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The Revenue Operations Blog

Revenue Interview: Sanjay Galal at SYSPRO

January 17, 2022

The Interview

Kluster's Take

Josephine spoke with Sanjay Galal, Chief Financial Officer & Chief Revenue Officer APAC at SYSPRO. He explains his approach of leading by action.

Sanjay optimises the front end (revenue functions) with the back end (sales support functions). It’s key to understand what both of these functions do. You need to understand processes first, then make improvements.

Sanjay is a very people-focused leader. He believes in leadership through execution rather than leadership through instruction. Essentially, leading by doing.


Basically leading by doing, and that's all I believe in, I've read lots of senior roles early on in my career through to now. And I've found that that's a key success factor.

No, I believe in leadership through execution rather than in leadership three instruction. Um, by that, I mean, always getting involved, doing what you need to shine the team that you're doing first, um, and then, and then expecting them to follow and do what you do so love through your leadership, um, in terms of my career and how it's impacted, um, my career, I think it's served me quite well.

Um, in the sense that. Um, I'm more of a people type of leader. Um, ego-less leader being turned at some point, but I'm basically leading by doing and, and that's all I believe in. Um, and that's how I get people to follow me. And my career has been shaped at rev. I've read lots of senior roles early on in my career through to now.

Um, and I've found that that's a key success factor and that serves me well. That's awesome. I think sometimes if you have a philosophy and it's a good way to direct how you behave like an intention, so that's awesome. Okay. So going to the theme, what would you say the fundamentals are of ensuring the front end and backend are performing optimally, and maybe you could talk about what the front and backend means.

Okay, so let's start with a second question for us. So from a front end perspective, uh, my view is that's the sales engine. That's the front line that's effectively your face to the customer. So how does that generate the most revenue? That's what I would determine as. From a backend perspective. Um, it's more around how you operationalize, how you, how you're enabled offending.

So what happens in the back end foundation level, um, to make the front end seamless? So that's, that's what my answer would be, but, um, around the fundamentals and in terms of optimal operation, I think the, you know, I've got a couple of key points there. Um, one. The whole team understanding exactly what the vision is in terms of the business and where you want to go.

If you have the front end, understanding what the backend does and what the. Uh, understanding what the end does, then it's much easier to drive a vision, get buy in, um, and also focus on selling without getting distracted. Um, so it optimizes all done. And then that ripple effects through to the backend.

The less admin sales effort you get involved in, or the front end engine needs to deviate away from its focus, the better all around and the more optimal function throughout the business from front to. Hmm, that's awesome. Um, as I say, a north star. Okay. So how do you check for optimal performance? Are there any checks and balances?

What would you, how would you describe your approach that. So good question. I think this is always the difficult one. Um, it's okay to put everything in place, but how do you measure, how do you get it to that optimal point? So from my perspective, the only way to do that is by setting up proper KPIs and incentives, which are aligned to the behavior you want to drive.

Um, and if you link these upfront and everyone understands where they fit in, um, it's easy to measure team before. Because people are clear that the black and white, they don't have any gray area right. From day one. So they know exactly what they expected to do. They know what to do, and they know what the bigger picture is.

So I think that's critical. Um, also ensuring how do we ensure optimal performance? How do you measure that? Um, next a couple of key measures. I mean, um, Yeah. You know, the key ministers enable ensure that the team and individuals engage regularly by attacking either their pipelines, prospects, et cetera.

And the key for me is holding them accountable, um, and basically being able to manage, uh, them well with open transparency to make sure they're doing what you need them to do. And you supporting them at the same time in order to derive over all objectives. Brilliant. And this might be a little bit beside crash and Sanjay, but with sales people, I feel like it's easy for them to be incentivized, but how do you incentivize the people in operations on the backend?

Yeah. Good question. So effectively the way I like to do it and incentivize people that are non revenue generating, because that's what you're learning to. Basically the KPIs that they have, there must be a set of KPIs that serve three parts of the business. So the first one is the individual core function.

So what is that individual doing? And can control. And can basically drive performance and prove their worth that's number one, the second KPI must be a team-based type of KPI, but that must be about bigger picture. And what is the overall team going to achieve and how am I going to be play a part in that journey in order to achieve my objectives and then the team objectives.

So that's the second one. The third one is always the outlier. So I always like to throw. Maybe other things of value add that that individual brings to the business, not necessarily in their own function. So that's, that's important for me. So those three things are very important and they work well together.

If, and then you can weight it whichever way you want. So that's how I normally drive, um, non generating stock. Whereas with, with, uh, revenue gen staff, I mean, it's easy, it's based on numbers, it's black and white it's based on targets and it's easy to incentivize. So, um, yeah, that's how I normally set it up to track performance across the board.

I really liked the third point that you made, so that's awesome. Okay. Could you talk me through the impact of having one or the other not being optimal, or have you had any stories yourself where you felt like it wasn't cohesive and what did you do to kind of overcome that?

Obviously the whole thing needs to work. Everything needs to stack up. Otherwise you've got to definitely fit through, um, where there's one problem that just continue to live up to the backend. And I think this is a key point that people probably don't understand if you don't give them the full picture.

So my view is that when you have a sales team at the front. Um, and there's something that's not working or something that's not optimal address that directly and adjust that upfront, um, by also basically articulating what the impact will be. But then again, also what the ripple effect will be to your teammates or colleagues on the backend and what it means to them.

So for me, it's all encompassing, uh, impact. If you're not efficient, either back-end or front-end, you're impacted up the chain or down the chain, everything needs to be optimal and everyone needs to buy into that vision and then go work. So that's, that's how I would sum that up. Um, from my perspective, in terms of an example or a situation where it hasn't been optimal and what have we done to fix it?

Um, I'll give you a fairly simple example. So we had a sales team of very small number of people managing a continent in terms of the sales and territories and areas. And what I found was, um, when one person wasn't performing that would basically then ripple effect or spread to the other team or impact the backend teams.

Before non nocturnally to others that are performing optimally. So they usually wear a dress that was basically again, openness and transparency, right? You're, you'll make the issue, uh, with, uh, the personal way of issue. Um, you come together as a team and you actually come up with a collaborative approach and then you move forward together.

So it's not about singling out a person it's just making a person away and then helping them develop and supporting them again, which is critical in terms of the team vision that you.

Okay, that makes sense. And before we have started the recording, we talked about optimal performance based on improving the process, the people and performance. So could you talk me through that? I feel like it'd be really interesting to touch on how it affects those three elements. Yep. So, I mean, process is really the big thing, because I think if people understand, like I've alluded to this throughout our conversation so far, but if people understand what the process is upfront, then they have a reference point.

So for me, that's the most important thing. Once I have a process. Then people know what they need to do. And also if there's a double it's sore day, people see the process in a way of the process, then effectively they can give you those suggestions or improvements or have input in. And at the same time, then you get the whole team buy-in.

So the process first people second, and then performance is important because you have to measure someone against what you're put in place. So that then links to the first two. So if you've got a process, you've got a person who's bought into that process. KPIs measurements, et cetera. You can imagine the performance.

So for me, all three elements are linked quite closely to pin. So, um, you have to have all of those optimal you're operating or you'll have leakage or things, not optimal at each instance or in between, um, where that creates issues for you. So that's how I see. Hmm. Okay. So what about your executing strategy and then how they.

Translates to the tactics on the ground. So do you think ensuring those optimal performance of both the front and backend that helps you to link those strategies with tactics? What are your thoughts? That, yeah, so that's an interesting question. I think, um, from a strategic perspective, again, it links to the vision.

So in my view, executing the strategy. It means that the vision to yourself, to the business, to its people must be clear and you must have conviction in that. So if you don't believe in that and you're set up a strategy to drive through and you yourself don't believe in that, that's going to, again, hopefully factory the team, the staff, the business, and you're not going to achieve the objectives that you set up.

So effectively, that for me is the most important thing. Again, giving everyone an overall picture so that they have. Picture at front of mind, whenever they're doing anything in a business, whether you at the front desk, serving customers as they walk through the door, or you're going to customers driving deals and sales at the front end for me, that vision and strategy is extremely important to set up.

Um, you're get, you get a couple of things by doing that. You get buy-in, you get belief and then you get people going to journey what's your night. So, so that's a critical thing. And then for me, the tactics come after that. So tactics could be either that territory, either market share either market penetration in a certain type of product line, it could be a new business.

It could be expansion, it could be diversification, but if you've got that strategy underpinning it. Then you've got somewhere to go to, to the next step, third step, first step, and then execute and deliver. So that's how I believe those two link. I hope that makes sense. But in a nutshell, that's where that's all.

Hmm. So it's about getting that buy in and believing in that strategy. And it seems like the tactics would follow. Yes. Because we, the strategy, how are you going to put together a tactical plan to go and execute? So that's how I see the flow. Awesome. Okay. One last question for you before we go Sunday. We haven't prepared for this, so it's okay.

Can you to take a minute to respond, but if you was in every room full of other revenue leaders, is there one burning question that you'd want an answer to? Yep. So the, so I think the key question for me to these other leaders basically would be. How do you get the best out of your team? So what softer skills or what other support structures or how, what motivators are you using to get the best out of your team in order for them to deliver for you?

What's the key to that success? Because for me, it's all about the people. You can have, whatever process you want. You can have whatever business you want. You can have a failing business, successful business doesn't matter. That's built on the people. So you have the right people, you have the right vision, right.

Business, right. Objectives, right. Results. It all, it all ripple effects again. So for me, that's critical. That's how I would answer that question. Hmm. I really like that. Okay. And do you think, do you think it's about finding the right people or developing the right. I think it's a combination, actually.

That's a very good question and important one for me. I believe finding the right people is key in certain areas of the business, because you might need a certain type of caliber of person in a certain function or role. So you need a certain skill set before you even look to hire that person. And then developing, maybe say 20, 30%.

Along the journey that you go with them. So in those cases, cases you need that I personally, but from a development perspective, which I think is absolutely key. I think if that person's got the attitude and, and as the light, you know, um, focused drive, et cetera, you can teach someone anything. And I don't think that they necessarily need a hundred percent of the skillset.

I think it's more about attitude. Um, and then I find development is critical. You need to always look at developing your people for their next. Whether it's with your organization or not. It's not about your organization. It's not about you. It's about that person. So how do you develop them? So they leave better than when they stepped into the business.

That's critical for me. Then I feel like that's rewarding. You know, that you've done your job and no matter where that person ends up, they better fall when they came in. So you're adding to their development, adding to their life, adding to where they're going to go. And, and that's, that's critical for me as.