Why Sales enablement is key to SFDC led sales transformation

It was interest meeting sales leader of a two decade old furniture manufacturing company that serves primarily office and industrial segment. In the course of the discussion what he mentioned brought old demons back and it seemed world has not moved. The company has rolled in SFDC with all earnest but was finding poor adoption by front line staff, data management was a challenge and resistance to change at mid-senior levels. Reports usage was far and few and sales operations patchy. What transcribed was they had seen SFDC as IT tool and not used this to recast their sales operations. Even after roll out of SFDC, company management had not aligned their marketing and sales. From our experience this is not a one off case. Many CRM roll outs do not seem to have met the expected outcomes.

In our experience CRM tools like SFDC yield significant impact when companies create the right environment, define expectations and encourage ownership to adhere and improve outcomes. People involvement is the key to outcome. Training, incentivizing adoption by gamification and other principles is important to drive adoption. Resistance to change can be addressed only through education and enablement of sales teams. Sale roles whether acquisition or account mining have their own nuances and challenges. Sales review templates is a major bone of contention. Address their fears and apprehensions, educate them how transparency is critical for sales and their organization. Direct, partner or inside sales team require customized sales training for functional improvement, but also broad based training to appreciate cross-functional integration. Invest in training to lock out legacy issues including why move beyond call list and Excel sheets.  Let the sales resources realize SFDC will help not micromanage them. Let them discover the value of managing out-of-date sales funnel data.

Ensuring sales leaders at all levels demand compliance with set standard is important to drive adoption and breadth of use of SFDC. Consistency and rigour in SFDC can be brought in by bringing on board a sales administration during SFDC roll out. Creating a dedicated sale operations centre is must. SOC will ensure all forms of waste is eliminated; all states and faults are visible and equip the company to correct quickly. Adopting suitable process whether SPIN, or SPENCO others that suit the organization brings standardization benefits.  A salesforce administrator ensures sales processes are not disjointed and workflows are all over the organization. Salesforce administrator also plays a key role in expansion and scaling up of SFDC roll out.

Sales teams must also be trained to use different marketing assets at each stage of sales process so that right assets are deployed at right stage. This is important for many solution based organization as the predominant approach is to use demos even when qualification is not done. Sales teams must use assets including blogs, SEO, Media placement to create brand awareness at qualification stage. Need analysis stage may need case studies, white papers and explainer videos to convey experience and expertise. Negotiations stage may need ROI or TCO templates, presales led demonstrations and product walkthroughs, product testimonials to address credibility, references and case scenarios. Thought leadership, product manuals, user tools may be required at closure stage. Marketing must work hand in hand with sales to create content that can create opportunities for sales team and help them closure better. Marketing team must consistently use feedback from sales team to create content that they actually use and create content around sales pipelines. While papers, frameworks, blogs, Infographics, videos all have their own value, cost and time to create. Sometimes, a goliath of an asset is what is required and hence marketing TAT’s become crucial. Similarly, sales resources must give inputs on user behaviour, competitive programs and what is working and what is not from door opening to closure.

 ROI of the SFDC increases if it is kept simple.  Take care of people (including organization parameters like structure, who owns what), technology, processes and add a dose of common sense, that all is what you need to ensure your SFDC roll out rocks.

Dr TR Madan Mohan and Bhavana S Kashyap

Teen turfs: Effective marketing for a successful Innerwear Brand

Why should brans like Nova, Bodycare, Softy, Red Rose, Shalini, Sonari, Ragini and others care about teens, young customers in the age group of 12-17. There is a lot at stake in selling and branding for teens. According to recent census 2011, Teens form about 9.2% of the youth population. Teens form about 12% of ₹9,100 Crore women inner wear segment in FY2016.  Teen brands are the most underpenetrated with highest growth rate amongst all segments of the women innerwear market. Teen innerwear is about 21% of the unorganized women innerwear market.   Surprisingly, the price differences between unorganized and branded innerwear varied just about 15-25%.  With value engineering and smart distribution, an organized brand could easily gain market share from unorganized segment. What is more alluring is that an average teen today spends 7% of ₹1000 on innerwear, on average buys 6 pairs in each year and expected to experience 3 sizes in 4 years.  Rural teens in average brought 3.2 pairs per year. Young girls develop at different ages and everybody’s experience is unique. Teens also lead and live a busy life. Teens juggle between studies, sports, Dandiya and Dance floor with aplomb. They participate in NCC training and retreats, volunteer as traffic wardens and lead their houses in major events.  They hop and jump out of buses or ride bicycles or two wheelers with gaiety.  This means a ton of possible fashion and usage environment to take into consideration.

Teens are important to brands because they tend to be early adopters and often their brand preferences are yet to be formed. However, unlike the teens of yesteryears, teens of today are most active user group on online. Teens today are scanning trends and deciding for themselves. The first thing they are likely to ask the host is whether the Wifi in their house is on.   On an average a teen spends 3.5 hours a day and an average, teens send 1480 messages and receive 2170 messages per month. Studies have shown with an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex, teens seek immediate gratification and thrill. They are expected to exhibit more impulsive behaviors.  Well, it seems like it should be pretty easy to market to teens. So one would think it is easy to create and slip into a niche teens innerwear brand. Not so. Marketing to a teenager is a labor of love.

Studies have shown that peer pressure is big for teens.  Acceptance and belonging to a group is paramount for their psychological wellbeing. That is why branding, especially of community branding works best for teens.  In fact for most teens, social media is just that a platform to express traits and seek out others with similar leanings.  So what must be the marketing strategies one must adopt for a teen innerwear brand.

First, choose your online platforms to engage them actively and direct your time and efforts towards the most relevant platforms.  Popular opinion is that Instagram, Snapchat and What’s App appear on the top with Facebook and Pinterest up the rear. If you are pursuing a low cost viral strategy, creating tiered gaming campaigns using Snapchat or Instagram may work well.  If you are just looking to widen your reach to teens targeted Facebook campaigns may work better.

Social media campaigns targeting teens is also about brevity and personalization. With shorter attention spans, teens are likely to respond more positively to short text posts and links. Bite-sized post with Big feet You approach works best.

Teen’s major sources of information about innerwear are opinion of friend (22%), store display (18%), social media (17%) and celebrity endorsement (15%).  Where most brands fail is the poor execution of store display. Standees and banner ads are passé and so are the garish looking mannequins.  Teens seek out more touch and feel experience and likely to lean more towards technology led experiences including AR.  A less tech savvy salon experience also satiates exclusivity positioning and works well for exploratory or label lioness.  Teens are less influenced by Bollywood stars, but certainly a swash bucking Cricketer or a badminton champ certainly gets more eye lashes.

From a marketing perspective teens not only consume information, but are also effective co-creators and distributors.  Teens tend to use online media to share, create their own by-lines and funny one liners about the brand. For an innerwear brand it is best to emulate social engagement models that are espoused by companies like HP, Microsoft or Oracle in Open source arena. Involve teens to voluntarily create content, create a consumption community and turn ambassadors.  Gamification tools involving rewards and recognition including Badges, Angelhood, High Princess work best for an innerwear brand. A low cost rural consumption focused innerwear brand can adopt gamification principles with multi-level marketing to reduce distribution costs and gain viral visibility.  Volunteering is another platform that works best for teen innerwear marketing.  Companies can create smart campaigns that can bundle social messaging on CSR programs and reach target populations. Incentivize them to comment, retweet, mention or getting involved in creating awareness about your innerwear brand.

A key point to remember is teens abhor preaching and explicit advertising. They may skip an advertisement if seen as an interruption or pushy. Communicate to establish relationships and association.  Authenticity is what they seek and story selling works best.  Humor and human-centered stories work best to build relationships with your brand. Communicate they are special and your brand blends with who they want to be and what they wish to be leads to better marketing outcomes.

For an innerwear brand it is imperative to remember teens are not completely independent consumers. Their parents open the purse and indulge in their purchases. Cultural sensitivity in campaigns and functional design over intimate one are keys to teen innerwear sales. You can’t afford to ignore them in your innerwear campaign and design. Finally, keep your marketing as fluid as possible. When tide turns, you must have the flexibility to turn quickly.

Rebooting Skilling Program

Government has realized its flagship skilling program- the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) despite having trained 18 lakh people failed on job creation and entrepreneurship. The reasons could be many. Firstly, it tried to create new intermediaries that would train, place and create entrepreneurs rather than building the skilling program around incumbents. The new training & placement intermediaries were expected to equip themselves with industry and trade skills, train their trainers, get certified by the Sector councils and impart skills to prospective candidates. Their remuneration was tied to three revenue streams viz., training, placement and entrepreneurship. In the current scenario, NSDC and SSC are expected to identify skilling programs which more often than not end up as 100-300 short term courses.  Unlike German and other national systems that have been tried to emulate, India’s skilling programs have been seen as system for lower achievers and less academically successful candidates. Indian labour market does not value workers trained for specific occupations. Most positions, from electricians to a carpenter or even for that matter a Bedside Assistant learns on the job. Hence, the students who get trained from skilling centres only qualify for “prevocational” training, a fall back that still leaves industry players to invest in unskilled, and unstable resources.

Our analysis of Skilling centres for Tier 2 districts like Bellary in Karnataka and Anatapuramu in Andhra Pradesh revealed financial viability was a concern. Facility size and associated investments mandated by NSDC, a minimum of 8000 Sq. Ft for an A type city (with more than 4 lakh population) and minimum of 5000 Sq. Ft for a B type city (1-4 lakh population) raised the investment barriers. Different trades require different training approaches. Some trades may need more classroom training while others need more on the field or on shop floor training. Moreover, with contributions per students of many courses was small and required large student populations to make a skilling centres financially viable. Contribution margin per student for Concrete pump operator was just about ₹5280, wheel loader ₹2000, and transit mix operator ₹5210. For breakeven, each centre requires to train at least 95,000 to 120,000 students in ten years, while competing with informal markets, on the job training model of incumbents and formal educational institutes including ITI’s, Polytechnics and other vocational courses. For infrastructure and capital equipment light courses contributions margins were low or far away from real wages. For example, contribution margins for CRM voice was ₹ 1740 and CRM non-voice was ₹ 1700.  Also, contribution margins some courses were much higher than prevailing wages.

Contribution margins for Bedside Assistant ₹ 8900, Pharmacy assistant was ₹23000 and Diabetes educator ₹9068, was much higher than on the job prevailing market wages. Skilling Centre revenue increased whenever they would earn support fee from participating in Mudra and other government supported entrepreneurship schemes. However, majority of the courses could yield at best only skilling revenues as entrepreneurship opportunities are limited or required additional resources to embark on entrepreneurship. Also, financial viability of the training institute required scaling to multiple centres, thus placing additional burden on employment and entrepreneurship. However, by engaging directly in entrepreneurship activities and reducing transaction costs on placement front improved financial viability of skilling partner. On a standalone basis, placement revenues become non-linear whenever the training centre acted as an aggregating agency for an incumbent industry’s training institution. For Bellary and Anatapuramu Centres imparting basic training at a low fee and placing students at Industry training centres of say Bosch or L&T Construction Institute and others made more economic sense. Importantly, scale constraints hindered the emergence of sector and region specific centres focusing on creating relevant skills sets.

Sharad Prasad committee has critiqued the efficacy focusing on supply side skilling and the role of NSDC and SSC. Moving away from supply side to demand side focus and involving incumbents in right sizing and right skilling of resources can be a first step. By adopting this approach it is possible to use skilling programs to drive employment growth also. For many company owners, the biggest challenge in not investment and market, but attracting and retaining talent. For companies running their operations in Tier 2 and 3 Industrial hubs the challenge is more severe.  Industry players know what talent is required and nurture it. Employers want more than short-term training and surely away from anarchic apprenticeship models, but flexible programs that can create problem solvers and not someone with just skills. Guilds form the basis of successful skilling programs. Policy changes are required to support long term internship or fellowship programs so that employers directly hire interested students and train them on the job. Skilling programs in most countries is about enhancing the training and investments by the industry players by active support and nudging by the governments towards automation and newer skills. Consider for example, Enhanced Training Support (ETS) program of Singapore, yet another small country most Indian policy makers are enamoured with. ETS program envisages employers to provide staff with required new training and 95% of the fee is a subsidy by the government. Even Canada’s famous dual-training program has adopted the same model.

Involving incumbents has certainly many advantages. When a company is involved in the design and execution of program, the content is highly relevant, customized to industrial requirement and not generic short term program that adds no value. Moreover, bounded rationality problems and problems of commons is eliminated as the company knows what skills and capabilities are required and goes after investing in them.  Unlike the one size fits all strategy that is currently pursued this approach certainly creates sector specific or even scale specific skill sets.  Management of scheme can be effective by ensuring the cost of monitoring and control is minimized. SSC which are currently burdened with many activities can focus on standard setting and best-practice identification while government can directly fund the programs based on the resources employed and trained by companies. Such an approach has dual benefits, right skill development, but also competitive factors of production for Indian companies. This is unlike the free-reward based supply driven skilling program that India is currently pursuing.

Unlike the apprenticeship program under Ministry of Labour that many companies in industries like IT and others skirt away and even those in manufacturing exploit fully, there is a need to create a less burdensome program for both employers and employees. Two of our clients have attempted 2 years fellowship program where graduates join the company as fresher, they go through an immersion training program for six months and work on shop floor for next 1.5 years. Students get paid to learn and gain skills. They not only work on production problems, but are also involved in R&D projects. These fellowships are long term and the company completely owns the design and delivery of the content. The fellowship provides students an opportunity to hone their skills and emerge as valuable resources.  These fellowships meet both skilling and employment objectives, especially at undergraduate and entry levels where the bulk of prospective employees will be.

Second, designing appropriate PPP models to enable existing infrastructure including ITI and Polytechnics can unfreeze lots of capacity, especially in Tier 2 and 3 cities for trade specific skills. In recent years, thanks to Indian Government’s QIP program and others like Canada India Institutional Cooperation Project (CIIP) infrastructure facilities of these institutions has significantly improved. However, there is sufficient headroom to increase the utilization of the facilities by allowing novel PPP models such as GOCO to emerge.  ITI’s & Polytechnic can treat it similar to long term executive education programs and the private partner can market courses across districts to interested candidates and also close the gaps on industry-academic interactions. Institutes can enter into a revenue sharing formula to earn additional revenue for themselves and their faculty. With this their ability to attract quality faculty resources may be addressed and existing infrastructure can be better utilized. Vocational and engineering colleges can also be targeted for advancing skill development across states. Government may take leaf out of its investment models promulgated for affordable housing. Many of the PPP models proposed for Housing and Urban affairs can be modified to involve private sector in skill development.

Monitoring and control of such demand based schemes needs involvement of local industry associations and industry bodies along with Commerce and Industry departments of state governments. Using right IT tools to reach and authentication and associated framework can enable more decentralized management and targeted skilling and employment. Tirupur Industrial Association (TIA) or Rajkot Management Association (RMA) would certainly have more visibility of the programs being run and community pressures could act as deterrent and reduce the risk of misuse. National Industry bodies such as NASSCOM or can also use gamification principle such as Badges and Leader boards to motivate employees adopt and execute these programs in earnest.  Badges and awards can also be for employer hiring the most women trainees, employee with highest hiring rate, etc. DIC and other infrastructure of the state governments such as IADB, and SSIDC could also be used to independently collect and report the efficacy of skilling program.  SSC play a significant role in standard setting thus reducing areas of conflict of interest. Government can use DBT mechanisms supported by Aadhaar and other mechanisms to control leakages.  The said scheme can be extended to various startups recognized by various state government schemes and other bodies supporting innovation and employability. By shifting the focus of the skilling program from supply side to demand side increases economic additionality and sustainability of the scheme. With exposure to demand driven skilling and learning while earning economic spill overs that accrue at firm, industry and employment level increase because of improved allocation, access and availability of capital. The reform push of the government must build mechanisms for non-state stakeholders to drive skill upgradation and employment for people who do not have them today. That is the way forward to reach skill development and employment generation goals.

Dr TR Madan Mohan, Aishwarya Nair and Sai Vinoth

Getting the Juice out of gamification on SFDC

Sales is a competitive function and management realizes they need tools and methods to keep their sales flock motivated to go after opportunities. Many companies use BLAP (badges, leader boards, achievements, points) gamification methods hoping they would excite their sales force to change their behaviour or move in a certain direction. SFDC has many plugins including Hoopla, Ring my bell, Level Eleven, Spinify, Nitro and others that allow companies to use BLAP to roll out gamification to direct and manage their sales teams effectively. When designed properly, BLAP on SFDC can drive organizational and sales performance. They can be used to shape people’s behaviour by highlighting what are required and creating positive reinforcement actions for those adhering or meeting the desired behaviour or actions. Sales gamification works best when it is used to spur a sales team to sustain a boring and repetitive task while enabling user control in tracking progress with some fun. Sales gamification works when it improves engagement around tasks and workflows not just as a part of the job, but adoption of non-job related activities. If the objective is to increase the volume of sale pitches or log more appointments, push more calls to high-potential leads in SFDC gamification works best. All these are best examples of extrinsic motivation led tasks.

When designed poorly, SFDC BLAPs can bring unintended effects including de-motivation, attrition and possibly driving people to game the system by adopting wrong behaviour. From a gamification design perspective, one must use gamification for tasks that are primarily uninteresting for most but have information and decision making value to the company. It is also important to ensure gamification does not undermine intrinsic motivation of the employee to perform or what is known as over justification effect.

Expected leverage for sales gamification could be outcome or behaviour changes. However, how SFDC BLAP shared either in public or within a selective group has an impact on the gamification results. When BLAP are awarded in public, they confer recognition and status, but can also make inequality more apparent and could be de-motivating. Assessing sales team working in different regions with unique regional challenges; measuring them on sales outcome when the experience of the resources is varied, creates a feeling of inequality and unfair. Also, if your leadership scorecard has the same names coming up each month, it may not serve as motivational hook for underperforming sales resources. In fact this may lead to settling at “contentment zone” fallacy. If a company uses sales gamification around attendance and punctuality, the program can be de-motivational. Sales resources who are mostly on the field may perceive this as lack of trust and curtailing of their freedom. Such acts impinge on autonomy, trust and sense of ownership which all affect intrinsic motivation.

Leader board serves two primary purposes – to assess the performance of all people across the organization and making it visible to the all users. While designing a leader board, one not only need to understand what is its purpose, but also how results would be communicated. Signalling effect of communicating outcomes is an under focussed area when companies roll out gamification. Companies must realize not all sales outcomes be publicly visible scorecards. There is an element of appropriateness, probity and hierarchy that needs to be preserved to ensure reinforcement of positive behaviour. Hence some scorecards must be visible to only specific levels or teams. Carefully designing metrics and appropriate communication method can be an important route to enhancing gamification effectiveness and reduce its adverse effects.  If the gamification is used to measure the rate of adoption of SFDC amongst different teams, then publicly displaying under-utilisation of CRM may de-motivate and discourage a team that is leading in funnel growth. Communicating this result privately may help bring about the desired behaviour correction without any adverse effects.

Reality of human behaviour is more complex than the simple vision built into most gamification apps.  SFDC gamification loses appeal once position are fixed or taken. Even SFDC leader boards can exhaust themselves quickly as few performers at top and laggards in the later part. Key to effectiveness of SFDC gamification is to use it for short-term or as a one-off activity. One way to keep the friendly completion and fun element is by bringing in fair play to avoid “self-selection of contentment zone”.  Use SFDC gamification considering all aspects, limit it a period till intended behavioural outcomes can emerge and quickly dismantle it when it outlives its utility.

Bhavana S Kashyap