prospects and also focus on renewals and cross-selling. You can predict prospect’s propensity to buy with predictive analytics using data paired with algorithms and machine learning to identify the likelihood of future outcomes based on historical data.
How according to you will the typical role of tomorrow’s B2B/Tech sales person evolve, given the dynamics and innovations in SalesTech?
Within the next few years, the sales function will be completely transformed by data and artificial intelligence. AI, machine learning, and automation will soon be an integral part of the sales process. The simple and repetitive tasks sales teams do daily will become quick, convenient, and automated. The large amount of data existing in CRMs will be managed by AI, as it can process huge amounts of data without any difficulty. Data and insights from sales intelligence tools will help sales reps predict buyer propensity and devise strategies and messaging accordingly. Sales reps and leaders who are able to adapt to the rapid movement will be better positioned to win more business than the ones who can’t learn new tricks.
Tag (mention/write about) the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read!
I am a big fan of Marc Benioff. His success story of switching from Enterprise Software to “Software as a Service” and transforming Salesforce into the world’s largest “SaaS” company will always inspire growing companies like SMARTe!
Your favorite Sales/SalesTech quote and sales leadership books you’d suggest everyone in tech Sales reads
One of my favorite quotes is…
“Approach each customer with the idea of helping him or her to solve a problem or achieve a goal, not of selling a product or service.” – Brian Tracy.
I have enjoyed reading:
- The Psychology of Selling by Brian Tracy
- Sell or be Sold by Grant Cardone
- Engage to Win: A Blueprint for Success in the Engagement Economy by Steve Lucas
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!
I am a regular participant at major sales and marketing events across the globe every year. With all events for this year going virtual, we have participated in TOPO North America, B2B IGNITE London 2020 and SaaSGrowth Europe 2020 so far. We have a comprehensive event calendar and I hope to attend SiriusDecisions APAC, MarTech, and Dreamforce – all virtual events in the coming months as a guest!
A few tips if possible for sales and marketing teams (businesses) trying to navigate through the current pandemic crisis.
With travel bans, work-from-home mandate and other limitations, it’s becoming almost impossible for field-based Sales Development Reps to do what they do best. Here are a few tips to help sales leaders come out successful.
- Conduct a quick, data driven revenue assessment and full pipeline re-inspection by customers, industries, channels and geographies
- Map your potential revenue, by customer and by product, to know what to further invest on
- Empower your sales teams with accurate contact data and business intelligence to help them target and reach out to the right prospects
- Motivate employees to adopt digital tools for collaboration and self-service to create a more virtual culture
Catch some of our conversations on the State of Sales, Marketing and Working In Tech from these episodes of The SalesStar Podcast –Featuring leaders from Acoustic, CloudShare, Qumulo and more. Listen Now!