Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Nathan’s tryst with Enterprise solution sales

Nathan is trying hard to break the shackles and get through with his first deal in some time. He gets a lead for a solution where his organisation is not a very strong player; in fact, they are one of the many solution providers in the market. To make it even worse, they are late in the game and the competition has already got their set pieces in place. Nevertheless, Nathan throws his hat in the middle and wants to give it a shot.

The opportunity is qualified as there is a sure shot need for the solution. The prospect is eagerly evaluating the vendors and Nathan carries a solution that should fit in the prospect’s needs. Now he tries to sort out his pieces of the jigsaw puzzle, called Sales process and its requirements. On one hand, Nathan is aware; their story for that solution is not great, even though, their solution meets the prospects needs and requirements. On the other, his relationship in the account is still at its infancy. 2 basic ingredients for the sales process were weak as Nathan decided to get into the game.

To overcome these challenges, Nathan decided to stay in the prospect’s place, spend some quality time with them. This would not only give him a chance to build rapport with the prospect, but also allow him to get hold of so much quality information. Be it, key requirements from the solution to competitive landscape to the prospect’s thought process and views on Nathan, his solution and his company, and last but not the least the list of key decision makers, all were the gold mine of information that would help Nathan in his sales pursuit.

Now came the hardest part. As Nathan decided to stay put and continue his struggle, he tried to meet up with some relevant folks at the prospect’s organisation. He called them up, sent some emails, requesting to catch up at their office or for a cup of coffee nearby. But nothing materialised. Each time he called, either they would say they are busy or they have nothing much or new to share. His quest to gather information that could help in the pursuit was going nowhere.

Nathan was completely disheartened. His idea of staying back to get the relationship going was not working at all. To a typical sales guy, he got all the more doubtful of this whole engagement. There were questions in his mind, all of a different nature. Is this selection stage managed and there is a vendor who is already selected (at least unofficially)? Do they not like us? What is the problem? What hinders their willingness (or not?) to meet me? Where is the problem? Questions were many, but answers none. 2 days had already gone by and nothing really had happened. To make matters worse, Nathan’s response to the prospect’s requirements in terms of a proposal has to go out in a few days time. This lack of time compounded the problems around him.

Nathan continued his struggle against the indifferent behaviour of the prospect. And finally, on the 4th day of being continuously bombarded by calls and emails, the mid management guy from the prospect agreed to oblige Nathan. They met over a cup of coffee and Nathan got going. They spent close to an hour together and Nathan made notes as he spoke. At the end of it, Nathan was a happy man and could figure out some pieces of the jigsaw puzzle he was trying to solve. A more confident Nathan came out of the coffee shop.

Better armed, Nathan called up his team and shared the information. They decided to use that information in their proposal and draft their responses accordingly. The proposal was to go out in 5 days. Nathan and team started to work on the proposal. And meanwhile, Nathan continued his push to meet more people from the prospect’s side. To his good luck, he could meet another important person the next day. After being able to gloss over some important information over the last 2 days, Nathan decided to go back to his place and get the proposal ready.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Team India we are proud of you!! We will be there with you, always!!

Well, the title of this post would have set the record straight; however, I want to put in a disclaimer, right at the start. The thoughts are abound in my mind, however, they all still say the same – Team India, I am proud of you! I am really happy at the way you fought during the CWC15 and will continue to cheer you and myself the moment you land on the ground in India colours.

When we started the CWC15, no one gave India an iota of chance to reach the Semis, leave alone the fascinating things they did on the way (may be for some, beating Pakistan was a given ).

Well, I always believed Team India would do good, but not the way they did. Topping the Pool looked difficult for sure, when you have supremely talented South Africa and ever unpredictable Pakistan for company.

Let’s talk about some pre-CWC form, while Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane had an excellent Australian summer with some exquisite innings in tests, they struggled to carry the same form into the triangular ODI series just before the CWC. And to add to this misery, none of the other batsmen had a good time in Australia, be it the tests or the ODIs. Everyone believed in the Indian batting line-up for their talent always. However, the real problem for MS Dhoni was his bowling ammunition. His strike bowlers were neither able to hunt wickets nor able to control the run flow. And then, his key strike bowler (whom he has always believed in), R. Ashwin, seemed to have lost faith in his own abilities and struggled in most of the matches he played in Australia until the CWC.

With this baggage and poor pre-CWC form, it does look tremendous how Team India had performed throughout the CWC15. Scoring back-to-back 300+ scores against the Pakistani and South African attack was as equally worthy as taking wickets regularly all throughout, until the Semis. Taking all wickets on offer continuously for 7 matches took everyone by a pleasant surprise and made the 7-0 score line possible that we die-hard Team India fans would always cherish.

As a fan, I can’t comment on what made this turnaround happen. Was it some mental coaching? Or Was it playing so long in Australia that worked to India’s advantage? Or was it playing in the CWC that lifted the game of Team India suddenly? I don’t have an answer. Experts, ex-players, all may have their own reasoning behind this resurgence and performance in the CWC...but for a fan, I was so happy to see those performances coming through and always proud of those wins! Here, I must give credit to the team management (MS Dhoni, Ravi Shastri, Duncan Fletcher) and selectors (more to the team management), for believing in the team they had and taking them to the CWC, in spite of their poor form. One may say, thats the best they had...but they still believed in them. It’s so easy to react and change when the chips are down.

I don’t remember an Indian match during this CWC, which I didn’t watch throughout, or I didn’t have fun tweeting or commenting about on Facebook. It was my team which was performing and it was them and me having fun alike. For my team, it was fun giving those performances and winning, and for me, it was fun for me enjoying those performances on the TV and social media alike. It all worked like a charm. Oh it went to the extent, that my friends started making fun of me, for my such regular tweets and hashtags (some called me hashtag Gandhi ). Guys, I enjoyed every bit of it :)

The question now is to each one of you, who call themselves, the followers of, fans of Team India and those who were so proud of their team reaching the Semis of CWC15 – what suddenly changed with one match that we lost, that led to the outrage that we have seen over the last few days? Yes, we lost, but we lost to the better team. Yes, that ended our CWC15 journey, but it would end for all but 1 team anyway. Just that, ours ended a few days earlier. Its sports, and one wins and the other loses.

The other day, when Pakistan lost to us, there was equally bad outrage by Pakistan fans in Pakistan. There was media coverage and reports of people burning Pakistan players’ effigies and thrashing their TV sets. And we Indian laughed at them, made fun (at least on social media) at such foolishness. Some of us also criticised such behaviour. And now, we are doing the same thing to our own team. I am sure; there would be many a Pakistani who would be laughing at our expense. Well, leave that for a moment, thats their problem.

Team India needs support of its fans. We fans need them equally too. This is some sort of a symbiotic relationship that we have. Team needs their fans to support them always, pep them to perform better. And fans need their teams’ performances which they can cherish and at times, also have some fun amongst themselves on social media, like I and many of my ilk had during the CWC15. It is this time, they need us the most, and we must do the needful.

As a fan, I am at pains reading news articles which say security has been beefed up outside MS Dhoni's house or Rohit Sharma's house or for that matter, social media's toast (or roast, since that sounds familiar to many :)) since he played that fateful pull shot to Mitchel Johnson, Virat Kohli. We as a society should introscept, should reflect upon ourselves and see, is this we want to give back to our team who fights, not for themselves, but for ourselves, for our country.

All said and done, we lost to a better team on the 26th. Look at the way they batted all through out, especially in the last 7-8 overs. Those, Faulkner shots, Johnshon cameo made the difference in the first innings. Not only that, the way they bowled, just superb. Some of the best death bowling one would ever see, and when the rules of the game are simply not in your favour. None of our middle over batsmen were able to get singles, let alone score freely. It feels bad to lose and more so to the Aussies in a CWC Semis, however, we lost to a better team. And overall, we should be proud of the Team India's, our team's performance all throughout CWC15.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Are the best 4 in the semis?

Are the 4 semi finalists the best teams in the CWC15? If you look on paper and at pre-tournament form, probably Not. In fact, there would have been many eyebrows raised if someone would have predicted India to be amongst the Top 4. Though, 2 of the world’s best batsmen ever, predicted this list of Top 4.

Now, looking at the performance of the teams in the CWC15 so far, these 4 are by far the best teams. Very predictable and more or less consistent performances from them and no wonder, the batsmen and bowlers from these teams are holding the top few slots in all the statistics charts for the CWC15. Even some of the best catches are from these teams only. How can one forget the acrobatic Baz at the boundary or Rilee Rossouw and AB catching some beauties, or MS Dhoni taking a diving catch behind the stumps or may be the excellent slip catching by the Aussies.

While, South Africa was the first team to reach the Semis, they have been a bit off-shade when put under pressure. Consider the India match, when, their bowlers were taken to task and their batsmen were made to chase 300+. Or their match against Pakistan, where up against a quality bowling attack, chasing a modest total, they lost the game. Take Amla, and AB out of the equation, their batting line-up looks easy to get. They can buckle down under continuous pressure. They have a bowling unit, who can win you matches from nowhere. And their fielding always adds 20-30 additional runs.

India was the second team to partner South Africa in the Semis line-up. No one would have given India a chance for CWC15 before the world cup – all because of their woeful form. Famed batting line-up was not cracking at all and Virat Kohli who was in a purple patch in the Aussie Test series, suddenly lost touch in the Triangular ODI series against Australia and England. And then, their bowling, everyone lambasted them right, left and centre. But cometh the CWC and cometh the best performances from this team. They have hunted in packs. All batsmen have scored and scored together. All bowlers have bowled superbly and again together. They have gotten 70 wickets from 7 matches and none of their bowlers have ripped through the opposition. All have gelled together to hunt down the opposition. And to top it all with some brilliant ground fielding and catching, India are on a roll, with 7 out of 7 in CWC15. Their biggest problem still is their bowling. Can this bowling attack taken on the Aussie juggernaut?

Aussies, are one of the per-tournament favourites and they have lived to that billing so far. They have produced, some ruthless performances, except against their Trans-Taman rivals, New Zealand. That game was anybody’s and the lucky one scraped through. Their batting had not really clicked big thus far, especially, they top 2. Though, Aron Finch and David Warner have a century each in CWC15, however, they haven’t done anything worthwhile by their lofty standards. Its been mostly the middle order and the last middle order which has worked for them beautifully. Their bowling attack is excellent, which has worked marvellously for them so far, with Mitchel Starc at the top of the ladder for CWC15 with 18 wickets so far. Other bowlers have been contributing regularly too. The only problem they might face, especially at SCG is the lack of a quality spinner. So far, they have worked with Glenn Maxwell, who is not a regular bowler. Their attack looks one dimensional in that sense and much would depend upon the pitch for the March 26th game.

The New Zealanders are also having a ball. Unusual pre-tournament favourites, and not being the dark horse like during the previous CWCs, the Kiwis have played some good cricket. But I believe, they can also falter under pressure, as was visible during their match against Australia. Other than that match, they have not really been tested too so far in the CWC15. Whats been working from them are the starts that Baz has been able to give them. And with Williamson also in excellent form, they marched past during the initial league phase. And then Guptill rose to the occasion and scored a century and a double century in the QF. Their bowling has been too good, with Boult and Southee knocking everyone over. And Daniel Vettori has been magnificent as always.

In the first semi-final between New Zealand and South Africa at the smallish Eden Park at Auckland, it will be fun to see how the Kiwi bowlers who have been fabulous so far in CWC15 rise up to the challenge posed by AB and Hashim Amla. And how the arguably the best bowler in the world, Dale Steyn work against the Baz onslaught. For me the result of these duels will decide how this match progresses. And of course, how they handle such pressure. For NZ, it should be to apply continuous pressure at all times, as the team from the Rainbow nation is known to not handle pressure well.

The second semi-final between the hot favourites and home team Australia and team with the momentum, India should be a spectacle to watch. A lot will depend on how the laid in pitch behaves at the marvellous SCG. Already, there are calls for a local team supportive pitch suited for fast bowlers. Traditionally, SCG pitch supports spin bowling and let’s see how the curator acts on the 26th. It is a 50-50 game, with Aussies having a slight advantage due to home conditions and a lethal bowling team. A lot will also depend on how Indian new ball bowlers handle the attacking Warner and co upfront. I believe it has to be the same approach, as so far, for Indian bowlers in the CWC15 –take wickets regularly. And the same approach for the batsmen – don’t give too many wickets at the start, settle down and one batsmen out of the top 3 should bat through. For Australia, it should be the same too, else, this match can go out of your hands anytime. India has a great momentum by their side. Let’s see a full house on Thursday.

For me, this CWC dominated by the batsmen, with so many 300+ scores, 400+ 6s hit and 2 double centuries already, the fate of the semi-finals and then the finals will be decided by the bowlers. And that’s the irony of the CWC15. Or may be that says it all – sports is a great leveller. There will always be a balance somewhere and that’s so interesting and heartening to see.

All in all, a stupendous semi-final line-up, which should live up to the expectations of the fans. Crunch times for equals. From here on, it’s only about performing on that day. Who handles and manages the pressure of the CWC semi-final will come out trumps. And may the best teams win.

The world lost another Shining Soul, a True Leader today!

“This is not a game of cards. This is your life and mine.” He thundered at a rally – really? But then, he needed that to raise a sense of ownership amongst the people who were reeling under the onslaught that separation from the then Malaysia had led them into. And he profoundly did so. Such was his fierce sense of duty to the people he served selflessly until the last days of his life. A duty steadfastly led by a desire to build an equal and just Singapore, a tiny island with no natural resources or military power for that matter.

Against near impossible circumstances, he led a fledgling fishing village from third world to first, a place where the original flag bearers of the first world, throng to and be part of the glory today.  While his wisdom, thoughts, knowledge on everything about Singapore is well documented, it was his sheer determination that made things happen. He often stated that the only thing Singapore has is people and its strong work ethic and the Singapore of today is an absolute testimony of the same belief and ideology.

A statesman to the core, he was always consulted by the global leaders, on any Asian matter. From Henry Kissinger to Richard Nixon to Margaret Thatcher, all had praises for his clarity of thought and leadership acumen.

He was a true visionary that made Singapore, one of the best places to live in...I as a proud resident of Singapore, who has lived the Singaporean way for the past 6 years and been to many places across the globe, can vouch for.

As a fellow Singapore resident, I bid farewell to this extraordinary man, Mr Lee Kuan Yew. In the shimmering landscape of Singapore, we remember not just a remarkable world leader, but the man who gave a tiny sea hamlet an identity to be proud of. And that will forever be his legacy. Rest in Peace, Mr Lee Kuan Yew.