InterviewFinTech Interview with Mr.Rajesh Sabhlok, MD, Asia Pacific, Vymo

FTB News Desk FTB News DeskJuly 20, 202232 min

Rajesh Sabhlok, MD, Asia Pacific, Vymo highlights the top three tips for leading a successful fintech company in today’s age.

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Rajesh Sabhlok, MD, Asia Pacific, Vymo

Rajesh Sabhlok leads Vymo as the Managing Director- Asia Pacific. He has 25+ years of experience in the financial services domain. Rajesh joined Vymo in 2019 as the Chief Customer Officer, and has helped transform the end-to-end customer experience journey through robust frameworks and processes and an agile target operating model. He also helms the customer-facing teams ensuring that we deliver tangible business outcomes and value for our clients. Rajesh is also focused on expanding Vymo’s outreach as the preferred platform to drive large-scale sales transformation for banking, insurance and financial services globally.

1. Could you give us a brief about your role at Vymo and your journey in this highly promising sector?
I joined Vymo in August 2019, after a 13-year stint at Willis Towers Watson. My initial responsibilities in Vymo included establishing and scaling our customer organization. After successfully building the necessary frameworks, target operating models, systems and processes and setting up a team which is invested in making our clients derive maximum value from their investments in Vymo, I have now been entrusted to run the entire APAC region.

In my current capacity, I help our eclectic and high performing teams to onboard more clients across the region and help deliver value to their teams and the management, contribute to product enhancements and GTM approach focused on how to make the user journeys a delightful and seamless experience for our clients. It has been a great journey with Vymo, an agile startup, especially coming in with 22+ years of working with large MNC conglomerates. I get tremendous satisfaction and pleasure in mentoring the foot soldiers in the BFSI space, transforming them into digitally enabled, smart workers, and helping them become more efficient, effective and productive.

2. What is your biggest USP that differentiates the company from competitors?
Vymo is one of the fastest growing enterprise SaaS startups globally. Conventionally, companies have been known to fire the bottom 10% of sales personnel and reward the top performers with increasingly diminishing returns.

However, Vymo has built a system that offers an alternate path to enhance overall sales force productivity by empowering all the salespeople in an organization to be at their best, every step of the way. Vymo’s proprietary data science models help analyse the ‘winning behaviors’ by studying the behaviors exhibited by top performers & their correlation to desired outcomes.

This powerful insight is used in creating individualised ‘contextual nudges’ delivered through our proprietary ‘Nudge Engine’, to ensure the winning behaviours are emulated by everyone, thereby uplifting the overall quality, skills and productivity of the sales force. This has helped Vymo to become a system of first choice for companies in the BFSI space, looking to digitally enable their sales teams by providing them with a tool that helps them ‘engage’ with their customers in the right manner, at the right time, for the right reason and using the right channel/media.
Vymo works as a verticalized enterprise SaaS solution. Unlike the other typical cloud-based sales CRMs serving customers across any sector or industry, Vymo is a custom solution built to address the specific needs of the BFSI industry and value chain. Consequently, it has created multiple industry-first standards for enterprise deployments in India. Given Vymo has deeper industry specific use cases for insurance, banking and financial services enterprises, we are able to rapidly deploy our solutions on the ground so that the benefits of productivity enhancements can accrue faster for our clients.

We have also perfected the Target Operating Model and invested in building a domain specific Customer Success Team who are tasked with ensuring that our users are able to derive maximum value from our solution. It is no surprise therefore that while the NPS scores for best in class SaaS deployments range between 25 and 30, but for Vymo, users have given us an NPS score of 50 and the daily adoption of the solution across our 300k users is around 85%, compared to that of typical CRMs where the daily adoption rates are south of 30%.

3. What are your key product offerings?
Vymo is a mobile-first, digital sales engagement & productivity enhancement solution. The tool acts as a digital personal assistant for the users helping them with planning & scheduling their activities as per the industry leading activity playbooks; auto capturing the sales activities across different channels of engagement (call, in-person, email etc), with any calls to action to be followed upon subsequently in a simple and efficient manner; providing them suggestions on the next best actions that they should take to meet their goals and objectives; helping them assess progress on their goals on a real time basis; and most importantly nudging them in a contextual manner to emulate winning behaviors.

Managers on the other hand get complete visibility of what the teams are doing, who needs assistance, in what aspects of the sales process, where should they be investing their time and what kind of proactive interventions should they be doing to ensure that they meet their goals. Additionally, Vymo provides pertinent, data driven, MIS and actionable insights basis co-relation of input activities with outcomes such as goals achieved, incentives earned, and help in understanding the winning patterns as well as the areas of improvement.
Further, Vymo has a deep learning model that works on the vast pool of activity data to identify successful behaviors and helps replicate them across the entire sales team through contextual nudges.

Typical CRMs offer visibility into the sales pipeline and can help in revenue forecasting based on customer data.

However, when it comes to finding the reasons why some salespeople perform better than others despite using the same tools, they fail to provide an answer. Sales managers, directors, and leaders don’t know the secret sauce of their top sellers. Thus, they fail to implement these winning strategies across the board and improve the overall team’s scale of performance. What are the growth levers that can be optimized? At which point is an intervention necessary? Is the lack of performance due to lack of skill or will?

Vymo is a platform that offers answers to all these questions by acting as a unified platform for all the information and services that sales personnel need. Vymo offers the visibility; guidance and control that sales teams need to unlock the full value of each customer interaction consistently.

4. What’s in the pipeline for 2022 and beyond for Vymo?
Vymo has a strong pipeline in Asia and we have invested in the necessary infrastructure to succeed in the Asian markets, whether it’s people, partners or processes. Vymo is focused on the BFSI segment and hence the target addressable market and the use cases are well defined. The pipeline therefore, is made up of expansion opportunities with existing clients, who have seen value from deploying Vymo in one or more of their distribution channels and new logos we would like to win. We nearly doubled our ARR last year and have plans and opportunities to double the ARR every year for the next three years.

5. Recently Vymo raised $22 Million in Series C funding. How do you think this move will fast-track the growth of sales teams in the Asia Pacific region?
The funding will play a crucial role in our future growth plans. In 2021, we achieved over 20% quarterly growth, around 150% NRR, zero logo churn, and we entered the US market with wins such as Berkshire Hathaway, and on boarded some of the largest insurers in Japan as well. We have also increased our employee count by over 3x in the FY 22. From 130 people in April 2021, we had more than 450 in March, 2022. We are going to use some part of the investment to double down on the key target markets like Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand & Hong Kong/Singapore in Asia, alongside making key hires and investing in product innovation. Vymo is also investing in strengthening the leadership with the on boarding of Tom Ulrich (formerly with C3.ai), as GM-North America, and IT industry stalwart and former country manager of DataRobot, Shigeru Harasawa, as Japan President.

6. Vymo has some renowned clientele such as AIA, Generali, Sunlife, BNP Paribas, Allianz, and AXA. How do they use your platform for enriched customer experience and sales engagement?
Banks and financial institutions are undergoing massive transformation. They are adopting digitization to compete with the new-age financial services providers such as Amazon and Google who are renowned for their customer experience.
All the companies that you have named above are leading Global/Regional MNC Insurance organizations. Digital Transformation is high up on the board agenda for all of them and they do have clearly articulated strategies for achieving the same. Their digital strategy involves building an ecosystem of digital solutions, some of which are developed in house and others procured externally to provide a best in class, unified, single pane of glass experience for their end users. All these companies had invested in CRM systems, which served as a “System of Record” and they have all adopted Vymo as a “Sales Engagement” Layer on top of the CRM system, i.e. a digital-first, mobility solution used by their sales teams to effectively engage with their customers across multiple channels.

Vymo helps provide prescriptive intelligence to the users with respect to the activities they should be doing (activity play books and the entire Activity Management Layer); provide real time visibility to the users and their managers with respect to leads, opportunities & pipeline progression (Lead Management System); MIS/Reports/Nudges and Suggestions to supervisors around various input and output metrics performance against goals, their training & coaching needs (Performance Management Layer).

Vymo is offering great insights by providing a deep dive into the CRM data and identification of next best actions. The sales representatives as well as managers get complete visibility and next steps into the softer ‘art’ aspects of selling. For instance, the system would nudge them by suggesting ‘when is the right time to engage’ or ‘what are the two actions that the star sales performer takes that the others don’t’ and so on.

7. How do you think the digital transformation in the financial services industry can contribute to a better future?
Financial inclusion is one of the key focus areas for various governments, especially those of developing nations like India, Indonesia, and Vietnam etc. The progress of a nation to a certain extent depends upon how well the last mile in the country is being served for his/her financial needs. One of the key challenges for driving Financial Inclusion is the marginal cost of acquisition of new customers, especially those in rural areas. Given the expected ticket size, revenue/customer from such customers is expected to be low; a physical infrastructure to service their financial needs becomes commercially unviable.

Digital transformation, therefore, should help in increasing the reach of financial institutions in the rural hinterlands, enabling them to operate a low cost customer acquisition and on boarding model, thereby helping them address a large untapped customer segment and increase awareness about various financial services that may help them save, invest & grow their wealth to attain financial freedom and security.

In addition to extending reach, digitisation has already helped financial companies save time and resources by automating back-end processes, have better compliance, reduce fraud, thereby directly impacting the bottom line. Additionally, companies have invested in tools like Vymo, which brings together data intelligence from all the four key components – Customer, Sales Person, Partner & Product, enabling them to access, engage, connect, collaborate with their customers in an omni-channel environment and use data science models to pitch the right solution, to the right customer, at the right time and using the right channel, thereby increasing the efficiency, effectiveness and productivity of their sales teams.

8. What are your top three tips for leading a successful fintech company in this day and age?
People – Whether it is a Fintech or any other business, it is the people that make the company. It is important to resist the temptation of doing what’s convenient as against what’s right. Be very clear in terms of what skills, background, culture, temperament and experience you are looking for and hire the best available talent. Don’t compromise on this aspect at all if possible.
Processes – Having an agile operating model that enables the great talent that has been hired to function in a frictionless manner to deliver value to the clients, consistently and of high quality. This requires all functions working in close co-ordination with a common agenda – How can we delight the customer? This ethos needs to be built in to the processes and deeply embedded into the working culture of the organisation.
Performance – As a FinTech company, we need to be on top of the game when it comes to overall App performance. Additionally, the company should be at the cutting edge of R&D to ensure that they are constantly innovating to make the product deliver incremental value to their clients. Investing in customer success team, who are incentivized to work closely with the client post they have gone live, to ensure that they are able to derive maximum value from their investments in the fintech company.

9. According to you, what are some fintech trends that are here to stay?
There are several Fintech trends that have permeated deep into the social fabric and day to day lives of people. It has now become second nature for people to use mobile applications for buying groceries, booking tickets, making payments, trading securities and managing wealth on their smart phones/devices. The extent of digital footprint of customers has only increased over the years and is being leveraged through use of sophisticated AI/ML models to help businesses curate hyper personalised solutions targeted at the right customers, at the right time and through the right media.

The use of technologies like Blockchain are powering innovative solutions such as Smart Contracts that auto execute upon occurrence of the risk event; Real Estate, Supply Chain, NFT Marketplaces, in addition to a host of crypto currencies. Democratisation of financial services would only increase and move beyond disrupting the payments & lending landscape as more and more Fintech companies emerge with a strong and niche business case that is targeted at one small part of the customer value chain.

According to Gartner’s 2021 Global Market Guide for Sales Engagement Solutions, CRM systems have served as a “System of Record” but that may not be enough going forward; companies need a “Sales Engagement & Insights Layer” on top of the CRM systems to succeed in the hyper competitive world going forward. The Sales Engagement & Enablement Solutions like Vymo, named in the Gartner Market Guide as one of the 13 companies globally to watch out for in this space, enable the front end sales teams to effectively engage with their customers across multiple channels, leveraging the AI/ML and data science models that provide them with necessary insights to pitch the right solution to the customer, at the right time [contextual, in the moment] & through the right channel, thereby improving their chances of converting the sale manifolds. We see the trend for Banks, Insurance and other Financial Services companies investing in digital first sales engagement solutions like Vymo to further strengthen in the future…it is no longer a question of ‘If’ but ‘when’ should they invest in such solutions.

10. What are you most grateful for in life?
I am most grateful for having a great family, who have been loving, understanding and supportive at all times.

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FTB News Desk

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