Big things can happen in five years. Just ask Tech in Asia.
Since launching as a content publishing business in 2011, the company has rapidly grown into an international media, events and jobs platform that serves South East Asia’s vibrant tech communities and start-up ecosystem. Its four annual Tech in Asia conferences attract 15,000 people from 58 countries.
With a 100-strong team across offices in Singapore, Indonesia, Japan, India and the US, Tech in Asia has seen remarkably strong revenue growth – 70 to 100 per cent year-on-year since launch.
But managing and maximising such rapid growth called for an entirely new approach to sales with fundamental changes to the sales organisation and mindset.
During the first few years of operation, the sales team of Tech in Asia managed client relationships via a spreadsheet. But the sales department soon learned that this limited functionality was putting their growth potential on a leash. They needed to shift to a more dynamic, data-centric approach.
“We realised the spreadsheet was too simplistic for us,” says Andrew Wang, Chief Operating Officer, Tech in Asia. “We needed Salesforce to really bring us to the next level.”
“Salesforce helps produce the analytics we need to improve,” he says. “We couldn’t do that on a spreadsheet. It changed how we view sales and opportunities, and how we view our pipeline.”
The team’s new approach to sales went much deeper than new software alone.. Working with local partner ACG, Tech in Asia’s management team restructured and added a new sales development team that was exclusively responsible for lead generation.
“The sales development team creates, generates and qualifies leads,” explains Nathan Ng, VP International Sales, Tech in Asia. “This is really a game changer for us. It allows our sales reps to focus on closing, while the sales development team connects with prospects and generates new leads.”
Ng says this new approach saves each sales rep an average of eight hours per week – time diverted into more high-value tasks. And the newly formalised sales funnel is delivering better quality leads to the sales team.
“Formalising the sales funnel with Salesforce was the last piece of the puzzle for us,” he says. “In the past our reps used to reply to all inbound leads – there was no qualifying. But now our sales development team uses Salesforce to capture more data about prospects and close within a week.”
“Having a sales process like this is very important,” adds Wang. “If I could go back in time to change something in our business, I would have started that process much earlier.”
The new sales structure would quickly fall flat if the sales development, sales and marketing teams were operating in a vacuum. For Tech in Asia, that meant putting collaboration first with a single integrated CRM and marketing automation platform that had all the teams talking.
“Without that combined platform you make things more difficult,” says Wang. “The lead-gen team and sales team are not aligned and there’s no collaboration. That means leads are lost and big deals are missed out on.”
Now, with the ability to track leads and optimise lead flow between the sales development team and sales reps via Pardot, Wang says they have successfully evolved their sales approach.
“It helps us become more prepared. Planning our targets and maximising our audience with Pardot allows us to be more aggressive in our sales approach, which helps us from a revenue standpoint.”