Prashant Kaul

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The Farsighted Visionary

Prashant Kaul

Regional Sales Director

Corsight AI

Prashant Kaul, currently Regional Sales Director at Corsight AI, is a seasoned Technology Transformation Leader with 22 years of experience in companies like Thales Group, 3M, HCL, Ingram Micro and 2 startups (AI, IoT and multiple SaaS/ PaaS products). Prashant’s leadership experience in driving varied functions within technology driven organisations – business transformation, MVP development, building and managing C-Level interactions, executing country strategy – all have contributed to his growth into a seasoned business executive.
Prashant has been a strong believer in the value of networking, and he has successfully delivered valuable business outcomes throughout his career. A foresighted leader, Prashant’s keen interest to constantly track technology development and customer’s needs, has pivoted him to engage with key players within the AI/ ML domain. His ability to understand the local market/customer expectations and engage with the Global teams to repackage and reposition products/solution to make it ‘market fit’, has seen significant success for him and the businesses that he represents. Being proactive by nature, Prashant is always ready to engage and explore new challenges with customers.
TradeFlock interviewed Prashant to discuss about his challenges, tricks to balance sales and revenue with the needs, and strategies. 

Let’s start by discussing some core challenges you face and how you tackle them.

In context of the India market, the challenges we face are also opportunities for a company like ours to really differentiate ourselves in the marketplace. Let me explain some specific areas: Product Integrity: There are no regulatory expectations or technical certification requirements in the AI sector, therefore, this leads to a crowded market where a majority of the players can make tall claims without any mechanism to test and validate efficacy of the technology. While this is a challenge, this also plays to advantage for tested and mature technology providers who can bring significant product integrity to the customers. Client Trust & Education / Category Development: Whie the buyer maturity and understanding of AI/ML technology is still improving, this often means that potential clients get exposed to unforeseen risks by going down the route of “un-tested” and “self-certified” technologies. We undertake specific initiatives to educate the client on these risks, often, this would mean setting up a pre-tender POC environment and inviting all solution-providers can be invited to test their solutions against same set of identified client requirements. These builds trust in the product, process and ‘market fitness’ of the solution. This is a critical area for us as some of large consumers of this technology are the public service domain companies where we could be exposed to significant risk exposure for data related citizens, VIP protected and physical assets. Approach to deploying Innovative solutions is not backed by a innovative approach: The other big challenge that I regularly encounter with buyers (largely public entities / government clients) is that even though they establish a “strong case” and “value” with the latest AIbased innovative solution, the agencies do not seem to have any provision or any separate fund to fund “innovation”. Instead, the AI-based companies are still expected to go through the same qualification and procurement process that is based on traditional Tendering process with L1 as the core criteria of selection, which is quite contrary to the whole spirit of innovation. Our approach to address is to keep our product frugal and value driven, differentiate on not just cost but quality of delivery through better educating the client and building confidence. This may include getting a small ‘foot in the door’ to pilot certain products, deliver value and build scale based on the success of the pilot.

What strategies do you implement to analyse the regional market and create new sales growth opportunities?

Being in a leadership role with several product companies, in addition to inputs collected from teams on the ground, I regularly access market intelligence reports to get updates on how the “interconnected ecosystem” around me is evolving, and what is its play in the regional context. Once the regional play is duly validated through follow-up industry consultations, I encourage an internal discussion on “potential impact analysis” of these trends at the regional level, to get a fair glimpse of possible impact on sales and revenue in the near future (next 2-3 years), and hence building appropriate risk mitigation strategies. As a sales and strategy leader, I constantly encourage my team to focus on creating “value” for our AI solution. Once value is duly established and recognised, we then encourage our clients to compare us with others and challenge us for more. For me personally, I find accepting new challenging assignments is a far more rewarding experience.

How do you balance the need to drive sales and revenue with the need to maintain customer satisfaction and loyalty?

These are all interconnected areas rather cyclical with one driving the other. I am a strong believer in building trust with client through integrity, transparency and understanding ‘what success looks like for them’. This enables me to tailor and deliver a solution which really meets/exceeds the expected outcomes. While everyone will agree that establishing a “niche value” is a pre-cursor for any technology sale to happen, however, in reality, the “buyer/customer” has already started to form an opinion about the product/solution even before actual purchase – by virtue of all his interactions with the company personnel at every touchpoint of interaction. Working with different global technology and consulting cultures has really been a great learning experience for me personally. To succeed in driving AI-based products and solutions in India, it is very important to clearly bring out those 1-2-3 “key differentiators” and establish a “strong value proposition”, which, in turn, creates a strong customer demand that ultimately drives the product sales (unlike many other “me-too” products). In such a scenario, it has become pertinent to design and implement customer acquisition strategies in such a way that there always exists clarity of purpose, clarity in communication and also accountability in every customer interaction. Customer satisfaction and loyalty will surely follow.

How are you rolling up your sleeves for the future of technology sales? What role do you see yourself playing in that future?

In today’s flat and interconnected world, innovation continues to thrive and drive the world. The concept of MVP has really accelerated the pace at which companies are able to bring innovation to market without burning huge amount of cash. All this does create an opportunity (or a threat, depending on which side of the table you are). To be relevant in the future, I believe that as individuals every year we should “invest” some time to get familiar and acquainted with some of these new age technologies – IoT, Data Science, AI, etc. Today, one may not be directly associated with these technologies, however, very soon these technologies are going to be intermingled in everything that surrounds us, and then to remain relevant, we will have no option but to be involved and to be able to understand and speak their lingo. In this respect, I have already started making “investments into my personal growth” in these technologies – Data Science and AI.