Sameer Sinha: Embrace the uncertainty and the risk… Don’t avoid it, embrace it. It allows you to think and decide with clarity.

March 4, 2024
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Tell us about yourself?

CEO & Co-founder at Visdum – an AI-first approach to Sales Productivity | Became an entrepreneur after two decades of revenue leadership experience in the IT industry | Ten years at Oracle | Ten years growing and scaling 3 software startups | Previously CRO at Wingify, Global Head of Sales at RateGain, SaaS Sales Leader at Oracle | Experienced all business models of software – Services, License and SaaS

What lessons has being an entrepreneur taught you?

  1. Embrace the uncertainty and the risk. As a corporate executive, I had got used to a smooth, stable life with little or no surprises. As an entrepreneur, my days are fraught with uncertainty and decisions seem full of risk. Don’t avoid it, embrace it. It allows you to think and decide with clarity.
  • Every problem in the end, is a people problem. Building the right team is everything. If you have the right people, they will figure it out.
  • Get cofounders or senior employees who complement you, think differently, and help you overcome your biases.
  • Your network is your net worth. The more people you have rooting for you the better your chances. It’s a tough, long and lonely journey – having friends, family and mentors who will be supportive is huge.
  • If you are resilient, keep identifying and solving problems – success is not a question of “if”, it’s a question of “when”. Always takes way longer than you expect.

A lot of entrepreneurs find it difficult to balance their work and personal lives. How have you found that?

Count my blessings and practice gratitude. There is so much to be thankful for, I remind myself daily of this fact. Find the time to pay it forward.

I dedicate time and effort to pass on to the next gen entrepreneurs so that they learn from my journey and only make new mistakes. Trust & delegate. Not everything needs my direct involvement.

Trusting my team and empowering them to take ownership of tasks, frees me up for my personal life. I make time for myself. Whether it’s getting up early and going for a run, or going on a trek once a year, make time for friends and family.

Knowing that they are also impacted by this ups and downs. Accepting that I am imperfect, not being harsh, it’s okay to make mistakes.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

A few years back, as the CRO of a $25 Million MarTech SaaS company, I was ready to roll-out a grand GTM expansion plan.

The plan envisaged a thrust in key geographies, portfolio expansion to head towards $100M. Quotas, KPIs, Win rates, Sales Incentive Plans had been designed diligently. I thought he had it all figured out! What really happened was very unexpected.

The new sales commission process that Finance rolled out using excel sheets was manual, cumbersome and error-ridden. Sales Commission checks had too many mistakes.

The motivation of the salesforce hit rock bottom, there was discontent that led to attrition. US companies collectively pay $8 Billion in sales commissions. Sheets are so not the way to do it. Visdum was born to solve this.

What do you think is your magic sauce? What sets you apart from the competitors?

Deep Industry Insight: Having spent over two decades in the corporate world, particularly in tech giants like Oracle, I’ve gained invaluable insights into the industry’s nuances, trends, and pain points.

This deep understanding enables us to anticipate market needs and provide solutions that are proactive. We focus, specialize and double down on what we do best (SaaS). We say “no” frequently, unlike our competitors who try to be everything to everybody.

This allows us to get better at each part of the customer life cycle. We know our customers and their needs more closely. We don’t just create technology for technology’s sake; every product, feature, and service is designed with the end user in mind.

We know we can’t do everything alone, we’ve built strategic partnerships that complement our strengths, fill gaps, enhance our offerings, extend our reach, and provide an edge that’s hard to replicate.

How have you found sales so far? Do you have any lessons you could pass on to other founders in the same market as you just starting out?

The buyer’s mindset had changed dramatically. There is much selling going on that people hate being sold to. It’s very important to do so in a non-intrusive way.

It’s not about selling anymore, but more about assisting buyers in making a decision. Understand the buying cycle, and align selling activities to support it.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced so far in your business, and how did you overcome it?

The biggest battle in this journey has been fought in my mind! It has challenging to keep myself focused and staying steadfast on course.

There is so much noise (esp on Twitter and LinkedIn), so much chaos, so many things happening that cutting through the noise and knowing what, who and when to listen is very tough. Writing a daily journal helps me with clarity of thought.

A daily early morning routine helps start the day with a clean slate free of baggages.

🇺🇸 What can the government do to help grow and support the startup ecosystem in the US?

  • Tax Incentives: Offer tax breaks or credits to startups and their investors to encourage investment and reduce the financial burden in the early stages of business development.
  • Simplify Regulatory Processes: Streamline the process for starting a new business, including simplifying tax filing, reducing bureaucratic hurdles, and making it easier to comply with regulations.
  • Visa Policies: Reform visa policies to attract and retain global talent, making it easier for startups to hire skilled workers from abroad.
  • R&D Tax Credits: Enhance R&D tax credits to encourage startups to invest in research and development.
  • Public-Private Partnerships: Facilitate partnerships between startups and universities or government research institutions to promote innovation and the commercialization of research.
  • Open Data Initiatives: Make government data more accessible to startups, providing a valuable resource for innovation.
  • Networking and Mentorship Programs: Support the creation of networking events, mentorship programs, and forums where entrepreneurs can share ideas, learn from each other, and connect with potential investors.

🇺🇸 The United States has a tonne of great startup ecosystems. Are you part of one? What benefits have you gotten from the startup community you’re part of?

We are part of Upekkha and SaaSBooMi startup communities. These communities have provided opportunities to connect with fellow entrepreneurs, investors, mentors, and industry experts.

This has been invaluable for learning, sharing experiences, and exploring partnerships and funding opportunities.

Mentorship and Advice from experienced mentors who have navigated the entrepreneurial journey themselves. Their advice on overcoming challenges, scaling businesses, and strategic planning has helped avoid common pitfalls and make informed decisions.

From shared office spaces to software tools and beta testing opportunities, the startup community fosters an environment of resource sharing.

This collaborative approach has helped reduce costs, improve product offerings, and accelerate growth.

🇺🇸 What do you think the future holds for American startups?

Driven by advancements in AI, blockchain, and biotech, promising new opportunities.

However, startups will navigate a landscape marked by increasing competition, both domestically and globally.

Access to funding could become more selective, emphasizing sustainable growth over rapid expansion.

Regulatory environments will evolve, especially around data privacy and cybersecurity, requiring adaptability.

‍💻 What makes your company stand out as a SaaS/Software startup/company?

Deep Industry Insight: Having spent over two decades in the corporate world, particularly in tech giants like Oracle, I’ve gained invaluable insights into the industry’s nuances, trends, and pain points.

This deep understanding enables us to anticipate market needs and provide solutions that are proactive. We focus, specialize and double down on what we do best (SaaS).

We say “no” frequently, unlike our competitors who try to be everything to everybody. This allows us to get better at each part of the customer life cycle. We know our customers and their needs more closely.

We don’t just create technology for technology’s sake; every product, feature, and service is designed with the end user in mind.

We know we can’t do everything alone, we’ve built strategic partnerships that complement our strengths, fill gaps, enhance our offerings, extend our reach, and provide an edge that’s hard to replicate.

‍💻 What excited you most about working in the SaaS/Software industry?

About 10 years back when software was sold as licenses and came on CDs, it needed a large upfront cost, a large server to run it, an expensive resource to maintain it and took months to get it up and running. Today with SaaS, this can happen in a few hundreds of dollars and take a few days, sometimes even hours to get value from the software.

Since customers pay a small amount on a recurring basis, the ability to cancel, and the ability to impact through advocacy means that power has firmly shifted to the buyer. Navigating this huge change as a seller is exciting.

‍💻 What are some of the biggest challenges in the SaaS/Software industry that innovators and other startups often face?

SaaS and software startups often grapple with intense competition, making differentiating yourself in the market challenging.

Securing funding for growth and scaling operations efficiently without compromising on quality or customer experience is a significant hurdle.

Attracting and retaining top talent is crucial in a competitive landscape but a big problem. Navigating complex regulatory and compliance requirements, especially in global markets is a challenge too.

Ensuring data security and privacy in an increasingly cybersecurity-conscious world is a critical challenge as well.

‍💻 Tell us a bit about your culture. What makes your companies culture unique?

A strong sense of belonging: we are fanatical about ensuring that every team member feels a sense of belonging and alignment with our mission.

We do this by fostering a strong internal community, celebrating successes, learning from failures together, and ensuring that every team member understands how their work contributed to our overall mission.

We’ve cultivated a culture that values excellence, continuous learning, and innovation. Our team is not just skilled but also passionate about what they do, driving them to push boundaries and explore new possibilities.

This culture attracts top talent and fosters an environment where everyone can learn and grow.

‍💻 In your opinion, what are the most exciting trends in the SaaS/Software right now?

AI is set to revolutionize personalization and user experience in SaaS by tailoring software to individual user behaviors and preferences.

It can dynamically adjust interfaces and predict user needs, offering proactive support and solutions. AI-powered chatbots can provide instant, 24/7 customer service, enhancing satisfaction.

Continuous learning from user interactions allows AI to evolve, improving personalization over time.

And finally, if people want to get involved and learn more about your business, how should they do that?

We are open for chats, discussions, mugs of beer or cups of coffee. Connect with us through LinkedIn, Twitter or email us at mailto:[email protected]

Follow Visdum in LinkedIn and Twitter

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