Episode No:120

Selling Smarter with AI: A Sales Leader's Playbook ft. Bhavan Kochhar (VP Sales, inFeedo)

Bhavan Kochhar

VP of Sales, inFeedo

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Ep #120: Selling Smarter with
AI: A Sales Leader’s Playbook ft. Bhavan Kochhar (VP Sales, inFeedo)
Ep #120: Selling Smarter with AI: A Sales Leader’s Playbook ft. Bhavan Kochhar (VP Sales, inFeedo)
  • Ep #120: Selling Smarter with AI: A Sales Leader’s Playbook ft. Bhavan Kochhar (VP Sales, inFeedo)

Episode Summary

In this episode of Hyperengage Podcast, Adil Saleh interviews Bhavan Kochhar, VP of Sales at inFeedo. Bhavan shares his insights on enterprise sales and how AI is impacting the industry. They discuss inFeedo’s people analytics platform, Amber, and how it helps companies understand employee engagement and retention. Other topics include sales strategies, customer success, and employee attrition concerns in banking and tech companies.
Key Takeaways Time
How AI can help in enterprise sales 01:18
Bhavan’s journey from LinkedIn to Infido 03:00
inFeedo’s product Amber 06:32
Handling information handoff between teams 11:09
inFeedo’s implementation process and customer engagement 15:38
Sales strategy and tools used 18:09
Focus on closing large enterprise deals 22:22
Employee retention challenges in enterprises 27:00
Impact of AI on employee roles 30:15

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Transcript

[00:00:02] Adil Saleh: Hey. Good evening, everybody. This is Adil, your host at Hyperengage Podcast. We spoke too much mostly, earlier this year about people analytics, about HR tech, about conversational AI in HR. People, you know, people, I would say, machine learning data science model applied on people data. So that was a big gig. And we've seen some companies, evolve and doing it pretty scale, not so much of saturation when it comes to, you know, people analytics, but as opposed to, you know, the other sales, you know, customer support and success operations. Today, we have, VP of sales at InFeedo, private background with, majorly, like, enterprise, sales at LinkedIn. You know, it was such a great honor to have you, today. [00:00:55] Bhavan Kochhar: Nice to meet you, Adil. Same here. Same here. Thanks for having me. [00:00:59] Adil Saleh: Perfect. So I was looking at it, inFeedo and, of course, your prior background, someone with, like, core sales, more to the enterprise side side of things. How do you see, like, first off, this was the first question that came into my mind. How do you see enterprise sales, changing or evolving with AI? Because AI is meant to do more with less. Leveraging AI in Enterprise Sales for Efficiency and Optimization [00:01:18] Adil Saleh: You know, and it's just meant to not only, you know, have efficiency across organizations, but also, want to optimize the bandwidth. So how do you see enterprise sales, especially with GPT-4 and in all these large language models, that we haven't lot of noise. [00:01:36] Bhavan Kochhar: It's such a good question because that's the exact same thing we talk internally about. How do we leverage AI to be much more smarter in our conversations with, prospects? And I think where AI truly plays a role is just giving you the edge that earlier you would have to spend hours to collate data, to understand what are the focus areas for a company? What are their plans for the next 2, 3 years? Going through an annual report to really create your value proposition on where your platform fits into their overall scheme of things. I feel as a starter point, that's where AI immediately helps you. Because it saves you all those hours to sit down and go through an annual report of a of a large enterprise. And just gives you the summary of exactly what their CEO spoke about, what their leaders spoke about, and what your champions within the company they would care about. It's for us, for an enterprise seller, you start to then understand what their focus areas for the year would be, what their KPIs would be set around. And as a result, you don't put your platform at the center of what things have to happen. The Impact of AI in Enterprise Sales Cycles [00:02:36] Bhavan Kochhar: You start moving towards a structure where their focus areas become the center, whereas your platform is just an enabler for them to achieve some of those goals. It also helps you better align in enterprises. Multiple people would be trying to look for multiple things, but we all know at the end, it's always the top 3 to 5 priorities of the company, which get the attention of the leaders. Right? So, you might have a great platform. You might have a great product. Your champion loves it. Maybe the CXO loves it as well, but it's not a company priority. So, so while they'll keep on talking to you, the deal is never going to go through. Right? With AI, they're able to leverage that to see where do we truly sit? Is this something even their priority for this year that they're going to spend their time? Because for enterprises, I think money comes second, the time comes earlier. So I think it's most important for when you're meeting the CXOs to understand that whether this is worth their time for the year. And if we are able to sit in those top three priorities of an executive, and AI plays a huge role there, we are we know that this will go through, and it it will go through at a at a time that we expect it to go through. Because these days, enterprise sales cycles are going crazy. Like, we are seeing in some cases, enterprise sales cycle is going 50 to 100% higher than what they used to be 2 years ago. It's just how how the world has changed in terms of buying. [00:03:56] Adil Saleh: Yeah. And salespeople were, like, B2B, like, in general. Like, B2B sales in general as well. Like, even in Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. It's so hard to acquire customers, you know, try, like, within the 1st 3 months. Like, it's [00:04:09] Bhavan Kochhar: Oh, yeah. You're absolutely right. Challenges in Enterprise Sales and Transitioning to a People-Centric Platform [00:04:10] Adil Saleh: On the the same people. You know? [00:04:13] Bhavan Kochhar: I feel the scrutiny around buying a platform has just gone up immensely. Earlier, if I like something, I'd say, like, even if 2 people in the team liked it and they said we will get behind it, the the the CXO would sign up and say, go ahead and use it. But now the CXO knows that at the end of all of this, there is a CFO sitting waiting to question me on what the ROI of this tool is gonna be. Am I ready to answer those questions? I think the extra scrutiny has just added more steps and has just increased the sale the the the buyer circle. Like a buyer circle for even mid market, like you rightly said, used to be about 3 or 4 people, maybe 5 at best. I think that's gone up to almost 7 or 8 people from multiple teams that need to say, yes. Let's get it done. And that's just automatically led to the sales cycles going up. No doubt about it. No doubt about it. [00:05:00] Adil Saleh: Right. Right. Okay. And now, also, I was looking at, your profile, and I was a bit more curious on how come, like, someone it is so, making sense that someone working at LinkedIn Enterprises did enterprises at LinkedIn, joining going on and joining a platform that is helping people. So there's a strong connection there. Would you would you ever imagine yourself not working at LinkedIn and still join a platform like inFeedo? Like, how strong a bone you have? Like, what kind of, dodge you have connected there? Because, as I know LinkedIn is [00:05:34] Bhavan Kochhar: That's a great question. [00:05:36] Adil Saleh: Candidates candidates are center of, of their platform. Like, they say that Sure. It's the heart of their platform. They're more for a good so, I see a great connection. So could you elaborate on that? [00:05:47] Bhavan Kochhar: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. In fact, I wanna I wanna go slightly behind back, slightly before LinkedIn as well when I was at Wingify, which is also a SaaS based company, out of India. They sell globally doing really well bootstrapped to about 50,000,000 in revenue. I think the learning I had at Wingify and then which carried on at LinkedIn and it exponentially grew for me was the, was the care for your team, right? The empathy that was shown towards your team. And I think that was one of the biggest factor because I used to speak with a lot of my my friends around in my circle. And not everyone was lucky enough to enjoy, the support of the leadership or that that level of empathy that you would imagine was just part and parcel of the day, and you sometimes wouldn't even look back at it. Right? And for them, it was a privilege to get something like that. So when when inFeedo came knocking, at that point back in 2018, the only thing that inFeedo used to do and the only pitch that our CEO used to have was, we'll help get rid of the Monday blues for your employees. Right? That is the only thing that he used to talk about, that Monday blues will Monday blues will no longer suck. And I think till till today, that is his opening sentence that our first goal is to make sure for an employee that Monday blues. Monday doesn't sound like the worst day of the week. Right? And that got me hooked already. So that was, that was one of the first things. Exploring Infeedo's AI Solutions with Bhavan Kochhar [00:07:09] Bhavan Kochhar: The second thing which got me hooked was how they were doing it. Because a lot of people claim that they work towards this area. And, yes, AI was such a cool thing to talk about in 2018, 2019 because not everyone was talking about it. And we were. Right? It was we felt we were ahead of the curve when we were talking to some of our customers who were using platform, which they haven't I've been using for 5, 7 years. I won't name them. But general employee engagement platforms, employee surveys, and all of that. And we felt we were much ahead of that. But, you know, with with AI picking up so rapidly and everyone evolving AI, I think the decision just came down to how the team was set. At the time, it was a small 30 people team. Even today, we're we're very frugal. We're we're about 170 only. But truly the the essence was that how was every single employee treated? And we truly ate our own dog food. Like, I could see in that in the interview because at the time when I was interviewing for the role of a sales leader, even the SDRs came to interview me because the CEO felt that they should also be confident that the leader that they're hiring is the right person for us to set them up for success. So it wasn't just a conversation between me and the founders and I got hired. Every single person who was going to be a part of my team in one round or the other came and spoke with me. So that immediately made me feel that this wasn't going to be just a CEO led decision. Everyone's everyone's voice was gonna be heard of what they were gonna talk about. So so so that added to it. And, of course, the thrill of taking, like, picking up a sales team, which was so young, which was just starting out, like, 3 or 4 people in the team. And the opportunity to grow it to something substantial was, was was was the biggest reason why, I think and I I say this say this to everyone that I got really lucky. I was at the right place at the right time. We had some excellent people in our team, including our founders, who just helped us scale, really well. And you have to have luck on your side when you're picking up a team of that size and then growing it. It is just not hard work. You need a lot of luck. [00:09:16] Adil Saleh: Absolutely. Absolutely. And it's more of it's it's not just art. It's it's more of a science. You gotta make sure that you need to make right decision in the top line so bottom line bottom line can follow. Even with the with the teams of the 150 people, people still look up look up the leaders, like VPs, suite executives, and they look up how they're, you know, going day to day and how they're operating as as professionals. Yep. So now looking at InFeedo, and and all the, you know, kind of, use cases that you're serving right now, Like, how do you see, like, with, with this AI boom? Like, you you do have, like, Amber. Is is that is that your feature that basically interacts? AI-Powered People Analytics Platform for Employee Experience Management [00:09:55] Adil Saleh: It's more of a conversational AI. Could you tell us a little bit more about that and what kind of Yeah. Yeah. Plus teams that are have, like, global operations and pretty much divided Absolutely. Absolutely. Across different industries. [00:10:08] Bhavan Kochhar: Absolutely. So Amber's like Amber, like you rightly pointed out, that's our flagship product. We actually go by Amber. And Amber we don't call Amber a product. We truly humanize Amber. Because for us, she is your chief listening officer who sits in with your executives and shares with them what's happening, and she holds the pulse of the of the company. She reaches out to every employee at specific milestones, and she asks relevant questions to their tenure at the organization. So till date, every single employee, including me, when I joined InFeedo was used to filling out a survey once every 6 months or once every year. Now I could be 3 months in, in my tenure in a company or 5 years. We were all supposed to answer the same set of questions. Though our journeys are completely different, but we were expected to answer the same set of questions with the same diligence, which is not fair. Right? I'm in my own journey. Someone completing 5 years is in their own journey. We wanted to make sure that every time Amber reached out to someone, she was asking them questions which were relevant to what they were doing at their work. And that's where AI helped us out. Though from the outside, we were always a SaaS based platform, which had AI at the heart. But truly speaking, like you started this podcast with, we were truly a people analytics company from day 1. We would always tell people who were evaluating us is that for us, AI always comes second. People analytics and people science always comes before all of that. So we have, we actually have dedicate we have in house people science experts, audio experts sitting internally with our teams who work with our sales teams, our customer success teams, our implementation teams, to make sure that every time we get a customer on board, they're making sure the right set of questions get asked to their employees because every company operates differently. Especially if you're launching with a company which has multiple geos, they want to make sure that any nuances of that geography are also taken into account when the questions get asked. Because something could be acceptable in one region, but it's not acceptable in another region. So how do we keep all those nuances together is where our people science team comes in. Including when it comes to the second part of it, which is once the implementation happened, employees are now talking to Amber. Right? Responses are coming in. How do we give you this data back? Right? Till date, people have always struggled with get with getting so much data that they get overwhelmed on what actions to take. And constantly we would hear, hey, we ran a survey. It's been 3 months and we haven't taken [00:12:32] Bhavan Kochhar: any Yeah. Yeah. Have you haven't taken any actions because there's a bunch of actions lined up for us? How do we go about prioritizing that? So that was another problem we we wanted to make sure. And that's where AI has, like I was talking to you before the podcast, AI has helped us out because we now help them close the loop. We have AI assisted acknowledgements. We have AI assisted action planning. We we even allow them to tag other managers and leaders to go out and take actions because the responsibility of all actions can never lie with HR. While HR is the main consumer of a product like this or employee experience, and they are the guardians of the culture of the of the org. But truly speaking, more and more companies are now realizing that the ideal guardian of their culture is the manager. Right? People don't leave organizations because they had a bad HR team. They generally leave organizations because they're a bad manager. So more and more companies are now starting to realize that. Right? And you wanna give that power to managers now to be able to be self fulfilling, to go out and be able to take actions without having an intervention from an HR ever needed. Right? So that's the direction we're now moving towards, making managers more effective, If I put it in simple words, that's the focus area. [00:13:39] Adil Saleh: Interesting. So yeah. Interesting. And talking about now, if you think about your customer journeys, like, enterprise sales, you have, like, account executive slash account managers working on the entire journey for the customer. Like, of course, it's just going to be more of the implementation, high touch, you can say, hands on implementation in the first place. How do you mitigate this, this process of handing off, the information from Okay. They have 2 account managers. Is there any technology involved? What kind of process, of course? I mean, with a 150 [00:14:09] Bhavan Kochhar: Great question. Challenges in maintaining confidentiality during customer interactions [00:14:10] Adil Saleh: 200 people that you are right now with some good customers with big account value, You must be investing enough into doing things at scale when it comes to translating the information, which is very critical to moving out. [00:14:24] Bhavan Kochhar: You you you've actually asked a question that we a challenge that we grappled with for over a year to solve for this. And how do we make sure that no information gets leaked out from an account executive to an implementation person, to a CSM or an account manager, because that would always happen. Right? It's bound to happen when big implementations are involved, bigger companies and a lot of information is involved. At the moment, and I don't think we've mastered it completely. But what we've definitely done is that we've created certain checkpoints and check boxes into our CRM, which is Salesforce, and some other areas and some other platforms that our customer success would use to make sure that at every, at no stage, are we sitting where we don't know what's happening in an account. Most people have been mandated to make sure that every Friday, the account health of each and every customer of ours should be updated to what it was in that week. Now in some, some accounts may not need a touchpoint every week. Some only may need a touchpoint on a monthly basis, but we still want to make sure that we wanna be more proactive in terms of making sure we understand how the account health is. There are certain parameters that have been set because we do a lot of pilots as well. Adil we do a lot of paid pilots. The concept of Amber, I hope, and I was explained to you, feels like something that we haven't done before. Will our employees be comfortable doing this? Because people have always been addition to that amount of stuff. [00:15:52] Adil Saleh: Yeah. You're doing a discovery. [00:15:53] Bhavan Kochhar: It is. It is. You're absolutely right. You're absolutely right. See, there are so many apprehensions, right? From the first apprehension we get asked is, hey, we've always done anonymous surveys, but your platform is not anonymous. It's confidential. Will people even open up and share feedback? Will our are our teams ready to accept feedback from people and act on it? Will we be able to look at data on a regular basis to act on it? Because right now we don't do one survey a year. So So we have to worry about this once in a year. You're asking us to look at this on a weekly basis, on a monthly basis. Are we ready for it? So as a result of which, we end up doing a lot of paid pilots for for for folks, which could be a pilot for a year or pilot for 6 months with a smaller population. They wanna test out a controlled atmosphere and then they grow into it. So we have specific, CSMs who own pilots. So we don't have our our CS team own pilot, experience. We have dedicated CSMs who own that pilot experience with very different KPIs than what our regular CS teams CSMs do. Because we realize that that even in that pilot, we don't want to treat those customers as customers. They are still prospects who are very serious about evaluating. So the moment we made that mind shift change mindset change that they are no longer customers. They're still prospects. They've just paid us some amount to test this out. Immediately, the fear of loss of losing them is so high that we had to have a dedicated team focusing on it. A completely different playbook. We call a pilot playbook that we run. Right? Which is a 180 degree shift from what the CS CSMs do because they focus on multiple different things. They're focusing on long term projects. Whereas a pilot CSM is focusing on weekly successes, monthly successes, or quarterly success. Right? So so that's a change that we brought. But to answer your initial question, at the moment, every single stakeholder who owns an account has a specific section that our ops team has made within Salesforce that they're required to fill out before the handover of an account can be done. So that's the first basic step that we take. Then, of course, each team has their own internal platforms that they keep updating to make sure that we always stay on top. Are we 100% there? I I don't think so, but we are very close to making sure that there are as little leaks as possible in in in date. Yeah. Implementing People Analytics Solutions for Enterprise Clients [00:18:09] Adil Saleh: Mhmm. Yeah. I mean, things, things will come into play while you were, doing for scale in the SMB. Since you mentioned in the beginning, you're trying to go more towards the enterprise, which which I know makes sense now because, you know, it's more of a hands on implementation. It's people analytics. You gotta make sure they they they seem like it's must must have, a solution. It's not nice to have solution, and it's mostly with companies that are at least, 500, 600 employees, team members, and it it makes sense. So now thinking of, you know, this big of, account, like, lifetime value of a customer, and you are implementing Salesforce, you must be using any kind of, sales training or sales intelligence platform that, automatically, summarize the conversations and gives you some summarized key takeaways. So it saves time, account executives. What is, like, what kind of bottlenecks do you have between onboarding to actually getting them to talk to the platform? [00:19:07] Bhavan Kochhar: From a customer point of view? [00:19:09] Adil Saleh: From a customer point of view. Yeah. Like, what kind of organization do you think like? Also, because you're working in different segments. Let's say in in manufacturing, it's gonna be different operations. [00:19:19] Adil Saleh: would say in, in oil and gas, it's gonna be energy. It's gonna be different implementation. Altogether different. In tech, it's gonna be altogether different. And in tech, enterprise tech, it's gonna be altogether different. So, all you guys like, I'm just trying I'm just curious. I'm not trying to investigate. [00:19:32] Bhavan Kochhar: I'm just curious. No. No. No. No. No. I'll show I'll share that. So at the moment, our 2 biggest segments that we sell into are banking and insurance and IT services and IT company. They're absolutely poles apart from each other because you imagine banking and financial, those big, rich, like technologically behind companies. Whereas IT and IT services companies always believe they're ahead of the curve. If they don't already have it, they're either talking to multiple vendors to acquire, to get someone on board, or they're trying to build something of their own. So they'll always believe that they know what, what they're getting into. So to deal with both of these, and I'm going to focus on these 2, because that's about 60, 70% of our current customers come from these 2 major segments. If I talk about the banking and the financial sector, what we started to learn was that if you look at any insurance, financial and banking, they're all spread out. They don't say that a one single office. They have multiple offices. They have different sort of, setups and structures across teams. They have zonal offices, city offices, multiple different things happen there. Right? So for us, the biggest challenge was how do we get people outside of the headquarters to start adopting it? Because headquarter in most banks or financial institutions would be about 10% of the total work. Now someone could be sitting in a small city, in a in a tier 3 city and has no connection to the headquarter. So how do we get them equally engaged with our platform as someone sitting in the headquarter is? Like that's a challenge for us to solve. Right? In that case, we do multiple things in the 1st 90 days. Number 1, we would have live and recorded trainings, which seems very basic and everyone does it. But we have a number of master classes as well where we'll get people together and we'll, we'll do in person trainings and in person, classes for them and help them understand what value they drive out of it. So that's the first step we do. As a second step, we don't just stick with the CHR who is our primary CXO in terms of getting the platform adopted. We want to go to multiple CXOs and get their buy in as well. We've seen our experience tells us that in all our customers, when multiple, a CTO, a CRO, all of these folks are also involved and invested in Amber, including the CEO. Their teams are equally invested in this. So we never stop at just making sure that our, our main CXO, which is the CHRO is happy and invested. We want to make sure if he or she is invested, we also get the other CXOs equally invested into this and they see value in this. Because the moment we're able to do that, then scaling is very easy because in the app, the initial app engines are out and they know why they're doing it. Right? Mhmm. Whereas in IT, [00:22:12] Adil Saleh: so Like, what's what's their stake in in that process, like, for for the customer? Like, do they pay for it? Like, do you have any kind of, fee, like implementation fee? Sure. Things. [00:22:22] Bhavan Kochhar: We do. We do have a one time implementation fee, and that which is always at the start. Our integrations are pretty basic. Our major integration source is always their HRMS or the HRIS that they're using. Our implementations are anywhere between 6 6 weeks to about 8 weeks, for enterprises, where we're able to go from day 1 of the kickoff call with the implementation specialist to the go live date. And it has a multi it has multiple different steps, including consulting with our people science team, which is about a 2 to 3 week, process for an enterprise. So that, that is a part of the implementation. Some of our customers actually opt for additional consulting as well. When they see there is there isn't enough in house expertise or when they're truly trying to solve a problem that they have invested in and haven't been able to solve. And then now need someone to come in and help out. So then someone from our people science team, one of our consultants would jump in and they'll spend, they'll do different sort of programs or courses with them. So we have programs and courses for managers, for leaders, overall for, for, for engagement and experience. So so this may be ensured that they're not they're never looked upon as a SaaS vendor or a platform that is a plug in play that you launched. And then they'll only come back at the time of the annual renewal because we understand if we ever had to let go of a customer like that, they're gone. They're gone. So you want to make sure that they, we stay equally invested as they are. And with, like, I'm like, we were talking earlier, with AI, the world is changing so fast that so many new tools and technology is coming out every single week that we're learning about. And really the focus is how do we make sure we are adopting that quicker than our customers are? And we're letting them know that, Hey, this is something that we have for you. You don't have to worry about it. We'll give it to you. So yeah. So that's essentially what we do at the moment. Sales Strategy for Enterprise Accounts and Team Structure [00:24:11] Adil Saleh: This is quite inspiring the way that you are making people realize the value, like c suite executives. And Yep. You're talking about c suite executive people that managing, like, 60, 70 people at once in one team. Like, across organizations getting more than 500 people. And, you know, helping them realize value and buying their time is the biggest biggest gig. You know? The first step is buying their time. And that's not easy. That's a hard sell, today to this day. So now thinking about your sales motion, what kind of, like is that more of a, you know, traditional outreach? What's your kind of, like, sales strategy? Like, how you go about things? Like, we see people use ZoomInfo, Apollo. There's so many platforms, Clay. That's that's a very good platform for prospecting and data enrichment and all that. What is it that work for you? Because a lot of these folks listening, they are wondering about Sure. [00:25:02] Bhavan Kochhar: Sure. We use we use tools that most people who will be listening use Outreach, Apollo, a mix of various other tools for, for, for writing better emails. HubSpot. My, my AE team uses HubSpot quite a lot. They don't use Outreach as much. They use more of HubSpot for their calls, sequences. SDR team uses a lot of [00:25:24] Adil Saleh: Is it is it outbound or is it inbound? Is it more [00:25:27] Bhavan Kochhar: It's a mix. It's a mix. Like, we were talking before the podcast. So each AE and SDR pairing has an account book. So we have a 1 on 1 mapping for SDRs and AEs. We've tried multiple combinations, including if we have a 4 people team, 2 people doing outbound, 2 people doing inbound. We've tried all combinations you can think of. The best combination that's worked out is 1 to 1 pairing of an SDR and AE so they can plan their next 6 months or 12 months on how they want to go about. So every enterprise account executive has an account book, which has about 60 odd accounts. 25% of those accounts, they have chosen themselves. The remaining 75% have been given to them by RevOps. Because I remembered when I was an AE and and RevOps would give me my account book, I would never be happy with it. Right? So we made a change and we said 25% of your account book you can choose. No one will question you because that's the accounts you've chosen. Our market research team will do research on it. We'll use Apollo. We'll use multiple other tools, we'll give you the data. Right? 75% of that is [00:26:29] Adil Saleh: used to your thoughts. You thought. Yeah. [00:26:31] Bhavan Kochhar: Yeah. Yeah. So we had to do that. We do the same thing for our mid market team as well. They also run on our account book, but we also have a strong inbound motion running at the moment. And we do get, quite a quite a few, inbound interest coming in as well, which is then taken up by the SDR, which works on a on a round robin on a router. Okay. And they also get passed on to, to the to the to the respective rep. But, yes, mid market and enterprise at at the moment How much of it I've made a few talk about Mhmm. Strategies for Successful Outbound Sales [00:27:00] Adil Saleh: I'm sorry. There's a little lag. Go ahead. I'm sorry. [00:27:03] Bhavan Kochhar: Go for it. Go for it. Sorry. Go for it. [00:27:04] Adil Saleh: Yeah. So once like, you're talking about outbound. How much of it is, like, intent based? Like, of course, regular cold outreach is not gonna work. Like, there's so much here. Everybody's Absolutely. Through emails and, you know, LinkedIn messages and all. So how do you do you make it work? Like, intent based, like, you you understand the data. Is it more manual? What what kind of is it help us understand that. [00:27:29] Bhavan Kochhar: There there is intent based. No doubt about it. There are number of different things, that we look at. We spoke about ABM (Account-based-marketing), and I think every sales and marketing podcast I go to, someone mentions the word ABM. We've tried our little hand at ABM too for enterprises, where we've tried to engage our stakeholders through multiple different things. If so essentially what we did was, we asked each account executive to pick the top 10 accounts that were their dream accounts for the year that they wanted to get into. Right? And that could be basis, like you said, intent, which would be how many people from their org had engaged with our content. They had visited our website. All of those things. They may or may not be in our pipeline, but they've engaged with our content. Follow our LinkedIn page. Right? Have people in their teams who have worked with inFeedo customers in the past. So our ex admins as we call them. Right? So all of these intent markers we shared with them and we said, now come up with 8 to 10 accounts that you truly want us to double down on. So once we identified those accounts, which came up to a list of 80 accounts at the time, What our marketing then did was we started truly targeting them. For example, inviting their CXC suits for podcast, LinkedIn lives, events, if they were attending an event, making sure one of our C suite was at the event to meet them. So for a good 6 months, we did everything we could possibly do, inviting them for buying and dying sessions, for round tables. Like, we we went all out on those 80 accounts to make sure. And our goal was that 25% of those accounts have to enter active evaluation pipeline in a 6 month period. So that was the that was the goal we set. We actually ended up [00:29:03] Adil Saleh: So these are the KPIs. Mhmm. [00:29:05] Bhavan Kochhar: Yeah. We we did end up achieving those goals, but but in terms of what we did for for these accounts was go really deep. Like but the intent markers were always there. Always. Without intent markers, I mean, I think that used to happen 10 years ago when I I was in SDR when you will get a list of 100 accounts and we call and email all of them. We've we've all done that. We've all done that. It doesn't work. Discussion on Enterprise Growth Metrics in Banking and Tech Sectors [00:29:26] Adil Saleh: Yeah. Yes. And we're we we for our own product, like, we are also a start up. We're very small. Like, we just launched 6 6, 7 months back. And, we're Mhmm. We're building our sales operation and everything, and that is why I was asking for myself. I really appreciate that you've been in deep, with that. No problem. Any help that I would need, I would reach you out of have your 10, 15 minutes, sir. [00:29:48] Adil Saleh: You know, talk with me on that. So now thinking about inFeedo, of course, you're here for Gong. So, now as a VP, what are what what kind of growth metrics only on the enterprise segment? Do you have I know it's very, very hard to forecast. It's very, very hard to, a lot of times, measure because when an industry change, the shift changes, the the first runners are gonna be the enterprises. You might be seeing a lot of layoffs since, you know, in the past few [00:30:15] Bhavan Kochhar: years. Yeah. [00:30:16] Adil Saleh: So how do you see the industry in the enterprise segment, especially on the on the banking and, tech sector, which you are targeting, as of now? Sure. [00:30:24] Bhavan Kochhar: Sure. How do If I'm being honest, I think I I think the banking and tech sectors stayed strong. And I I and I talk mostly about the region we sell into, which is India and APAC at the moment. US, we've only been a few months that we started, working into US enterprise. Even in US, our focus is companies above 10,000 employees, nothing below that. We feel the there's too many people in that market, so we don't wanna go there. But if you ask me, like, in Asia, especially, I think, the banking segment and insurance and financial segments have done really well. So we haven't seen those many layoffs or or or a concern in terms of of of spending for the right product, if I put it that way, or the right platform. However, I think what we have noticed and something we were talking earlier is a lot more diligence happening now because of OpenAI also coming in. Because banks are regulated by, the central bank. They have multiple regulations. So that's where we're we're we're truly fighting a battle with IT, infosec, compliance teams, because OpenAI has become such a hot topic at the moment that no matter how compliant we are, we have servers in in multiple regions. It the those conversations, now we're learning. We don't have to wait till the last to the end of the sales cycle. Compliance has to come in very, very early in the sales cycle. Because we had some of our absolute commit deals, which right from us to our CEO of banking on to happen, got pushed just because AI concerns were brought up. Some concerns are valid. I absolutely agree that it needs to be addressed, but some just come from the fear of listening to what someone else has told told them. So we had to make sure that those were those were addressed much faster than anything else. But if you ask me what is our focus as as a team in the enterprise and what conversations we today have, Our conversations are simple. We wanna close accounts with landing ARPA's above a certain threshold. Okay? As much as we love the land and expand, for this year, our focus is land big. We feel we've reached a stage after 7 years of working with enterprises that we don't we don't need someone's validation that we will start small and grow because we've shown enough success with all their peers and everyone around in their industry to say that you can start big and be confident. We can support you. Even if you had to launch with 50,000 employees on day 1, we'd be there. Earlier, we would have apprehension that, okay, if we close someone, which was we have one of our customers who has over a 100,000 employees. 3 years ago, we would say, hey. Let's launch in batches. Let's do 15,000 every month, and then over 6 months, let's do it. But today, we're confident. So we're we're challenging people to ask them, why do you not wanna try out with other people? So that's a mental muscle we're trying to build. And in reality, you know how difficult it is for a for a salesperson when they have to challenge a prospect who's saying, I wanna sign. But it's saying, no, no, no. I won't let you sign on this. I wanted to sign on that. So that's the mental muscle today that we're trying to work on and build. It's okay to say no to a small account, but work on a really big one. Like, close some of the dream accounts over the next 12 months. Employee Retention in Enterprise: A Conversation with Bhavan Kochhar [00:33:36] Adil Saleh: Yeah. I must say, like, I've been doing this podcast for about 3 years now. I've met a a lot of founders, a few, you know, CCOs as well, VPs, as well. This is one of the most hardcore sales sales motion that I've I've seen. And, you know, it's it's similar to, you know, what we used to do back in 2010. Used to cold call people. And the first question you asked, hey. Who are you? Why are you calling? So it was it was that, and we used to, you know, we used to make sure that we we end up selling it. So, yeah, I mean, it is tough and I really appreciate it. My heart goes out to, you know, all the, you know, effort that you're putting into this. And still thinking about about going big in enterprise segment, because there's no point. As you mentioned, it doesn't make sense. So now one last question before, I set you free is, like, employee retention. 3 years back, it was not that big of a concern. Now at on one side, you see AI replacing people. A lot of people say there's gonna be prompt engineers more than, you know, full stack or front end developers or website developers or all of that. It's gonna be it's gonna be replaced by it's on the design and content side. It's gonna be replacing 60%, 70% of the content provider's job. You can still do, like, you know, cut off, like, 80% of your content team as a tech company in the 1st 3 years despite all of this. How do you see the employee retention part playing a role? Is that still a big problem in enterprise? Because we don't get to speak a lot, you know, leaders Sure. Working with enterprise. This is so and [00:35:12] Bhavan Kochhar: I feel this is a question which is closest to our heart. And every time we walk into a meeting, and when when our prospects starts talking about attrition, naturally, we get excited if they have high attrition because they're gonna buy our product. Okay? However, it's it's imperative we go deeper into understanding where the attrition's happening and is it truly a concern. Attrition as an overall or bringing down headcount as an overall, like you rightly said, with AI over the course of the years, many roles may get impact. It's the reality. However, enterprises overall don't care about attrition as much as they care about attrition with specific pockets. Attrition when they've hired a niche talent. Someone it took them 6 months to hire decides to walk out. Right? That's a challenge for an for an enterprise. A challenge for an enterprise is when a bunch of high performers decide to move out and go to a competitor. Right? So for us, addressing that attrition is much more important than saying, hey. Today, our attrition stands at 40%. It can come down to 30%. That's not the game we wanna be in. We'd rather be in a game that we understand that where what attrition truly impacts a company. And we can make a dent in that. We're talking to a lot of banks right now where attrition happens the maximum in a 0 to 6 months. Right? It's a huge cost for the bank because they're investing money in hiring these people. A lot of them being, being MBAs and and holding great degrees, but then moving out after 3, 4 months of training. So not being productive at all for the bank. Right? Can we focus on that area? So if I could summarize attrition overall or headcount coming down overall, yes, it will have a short term impact on us. But for us, our true value proposition is not to make sure your engagement across the board happens, but it's truly it happens where it matters for you is how I would I would put it. [00:37:07] Adil Saleh: Yeah. And it's still gonna be as big of a problem for enterprises like All these fantastic Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Google. Yeah. All all these they are still thinking about retaining their c suite as much as they were back in, back in the years. Sure. So I really appreciate, your time, and and it has so much to learn. You know, for me, because I was consistently learning and listening closely to you, and I'll definitely check it back. But once it's out, I really appreciate your time. You are doing an exceptional job, and and the way that you were doing it in such a quick span, like, 7 years is not big, doing enterprise sales with a company of, of scale as as you are and the kind of problems that you've got. I was looking at your product as well. And, you know, I'm going to definitely take a demo, for some of the Absolutely. Companies that we talked to. We have, one company named DevZinc, back in Pakistan, and they are expanding like thunderstorm. Like, they are Amazing. You know, they are one of the employee machines. They are so they have a big people force. So there's just a lot that, you know, you know, they'll they'll have to look up the ones they do as well. You know? Excellent. [00:38:12] Bhavan Kochhar: Podcast. Thank you so much for having me, man. Thank you so much for having me. It was wonderful chatting with some great questions you asked. And yeah. Have a have a wonderful day and thanks again. Take care. Bye.

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