Merchant Media Limited
Business Barons
NEWS: 20
Axis Acquires Leading Video Analytics Provider
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Apple and Microsoft among US tech giants
reaping interest payments on offshore cash
Business Barons 5
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NASSCOM Foundation exhibits best of Social
General Election: Lib Dems lead list of donations in Britain’s top 20
marginal seats, Tories third
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Years of Beautiful
Social selling-The Paradigm Shift
to Social Selling
The findings are part of a study
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fined by BBC electoral data. It
is a repeat of a previous Bureau
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marginals and that these fi-
nances were being deployed
against precarious Lib Dem
Business Barons 6
Essa Merchant is Managing Director of Advanced Group, a trusted and reputed
name in
India’s telecom industry. Having been in the business for the past two
decades, he has vast knowledge of mobile telephony-the products, the marketing
strategies, business operation models, as also regulatory requirements applicable to
the industry. He is well known in Cellular and Consumer Electronics circles, and now
is all set to become the provider of an alternative distribution network across India
for mobile phone manufacturers. He is also all set to venture into manufacturing
Business Barons profiles this young business achiever:
f mobile technology powers
the future of e-commerce and
m-commerce in India, it is the
handsets – and their distribu-
tion networks – which ensure
that India’s mobile telephony
reaches the citizens, in turn, helping
power the growth of India’s econ-
omy. Among those who were pio-
neers in the distribution of mobile
handsets right from the inception of
mobile phones in India, Essa Mer-
chant belongs to the soft-spoken,
media-and-publicity-shy personali-
ties. And yet, through all these
years, it is the silent work and
achievements done by people like
him, which ensured the success of
the mobile phone revolution in
Essa Merchant started out as the
fifth generation of a business family
and joining the family business was
an option always open to him. It was
something he could have made his
mark in, but he chose to go along a
different path. At the time when
pagers were the high-point of the
Indian communications scene –
fixed land-lines and cordless phones
were the only other aspect of com-
munications then. Essa Merchant
started out by retailing pagers, then
started work on a distribution net-
work when mobile telephony en-
tered India. “Pagers were around as
the only truly mobile messaging so-
lution in India for a short time, mo-
bile phones came in and offered
voice telephony along with texting,
which was largely responsible for
pagers losing a large chunk of the
Business Barons
Computers & Mobiles India Pvt Ltd.
Business Barons 8
ESSA MERCHANT, MD, Advanced Computers & Mobiles India Pvt Ltd, along with his team members.
market space,” he recalls.
Learning new nuances of business
while setting up a distribution network
for pagers in South Central Mumbai’s
by-lanes, the teenager had grown into a
young man who wanted to move on and
be a part of the next stage of India’s te-
lephony revolution: the mobile phone.
“This was a period when India’s econ-
omy was opening up, and the commu-
nication revolution was sweeping
across the nation. It was a matter of
time before the network for distributing
pagers would also be effective in dis-
tributing mobile phone hand-sets,” he
The first break came because mo-
bile connections, initially, were distrib-
uted by the companies in form of
bundling hand-sets and a SIM card with
in-built talk-time. In Mumbai, dealers
of one of the mobile service providers
faced a problem: some of their cus-
tomers wanted just the SIM card, oth-
ers just the hand set. The service
providers model was simple: bundled
hand set and SIM card with in-built
talk-time. At that time, the service
providers were not willing to unbundle
the ‘package’, so there was a need for
someone who would pick up the hand-
sets from the dealers and then, distrib-
ute them to other re-sellers/ end users.
This was a business opportunity which
was spotted by Essa Merchant’s busi-
ness acumen, and he worked hard at it.
“The mobile phone service
providers at the beginning, in the Mum-
bai Circle, were Hutch and BPL Mo-
bile,” he recalls. “Initially I explored
the re-distribution aspect of both, but it
ended up with me becoming the buyer
– distributor – reseller of handsets
which had been bundled with the SIM
card and in-built talk-time by BPL Mo-
bile. So, BPL Mobile would send a con-
signment to its dealers from whom I
would pick up the handsets - the SIM
cards they would sell, and I had noth-
ing to do with that aspect,” recalls Essa
Merchant. His distribution network be-
came legendary in India’s commercial
capital, to the extent that re-sellers
from other states would come to Mum-
bai searching for Essa Merchant, to get
hand-sets which they could sell in their
home markets.
The distribution network was a suc-
cess largely because of two reasons:
first, Essa Merchant was always ‘hands
on’ and was involved in practically
every aspect of the business; and sec-
ondly, when faced with challenges, his
solutions were ‘out of the box’. For ex-
ample, he created a group of 12 bikers,
who were the back-bone of his distri-
Business Barons 9
bution network’s speedy delivery sys-
tem. The bikers came from economi-
cally marginalized families, so in a
manner, Essa Merchant helped them
move out of poverty, while also setting
up arguably, Mumbai’s most speedy
distribution network for mobile phones.
“I remember telling the commercial
head of a mobile company that if
wanted, at any location in Mumbai, my
distribution network would ensure the
required number of handsets would
reach within a maximum of two hours.
The distribution system was working so
well, this was actually the truth,” he re-
It was time to consolidate and grow,
and Essa Merchant moved on from dis-
tributing handsets of just one mobile
phone service provider to also provid-
ing a distribution set-up for hand-set
manufacturers and their dealers in
India. “It was a logical progression,” he
says. “The businessman in me was hun-
gry for more, and the market was open-
ing up, with new opportunities being
created. The ‘bundled hand-set and
SIM card’ days had ended, and branded
hand-sets were in demand. From a dis-
tribution network, Essa Merchant’s or-
ganization now was an integral part of
the supply chain, and the move to go
corporate came up logically. In 2011,
from the South Central Mumbai loca-
tion which he shared with his fathers
business, his company moved to its cur-
rent location, in Mumbai’s Fort area,
near the Flora Fountain. “We moved
again, from an inner lane to a building
on the main road. It has been a great
experience, and we have not looked
back,” he says.
He looks back to his days as a
school boy, remembering with a smile
that he was an ‘average’ student. In his
school days, he dreamt of becoming a
scientist, and some years later, he
changed his dream to a lawyer. Would
that have been any different? “A good
businessman works wonders in any line
or trade,” he smiles. He has enormous
respect for his elder sister who kept
him ‘disciplined’ through his school
life – which he credits with his becom-
ing a good businessman. “Focus, focus,
In the liesure time
Business Barons 10
focus,” he says with a smile. “That
writes the success story of any business
He looks back with obvious satis-
faction, having started his business ca-
reer in 1994 with ‘Advanced
Computers’, which traded in Pagers.
Subsequently, the company moved on
to trading in Cellular hand-phones.
Given his hard work and willingness to
be ‘not just a distributor but ‘a con-
tributor to the supply-chain’, the com-
pany moved on to Distribution of
Mobile phones. In 2016, he sees the
world as his goal; and having success-
fully upgraded his company from trad-
ing to distribution, it is now time to
also get into manufacturing. “Backward
integration is how I describe it,” he
says, when speaking about his own
brand, ‘Fox Mobiles’ which should be
hitting the Indian market soon.
He looks back with satisfaction at
the company’s past record: Advanced
Group has been a part of distribution
networks of premium Mobile Phone
brands like O2, Dopod, Samsung, Mo-
torola, Sony Ericsson, Philips, HTC
and BlackBerry, as also major Indian
telecom brands like Lava Mobiles and
Karbon Mobiles. At present, Advanced
Group has the National Distribution for
Lenovo range of Smart-phones. Thier
own brand, Fox Mobiles should be
going on sale this month.
With 100 Regional Distributors and
RRF’s across the region, Advanced
Group has reached more than 120
cities, increasing its reach in the mar-
ket place. Advanced Group also deals
with LFRs (Large Form Retailers) in 19
If you thought the success story
was just about being a distributor, wait,
there’s more! Apart from being a part
of the supply chain network, Advanced
Group has provided services to almost
all the major Corporate Companies
across India when it comes to mobile
telephony solutions, from ACC Ltd.,
Bharati AXA Life Insurance, CA
(India) Technologies Ltd., E. I.
Dupont, Morgan Stanley, India Bulls
Group, Monsanto India Ltd., Reliance
Industries Ltd., SPE Films India Pvt.
Ltd. and Castrol India Ltd. Similarly,
major Banks like Citibank, HDFC
Bank, HSBC, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank,
etc. besides a host of other sub-distrib-
utors and retailers. “We have separate
teams that deal with different seg-
ments, and the corporate sector is
among our top grossing clients,” he
Advanced Group since its incep-
tion, under the leadership of Essa Mer-
chant, has brought in many diversified
products portfolio to the mobile tele-
phone industry. Under his care and
with his vision, Advanced Group is
poised to do grow, with business esti-
mated to reach a turnover of Rs 1,500
crore over the next two years. His
dream coming true is a pan-India dis-
tribution network that is well-spread
across the nation; reaches right to the
grassroots level and then, growing be-
yond to other countries. “Dubai, Sin-
gapore, South America . . . the world
is our oyster,” he smiles.
Our uniqueness lies in the relation-
ship with vendors and dealers at all
levels across the country, he says. “We
believe in winning business by the re-
lationships we maintain and the quality
of our people. Whether in product of-
ferings, or value added propositions
like demand generation and cost effec-
tive marketing activities, or the multi-
location deliveries and billings, we
believe in strengthening partnerships.
Today, we have end to end supply
chain capabilities starting from import,
warehousing, and stock movement
across geographies to packing / repack-
ing, order processing and delivery to
parts of India where we operate, to-
gether with our own door delivery in-
frastructure,” he says.
The vision which Essa Merchant
has for Advanced Group? “To be a
prominent leader in efficient Distribu-
tion and Channel Management, in-
creasing Net Worth of the company and
building global portfolio of diversified
brands, exceeding customers’ expecta-
tions and achieving market leader-
ship,” he concludes.
ESSA MERCHANT, MD, Advanced Computers & Mobiles India Pvt Ltd, in action (Inset-some of his products)
Business Barons 11
FUTURE IS: The Internet of Things
bul, Turkey
FAVOURITE DRINK: Watermelon Juice
FAVOURITE CAR: Mercedes Benz
DREAM CAR: Bentley
hammed, Prime Minister of United Arab Emi-
FAVOURITE BRANDS: Armani; Mont Blanc
Business Barons 12
Mr. Amarendra Totade, Group
r. Amarendra Totade, CFO, is a
Chartered Accountant and has
extensive experience of more than
22 years in the area of Finance, Ac-
counts, Supply Chain Management
in various industries such as Tele-
com, Heavy Engineering, NBFC etc.
He was earlier working with compa-
nies like Reliance Communications
Ltd., Crompton Greaves Ltd., Mega
Fin (India) Ltd., to name a few. He
is heading the Accounts, Finance
and Logistics departments for the
Advanced Group. He has a proven
ability to improve business opera-
tions through Financial Manage-
ment, Cost Optimization, and
productivity improvements through
Internal Controls and processes. He
is proficient in conceptualizing and
implementing financial procedures,
including working capital manage-
ment, internal financial controls and
Mr. Nitin Pandita, All India Sales
r. Nitin Pandita is the All India
Sales Head. In addition, Ad-
vanced Group has regional man-
agers to head the regional
operations. His team is composed
of highly skilled and experienced
professionals who bring immense
knowledge from the industry. He is
an Electronics and Communication
Engineer but brings with him an ex-
pertise in Strategic Planning, Sales,
Business Development,
Channel/Distribution Management,
Team Management, Profit Centre
Management and Key Accounts
Mr. Rishi Goyal, Business Head
r. Rishi Goyal has diversified
experience across Telecom,
Mobile Phones, Retail, BPO, Oil &
Gas. He has 20 years of experi-
ence in Marketing, Sales & Busi-
ness Development with stints with
renowned organizations like The
Mobile Store, Samsung, Philips &
Vodafone. Mr.Rishi Goyal is a Lib-
eral Arts Graduate from Min-
nesota, USA.
Business Barons 13
BB: Your company started business
with pagers?
I would not say just pagers, but
would instead see it as a business that
ran on technology. I am the fifth gen-
eration in a business family, one that
has been in Mumbai since some gen-
erations now. My family business is in
commodities, specifically wood and
bamboo. I could have joined in the
family business, but commodities like
wood and bamboo were not what I
was looking for. Maybe I saw it more
as a back-up, in case my own venture
failed! My first ‘Business Risk’ was
when I started out distributing Pagers.
For me, this was the foundation of a
business that is all about technology.
Two decades later, my business is still
powered by technology.
BB: How did you set up your distri-
bution network?
I had a humble beginning. I started
by advertising about pagers in the
classified section in Mumbai’s MID-
DAY newspaper. My office was the
terrace – you could also term it a loft
of sorts - situated above my fathers
business place, in South Central
Mumbai. It was not a glamorous loca-
tion, my office was not swanky. It was
always about being focused on the
business and being hands on.
BB: Tell us something about your
‘12 Bikers’?
These 12 Bikers are part of the or-
ganization even today, although now
their work profile has evolved some-
what – some now drive four wheel ve-
hicles! But seriously speaking, I
created this group of 12 bikers be-
cause in Mumbai’s heavy traffic, a
bike is the fastest way of getting ma-
Technology Czar looks at ‘internet of things’ to dial a
successful future
Business Barons 14
terial from point A to point B. One
needs to ensure delivery ‘on time,
every time’ for a successful distribu-
tion network, and the 12 Bikers helped
ensure just that.
BB: You give importance to ethical
and commercial fundamentals?
As a company, we have built our
business on very strong ethical and
commercial fundamentals. Being ethi-
cal is important to me, and this has not
only helped us to consistently exceed
the industry growth rate, but has also
enabled us to firmly establish our-
selves as the ‘partner of choice’ with
most of our vendors and business part-
ners. Our business alliances with
major Brands of Telecom products is
achieved through unswerving trust
and mutually beneficial partnership.
BB: Let me jump ahead, to the time
you took a strategic decision about
BlackBerry handsets?
BlackBerry, a business phone and
arguably the most successful one in
its time, was a corporate segment
success story, and in India, it fol-
lowed the global trend. I anticipated
the slow down and the gradual loss of
market-share it enjoyed, given that
the Android Platform supported
Smart Phones, which had practically
all the plus points of a business
phone. We signed up a PAN India
Distribution Agreement with the Chi-
nese MNC, Lenovo India Pvt. Ltd. in
November 2012, to distribute their
Android enabled Smart phones. When
BlackBerry started to lose market-
share in India, we were already dis-
tributing the Lenovo range of
BB: Still on the topic of hand-sets,
tell us about Fox Mobiles?
Fox Mobiles is all about ‘Make in
India’. As we grew in the business of
distributing handsets for other com-
panies, there was always the option
of backward integration. Fox Mobiles
will be our new business, and we are
in the process of launching it as our
own brand. It will be a product which
will reflect the ground reality in
India’s telephony scenario. Today,
the ratio of sales of smart phones to
that of conventional mobile phones is
about 50 : 50. There is a huge market
for conventional mobile phones, es-
pecially in semi urban and rural
India. Fox Mobile will meet this re-
quirement, by providing a conven-
tional mobile phone with high-end
features, something like an airline
seat which is between the premium
and economy segments. We will
reach out to the large numbers of cus-
tomers who are looking out for such
phones by leveraging our existing
distribution network.
As I said, it is also about ‘Make
In India’, and we have plans to dis-
tribute/ sell Fox Mobiles across
India; however the targeted geogra-
phy in first phase will be Semi Urban
markets such as Jharkhand, West
Bengal, Bihar among others.
BB: What is top of the mind recall
when it comes to the future of mo-
bile telephony?
It will keep changing over the
years. The biggest scope for growth is
how mobile telephony can power the
Internet of Things. This is a topic that
fascinates me. ‘The Internet of
Things’ is the network of physical ob-
jects — devices, vehicles, buildings
and other items embedded with elec-
tronics, software, sensors, and net-
work connectivity — that enables
these objects to collect and exchange
data. It can be a car that enhances its
capacity to share information with the
user by leveraging data which it can
be connected to using a SIM card or a
Wi-Fi network. This is exciting, and
we look forward to the Internet of
Things being driven by mobile tech-
BB: So how does this differ from the
‘Internet of Everything’?
To answer this, I will rely on com-
mon resources, where the ‘Internet of
Everything’ has been defined as bring-
ing together people, process, data, and
things to make networked connections
more relevant and valuable than ever
before. It has the potential to turn in-
formation into actions that create new
capabilities, richer experiences, and
unprecedented economic opportunity
for businesses, individuals and coun-
BB: How do both of these fit into
your future plans?
Ours is a young company, and we
tend to dream big. We are not afraid to
try out even seemingly impossible
ideas, be it the ‘Internet of Every-
thing’ or ‘The Internet of Things’, to
give an example. We are driven to
make a mark in the technological
sphere as innovators.
BB: Is it ‘too quick’, ‘too fast’?
As a company, I feel we are some-
times impatient with ourselves, but
then, we also have no fear of failure.
We realize that some of the important
learning’s have come from our com-
petitive attitude, and these have be-
come stepping-stones to our most
significant successes. ‘Too quick’,
‘too fast’, I do not know, but yes, we
would love to keep moving ahead.
BB: How would you describe the
success story of Advanced Comput-
ers & Mobiles India Pvt Ltd?
We have been redefining the mar-
ket, improving processes, increasing
consumers expectations and altering
mindsets at an amazingly rapid pace.
BB: What one aspect will not be
changed regardless of your success
Well, there are a few things that
will not change, but I can think of the
passion for technology as the leading
one. I have an obsession, to build a
pan-India footprint of efficient busi-
ness operations – and also across the
BB: What is your favourite saying?
‘Heads I win, Tails we don’t lose’.
In business, one grows when others
grow too.
BB: What would be your last word
for readers?
At Advanced Group & Mobiles,
we have a commitment to target ex-
ceptionally high quality products at
affordable prices. This inspires us to
provide best services and enables us to
provide maximum value for money.
Business Barons 16
By Nick Mathiason
enator Carl Levin (above) is-
sued veiled warning to digi-
tal companies. The US
government makes vast inter-
est payments to technology
giants including Apple and Microsoft
on the billions of dollars they shelter
from tax offshore.
A trawl of Securities & Exchange
Commission (SEC) disclosures shows
that Apple, Microsoft, Google and
Cisco Systems hold $163 billion in US
government debt, earning these compa-
nies substantial sums in interest.
This means American taxpayers in
effect pay interest to tech giants on
their offshore cash which is held there
for tax reduction purposes.
There is no suggestion that any of
the companies’ activities are in any way
Estimated $124bn in US Treasuries
The Bureau estimates the cash-rich
digital companies hold $124bn in US
Treasury securities – the remaining
$39bn is held in US government agency
debt. The amount invested by Apple,
Microsoft, Google and Cisco is so large
they would collectively be the 14th
biggest overseas purchaser of Treasury
securities, above Singapore and Nor-
‘If a US multinational puts its off-
shore cash into a US bank and uses the
money to buy US treasuries, stocks and
bonds, those funds ought to be treated
as having been repatriated and subject
to US tax’
– Senator Carl Levin
In total, the four leading US digital
firms have accumulated cash, cash
equivalents and marketable securities
worth $255bn in their foreign sub-
sidiaries, which they state in SEC fil-
ings could be liable for corporation tax
if repatriated to the United States.
If this cash was brought onshore
and taxed at the current US corporation
tax rate of 35%, it would produce a
$89bn windfall for the US Treasury –
equivalent to 17% of America’s pro-
jected $514bn budget deficit this year.
Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the
Senate’s permanent subcommittee on
investigations, when made aware of the
Bureau’s findings, said: ‘If a US multi-
national puts its offshore cash into a US
bank and uses the money to buy US
treasuries, stocks and bonds, those
funds ought to be treated as having
been repatriated and subject to US tax.’
The revelation that American tax-
payers effectively pay tech firms inter-
est as they shelter hundreds of billions
from tax comes as a coalition of US
digital companies resist international
attempts co-ordinated by the OECD to
close loopholes that allow companies to
shift profits to low tax jurisdictions.
Offshore cashpile
Apple, Microsoft, Google, and
Cisco Systems hold cash, cash equiva-
lents and marketable securities on their
consolidated balance sheets totalling
$333bn, making them America’s most
cash-rich firms outside the financial
SEC disclosures by these four com-
panies shows that of this cashpile,
$255bn is held in foreign subsidiaries
that would be subject to tax if repatri-
ated to the US.
Analysis of the filings shows Amer-
ica’s technology giants invested $163
billion in US Treasury and US govern-
ment agency debt.
The overwhelming majority of this
cash, which the Bureau estimates to be
$124bn, is held directly in US Treasury
debt. The remaining £39bn is invested
in US government agency bonds.
In addition, the digital giants also
hold $93.3bn of corporate, municipal
and sovereign debt.
‘This is a ridiculous situation,’ said
University of Michigan professor of
law, Reuven Avi-Yonah. ‘The result is
US taxpayers pay interest on this
money as opposed to the government
receiving taxes. Bringing this cash on-
shore and taxing it at 35% would sig-
nificantly help reduce the annual deficit
of the US government,’ said Avi-Yonah.
Companies’ response
Apple and Microsoft among
US tech giants reaping interest
payments on offshore cash
Senator Carl Levin (above) issued veiled warning to digital companies.
Business Barons
We asked the digital companies if
they could justify a situation in which
US taxpayers hand over interest pay-
ments to companies that are avoiding
the immediate payment of US tax by
keeping cash offshore rather than repa-
triating it. Only Cisco Systems, which
holds $40.4bn of cash in foreign sub-
sidiaries and has $27.8bn in Treasury
bonds, directly addressed the issue on
the record.
The company said: ‘Cisco pays all
taxes that are due. The cash held in
Cisco’s non-US subsidiaries is gener-
ated from Cisco’s international opera-
tions. Cisco has approximately 50% of
its employees outside the US and
Cisco’s sales are approximately 50%
from non-US customers.
‘US government obligations have
long been one of the most stable in-
vestments in the world. The US Con-
gress long ago enacted laws to promote
investment in the US by individuals
and businesses overseas, including non-
US subsidiaries. Any interest income
that Cisco receives on its U.S. govern-
ment obligations is US taxable income
to Cisco.’
Apple declined to comment
other than to issue a series
of bullet points
that said:
‘We pay all the taxes we owe – every
single dollar. We not only comply with
the laws, but we comply with the spirit
of the laws. We don’t depend on tax
gimmicks. Apple carefully manages its
foreign cash holdings to support its
overseas operations in the best interests
of its shareholders. Apple pays an ex-
traordinary amount in US taxes.’
‘US government obligations have
long been one of the most stable in-
vestments in the world. The US Con-
gress long ago enacted laws to promote
investment in the US by individuals
and businesses overseas, including non-
US subsidiaries. Any interest income
that Cisco receives on its U.S. govern-
ment obligations is US taxable income
to Cisco’
The company added that it believes
it is the largest corporate income tax
payer in the US, having paid nearly $6
billion in taxes to the US Treasury in
the 2012 financial year.
Privately, some of the digital giants
state what stops them repatriating their
growing cash hordes are what they con-
sider to be a punitive 35% US corporate
tax rate. Only if the US government re-
duces the rate will they return the cash
onshore, they argue.
The United States’ federal corpo-
rate tax rate is the highest among
the OECD’s 34 member
Though a report two years ago from the
Congressional Budget Office found that
the total amount of corporate federal
taxes paid by US firms fell to 12.1% of
profits – the lowest level since 1972.
And in a number of European coun-
tries where corporate tax rates are far
lower, there is growing clamour from
politicians and campaigners for multi-
nationals such as Apple and Google to
stop shifting profits to jurisdictions
such as Luxembourg. The perfectly
legal strategy has the effect of substan-
tially reducing taxes on profits made in
lucrative consumer markets.
Microsoft is by a long way the
biggest technology sector investor in
US securities with $64.9bn tied up in
US sovereign and US government
agency debt. It is the only company of
the four that does not separate its hold-
ings between the two investments.
A Microsoft spokesman said the
company ‘complies with the tax rules
in each jurisdiction in which it operates
and pays billions of dollars each year in
total taxes, including U.S. federal,
state, and local taxes and foreign taxes.
The tax rules that we follow in the U.S.
generally provide for the deferral
of U.S. tax on the
earnings of
Business Barons 18
foreign subsidiaries until those earn-
ings are repatriated in the form of divi-
A ‘bizarre situation’
A senior international tax policy-
maker agreed that US taxpayers paying
interest to digital giants investing in US
bonds was “a bizarre situation”. The
policymaker took issue with the tech
giants argument that they defer tax pay-
ments rather than seeking to ultimately
avoid them.
‘If it’s indefinite deferral, it’s called
– Senior international tax policy-
‘If it’s indefinite deferral it’s called
avoidance,’ he said.
There is growing concern that the
huge cash mountains held by the
world’s biggest companies represent a
threat to global financial stability. Over
a thousand of the biggest US non-fi-
nancial firms hold $1.48 trillion in
cash, reported Moody’s, the credit rat-
ing agency last September. Over one
fifth of the US corporate cashpile is
held by Apple, Microsoft, Google and
Yesterday, Bloomberg reported that
the 317 largest US-based companies
have accumulated $1.95 trillion outside
the US – up 11.8% on last year.
‘We have got a new savings glut – a
corporate savings glut – and what’s
driving it is tax,’ said Cormac
Hollingsworth, research associate at the
influential UK-based Social Market
Foundation thinktank and a former sen-
ior bond trader at a leading European
‘Today we have a situation in which
activist shareholders in many of these
companies are trying to repatriate cor-
porate cash to boost shareholder value.
But what we learnt from the financial
crisis is that we should be concerned
not just about shareholder value but en-
suring we have a properly safe financial
system. We should be worried that we
have created a new glut of savings that
could lead to a repeat of the financial
crisis seven years ago.’
Apple rejects app built from the Bu-
reau’s data
An app that uses the Bureau’s
covert war data to alert people to the far
reaches of the US government’s secret
wars has been blocked from Apple’s
app store.
Drones+, the creation of NYU stu-
dent Josh Begley, was meant to be a
simple way of notifying users whenever
US drones struck somewhere in the
But Apple decided this was not ac-
ceptable for its customers. After reject-
ing the app on the grounds of its design
and functionality, the US tech giant fi-
nally took exception to its content.
In correspondence seen by the Bu-
reau, the US tech giant told Begley that
apps that ‘present excessively objec-
tionable or crude content will be re-
The company added: ‘We found that
your app contains content that many au-
diences would find objectionable.’
‘We found that your app contains
content that many audiences would find
objectionable.’ Apple correspondence
Apple’s decision did not come as a
surprise to Begley. ‘I think their posi-
tion is often just they don’t want to let
anything through that could be seen by
anyone at any particular table that
could be seen as controversial,’ he said.
But how its content could have been
objectionable or crude for a user is dif-
ficult to fathom.
A basic app, Drones+ was simply a
news feed summarising each entry from
the Bureau’s databases and a map of the
drone strikes. Each time a drone hits a
village in Waziristan, a message would
ping straight to the users handset to let
them know.
Inane nudges
The project began with a simple
question about what smartphone users
like to be notified about.
Begley wondered if US smartphone
users would want to be told about
something more challenging than ‘the
sort of inane nudges you get when it’s
your turn to play Words With Friends.’
He presumed not. But Apple, who
could not be reached for comment on
this story before publication, has made
Business Barons 19
sure he will never know.
Following their latest rejection Be-
gley is abandoning the Apple app idea.
He is thinking about producing a ver-
sion for the rival Android system in-
But iphone users were of specific
interest to Begley. Having schooled
himself on the extent of the US drone
programme, he says he wanted to push
the drone debate ‘into corners where it
hasn’t been discussed.’
Smartphone users more interested
in the nuts and bolts of technology may
go for an Android phone, he explains.
Apple’s products appeal to a different
‘I think people who use iphones
like them because “they just work,”’ he
says. ‘Part of the reason they just work
is because Apple is either very vigilant
or diligent…to shape and control every
aspect of the experience.’
Thanks to a handful of high profile
leaks, US drones are getting some at-
tention. But Begley believes there is a
limit to how much people understand,
himself included. Before starting to
make the app, ‘I had a general sense of
hidden drone wars but never actually
had a granular understanding,’ he says.
From the start of the project one
line of the drones debate grabbed his
attention. ‘When I started thinking
about the app I actually didn’t know
about the Bureau’s data sets,’ he ex-
plains. ‘I was considering using New
America Foundation’s
But as the
of New
America Foundation’s data was chal-
lenged in the media, Begley turned to
the Bureau. ‘In light of recent questions
of their under reporting, and their po-
tentially severe under reporting, it
just made sense to use the
best data set around.’
Unfortunately, it
just isn’t coming
soon to an
Apple Store
near you.
Business Barons 20
xis Communications, the
global leader in network
video, today announced
the acquisition of Citilog,
a provider of intelligent
real-time video monitoring for traffic
and transportation security and safety.
The addition of their advanced surveil-
lance technology and experienced per-
sonnel strengthens Axis’ best-of-breed
solution and further expands its oppor-
tunities in the fast-growing traffic ana-
lytics market.
“Citilog’s proven products are
well known to the traffic sector, and
complement our solutions for the
most demanding requirements in that
market. Their commitment to devel-
oping quality, innovative and easy-to-
use products is consistent with Axis’
approach to provide the most compet-
itive, highest value solution for a
range of customer needs,” said Ray
Mauritsson, CEO at Axis. “We are ex-
cited to be able to offer our channel
partners and end users state-of-the-art
analytics tools that work with their
existing Axis network video solu-
Citilog is a privately held com-
pany with 30 employees, headquar-
tered in Paris, France and with offices
Axis Acquires Leading
Video Analytics
Provider Citilog
Ray Mauritsson, CEO, Axis Communications
Business Barons 21
in the USA, Hong Kong and Spain.
The company offers a suite of video
analytics tools and sensors for trans-
portation monitoring, such as auto-
matic incident detection, traffic data
collection and intersection control. Its
products improve road safety, limit
risks and help reduce travel time. Axis
and Citilog have worked together for
several years on both engineering and
sales to provide integrated solutions
to a number of mutual customers.
Enhancing traffic and transportation
safety and efficiency
Citilog’s advanced video analytics
and surveillance products are used to
identify traffic incidents and deviations
in real time to help traffic management
centers improve the traffic flows and
shortening response times. Further,
Citilog offers solutions to analyze ad-
vanced traffic statistics and provide so-
lutions for traffic lights and
intersection control. Its products are
used worldwide to monitor roadways,
tunnels, bridges and other infrastruc-
ture, as well as city traffic operations.
Alarms can be generated for numerous
incidents and traffic saturation detec-
tion and enables traffic operators to
redirect traffic and thereby adjust effi-
ciency on the fly.
Pictorial depiction
Business Barons 22
n a short span of operations, tech
and mobile accessories e-tailer, has established
itself as India’s No.1 online store
for mobile and tech accessories,
by crossing the one millionmark, in
terms of number of orders shipped from
a single online store.
being the sole player focused on mobile
and tech accessories segment in the
country, has consistently processed
more than 3,000 orders a day since last
quarter. Currently, the site attracts 3.5
Million visitors a month and the orders
processed per day has risen to 4,000. offers wide range of
products include Bluetooth devices,
power banks, chargers, headsets, speak-
ers, HDMI cables, mobile covers, and
cases. All these products are quality
tested, stored in a ready to ship form
and backed by warranty.
Mr. Ameen Khwaja, CEO and
Founder, said, “Our on-
line store has crossed the one million
figure landmark in the e-tailing space
and we are grateful to all our customers
for their overwhelming response and
appreciation shown to us in the form of
repeat-business. At, our
focus has always been on customer sat-
isfaction and we will continue to pro-
vide our patrons with affordable quality
products designed to keep pace with
emerging technologies.”
The specialized e-commerce portal
has shipped more than 1 million orders
to its valued patrons from the com-
pany’s two 12,000 sq-ft warehouses, lo-
cated in Hyderabad and New Delhi. is successfully manag-
ing more than 10,000 SKU’s from its
warehouses. Since the products are
original and shipped only from its own
warehouses, the company has experi-
enced just 1% refunds since com-
mencement of operations. Almost 20%
of the orders have been received from
repeat customers.
Founded in October 2014, Hyder-
abad based is India’s
only e-tailer specialized in tech and
mobile accessories. Be it Bluetooth de-
vices, mobile covers, tablet accessories,
cables, power banks, Android TVs,
headsets, smart watches or CCTV’s, it
stocks over 10,000 different products in
its inventory and operates through its
own warehouses. India’s largest tech &
mobile accessories e-tailer crosses
1 million orders
Visits every month
3.5 Million
Items shipped per day
Warehouses located in Hyder-
abad and New Delhi
12,000 Sq-ft each
Business Barons 23
icketgoose has signed its first In-
ternational associate M/s SPuTT
Integrated Services, in Nigeria,
marking its foray into emerging mar-
kets. M/s SPuTT Integrated Services
has invested in the platform that en-
ables SPuTT to offer wide range of bus
ticketing solutions, which include on-
line booking to its B2C customers,
agent ticket booking platform, and bus
operator ticketing platform.
“We faced quite a few challenges in
adapting the software to suit the Niger-
ian circumstances and conditions. But
frankly, most of the challenges were
conceptual. We have built a platform
that is highly adaptable and could eas-
ily be executed once the concept was
clear. The recent foray that India has
made at the African road show has ad-
ditionally resulted in enquiries from a
couple of more countries and hopefully,
this will result in some additional adop-
tion. But out immediate goal is to make
the Nigerian foray a success” said Arun
Athiappan, the CEO of Ticketgoose.
On this occasion, Napoleon
Omomila, CEO of SPuTT Integrated
Services, added “We are highly excited
to associate with Ticketgoose, one of
the experts in building online bus ticket
booking platform. It was after consid-
erable technical evaluation that we
found Ticketgoose platform to be one
of the most technologically advanced
and adaptable to our requirements.”
Ticketgoose, a pioneer in online
ticketing has been revolutionizing the
bus ticket booking experience in India
ever since the launch in August 2007.
With time based filters and available
seat position being displayed at the re-
sult page itself, Ticketgoose enables
quick booking based on users’ past
choices. Ticketgoose mobile app pro-
vides bus tracking facility using real
time locations, enables to share the
ticket with family and friends besides
providing information on highway
motel ranking that is crowd sourced.
With more than 1800 operators dis-
playing their inventory on the platform,
and over 40 operators using the Ticket-
goose platform to integrate their fleet
operation, Ticketgoose has been the
torchbearer for organising the hitherto
unorganised bus industry in the coun-
Ticketgoose has recently signed a
memorandum of understanding with
CMI and will commence the develop-
ment of high value Intellectual property
that brings automated solutions to the
bus passenger industry. Arun further
added “We are in the process of devel-
oping a range of mathematical models
along with Chennai Maths Institute for
application in the bus ticketing indus-
try. All these can be made available to
our partners”, a pioneer in on-
line ticketing has been revolutionizing
the bus ticket booking experience in
India ever since the launch in August
2007. With time based filters and
available seat position being displayed
at the result page itself, TicketGoose
enables quick booking based on users’
past choices. TicketGoose mobile app
provides bus tracking facility using real
time locations, enables to share the
ticket with family and friends besides
providing information on highway
motel ranking that is crowd sourced.
With more than 1800 operators dis-
playing their inventory on the platform,
and over 40 operators using the Ticket-
Goose platform to integrate their fleet
operation, TicketGoose has been the
torchbearer for organising the hitherto
unorganised bus industry in the coun-
try. The team at TicketGoose headed by
Arun Athiappan, Co-Founder and CEO,
under the able guidance of R
Narayanan, Chairman, comprises of
highly qualified and dedicated techni-
cal professionals who are focussed on
ensuring hassle-free, cost effective and
happy travel for consumers.
Business Barons 24
decco Group, the world’s
leading provider of HR solu-
tions, is giving India’s entre-
preneurial and ambitious
youngsters the chance to become ‘CEO
for one month” alongside the Adecco
top management in their home coun-
tries. Online applications will be open
from March1st to April 15th. As of
June, the selected youngsters will be on
the job to boost their CVs and career
opportunities. For one only, there is the
once in a lifetime chance to become
Group CEO for One Month working
with Alain Dehaze. After being selected
in the home country, India, the person
will be working with the Adecco CEO
in India and the winner will work
alongside the Global CEO of Adecco
Group, Alain Dehaze for one month.
The applicants should be a management
or engineering graduate between the
age of 22 and 26 from Tier I and II uni-
versities or schools.
The count of people being without
a job is on the rise in India as economic
slowdown and slower business expan-
sion activities cast a shadow on em-
ployment generation. Indicating
sluggishness in the country's job mar-
ket, the International Labour Organisa-
tion (ILO) has said in its recent report
that the unemployment scenario in
India over the last two years has been
showing a rising trend. Going by ILO's
latest estimates, India's jobless rate
could be 3.8%. Unemployment rate in
India is showing an increasing trend
since 2011 when it was 3.5%. The same
rose to 3.6% in 2012 and climbed to
3.7% last year. Creating new jobs is a
challenging task and also plays a very
important role in the economy of a
country. While the rising unemploy-
ment level among the youth in India is
a worry, but a much bigger cause of
concern is that with the rising level of
education, the rate of unemployment
has progressively increased.
In this situation the initiative such
as ‘CEO for One month’ can help the
young workforce to build their career
by increasing the employability factor.
The initiative is important because
Adecco Group vision is to empower the
young workforce with the skills and ex-
perience necessary to shape the future
Data shows around 73 million
youngsters are unemployed in the
world today - almost as much as the
population of Germany. Yet at the same
time, a striking shortage of talent
across the globe hinders economic de-
velopment and prosperity. Some 40% of
employers say lack of experience is the
main barrier for entry level vacancies.
To play its part against this trend,
Adecco has devised its Adecco Way to
WorkTM and CEO for One Month pro-
grammes. The goal is to support tal-
ented youngsters in their career
prospects by providing valuable work
based training to boost their employa-
bility. That includes one month intern-
ships alongside Adecco Country
Managers in India, letting youngsters
learn on the job, gain insights and in-
spiration for their eventual professional
choices, as well as adding a unique ex-
perience to make their CVs really stand
out. One of the country CEO for One
Month have the once in a lifetime
chance to become Adecco Group CEO
for One Month alongside Group CEO
Alain Dehaze, further enhancing their
training with international exposure
and a global outlook. The position in-
cludes a rewarding salary to sustain the
successful youngsters further educa-
tion and development.
‘CEO for One Month’ was launched
in Norway in 2011. In 2014, it became
an international Adecco initiative, in-
cluding one Global CEO for One Month
position working with the Group CEO.
In 2015, there were more than 18,000
applicants from around the world.
This initiative has proved its ability to
boost youngsters’ employability and
opportunities. Paola Ospina from
Colombia, Adecco Group CEO for One
Month 2014 progressed to a career in
marketing at Adecco USA in Florida.
Ayumi Kunori, the successful candidate
for 2015, works part time for Adecco in
Japan while completing her studies.
And Ernesto Lamaina and Dick Boreel,
two CEO for One Month finalists of
2015, were both hired at Adecco head-
quarters in Zurich, Switzerland.
“CEO for One Month 2015 was a
revelation “, said Ayumi Kunori. “I
wasn’t the best at school and wasn’t
sure about applying. But once I did, I
put all my commitment and passion
into it. The experience was of immense
value. I recommend youngsters every-
where to challenge themselves and try.
The worst is that you won’t be chosen,
at least this time. But everything you’ll
learn will prepare you better for the
next opportunity and for life ahead”.
Alain Dehaze, Adecco Group CEO
commented: “Our future depends on the
skills, confidence and experience of
today’s youngsters. It’s a shared re-
sponsibility to help them build their ca-
reers through training, guidance and
This is what CEO for One Month is
about. Youngsters will challenge them-
selves, gain hands on experience along-
side Adecco’s top management, and get
a taste of how to run a global company.
I look forward to welcoming the INDIA
CEOs for One Month, receiving these
Millennials’ insights and helping them
to build their way to work”.
Angelo Lo Vecchio, Country Man-
ager & Managing Director, Adecco
India said, “I am very proud that this
excellent global initiative is being
launched in India this year for the first
time. I feel it is a huge step towards our
vision of empowering youngsters with
the skills and experience necessary to
shape their future.
The CEO for the One Month project
aims at encouraging thousands of
young people to pursue their profes-
sional ambitions with strong determi-
nation and passion to foster their
dreams. I am firmly convinced that by
giving wings to the ambitions of these
young people we can transform their
dreams into reality. In this program the
young and aspiring people go through
focused mentorship and coaching di-
rectly under the leadership of the coun-
try manager.
Business Barons 26
T-BPM Industry Leaders, NGOs and
Social Innovators came together to
discuss the future of CSR in India at
NASSCOM Foundation’s CSR Leader-
ship Conference.
NASSCOM Foundation exhibits the
best of the Social Innovations at its
Flagship CSR Leadership Conference
2016 – Bangalore Edition
Provides a platform to connect the
140+ CSR and Industry leads from
across India to 150+ Innovating NGOs
and Social Entrepreneurs
– NASSCOM Foundation, today,
hosted the Bangalore edition of its flag-
ship event ‘CSR Leadership Confer-
ence’ (CLC). In its second year, the
conference sought to find solutions on
how can CSR meaningfully address the
India development agenda and brought
together a dynamic community of over
350 CSR leaders, Tech4Good champi-
ons, NGO practitioners, and Public Pol-
icy influencers under one roof.
While the world adopts the Sustain-
able Development Goals in 2016, to
eradicate poverty, India has set its own
ambitious targets, aligned to the Global
Goals, in Digital India, Skills India and
strong focus on Education, Health, Sup-
port for Girls: Beti Bhachao Beti
Padao, Clean India: Swachh Bharat, In-
clusive India, Innovation and Make in
India amongst others. For CSR to
meaningfully contribute to national
goals and finance social development in
India, companies would be required to
build capacities to understand and pri-
oritise the need areas and focus efforts
to maximize long term sustainable im-
pact. The CSR Leadership Conference,
acts as a platform to inform and support
CSR leaders, showcase best practices
while encouraging collaborations to-
wards solving problems in specific de-
velopment areas like education,
employability skills building, health and
livelihood, and digital empowerment.
Left to Right-Mr. Mohan Reddy, Chairman, NASSCOM; Dr.Ganesh Natrajan, Chairman NASSCOM Foundation; Mr.
R. K. Shrivastava, Keonics, ITBT & S&T, Karnataka; Mr. Krishna Bajpai,Electronic Delivery of Citizen Service
(EDCS), DPAR (E-Governance)
Foundation exhibits
best of Social
Business Barons 27
The conference was divided into
various thematic sessions, showcasing
innovative, impactful initiatives and
discussing on challenges and the way
forward. The CSR Leadership Confer-
ence also acted as a host to USAID, to
call upon corporates in addressing the
challenges of one of the deadliest dis-
eases in the world- tuberculosis. The
Conference further discussed on how
CSR can support to scale innovative
impact models, led by various social
impact vehicles, including social enter-
prises and Non-Government Organiza-
tions to facilitate the last mile
Technology is being used in multi-
tude ways- IT-BPM (Business Process
Management) companies have led in-
novative thinking and practices in CSR,
and are also increasingly finding ways
to use technologies to manage, and
monitor CSR initiatives- with cloud
and mobile as most preferred platform.
The social enterprise sector, repre-
sented by both Not-for-Profit and For-
Profit business are using Information
and Communication Technologies to
develop solutions that can address the
development needs of the underserved
communities across urban and rural
parts of India. With the companies
across the industry looking for high
impact CSR initiatives, these innova-
tions make for a brilliant opportunity.
Through this conference, NASSCOM
Foundation facilitated to connect the
two, towards the larger goal of ad-
dressing India development goals
through CSR.
Since the last eight years, NASS-
COM Foundation through its program
– NASSCOM Social Innovation
Forum, has been recognizing, mentor-
ing and giving the Tech for Good solu-
tions a platform to further scale and
succeed and the event saw the best of
these projects showcased to over 140
Industry leaders attending the event.
The attendees were also given a
glimpse to Vodafone Foundation’s So-
cial Apps Hub – A first of its kind App
store being developed in collaboration
with Nextgen and NASSCOM Founda-
tion which will house social mobile
apps providing solutions to the com-
plete spectrum of the India Develop-
ment agenda.
Speaking at the occasion, Dr.
Ganesh Natarajan, Chairman, NASS-
COM Foundation said, “The CSR Law
has provided companies with a means
to do social good, fueling a great op-
portunity for companies to support in-
novative initiatives and practices
where technology is helping to expand
reach, scale and impact. In the current
scenario, NASSCOM Foundation finds
itself in a unique position, wherein it
is the creator, aggregator and dissemi-
nator of the CSR knowledge and envi-
sions itself to play a pivotal role in
making Corporate – NGO, Corporate –
Corporate, NGO – NGO collaborations
happen to complement the India de-
velopment agenda.”
The CSR Leadership Conference,
initiated by NASSCOM Foundation in
2015, has been able to create a re-
markable degree of relevance for CSR
leaders from the IT-BPM (Business
Process Management) Industry, practi-
tioner and policy makers. The 2016
Conference, with a curtain raiser in
Bengaluru will be culminated with a
mega event in Delhi on 9th March
Left to Right- Mr. Puneet Bhirani, Executive Vice President- Chief Administrative Officer & Head Payment Managed
Services SBU, Mphasis; Mr. Ankur DasGupta, Vice President, Marketing, NTT DATA; Mr. Chandrashekhar Krish-
namurthy, Vice President- Global Services at EMC; Mr. Shrikant, CEO, NASSCOM FOUNDATION
NASSCOM Foundation is a leading non-profit organization driving
technology for good. The Foundation’s work is just as expansive and
evolutionary as the potential that technology and corporate India entail.
Drawing strength from its parent body NASSCOM, the Foundation works
closely with four major stakeholders: NASSCOM member companies,
NGOs, emerging social enterprises and Government to foster a strate-
gic relationship between technology and development. NASSCOM Foun-
dation’s core initiatives include working for Persons with Disabilities,
fostering innovative solutions for social good, creating unique skilling
models for underserved communities, and digital literacy where it is the
industry partner to the Govt. of India’s National Digital Literacy Mission
Business Barons 28
By Tom Warren
he Liberal Democrats have
accumulated more donations
in Britain’s most marginal
constituencies than any
other party, Bureau research
Nick Clegg’s party has now raised
£462,955 in the country’s 20 most mar-
ginal seats since the last election, ac-
cording to Electoral Commission
records. This is ahead of Labour on
£425,285, and the Tories who have reg-
istered £338,558 in donations in the
battleground constituencies since May
The findings are part of a study by
the Bureau to examine all cash and non-
cash donations to the top 20 swing seats
as defined by BBC electoral data. It is a
repeat of a previous Bureau analysis in
July 2014, which showed the Conserva-
tives had received the most gifts in the
marginals and that these finances were
being deployed against precarious Lib
Dem constituencies.
But the latest research suggests Lib
Dem supporters are bankrolling a fight-
back in the marginals, where their do-
nations have grown to more than
£460,000 from around £183,000 last
summer. It suggests the party is con-
centrating its fundraising efforts to try
and cling on to existing seats and pos-
sibly to try and snatch other con-
stituencies that also hang in the
balance: of the top 20 marginals, the
Lib Dems won only three in 2010 but
came second in six.
The seat which has attracted the
most donations for the Lib Dems was
Mid Dorset and North Poole. It has
raised £172,034 from donors since
2010 when Annette Brooke won the
seat by beating her Tory challenger by
just 269 votes. Brooke is not standing
next month but the party hopes to hold
the seat with local Lib Dem councillor
Vikki Slade.
Brooke has even helped the party
fundraising from her own pocket. She
told the Bureau that she regularly do-
nates some of her parliamentary salary
to her local party and Electoral Com-
mission records show she has given
£25,200 during her five year spell in
However, the bulk of the £172,034
was from local fundraising, with
£81,299 coming from the Broadstone &
District Liberal Hall Committee.
Broadstone & District Liberal Hall is
home to the local constituency office
and other activities such as a dance
Next on the list for the Lib Dems
was Ashfield in Nottinghamshire where
the party hopes to unseat Labour front-
bencher and former GMTV presenter
Gloria De Piero who won by a slender
192 votes five years ago. While Labour
have raised nothing, the Lib Dems have
now registered £99,990 in donations
there, which includes £21,851 from
their own candidate Jason Zadrozny.
However, the Lib Dem campaign
was thrown into disarray last month
following Zadrozny’s arrest for alleged
historical sex offences. He is currently
on police bail and he has voluntarily
withdrawn himself as a candidate. He
also issued a statement saying he “ve-
hemently refute[s] the allegations”. The
Lib Dems say he has been suspended as
a candidate pending the outcome of the
police investigation.
Labour has now raised the second
largest pot of funding in the 20 margin-
als, with donations standing at
£425,285, according to the Bureau’s
analysis. That represents an almost six-
fold growth from just £75,000 last sum-
However, that surge included one
particularly large donation. That was in
General Election: Lib Dems
lead list of donations in
Britain’s top 20 marginal
seats, Tories third
Business Barons
Camborne and Redruth in Cornwall,
where Tory minister George Eustice is
defending a 66-vote majority over the
Lib Dems. Although Labour was a dis-
tant third five years ago, the party has
received £119,121 for next month’s
election – all of it from Fostermco, a
company controlled by Labours own
candidate, Michael Foster.
In his day job Foster is a celebrity
agent and his clients include radio star
Chris Evans. Electoral Commission
records show that Fosters firm gave a
total of £119,121, including non-cash
support to Labour in the constituency,
providing services such as administra-
tion worth £42,727.
Above right: Tulip Siddiq,
Labours candidate in Hampstead &
Another seat to attract donations
from Labour supporters has been
Hampstead and Kilburn in north Lon-
don, where former Oscar-winning ac-
tress Glenda Jackson beat the Tories by
42 votes in 2010. Jackson has now re-
tired and the constituency is predicted
to be a close contest between her suc-
cessor Tulip Siddiq and Tory Simon
Siddiq, a niece of Bangladesh’s
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has at-
tracted £37,500 from donors, while
Marcus has raised £56,500. The Lib
Dem candidate, Maajid Nawaz, who
chairs the counter-extremism Quilliam
Foundation think tank, has raised noth-
ing from donors, according to official
Although the Conservatives have
raised the least in terms of total dona-
tions in the 20 marginals, it has re-
ceived the most in eight of the
individual 20 seats. It suggests the To-
ries are aiming to be a key force in
these crucial swing seats.
The Bureau also analysed which
funders are putting money into these 20
The most generous donor by far
was Michael Fosters Fostermco Ltd in
Cambourne and Redruth for Labour,
followed by the Broadstone & District
Liberal Hall Committee in Mid Dorset
and North Poole.
The list also included some of the
UK’s best known political funders.
These included JCB Research,
which gave £52,500 in total, split be-
tween the Conservatives in Sherwood
and Solihull. The company, which pro-
duces research for the famous JCB
plant machinery, is controlled by Tory
supporter Lord Anthony Bamford.
Also represented was the United &
Cecil Club. The group gave £44,100 to
Conservative marginals. Last summer
the Bureau revealed that the low-profile
members’ club, run from a stables in
the Home Counties with a former to-
bacco lobbyist as its honorary secre-
tary, was a key supporter of Tory
For Labour, various trade unions
gave a total of £121,710 to the 20 mar-
ginals. The most generous was the
GMB union, which gave £42,446 in
cash and non-cash support across vari-
ous constituencies. Other unions to
have donated in the marginals include
Unison and Unite.
One individual gave to more than
one party. Former Lib Dem peer Lord
Oakeshott gave £20,000 to Labour and
£20,000 to the Lib Dems. However, this
is part of a larger pledge to support left
Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg / BBC
Tulip Siddiq, Labours candidate in
Hampstead & Kilburn
Business Barons 30
leaning candidates. The ‘non-party so-
cial democrat’ pledged £300,000 to
Labour constituencies and £300,000 to
Lib Dem seats in the run-up to the elec-
The gifts to marginals also included
a bequest of £19,079 from Margaret
Scoffield to the Conservatives in Fleet-
wood and Lancaster.
By Tom Warren
Hedge funder Martin Taylors
£600,000 donation to Labours election
war chest means the party has now
raised at least £1.5m from the financial
services sector this Parliament, a Bu-
reau analysis has found.
Using Electoral Commission
records and Companies House data, the
Bureau has established that the sector
is now the second biggest source of
cash funding for Labour outside trade
The research shows the property
sector at the top of the list, with £2.1m
raised from individuals or companies
involved in those businesses since May
Other sectors to feature in the list
include manufacturing, arts and enter-
tainment and retail. However, business
donations to Labour are small in com-
parison with those made to the Conser-
vatives. While Labour has raised
£10.6m from companies and individu-
als since 2010, the Tories have raised
The following is a list of Labours
top 25 cash donors since 2010 from
outside trade unions. It was compiled
by using Electoral Commission records
and by matching individual donor
names with the names of any compa-
nies they might have a connection to
and which also appear as donors.
Top of the list are Andrew Rosen-
feld and David Garrard, who have
given £961,440 and £689,570 respec-
tively since the last election.
The pair were longtime business
partners and made their fortunes at
property developers Minerva Plc, be-
fore Garrard retired and Rosenfeld,
who died last month, moved into tele-
Until recently nothing was known
about Labours third largest private
cash donor, Martin Taylor, but after a
Bureau investigation last week his
identity was revealed as a hedge fund
manager with Nevsky Capital. He has
given £591,800 to Labour since 2010.
The fourth highest donor to Labour
was William Haughey. The longtime
Labour supporter, who runs Glasgow
based refrigeration contractor City Re-
frigeration, gave £396,500 over the last
parliament. The bulk of this, £360,400
was given to Scottish Labour, with
small amounts going to the central
party and one gift of £1,100 to Morley
and Outwood, the constituency of
shadow chancellor Ed Balls in March
Following this were the £280,000 of
donations from hairdressing empire
Toni & Guy and associated companies.
The company was founded by the
teenage Mascolo brothers just seven
years after they arrived in the UK, and
the surviving founder Toni Mascolo re-
mains an ardent Labour supporter.
Bloomberg was the most generous
donor from financial services. It gave
£270,875 to Labour. In the last parlia-
ment it has also given £235,000 to the
Lib Dems and £125,000 to the Tories.
After Bloomberg the most generous
donor was Fostermco, controlled by
‘Labour Luvvie’ Michael Foster. The
celebrity agent, who represents radio
star Chris Evans gave £261,028. He is
currently standing for the party in the
Cornish seat of Camborne and Redruth.
Related story: Labours ‘Martin
Taylor question: Who is Miliband’s
Ed Miliband / BBC
Business Barons 31
£600k donor?
Bloomberg was not the only donor
that has given to several parties.
Political Animal Lobby is a cam-
paign group set up by animal welfare
campaigner Brian Davies. It gave
£250,000 to Labour and also £3,000 to
the Conservatives in The Wrekin,
where the MP Mark Pritchard is known
for his work on animal welfare issues.
Another individual who gave to
parties other than Labour was Lord
(Matthew) Oakeshott. He is a former
Lib Dem peer who is a close ally of
Vince Cable but he now describes him-
self as a “non-party social democrat”.
Electoral Commission records show
he has given £170,000 to Labour,
though this is of a total £300,000 com-
mitment. He has also pledged £300,000
to the Lib Dems to be spread across 15
specific candidates.
Betterworld Ltd has also given to
more than one party. Controlled by eth-
ical businessman Henry Tinsley, former
chairman of chocolatiers Green &
Blacks, it gave £145,000 to Labour,
£2,500 to Green MP Caroline Lucas
and £2,500 to the Lib Dems. Before the
last election Henry Tinsley made other
donations, telling the Daily Telegraph
he did it to counter the effects of
‘Ashcroft money’, the sizeable dona-
tions made by former Tory Treasurer
Lord Ashcroft.*
Our list of top 25 Labour donors in-
cludes some of the party’s most promi-
nent public supporters, such as
businessmen Lord (Alan) Sugar
(£163,827) and Assem Allam
(£216,900). The latter is a Hull busi-
nessman, who produces marine genera-
tors. He is also the chairman of Hull
City FC and gave Labour money
through his companies Allamhouse Ltd
and Allam Marine Ltd.
Other familiar names include
thriller writer Ken Follett (£137,050)
and Labour peer and frozen food ty-
coon Gulam Noon (£114,500).
Related story: Labours mystery
£600k donor Martin Taylor revealed as
Mayfair hedge funder
Also represented were lawyer
Stephen Kinsella (£132,366), cash and
carry firm United Wholesale
(£131,115) and clean energy firm
Ecotricty (£120,000).
Multi-faith campaigner Sigmund
Sternberg gave £107,000. After emi-
grating to the UK from Budapest he be-
came a successful businessman and
The list also included bequests,
from Olga Hefford, who left the party
£246,183, and Margaret Louisa Evans,
who bequeathed £115,320.
One of the donors is a core part of
Labours funding history. The Lionel
Cooke Memorial Fund, which gave
£152,000, was set up in 1956 and its
original directors included Hugh
Gaitskell. Following the turmoil after
the creation of the SDP it supported the
newly founded party and David Owen
became a trustee. After the collapse of
the SDP the party returned to the
Labour fold and gave financial support
to Tony Blair.
Some of the donors could not be
confirmed. The Bureau can confirm
that the donor John Reid is not the for-
mer Labour Home Secretary, now Lord
Reid. Also unidentified are Alan Massie
and Richard Greer. As the Bureau could
not positively confirm the identities of
these donors we are unable to publish
any details about them. The Bureau
contacted both individuals but we did
not receive a response. Labour officials
are either unwilling or unable to con-
firm the precise identities of private in-
The Bureau also came across this
problem when we tried to identify Mar-
tin Taylor last week. It has prompted
calls for greater transparency around
the issue of party donors.
The Bureau also analysed which
business sectors are funding Labour.
Property was the most generous
sector, mainly due to the large gifts
given by Andrew Rosenfeld and An-
drew Garrard.
However, the donations from Mar-
tin Taylor mean that Labour now also
derives significant funding from the fi-
nancial services sector, with
£1,564,493 since May 2010.
But even that total pales in compar-
ison with the sums donated to the To-
ries from the same sector. The largest
single Tory donor, hedge funder
Michael Farmer, has given the Conser-
vatives £4.2m since the last election.
Politics was another key source of
income for Labour. This group
stretched from the grassroots of the
party to the highest echelons, including
everything from local councillors to
former PM Tony Blair, who gave
£5,770. This does not include a contro-
versial £106,000 pledge that he made to
the party since the publication of the
most recent Electoral Commission
We also analysed the source of cash
donations to Labour by type of donor.
Cash support from the unions re-
mains the key source of income for
Labour, accounting for £43.7m, or 76%
of all cash gifts. Donations from pri-
vate individuals are second on the list,
with £7.5m, or 13% of the total. And
cash gifts from limited companies and
limited liability partnerships accounted
for a combined £3.1m, around 5.5% of
donations to Labour.
Labours remaining donations came
from ‘unincorporated associations’,
which includes such things as clubs and
members groups. Small amounts were
also given by trusts and by the Labour-
affiliated Co-operative Party.
Excluding the public funds that
Labour receive as an Opposition party
for such things as policy development,
the Tory war chest is significantly
larger. The Tories have raised £86.2m
in this last parliament so far, while
Labour has secured £67.7m.
Business Barons 32
ndia’s largest online jewellery
store, CaratLane, just turned 7!
The Chennai-based jewellery
brand which started out as an on-
line retailer has completed seven years
in the industry and emerged as an om-
nichannel jeweller that continues to
disrupt the jewellery market in India.
“7 years ago, we started with a very
simple mission - to democratize jew-
ellery and make jewellery that is beau-
tiful, affordable and forever wearable
for everyone. I am delighted with the
progress that we’ve made in the last 7
years and where we’ve gotten to so far.
We virtually created the online market
for precious jewellery and now have of-
fline stores as well! We serve thousands
of customers every month and are rap-
idly expanding our customer-base
month on month” Mr. Mithun Sacheti,
CEO & Co-founder at
With a strong online and offline
presence, CaratLane has disrupted the
jewellery business in many ways. Its
online business continues to grow rap-
Business Barons
"Everything that can be social will
Jeffrey Dachis, Chief Evangelist
and Advisor at Sprinklr, Co-Founder
In this chapter, we will look at the
evolution of sales processes over cen-
turies. The objectives are:
1. To understand the evolution of
sales processes
2. To understand the different types
of sales processes / methodologies
3. To gauge the difference between
social selling and social media mar-
keting and
4. To understand how large organiza-
tions have benefitted from social sell-
We are more social than our ances-
tors. From the ancient cavemen, to the
beginning of tribes, societal structures,
and emerging economies, social inter-
action between mankind has moved the
world. The tribal societies were based
on closed group communities where
people lived in clusters, spoke the same
language and followed the same prac-
tices. This was a society that had little
to do with others. Highly territorial, ag-
gressive as typical huntsmen, and ex-
tremely loyal; tribal societies were run
by a common belief in their origins.
Money and currency were still inven-
tions in the distant future, and so, the
society in its earliest stage began with
the barter system. Barter is an old
method of exchange where people ex-
changed goods and services for other
goods and services. The history of
barter system dates back to the 6000
BC and was first introduced by the
Mesopotamian tribes. The Phoenicians
bartered goods to other civilisations
around the Mediterranean. The Baby-
lonian civilisation further developed
the barter system. Goods were ex-
changed for food, tea, weapons and
spices. While Egypt, Rome, Babylon
and Arabia grew as trade centres, the
Silk, Spice and Incense routes were
formed. At some point of time, salt be-
came a valuable ingredient and a form
of currency for barter systems.
As man discovered that soil could
be cultivated, so were sowed the seeds
of an evolved society. The agrarian so-
ciety formed the basis of economic in-
stitutions, political systems,
governments and trade. The years pre-
ceding 3000 BC were most fruitful in
terms of innovations and inventions.
One of the most significant innovations
of the period was the wheel, followed
by the plough. The plough cultivated
the consciousness of the people and
held the greatest potential for social
and cultural change. This singular piece
of invention made large scale cultiva-
tion possible. It also facilitated the har-
nessing of animal energy, which further
grew productivity. With land being the
most powerful resource, conquests and
land grabbing gained practice, and so
there was a need for governance and
enforcement of law. The agrarian soci-
ety in its early years found the barter
Social selling-
The Paradigm Shift to Social Selling
Apurva Chamaria, Author, You Are
The Key
Business Barons 36
system a useful form of exchange.
However, with time, an informal ex-
change of goods and services was run-
ning its utility to the end of the line.
This was also the age that saw the
emergence of money and currency.
As society grew, the industrial age
saw finished products entering the mar-
ket place. Factories came up, labour
was deployed, busy hands and bodies
sweated it out in factories making prod-
ucts that society needed. One of the
first countries to industrialise was the
United Kingdom during the Industrial
Revolution in 18th Century. Product
development, inventions, and innova-
tions drove economies, and he who had
a remarkable product would find ways
to sell it. The post-industrial age saw
products taking a back seat as services
defined the selling proposition in the
world. People realised that products
alone cannot define their lives; they
need services that will drive businesses.
For the first time, the spot light moved
towards professionals and technicians
and was marked by an increased valua-
tion of knowledge. From services, so-
lutions were a natural and easy exten-
sion. People and businesses needed so-
lutions that weren’t easy to find. The
term ‘post-industrial’ was first coined
by American sociologist Daniel Bell in
his book ‘The Coming of Post-Indus-
trial Society’, released in 1974. So even
when there was a pool of professionals
to choose from, some decided to out-
source the services to people who pro-
vided solutions to them. Today we are
at the crux of yet another churning of
how businesses are run, as social sell-
ing becomes the defining mantra of
modern day trade. Today, it is no longer
important to stand up and sell a prod-
uct; what matters is how we engage our
audience and generate conversations.
The form of exchange today is the feed-
back, review and endorsement that cus-
tomers share through social networks!
Introduction of formal physical cur-
Basic selling. Out-of-the- box prod-
ucts, price and reliability, business may
be periodic and unpredictable.
No relationship other than the
Before about 1200 AD, the
word was sellen, evolved from
sellan, which appears in the old
English epic poem Beowulf, first
written about 725 AD. At this time
the word sellan carried the wider
meaning of giving, and exchanging
for money (i.e., selling).
The laws of microeconomics
find a direct correlation between de-
mand and supply. I would throw in
sales as a game changer in this clas-
sic economics equation. While de-
mand determines supply and vice
versa, it means little something if the
correct sales methodologies are not
deployed. But then, why does some-
thing have to be ‘sold’ when there is a
demand for it? No business owner
wants his/her products or services to
drown in a sea of competition. It is the
sales efforts of the company that can
sort the chaff from the hay and really
make any business grow over its com-
Sales methodologies have evolved
over a period of time, and there is a rea-
son for that. Mainstream sales method-
ologies began to appear in the late
1970’s, and were in fact, a by-product
of the technology boom and early years
of the information age. Technology was
making bold inroads into businesses,
and those deploying in their businesses
were looking to make the most of their
position. There was a sudden need to
catch up with technology. So, if busi-
nesses were evolving with majority of
services are incorporating technology,
then why would the sales methodolo-
gies not match up? This demand-rich
period also produced a large volume of
sales opportunities. Naturally, many
sales training vendors capitalised on
this emerging market by creating their
own sales methodology and training
practices. By the time the 90’s came
knocking at the doors, the internet was
poised to change the game again and
perhaps forever!
But then how many are there and
how to decide which one works for you
and / or your company? Let’s now dis-
cuss how the sales methodologies
evolved over the years.
Seven Steps Sales Methodology
The origin of the Seven Steps sales
methodology is unclear, but it is said to
have started finding mention in books
around sales techniques in the early
20th century. The original, commonly
used Seven Steps terminology is as
below. In recent years, more sophisti-
cated interpretation and application of
the Seven-Step selling process requires
the model to be expanded and inter-
preted with more subtlety and flexibil-
ity, as shown here:
1. Prospecting/ preparation/ planning/
2. Introduction/ opening/ pre-approach/
establish initial credibility
3. Questioning/ identify needs/ ask how
and what/establish rapport and trust/
4. Presentation/explanation/demonstra-
5. Overcoming objections/negotiat-
6. Close/ closing/ agreement/ commit-
7. Follow-up/ after-sales/ fulfill/ de-
liver admin
AIDA stands for Attention, Interest,
Desire and Action while AIDCA which
evolved later, stands for Attention, In-
terest, Desire, Commitment and Action.
It is said to have evolved from earlier
work by American psychologists con-
cerning assimilation and understanding
of communications and information.
Walter Dill Scott's 'Attention-Compre-
Business Barons 37
hension-Understanding' model, devel-
oped in 1913 at the Chicago North-
western University, is considered by
some as one example of possible con-
tributory thinking, which lead to the
development of AIDA; although it is
unlikely that a specific single origin for
AIDA actually exists.
Often referred to as the 'Hierarchy
of Effects', AIDA describes the basic
process by which people become moti-
vated to act on stimuli, including the
way that successful selling happens and
sales are made.
The beauty of AIDA lies in its sim-
plicity and linear approach to the sales
process, and here also lies its greatest
drawback – in the era of social media,
people often don’t follow a linear deci-
sion-making process.
Dale Carnegie's Sales Course
Dale Carnegie (1888-1955), the
American writer, speaker and business-
man is often given the credit for most
of the early development of selling
skills and conventional sales-training
theories. Although Carnegie started his
training business in the early 1900s, fo-
cusing on personal development, it was
only much later in 1937 that his self-
help book 'How to Win Friends and In-
fluence People' became a rage and
spawned off many ideas which formed
the bedrock of traditional selling
throughout the 20th century.
Professional Selling Skills (PSS 1, 2
& 3)
The story of modern sales method-
ologies was pioneered in 1968 by
Xerox, when the corporation created an
internal sales training programme and
methodology to combat still competi-
tion in the photocopying business. Don
Hammalian, an executive in the Xerox
team, developed a new approach to
selling – a sales method which evolved
many times and by Version 3 came to
be known as the Needs Satisfaction
Selling. This is a technique based on
the premise that in order to attract and
retain customers, salespersons need to
understand selling from the customers’
viewpoint. Both new and experienced
Xerox sales professionals were taught
to understand the true value of a 'win-
win' experience with prospective and
existing clients, and learned that pro-
fessional sales persistence during a
presentation to a prospect was expected
by all decision makers. PSS taught that
at a subconscious level, all decision
makers want a sales person to 'deserve
and earn the right to an order' and to
help solve a problem for them or their
company. Xerox was reputed to have
the best sales training programme in the
world, and some of the Xerox sales
alumni went on to become world fa-
mous business leaders like Bill McDer-
mott, CEO-SAP, Jerry Whalen,
Head-Sales (USPS), etc.
In the mid 1970’s, the product offer
or sales proposition gained focus. A
sales proposition is how the product or
service is described and promoted to
the customer. As an opening or initial
proposition, the words are used by the
sales person to attract attention and in-
terest in verbal and written introduc-
tions to prospects - so it has to be
concise and quick - remember that at-
tention needs to be grabbed in less than
five seconds. FAB, USP and UPB came
to characterise this movement.
Features, Advantages, Benefits
(FABs) was developed in the 1970s.
FABs were identified by the brand
owners and handed by the sales train-
ing department to the sales teams, who
rarely thought much about developing
and/or customising them. The biggest
problem with the Features, Advantages,
Benefits (FAB) model was that cus-
tomers usually don't buy features and
advantages; what they really buy is
what the product's features and advan-
tages will do for them, which in selling
terms is called the benefit.
The unique selling proposition
(USP) or unique selling point is a sales
and marketing concept first proposed as
a theory to explain a pattern in suc-
cessful advertising campaigns of the
early 1940s. The USP states that such
campaigns made unique propositions to
customers that convinced them to
switch brands. The term was developed
by Rosser Reeves of Ted Bates & Com-
pany. Sales executives in 1970’s were
often taught to explain the USP of the
Solution Selling
There are other sales methodologies
like Michael Bosworth’s Customer-
Centric Selling or Solution Selling,
each approaching B2B sales differently.
Based on his experiences at Xerox,
Mike Bosworth founded Solution Sell-
ing in 1983 and began appointing part-
ners in 1988. With intellectual-property
contributions from his collaborators,
Bosworth's methodology continued to
evolve through the years. Mike sold the
Solution Selling IP in 1999 to one of
his original collaborators Keith Eades
(CEO and founder of Sales Perform-
ance International (SPI)). Bosworth au-
thored Solution Selling: Creating
Buyers in Difficult Selling Markets
(1994), and after leaving Solution Sell-
ing, he co-authored Customer-Centric
Selling (2003). Less than a year later,
Eades authored an updated version of
the solution-selling methodology, re-
leased as The New Solution Selling and
also co-authored a follow-up guide.
‘Solution-Selling’ practitioners
generally apply a consultative sales ap-
proach to all aspects of their sales
process (or during a sales cycle) in-
cluding: Prospecting, Diagnosing cus-
tomer needs , Crafting a potential
solution, Establishing value, Bargain-
ing for access to decision makers, Posi-
tioning proof, ROI and the total
solution, Negotiating a win-win solu-
tion and following up to ensure cus-
tomer success.
Strategic Selling® and LAMP®
In 1985, Robert M Miller and
Stephen E Heiman went on to publish a
book called ‘Strategic Selling’. Miller
Heiman looks at demystifying this co-
nundrum by introducing their sales
methodology of ‘Strategic Selling’. Ex-
pert in the field of sales training, Miller
Heiman has developed an extensive
module, helping organisations find
their bearings around strategic selling.
The process really begins right at the
top by identifying and engaging the
forces within an organisation who are
the movers, shakers and decision mak-
ers of the company. The tacit ploy is to
architect solutions with unique com-
pelling value, and subtly eliminating
competition. This is akin to a war plan,
a strategic set of steps that will kill
competition and tackle all the decision
makers at one go! Organisations are
typically an intricate maze of people
Business Barons 38
and processes. The organisational chart
can often be misleading. So, under-
standing the power base and influence
dynamics within the customers envi-
ronment will help in aligning the value
with their problem areas.
The rules of strategy begin by intel-
ligence gathering. So, before you know
what you are headed towards, the first
step is to gather as much information as
possible. Nothing wins the management
better than showing them that you have
done your homework! So go ahead and
set the agenda. Being strategic in your
approach is best achieved by being the
first to approach the top management’s
door. It also means to truly understand
the organisational dynamics and setting
agendas against the biggest problems
and opportunities of your potential
client. The Miller Heiman technique of
strategic selling involves the salesper-
son to talk like a business owner. When
dealing with the top management, you
cannot cut across the line as someone
standing before doing a job or repre-
senting a solution. Instead, it advises
you to own the solution! How does one
do that? Being an authority in one’s do-
main is a possible start. So show your
SME skills and understanding of the
client’s environment, business and in-
dustry. Pull up the umbrella and show
how your organisation has saved other
businesses from the torrential down-
pour of business pain points and prob-
Being strategic in your selling
proposition means you have to allow
your customer call your product / serv-
ice the solution that he is looking for.
Problem solving is the first and natural
step, where the quantum of the client’s
purchase is determined by the quantum
of the problem being addressed by you.
Facts, figures and analytics bring out
the machinery and apply it on the
client’s environment. Only the cus-
tomer can define the true value of any
product or service. The criticality of
every sales process depends heavily on
the competition. At no stage of the sales
process can anyone discount the exis-
tence of multiple players who can affect
the management’s buying decisions.
Your competition is your enemy; you
have to know their products as well as
you know yours; in fact, sometimes
even better than your own! Your strat-
egy should have a careful analysis of
what your competition offers and how
and why is your offering a better choice
in the market. Your competition is your
business risk and at no point should you
be not aware of them!
Strategic Selling was bolstered by
the LAMP (Large Account Management
Process) methodology for major ac-
counts management developed by
Robert Miller, Stephen Heiman and Tad
Tuleja in their 1991 book, ‘Successful
Large Account Management’.
SPIN® and SPIN Selling®
Rackham's SPIN® model is a sim-
ple communications structure used by a
sales person to develop the selling op-
portunity with the prospective cus-
tomer: S - Situation - the customer's
circumstances , P - Problem - a diffi-
culty for the customer , I - Implication
- the difficulty causes more serious dis-
advantage/cost and N - Need (or Need-
payoff) - the difficulty must be solved
(by the seller's offering).
SPIN selling builds on the bedrock
of consultative selling. The onus lies on
the seller to identify the client’s pain
points by using a power suite of ques-
tions. Spin selling revolves around ask-
ing situational, problem, implication
questions and questions around need-
payoff. Published in 1988, SPIN Sell-
ing, Neil Rackham’s book from his
extensive 12-year study into successful
selling behaviour in 20 leading sales or-
ganisations, in 23 countries, involving
analysis of data from 35,000 sales calls,
is nothing less than the holy book for
salespersons worldwide, and looks at
deconstructing the customer pain points
by the customer him/herself. The com-
petitive set of questions begins by tak-
ing stock of the customers current
situation. It’s quite like the ice-break-
ing process, trying to sink one’s feet in
the customers business, trying to un-
derstand where the loop holes lie. The
next step in the sales process is identi-
fying and drawing out the problem
areas that are causing hindrance to the
business. This is the first point where
one is almost evoking a strong emotion
of misery caused by the pain points. It’s
almost like saying, ‘Look, we work de-
spite this!’ Getting the customer to re-
veal and acknowledge it is very
important. The next process in the SPIN
selling process is to evaluate the impli-
cations on the business. How severe are
the effects of the pain points on the cus-
tomers business? Does it affect the
process and productivity, or does it
have a significant impact on the prod-
uct / service itself? Answering these
questions is like acknowledging that
better business can be done. It’s the be-
ginning of realisation that ignoring pain
points does not mean they do not exist!
By now, the customer has him/herself
undergone a change in thoughts and
he/she is willing to consider a product
or service that will relieve him/her of
the pain points and streamline the busi-
ness. The last step towards closing the
sales is to have the customer revealing
the need for a solution. Moreover, it is
the stage where the customer trans-
forms from a reluctant buyer to a will-
ing buyer and wants to buy the
solution. The SPIN Selling rests on the
premise that the customer would come
around to believing that the solution
being propositioned is what he/she
needs. And in that lies a problem! In the
Business Barons 39
midst of business flux, for any product
or service to stand out and emerge the
loudest and most definite choice, Spin
Selling may not be the sure route to
sales. For every customer who ac-
knowledges the need for a service or
product to remove his/her pain points
may not want to necessarily buy your
product! He may have his/her eyes and
mind on something else. It’s like taking
a second doctors opinion before un-
dergoing a surgery! Yes, quite like that
actually. You know you need that sur-
gery, but would you do it now or later?
Would you let your first doctor take
you to the operating table, or would
you want to go for another specialist in
the same field?
Quite often the decision maker is
not just one person. Sometimes there
are far more people involved in the
process and evoke a response in each of
them through Spin Selling can be quite
an uphill task. People seldom think
alike, particularly in the case of busi-
ness environments. While the manage-
ment may agree on large organisational
matters, when it comes to specific
products and services, everyone may
not be convinced that it is the right
choice for them. No one ever said sell-
ing is a cake walk!
Value Selling
Value selling is an important sales
technique that relies on building on the
inherent value of a product or service.
Because customers often use price as
the dominant factor in a sales negotia-
tion, sales executives need to demon-
strate that sometimes the higher price is
actually a better solution by offering a
higher value.
Challenger Sales
Authors Mathew Dixon and Brent
Anderson have yet another dynamic
formula for sales in which they pro-
pound that ‘the best sales people don’t
just build relationships with customers.
They challenge them.’ There goes the
Miller Heiman’s Strategic Selling tech-
nique out of the window! 1
At the outset, the two methodolo-
gies differ on one significant premise.
While strategic selling as defined by
Miller Heiman is driven by people in
authority, or subject matter experts who
can engage with business leaders and
decision makers on an equal footing.
The challenger sales methodology rests
on the confidence of the underdog or
the ‘Challengers’ as they call it. What
makes it unique is also that it is pack-
aged like a formula that can be taught
to any average sales rep. The authors
believe that ‘any average-performing
rep once equipped with the right tools,
can successfully reframe customers
expectations and deliver a distinctive
purchase experience that drives higher
levels of customer loyalty and ulti-
mately, growth.’2
Based on an extensive research of
successful salespersons specialising in
B2B sales, the methodology identifies
the core characteristics of a Challenger:
1. The one who can offer the customers
a unique perspective
2. Has and exhibits strong two-way
communication skills
3. Has a keen understanding of the cus-
tomers value drivers
4. One who is comfortable discussing
5. One who is able to put pressure on
the customer
6. Creates and maintains a creative ten-
sion with the customer
The Challenger Sales model is a dy-
namic, edgy and aggressive sales tech-
nique that requires the sales person to
command every meeting. He/she is the
one who drives the customer towards
his/her own offering. ‘Creative tension’
is quite a unique proposition and it is
almost like overpowering the customer
to think like you want him/her to! It in-
volves teaching them how to differenti-
ate between products. It is also
tailoring the message based on the re-
cipient’s value drivers. Most signifi-
cantly, it is taking charge of the entire
sales process from the beginning to the
final stages.
The challenger sales methodology,
if not practiced by seasoned profes-
sionals, can also put off customers. No
one likes to be swaddled by overbear-
ing sales reps who don’t have source
credibility and /or are not experienced
to offer pro-active solutions and push
your thinking.
Social Selling
The Internet has melted boundaries
and restrictions of the human mind,
making it easier to interact with people
from different cultures. Today it is the
internet and the power of social selling
that has transformed the sales method-
ologies of modern trade. The world has
opened up, markets have opened up,
transparency is the buzz word and al-
most everything under the sun is open
to scrutiny. Today, what an organisation
sells is no longer the product or service
alone. It is an idea; a belief; a state-
ment; a thought. At the heart of it,
every selling is social. It has always
been so. And it will always be that way
even in times to come.
What has changed in the past and
will even in the future is the vehicle of
social selling!
Long before the influx of social
media and technology, people relied on
the single most powerful source – the
word of mouth. They asked their
friends for advice, people shared their
opinions over dinner table and social
functions, even conversations over the
fence with neighbours drove buying de-
cisions. In the age of esteemed feed-
back and consumer complaints, people
sent hand written letters through the
mail man to companies. Even today, a
business-to-business selling is always
about one individual believing in an-
other to deliver and in that precise way,
the divisions between individuals and
businesses merge.
The decision-making process re-
mains the same even today, a buyer still
wants to know about your product.
He/she still wants review and first-hand
experiences of people who have en-
gaged with your company before. How-
ever, they have changed their approach
towards it. One of the first changes that
the internet gave businesses was a vir-
tual identity. Every organisation, small
or big, tapped into the World Wide Web
and booked its virtual address and
made it home. The company website for
long has been the first online source of
information regarding a company. But
then, even the corporate website is dead
As a salesperson looking at the so-
cial construct of the buyer, your aim
should be to convert that ‘spectator
into a real customer. The ‘social buyer
Business Barons 40
is still a consumer because he/she con-
sumes every piece of information that
you share on your social network. This
consumption may not necessarily trans-
late into business and exact revenue.
But every time a social buyer likes,
shares or generates a conversation on
social media, he/she is adding an intan-
gible value for your business. Your
story, your content should have the
power to generate conversations. It
should be the fodder to generate an ex-
change of thoughts, debates and discus-
Everyone wants to buy something.
And there would be millions across the
world who want to buy what you sell.
Where are they? And how do you know
how to get to them? Thanks to the in-
ternet and the power of the social
media, you can now let the buyer find
you! Even now while we talk about
everything digital, the onus really shifts
to the marketing domain. However,
very less has been talked about how to
use social techniques to make the actual
sale – and that is really the focus of this
Social selling is the use of social
media to interact directly with
prospects, answer queries and offer
thoughtful content until the prospect is
ready to buy. Social selling is a dy-
namic process. However, even in that,
not all aspects are completely new. So-
cial selling is also is not a formula that
can be implemented by anyone, but at
the same time, it isn’t complex enough
to demand specialised skills.
Let’s say, social selling is simply
The purpose behind writing this
book is not to confuse the reader by
making such oxymoronic statements!
Instead, we are using this to really
begin a whole new exploration of the
mind of a social seller. Because truly,
social selling is a whole new way of
thinking! It demands a whole new way
of working!
And most salespersons are unwill-
ing to cross over!
The truth is that the customer has
changed! A new study by Forrester Re-
search says that 91 per cent of B2B IT
buyers are now involved in social
media – even if as spectators. This es-
sentially means that if you sell IT, over
90 per cent of your buyers are on social
media, observing you closely, and most
likely taking note of everything you
post or don’t post online, compared to
your competitors.
In another study done by Ogilvy-
One, 61 per cent of existing sales per-
sons feel that the selling process is
changing faster than their organisations
are adapting to it.
One of the greatest misconceptions
of B2B social selling is that it requires
making sales pitches through social
media. Making a sales pitch comes
much later, in fact, a pitch in social
selling, like the sales methodology in
itself, has undergone a makeover too! A
B2B social seller uses social networks
to find his/her potential customers, re-
late to their interests and needs, and
‘engage’ with them in an appropriate
way. The operative word here is ‘en-
gage’ because business solely depends
on how you and your potential buyer
communicate. The email correspon-
dence and even a real-time ‘pitch’ come
The pillars of Social Selling are:
Listen, Observe & Learn, Research &
Build Bridges, Engage, Hook & Im-
press, and Collaborate and Close
How is Social Selling different from
Social Media Marketing (SMM)?
While social selling is sometimes
confused with social marketing, there
are some key differences like:
1. Social selling is focused on sales
professionals, rather than marketing
2. Social selling aims to cultivate one-
on-one relationships, rather than broad-
cast one-to-many messages.
3. In traditional business terms, social
media marketing efforts supplement the
sales process in any organisation. When
it comes to social selling, sales and
marketing do not work in complimen-
tary terms, but converge in their exer-
cise to generate more awareness,
engage with potential customers and
convert them to possible leads.
If sellers have to take advantage of
social media and the marketing efforts
within an organisation, then they need
to collaborate for content strategy and
content marketing. Today, more and
more organisations are moving towards
in-house content production, making it
easier for salespersons to collaborate on
the content.
In recent times, two technology gi-
ants have harnessed the power and en-
ergy of social selling incredibly. So
much so that they are now venerated
case studies in the hallowed portals of
social media!
IBM Social Selling Case Study
IBM, the world’s largest IT services
and consulting firm has managed to
convert its sales staff into social media
savvy professionals! Technology is best
discovered online! Over the past few
years there has been a steady rise in IT
professionals using social media for
product research. And with that in
mind, IBM wanted to tap into the pro-
fessional IT community via social
media channels to support sales of its
cloud services.
IBM selected cloud computing
product division for launching social
selling pilot. The objective was simple
to find out the trends and issues being
discussed in cloud computing. IBM
roped in global digital marketing
agency Mason Zimbler to handle their
social media engagement. To begin
with an empowering social media pro-
gramme was developed to train the
sales representatives to use LinkedIn
and Twitter intelligently and effec-
Business Barons 41
tively. At its core, the programme
adopted a listen and respond model.
Listening is the biggest tool for
starting a conversation. And like so in
the virtual world, only those sales reps
will make inroads who have good lis-
tening and observation skills. It also in-
volved identifying the prospects and
following their topics, queries and
posts. IBM also developed the social
media toolkit that empowered every
sales rep to join online discussions, an-
swer queries, and make informed rec-
ommendations that went beyond their
sale-led activities. IBM, of course,
drew on its own resource pool to gen-
erate ideas and content that was cutting
edge and in sync with what the
prospects wanted. Reps were further
trained to engage potential clients and
communities with real and genuine
conversations. The content calendar
(usually a marketing responsibility)
was shared with the reps and they were
trained on how to use that for online
conversations. Each representative was
further equipped with a personalised
digital page. Much like a personal
meeting room, this allowed the rep to
offer appropriate solutions. Six months
after the launch:
1. There was a 554 per cent increase in
LinkedIn followers, more than 3500
tweets and retweets.
2. The Cloud computing division rolled
out an exclusive offer of 60 days' free
trial during the pilot of social selling.
Within the 1st day of posting the offer
on social media, IBM received 10 or-
ders and orders for product during the
quarter that were four times higher than
during the same time the year before.
3. The pilot was so successful that it
enabled IBM to train 1700 inside sales
reps on social selling which enabled the
sales reps to have 50,000 LinkedIn con-
nections, posting of 20,000 tweets and
reps pages have received 100,000 vis-
its in the last six months. 3
Creating a persona on social media
makes any company come alive on so-
cial media. People like interacting with
people, not faceless, clueless social
media managers.4
HCL Technologies Social Selling Case
HCL decided on social selling to
enable its sales team to leverage social
channels to find potential customers,
understand their needs, and engage
with them. To achieve it, a social sell-
ing programme was incubated and de-
signed by the global digital marketing
team. Instead of doing a big bang
global roll-out, the project team se-
lected the Australia and New Zealand
sales team and ran an exhaustive three
months programme. The outcome of the
successful pilot programme enabled the
digital marketing team to convince the
management to launch the programme
Before initiating the programme,
the HCL team researched about exam-
ples of other successful roll-outs of so-
cial selling programme and looked for a
tested and tried adoption framework.
There was no framework readily avail-
able, so the team created their own En-
terprise Social Selling Framework,
which was divided into three phases:
1. Pre-Launch Phase: The pre-launch
phase included all the planning activi-
ties to launch the programme. It was
the longest phase as it contained the
maximum number of activities. A suc-
cessful social selling pilot programme
requires tight governance on what will
be published on digital channels. The
HCL social media team had already de-
fined the social media policy. At the
very onset, all the benchmarks related
to social selling including (followers,
reach on all platforms, LinkedIn con-
nections, Google search reach, and en-
gagement) were identified. It also
included base lining the existing pres-
ence of programme participants on all
digital platforms. The content develop-
ment related to social selling was initi-
ated 45 days before the programme was
launched. The content was reviewed by
brand head and field marketing heads.
To ensure adoption, the content was
personalised based on the participant’s
industry and focus service line. Voice-
over training modules were also cre-
ated, which the participants could use
to refer to the training content even
after the completion of the programme.
Various social media tools were
analysed and Linked Sales navigator
and Hoot suite were selected to train
the participants on. The pre-launch
phase also included planning for the
two-day face-to-face workshop, which
included finding out the central loca-
tion for the workshop, ensuring that
whole sales and marketing team is
available for workshop, logistics
arrangement, etc. The field marketing
team played an important role in the en-
ablement of all these activities.
3 http://www.
The social selling programme
would only be successful if the partici-
pants realised the importance and
adopted the programme, so an exhaus-
tive change management programme
was designed. HCL leveraged its pro-
prietary AUSIC (Awareness, Under-
standing, Support, Involvement and
Control) framework to enable and en-
sure the successful adoption of the pro-
2. Execution Phase: The execution
phase included enablement of the sales
and marketing team by rigorous face-
to-face workshop, and by providing on-
going support during the programme.
Between face to face and a pure online
workshop model, it is always advisable
to adopt face-to-face workshop for the
pilot programme, as it is more effec-
tive. The programme was management
endorsed, and the sales leaders ensured
that their sales teams took out time to
attend the face-to-face workshop con-
ducted at Sydney and Melbourne. The
training was initiated with sharing the
findings of the base lining the existing
presence of programme participants’
exercise and understanding their ex-
pectations. All the six phases of the
programme, which included the follow-
ing, were covered during the workshop.
1. Understanding the social platforms
and creating your persona
2. Content curation, creation and pub-
3. Identifying prospects
4. Listening to the prospects
5. Approaching the prospect
6. Engaging the prospect
The training session included prac-
tical sessions, demonstration of social
media tools and each phase was con-
cluded by an online quiz with rewards
to encourage participation. The online
quiz was an important activity which
enabled participation and training re-
tention, as sales executives are compet-
itive in nature. During the training,
high performing individuals were iden-
tified, who were later nominated to be
the change champions. Considering the
criticality of LinkedIn Sales Navigator,
a dedicated session was conducted,
which covered Lead Builder, Best Prac-
tices in sending In-Mails, and approach
and engaging prospects in LinkedIn.
The workshop was concluded by giving
an overview of Dos and Don’ts of so-
Business Barons 42
cial selling.
3. Post-Launch Phase: The post-
launch phase included enablement of
the sales and marketing team to lever-
age the social platforms, which in-
cluded setting up the content engine,
weekly reporting on metrics, and on-
call doubt-clearing sessions. Once the
training was over, the participants were
provided with voice-over notes of the
all the six modules, which they could
refer anytime to refresh their skills. The
weekly doubt-clearing session planned
were also further extended to one-to-
one sessions on the request of advanced
One of the big inhibitors to the suc-
cessful adoption of social selling adop-
tion is the availability of high quality
content. The busy sales managers are
often reluctant to create and/or curate
content as it doesn’t come naturally to
them. In order to break this barrier, a
content engine was developed.
The specific content requirements
were taken from the participants. To
help the sales managers get started, the
central team created and curated con-
tent based on the topics specified by the
participants, and shared a weekly con-
tent calendar with the participants. The
Hoot Suite tool was used by the partic-
ipants to upload the content with the
click of a button. Within a few minutes,
the participants could upload the con-
tent for the whole week and watch the
action unfold.
During the post-launch phase, it is
very important to continue the change
management activities. Some of the
change management activities included
rewards and recognition for:
1. The best social media profile
2. The most engaging content creator
3. The most connected sales manager
4. The best influencer engagement
sales manager
5. The best amplifier
6. The best user of Twitter
7. The best user of LinkedIn
8. The most innovative use of social
Outcome: In order to measure the out-
comes of the programme, a weekly re-
port was published, which tracked
important metrics related to social sell-
ing. The programme was very success-
ful as can be seen from some of the
below programme outcomes, which
were achieved within the first three
1. 3100 per cent increase in LinkedIn
2. 88 per cent increase in Sales Leaders
on Twitter
3. 76 per cent increase in the average
Klout score
4. 47 per cent increase in cumulative
5. 30 per cent increase in the Twitter
The learning and findings from
Australia and New Zealand are now
being utilised by HCL to expand this
successful pilot to other regions. Some
of the early results of the global roll-
out programme participants are:
1. Engagement started with 1395 new
2. Sales managers have connected to
4,000 decision makers they had no con-
nections with
3. 150 Mn US$ of funnel was positively
4. Social selling influenced 350 Mn
US$ of booking
5. Increase in sales representative per-
formance as:
a. They did 105 per cent more booking
in 2015 v/s 2014
b. The bid to win increased by 20 per
c. The time taken to close an opportu-
nity reduced by 26 Days
6. In an internal research, 92.2 per cent
sales managers mentioned that they
would recommend the training and
LinkedIn sales navigator licenses to
‘Before LinkedIn and other social
networks, in the sales world, ABC
stood for Always Be Closing. Now,
ABC means Always Be Connecting, be-
cause your connections lead to your
next hire, your next job, your next lead,
and your next close.
Jill Rowley, Social Selling Evangelist
In this chapter, we will look at why
should you learn and practice social
selling. The objectives are:
1. Understand the changes which have
happened in the technology landscape,
buyer and seller side
2. Understanding the importance of
content in social selling
3. What is social selling and what’s the
process to be followed?
Change is never easy. However, the
only constant in the world is change.
Selling, as we have discovered, is one
of the world’s oldest professions. As
the backbone of trade, it is sales that
has driven businesses, small and large.
The world has become smaller, closer
and connected, and with businesses
spreading their reach, we’re seeking to
build connections that are both mean-
ingful and profitable.
Not just individuals, companies are
following their audience, stakeholders
and clients to where they live. Social
networks have opened its doors to com-
panies wanting to reach out to their
consumers directly. More than a web-
site today, a social network address of a
company is the first place that a poten-
tial client looks.
Why is Social Selling Important?
The Technology Side of the Story
The rise and advent of social media
has helped people build networks and
create business value virtually. The ex-
change of ideas, contacts and resources
have built relationships that define
modern-day business transactions.
Every day, people are increasingly
using social media in their lives and
1. In February 2014, as Facebook
marked a decade in social media, it
ended up at the top of the chart as the
world’s biggest social network. Statis-
tically, the numbers are staggering! In
2004, there were 1 MM Facebook
users, the numbers swelled rapidly over
the years to reach 608 MM in 2010. By
2015, the numbers had more than dou-
bled to 1.370 Bn. There are 556 MM
Business Barons 43
people who use Facebook via their
smartphones and tablets every day.
2. LinkedIn, the world’s largest profes-
sional networking site has more than
332 MM members in over 200 coun-
3. Micro-blogging site Twitter has
come a long way from 2006. With 645
MM users until 2014, there are 9100
Tweets being generated every second!
4. Google Plus launched in 2011 has a
growing family of 540 MM users, and
is the one that is still lagging behind
when it comes to active users in a
month; however, coming from the
house of Google means that no one can
really ignore it!
The Client Side of the Story
With time, organisations are getting
democratised, which means that now
the buying choice in an organisation
rests not with one person but that with
a group. The decision-making body, as
it now stands, is a group of people who
have to be convinced about you and
your product / service. Unless you deal
in a highly niche category where the
client has no other option available,
there is always the chance that the peo-
ple involved in the buying process will
try and gather information about the
available vendors. With technology-dri-
ven platforms, today, digital, mobile
and social media is transforming the
way we interact socially.
We follow, like, link and subscribe
and make friends, we network, we con-
nect, we share and we contribute and
support. Business is more transparent,
agile and surely more authentic than
ever. The most significant change that’s
affecting business right now however is
that business today is no more just
transactional and has become a social
enterprise (not to be confused with an
enterprise which pursues corporate so-
cial responsibility).
1. 89 per cent of customers begin their
buying process with a search engine
(source: Fleishman-Hillard)
2. 80 per cent of introductions generate
a sale (source: DSWA)
3. 75 per cent of customers say they use
social media as part of the buying
process (source: IBM)
4. 55 per cent of B2B buyers search for
information on social media (source:
5. 42 per cent Follow or Like a friend
or brand; 79 per cent are motivated to
do this in order to learn more about the
brand (source: Fleishman-Hillard)
Business sales therefore has seen a
natural evolution. It is a change that has
taken its own turn. Business has
evolved from being merely transac-
tional to being about building, growing
and maintaining relationships. Simply
put, business has become a lot more
The Seller Side of the Story
Selling has always been a social oc-
cupation. At the heart of it, selling is a
people’s business. People will continue
to buy from people, irrespective of the
age you live in. The Social Selling
process however, only seeks to power
your selling proposition and make you
a superior seller. It is a new modernised
approach to selling, aimed to give you
an elevated sales pitch.
The truth is that the digital era has-
n’t cut down on opportunity, rather
brought in new opportunities that are
still untapped. As much of the business-
to-business (B2B) buying process con-
tinues to move online, social networks
have become fundamental to the suc-
cess of sales organisations. Not all B2B
sales teams have incorporated social
selling into their sales process, but
many others have seen that social
media can be transformative. This is
true for companies large and small,
across all industries. Certain industry
studies and experts are documenting
these shifts; consider the following sta-
The Harvard Business Review, in an
in-depth study of traditional sales
techniques, revealed that:
1. 91 per cent of sales meetings do not
result in a sale
2. Only 1 out of every 250 salespeople
exceed their targets
3. It takes on average US$1,760 of
profit per sale to cover the cost of
failed sales calls
5 afvh/
LinkedIn data shows
1. Sales professionals who use social
media for social selling are 51 per cent
more likely to exceed their sales quota
than sales professionals who don’t use
social networks for selling. Sales pro-
fessionals who use social networks for
selling are three times more likely to
crush their sales quota for the year than
any other sales rep.
2. Directors who use LinkedIn for so-
cial selling get promoted 2X faster to
the role of a VP.
Social Media and Sales Quota Survey
shows that:
1. 72.6 per cent of salespeople using
social media outperformed their sales
2. 54 per cent who used social media
tracked their social media usage back to
at least one closed deal.
3. 50.1 per cent of sales people who re-
port using social media state that they
spend less than 10 per cent of their sell-
ing time using social media
4. Over 40 per cent of salespeople say
they’ve closed between two and five
deals as a result of social media.
5. Social media users were 23 per cent
more successful than their non-social
media peers.
Other researches show that:
1. Today’s sales process takes 22 per
cent longer than five years ago (source:
Sirius Decisions)
2. 98 per cent of sales reps with 5000+
LinkedIn connections achieve quota
(source: Sales Benchmark Index)
3. According to the Aberdeen Group,
sales professionals who use social sell-
ing help best-in-class companies
achieve a 16 per cent gain in year-over-
year revenue, four times better than at
typical companies.
4. You are almost 5X more likely to
schedule a first meeting if you have a
personal LinkedIn connection (source:
Sales Benchmark Series)
By now you would be convinced
that you and your organisation need to
take steps towards becoming social
selling enabled.
Anatomy of a Social Seller
Remember we said that the B2B
buying process has undergone a change
and that the people who make the buy-
ing decision are now making informed
choices based on their online research?
Therefore, to understand the
anatomy of a social seller, one has to
closely shadow his/her online behav-
iour. About 81 per cent use communi-
ties and blogs, reading and watching
videos, commenting, posting ratings
and reviews. They also use their time to
publish posts and upload visual media.
74 per cent use LinkedIn to network
with peers and connect with vendors in
LinkedIn groups. About 42 per cent
consume content, retweet content, post
content and look for support by asking
Business Barons 44
What Is Social Selling?
Social Selling is a systematic
process that requires the seller to
‘reach’ out to their potential customers
on social networks and spend time with
them. It means to ‘discover and under-
stand the customer better than the com-
petition. This proceeds to ‘engagement’
whereby, applying the expertise from
across the organisation, one is mean-
ingfully adding value to the customer.
Finally, to ‘act’ by focusing on the op-
portunities that create the most profit.
The Pillars of Social Selling
Listen, Observe and Learn
Using social media to spot potential
leads is not an easy, quick-fix task. It
involves a small bit of intelligence
gathering by mapping our relationships
with potential customers / companies
and identifying the decision makers in
the organisation. You obviously want to
connect with those who matter, because
it is by networking with them that you
can effectively engage with them and
explore business opportunities.
Research and Build Bridges
If the Google bar has transformed
the search function in people’s lives,
social media has transformed the way
people express their needs. In this day
and age, businesses, like individuals,
use social media to state what they are
looking for. For any business that is
looking to sell his product / service
keeping a tab on the potential client’s
needs, is a great way to make a sales
call. This then becomes the stepping
stone of a new relationship where each
one vouches for the other.
Engage, Hook and Impress
Social media by now is considered
a formal enough channel to engage with
a client. Through PMs and inboxes, so-
cial media is the first place to begin a
conversation with a potential client and
then hook him for sales proposition. In
a network of mirror accounts, social
media also adds an element of trans-
parency in what the seller stands for
and offers to sale. Trust your customer
to look into your profile before agree-
ing to meet. So craft your social media
profile to impress!
Collaborate and Close
Your social media channel should
speak about you as an organisation.
From its belief, attitude, practices,
everything that your social avatar es-
pouses is what you should be in real
life. It is only when online and offline
personalities match does it lead to bet-
ter relations. Building robust relation-
ships go a long way in building
referrals and opening up cross- sales
Importance of Content in Social Sell-
According to a 2014 report titled
‘Connecting Conversation to Content’
from IDG Connect, the majority (57 per
cent) of B2B information technology
buyers are using social networks as part
of their purchase decision process.
Moreover, B2B buyers say content dis-
covered on social networks will likely
have more influence on their purchas-
ing decisions than directly accessed ed-
itorial or vendor content in the future.7
Today, editorial content has the
biggest influence in making IT invest-
ment decisions (35 per cent of buyers
give it the most weight), followed by
vendor content (34 per cent), and then
social content (31 per cent). In two
years, buyers believe, content found on
social networks will move ahead of
both editorial and vendor content in
terms of importance (37 per cent say it
will have the most weight).
Types of Content
B2B buyers use social networks
across all buying stages, but most dur-
ing the initial research phase.
89 per cent of buyers say vendor-
provided educational content is accept-
able on social networks, and 64 per cent
say promotional content is acceptable.
Buyers are mostly interested in see-
ing links to informational content on
social networks, such as reviews and
The Six Step Social Selling Process
1. Understanding the social platforms
and creating your persona: Social
media is a dynamic conundrum of so-
cial networks. There are new networks
springing into the World Wide Web and
there is always a new game-changer
threatening in the horizon. For a green-
horn, crossing the threshold of social
media is a daunting challenge. How-
ever, knowing how social media works,
how each platform is different from an-
other and how to create a uniform and
distinct social persona, is the perfect
start to social selling.
2. Publishing content to suit your
persona: Building a persona is like
building an image that you want your
audience to believe in. However, fuel-
ing that persona with carefully curated
and created content ensures that people
know that you are credible and com-
mitted to what you stand for. Let’s say
that your social persona is fuelled by
the content that you publish and the
conversations that you have.
3. Identifying prospects: Not everyone
comes looking for you. The onus of
finding an audience always rests on
you. Finding the right people to net-
work with, finding the decision makers
and identifying them on the platforms
that they exist and use is a key step in
social selling.
4. Listening – Topics that interest
prospect: Knowing where your audi-
ence is gives you a sneak peep into the
conversations that they are having. It is
also about listening to what they are
saying and what they are subtly imply-
ing. Listening involves knowing the
topics that interest your prospect and
engaging them effectively.
5. Approaching prospects and cus-
tomers: Social networks are built for
conversations. Reaching out to the right
people with answers to their queries,
providing solutions, generating ideas,
building collaborations are just some of
Business Barons
the ways you can approach your
prospects and customers.
6. Engaging prospects and nurturing
relationships: Selling by now would
be a seamless, effortless process where
much of the work has already been
done. Suggesting your own services
and products would be a natural exten-
sion of a relationship that has been
built. It would involve nurturing long-
lasting effective relationships.
Possible Challenges with Social Sell-
Like any other methodology or
process, Social Selling, if practiced by
untrained professionals, could also re-
sult in challenges, some of which are as
1. Magnification: On social media,
both positive and negative interactions
are magnified, which means that if your
sales representatives aren’t trained to
respond properly and promptly on so-
cial media, there is a real possibility
that you would have created more prob-
lems than solved.
2. Competitive activity: A smart com-
petitor could follow your sales execu-
tives engaged on a social selling
mission and find out who you prospects
are, details of your services and at
times, even engage with an unhappy
customer of yours.
3. Disruption of existing siloed
processes: On social media, a customer
expects the company’s representatives
to be responsible for, respond to, and
resolve issues which could at times be
not a part of sales managers direct
remit, like accounts and service deliv-
ery issues. If the company has not taken
care to upgrade their traditional siloed
processes to a social and a business
process, then the sales managers prac-
ticing social selling would cut a sorry
face, as the back-end system wouldn’t
be engineered to support their efforts.
4. Leakage of confidential company
data: At times, the untrained sales
managers might inadvertently post de-
tails of sensitive and confidential in-
formation like future releases or
earnings announcements which could
be detrimental to the company or might
bring legal action; hence, it’s critical to
have a well-defined social media policy
and train executives on it.
Welcome to the social media growth
‘It’s time to go where your buyers
live: online. If you pride yourself on
being where your buyers are, then why
aren’t you online yet?’</Q>
Jamie Shanks, Co-Founder of Sales
for Life
The first step towards social selling
is to closely evaluate and ponder over
one’s social presence. In this chapter,
we will look at decoding some of the
rudimentary steps of social selling. The
objectives are:
1. Understand the importance of build-
ing a personal brand
2. Understanding what is a ‘social
media persona’ and why is it important?
3. Understanding different social media
4. Creating and managing your social
5. Controlling your digital visibility
Before we start creating a social
media persona, it is important to define
your personal brand.
What is Personal Branding and Why
is it Important?
Walk into a room full of people, busy
in conversations, glasses clinking and
there is the distinct warmth of human
connections. What does it take for heads
to turn or people to look in your direc-
tion and want to connect with you? What
does it take for people to leave conver-
sations and come to you, to listen to you
and engage in a conversation?
This isn’t about building a
charisma. This chapter isn’t going to
teach you on how to build a compelling
character that people want to be seen
with. This definitely is not about mak-
ing a celebrity out of you! This is about
building a brand out of you; a brand
that almost compels people to stop talk-
ing and listen to whatever you have to
But then what is personal branding
anyway? Wasn’t branding only meant
for companies and products? Why do
humans and professionals have to nec-
essarily treat themselves as commodi-
tised individuals and make a brand out
of themselves?
Let’s begin with the basics. Per-
sonal Branding was first introduced by
Napolean Hill in ‘Think and Grow
Rich’ (1937). It encompasses aspects of
presence, both online and offline. It
unites one’s purpose (Mission), long-
term focus (Vision) and the standards
(Values) that guide behaviour and cre-
ate a package or an image that exem-
plifies you! It incorporates a
consistency in positioning, to ensure
that your actions have greater impact to
advance your career.
This is a world where a Tweet is
now considered an official statement. It
is a world where LinkedIn resumes and
connections mean more than referrals
and word-of-mouth praise. Connections
are not made across the table and sales
no longer happen with cold calls!
Everywhere you go, your reputation
precedes you. Branding, therefore, has
reached a whole new dimension, mak-
ing it almost an imperative in this
highly digital world. The world as a
networked web of connections, making
it important for people to build and
manage their online identities. Even
though people believe that there are
two distinct realities – the virtual and
the real world, and that the real matters
more than the other, the truth is that the
two are always in sync. Or rather, that
they should be in sync!
In today’s world, where everything
and everyone is ‘Googled’, chances are
that your potential client has already
looked up on you, trying to test your
authenticity and credentials before even
agreeing to meet you. Gone is the old-
world charm of sharing business cards
to build contacts. Today, people con-
nect on social media and stay in touch.
Building a personal brand, there-
fore, is about building a credible and
sound social media and online persona
that really and truly reflects you!
How to Build a Personal Brand On-
Business Barons 46
Building a personal brand is like
building a legacy of your own. Below
are some quick steps to get you started.
Start Looking At Yourself as a Brand
Think of yourself in terms of adjec-
tives, or how people would describe
you as. What would you like people to
associate with you? Are you a subject
matter expert? Your perception of your
own self and how people know you is
the beginning of personal branding.
This isn’t an exercise in commodifica-
tion; instead, it is about projecting a
genuine and an authentic image. It is
something that people can relate to and
validate with their experience and en-
gagement. Here are some examples of
brilliant personal branding: Michael
Port and Jill Rowley .
Audit Your Online Presence
You would already know that
Google is the strongest CV that you can
have! So before we begin the drill of
creating and strengthening an online
persona, it is important to audit your
online presence as it stands today, on
day zero!
Secure a Personal Site and Block
your Social Media Properties
You want to hold the copyright to
your own name, don’t you! No matter
who you are and what your special skill
is, or will be down the line. Whether
you are representing a company, or run-
ning your own, having a personal web-
site, or simply a,
is the first step towards personal brand-
ing. Today, you may say that you don’t
represent a brand, so even a simple
three page site with your resume, links
to social media pages and contact is a
great start. Also, take time out to block
key social media properties like Twit-
ter, LinkedIn etc. with your name.
Find Ways to Produce Value
Building a brand is about commit-
ment. When people start associating
themselves with a product, something
like a shampoo, they trust it and assume
that it will live up to the promise of
giving a gorgeous mane. Similarly,
when people associate themselves with
your personal brand, they expect it to
be an engaging and beneficial connec-
tion. Therefore, it is important to find
ways to produce value in giving your
audience / connections what they ex-
pect out of you. One could either create
content or even curate it or guide your
audience towards making suitable
Look Before you Share
Every Tweet that you send, every
update that you share and every picture
that you put up on social platforms has
a direct impact on your personal brand.
So make sure that every action in the
digital world is building your personal
brand and not diminishing or even tar-
nishing it in any way.
Associate with Strong Brands
People in the digital world are de-
fined by the connections they share
with other brands. So show the connec-
tions that you already have. In this
case, begin with your employer. The or-
ganisation that you work for is a brand
in itself, and by attaching yourself to
the brand and associating your own
identity with that of the brand shows
that you are a brand in yourself!
Be Authentic
In a world that thrives on inauthen-
ticity, authenticity automatically be-
comes a much desired and memorable
quality. To start being authentic, stop
being inauthentic. Authenticity isn’t the
presence of something, but the absence
of everything that isn’t authentic. We
all have something unique to contribute
to the world, and being authentic helps
you present it better to the world. When
online, ask questions, state your opin-
ion, recognise people who have helped
you, help others, show passion, and last
but not least, never deviate from your
own unique voice.
Creating your Social Media Persona
What is Social Media Persona?
Your ‘social media persona’ is how
your audience views you on social
media; your online identity that you
consciously or subconsciously display
to the outside world.
Yes, you are what you are on social
media! People following you on social
media create perceptions based on your
online activities and judge you by it.
Starting from your profile picture, to
your bio in every page, the content that
you share, the conversations that you
engage in, the causes that you cham-
pion and the personality that you ex-
hibit on social media; you are the sum
of the all these parts!
The first step of social selling
would be to create a compelling per-
sona that people take seriously. Social
media etiquettes, to have a responsible
social media behaviour; everything is
an integral part of who you are!
If you haven’t already self-evalu-
ated your personality, then it is time
you do that! Life on social media is a
cocktail of our personal and profes-
sional. So one fine day you may be
posting a grumbling Tweet on yet an-
other business meeting, or venting over
your boss, but on another day you may
be knocking at the door of a prospec-
tive client or potential employer! What
you say and has been said on social
media will catch up with you! It’s like
calling in sick for work and then post-
ing a ‘selfie’ from a movie hall!
What is your Social Media Type?
For most, making clear divisions
between one’s personal and profes-
sional life even while using a social
media channel is a difficult game! Do
you integrate or separate? Are you on
social media to express or impress?
These are some of the questions that a
Wharton study tried to answer. The
study, aptly called, ‘When Worlds Col-
lide: Navigating the Minefield of So-
cial Media’ as Nancy Rothbard,
Wharton Management Professor ex-
plains how the study is about how the
personal and professional lives of em-
ployees, can become blurred on social
media.9 In the research, Nancy Roth-
bard was joined by Justin Berg, a
Wharton Doctoral student, and Ollier
Malaterre, a management professor at
Université du Québec à Montréal. Ac-
cording to the research, one of the
biggest challenges is the notion of the
invisible audience. Whenever you
share content on Twitter, Facebook, In-
stagram or any of the other social
media channels, there are people you
engage with, as they ‘share’ and ‘like’
your story. These constitute the visible
audience. However, there is an equally
large number of people who read your
content but do not respond to it. It is
this audience that we forget most of the
time when we communicate socially.
‘What will happen is that sometimes
the information that we post has some
unintended effects in terms of how
people respond to us. And that’s really
what we were focusing on in this re-
search — the consequences of different
online social media strategies that peo-
ple have’, 10 says Nancy Rothbard.
The study identifies four strategies
people adopt or social media personal-
ities that people exhibit.
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