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Get Ready. Get Set. Sell!

Lithium Alumni (Retired)

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Lithium’s new Chief Revenue Officer, Ravi Kumaraswami ( @RaviK ), came on board a few months ago and has wasted no time in laying out his plans to build a world-class sales organization that he believes can (and will) double the company’s revenues in the next two and a half years. And that’s just for starters! Now that he’s had some time to get settled, we thought we’d sit down with him and have a quick chat about why this is such an exciting time to work in sales at Lithium.

You’ve got a wealth of experience in enterprise software and cloud sales. What motivated you to join the team at Lithium?

For me, this was a no-brainer. Lithium is an incredibly valuable asset to our customers. In fact, there are so many value levers in a company that we can impact in such scalable ways – from cost reductions to overall business improvement – that I feel Lithium, up until now, has only scratched the surface in demonstrating our true and unique value to the marketplace. When you are given the opportunity to grow a brand that has such a clear and measurable impact on our customers’ bottom line, it’s really hard not to be excited about what the future holds. Joining the team at Lithium was a very easy decision for me to make.

That being said, what do you feel is Lithium’s core value proposition to customers?

The short answer is this: we help brands connect, engage, and understand their customers and prospects like no other company can. But the way we deliver on that promise for each of our customers is just a little bit different. Some customers – major online and brick-and-mortar retail brands, for example – look to Lithium to help reduce shopping cart abandonment and grow overall e-commerce revenues. Other customers, like those in the telecommunications and financial services industries, may come to us to provide solutions that reduce either customer services costs or customer churn. We are a solutions-driven company, not one-size-fits-all. We work closely with our customers to match up the right solution to an unmet need. And from a sales perspective, that’s what makes us stand out from the competition.

It’s no secret that you’ve got some rather aggressive goals for growing Lithium’s business over the next few years.
How do you plan to achieve those milestones?

The recipe for success is actually quite simple. First, we are moving quickly to vertically organize our sales team so that we’ve got the right resources focused on a core set of industry categories where we already have a proven track record of customer success. Our business will grow when we start digging deeper into our areas of core competency and effectively scale our solutions across a wider array of customers within those categories. But lead acquisition is really only one part of that equation. Second, we want to create deeper and more valuable engagements with our current customers, using our existing successes with them to create stronger, lasting relationships. We believe our value to customers is twofold: providing the right solution to address a specific unmet need and maintaining an ongoing dialogue with them to better understand and respond to how those needs evolve over time. Our customers are our partners. Their success is our success.

So, in your opinion, what makes working in Sales at Lithium so unique?

This is not your typical sales job. Joining the sales team at Lithium means being up for a challenge. We are selling an entirely new category of products and services to meet unmet needs that many customers don’t yet realize they actually need. And in the rare instances that they have, indeed, identified those needs, Lithium isn’t necessarily top-of-mind when it comes to addressing those organizational issues. Our typical customer doesn’t wake up in the morning and say, “I think I need an online community” or “I need a social service platform to reduce customer service costs.” They may be toying with those ideas in the back of their mind, but it’s definitely not up, front, and center for them. That’s where our team comes into the picture.

 

The job of a salesperson at Lithium is to, first and foremost, intimately understand a customer’s business so that they can then help identify pain points. This involves a lot of research and a solid understanding of a business’ key performance metrics. With that knowledge base in place, we’re in a much better position to help our customers work through those needs and identify the ways in which Lithium’s solutions can help alleviate those pain points. Then we work closely and collaboratively with our customers to build a business case that then can be shared within their own organization for buy-in from key stakeholders.

 

As mentioned before, our products and services aren’t one-size-fits-all – neither are our customers’ needs. But unlike many of our competitors, we offer a full suite of solutions that address a myriad of needs. That’s why we call it the “Customer Engagement Platform.” What makes our job challenging, yet ultimately rewarding is the simple fact that we are squarely focused on solving problems. We are researchers. We are storytellers. We are problem-solvers. We are trusted partners. The market’s ripe for the taking. We’ve got a strong value proposition and a ton of success stories to showcase our know-how. Now, it really all comes down to having a team in place that’s ready to hustle and grow this business quickly.

Speaking of teams, we’ve heard that there’s a big effort to hire new salespeople right now. How would you describe your ideal candidate?

My personal philosophy is: lead or get out of the way. For our team to be successful, we need account managers who are self-directed and self-motivated. We operate in a very entrepreneurial environment. There is a lot of room for growth and development at Lithium. We provide all new salespeople with training and a wealth of resources to help them do their jobs effectively. Then it’s up to them to make the magic happen. Anyone with drive, initiative, and enthusiasm will thrive within our team.

 

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Ready to join the Lithium Sales team?

Take a look at our open positions and apply today!


 



ABOUT RAVI

Ravi serves as Senior Vice President of Sales and Chief Revenue Officer for Lithium, responsible for driving Lithium’s global revenue and worldwide sales strategies. Ravi joins Lithium with 24 years of enterprise software and cloud sales experience and a strong track record of delivering revenue growth.

 

Prior to joining Lithium, Ravi was SVP, Global Head of Procurement and Business Networks LOB at SAP, where he led a global sales force responsible for sales of Ariba and SAP products to the procurement, accounts payable and finance line of business executives. Prior to the acquisition of Ariba by SAP, Ravi held various management positions at Ariba, including General Manager Asia Pacific, Japan and Middle East and General Manager for the On-Premise business & Global Accounts, and he was a member of the Ariba management committee.

 

Ravi began his career at Accenture, where he spent 11 years managing projects across various business functions / industries, including Mergers and Acquisitions, Sales and Marketing, Corporate Finance, and IT strategy.

Ravi holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Delhi University. Ravi is also a fellow member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and a graduate member of the Institute of Cost and Works Accountants of India.

 

About the Author
Eric Channing Brown has worked for more than two decades as a comms pro in Silicon Valley. Eric’s career has spanned almost every aspect of tech from chips and enterprise storage systems to Internet, media, and consumer apps companies. He has worked for some of the best-known companies in the industry including Sun Microsystems, NetApp, Yahoo!, Skype, and Microsoft. Eric is now VP of Global Comms at Lithium Technologies.
2 Comments
Lithium Alumni (Retired)

Great write up. Strongly agree.

Lithium Alumni (Retired)

This is one of the clearest and most succinct descriptions I've ever read of who we are and what we do. Cheers to Ravi for embracing our mission and joining the team. Great to have you on board!