Business Standard – Don’t fight the future

Another nice read. Authors Chris Zook and Nikhil Ojha say the ground will continue to move under our feet. But continuous improvement is the best way to survive — and thrive — in times of rapid change

Read the article here

Advertisements : 5 Questions Great Job Candidates Ask

Do you read of course you do, it’s just sillies like (only one of) us, and thanks to the other two for introducing that one silly(me, unfortunately) to it.

This is a great post from there: 5 Questions Great Job Candidates Ask.

Nothing too fancy, really. But really good. Prosaic and sensible…. good.

I will give myself a pat ont he back that the first question – what would you expect me to achieve in the first 90 days, is a question I have asked on interviews, and often, and have been happy with the interviewers’ responses.

A nice follow up would be a post which talks about the 5 questions one should never ask (and not the obvious ones). Let’s go find something for you, dear reader.

Incredible India and the Chocolate Stores in US Shopping Malls

This is a guest post, speaking about servicescape and managing the customer experience for something as intangible as a country – for tourism


It will probably be safe to say that India has historically been poor at Servicescape and Customer Experience – there is almost always a preference for very cost-conscious, no frills service – and I cannot say that they are wrong. I will be happy to be proven wrong, but there are few examples of non-elite services that have been successful due to the customer experience.
However, I would like to speak about one specific brand, which in my opinion, has done extremely well, better than many other…. due to the servicescape experience managed by the ads (and the tagline as well) and that is Brand India, by the Indian Tourism department. Making something which is very intangible- tangible, so tangible that you can literally sense it… that’s a great ad.

Did you ever see the Incredible India ads on the tele? If you haven’t, please visit youtube and check out some of them….
What does the image of India conjure up, for you?
A riot of sights, smells and colors… of cultural diversity… an old country of temples and mosques; and a new country of IT and a thriving economy? See the ad below. You cannot make them touch and smell the stuff… but with the below ad, you can make them imagine. Go take a look, this is right there in youtube.


A great example of using smell as a Servicescape medium are the chocolate stores at the US shopping malls. I have a bit of a sweet tooth. there is this wonderful fresh, warm whiff of chocolates that emanate from this store that it literally dims out every other smell in the ambiance… and get you drawn in to the shop. And then, coming in, a free sample or two….
Yes, I am health conscious, yes, I desperately tried to control my urge….. but had to make a $200 chocolate buying micro-spree.
And they were good! : How to get your name out there as a Startup // Suggested read : No Money Marketing

This is a fine short video (from on getting your name out there, which is especially important for a Startup. Do take  a look.

A follow-up read I would strongly suggest is the book ‘No Money Marketing” by Jessie Paul. Jessie is the ex-CMO of Wipro, and is now the owner and MD of Paul Writer, a marketing consulting firm. She was the marketing consultant to Anthelio, one of our previous organizations (in fact, the only company where all three of us worked together). Learnt a lot from working with her, of course.

Will be shameless in telling you that I read most of this book standing in a bookshop waiting for a flight … but well, I did buy the book eventually. So there, we can be (almost) freeloaders sometimes.

From HubSpot : the 6 marketing metrics your CEO actually cares about

Another of our now-famous (eh, not quite yet) ‘Please-Read’s. This is from HubSpot’s Internal Marketing Blog – which we have been following with interest.

Please Read This; Link Here.

This post talks about the 6 marketing metrics your CEO actually cares about. One of us has been in Sales-and-Marketing consulting, and he vouchs that this works everytime with client CEOs.

Especially the first two. As for the M%-CAC benchmarks (as suggested by HubSpot) we can tell you that the first and the third are good thumb rules – that’s around the ballpark numbers that our organizations followed.


Business proposal management and RFP response- Part 3

The Characters in a Proposal Management endeavor, and their responsibilities:

  • Leadership

—  Recommend / Approve pursuit team resources

—  Makes final call Bid/No Bid decision

  • Pursuit Lead (from Operational Vertical or Sales)

—  Owns the Business Opportunity

—  Determines sales strategy and win themes (working with Leadership)

—  Performs content review

—  Complete executive summary (working with Proposal Specialist)

—  Provide direction to pursuit team

—  Responsible for overall soundness of final proposal

  • Sales (The Sales representative could be chosen to be the Pursuit Lead in many cases)

—  Explains the client scenario and provides client viewpoint

—  Communicate key issues within client that affect win / loss

  • Solution Architect

—  Develop tie between prospect’s business and host organization’s capabilities and solutions

—  Develop delivery approach, service and technical solutions

—  Provide costing and pricing support

  • Proposal Manager (Sometimes the Proposal Manager doubles up as the Pursuit Lead)

—  Schedule internal governance checkpoints

—  Timelines and milestones management for RFP

—  Action items tracking and escalation to Practice Leads

—  Issue Management and escalation to Practice Leads

  • Proposal Writer

—  Provide presentation development support: to sub-teams and Solution architect; documentation edit – theme alignment

—  Analyze incoming client RFP requirements and ensured response is compliant

—  Coordinate research, editing, writing and production with designated staff (along with Proposal Manager)

—  Follow-up on missing information (along with Proposal Manager)

—  Manage content (along with Proposal Manager)

  • Other Stakeholders

—  Finance / Legal / Compliance etc.



*Previously on Business proposal management and RFP response: Expectation Setting. Introduction. When NOT to bid.