Vijay Sundaram leads the partner and channel programs at Zoho and is engaged in all aspects of Zoho’s market strategy.
CanadianSME attended the Zoholics 2019 in Austin on 9th of April 2019. We got a chance to chat one on one with Vijay:
Is your focus on growth in a specific geographic region? Or general global growth?
We refer to our general strategy as the Hub and spoke model. From a higher level, our team in California and Austin sets out general strategies that we’re looking to employ. We have local capabilities and teams to execute towards that specific market. For example, in Canada, we have a team that is focused on that market and work on bringing Zoho to as many SMEs as possible.
What is the goal in terms of growth for 2019? And in the next five years?
As you have seen throughout the Zoholics event, we’re growing at around 35%-40% every year. Of course, every year, that goal of 40% growth becomes more difficult as we have to reach substantially more businesses. We are extremely proud of the growth we continue to experience. However, we worry about growing and expanding too fast. We worry about our teams not being stretched too fast and potentially destroying our culture. We want to stay true to who we are as a company, and if we grow too quickly, we face the risk of losing our identity. To answer your original question, we expect to globally grow at the same pace moving forward.
We’re seeing quicker growth in developing markets such as Latin America and the Middle East. Interestingly enough, the mature European markets are all very different. We’re seeing substantial differences in growth across many of these countries. We see one developed mature market experiencing growth at a much faster speed than another developed mature market. Canada has always been one of our top 5 markets and it will likely continue to be within the top 5 moving forward.
What is the number one day-to-day challenge of your role?
One of my daily challenges is understanding the breadth of what we do. We are growing very quickly and my job is to evaluate the entire picture and strategy from a higher level. My biggest challenge is to tell stories and being able to connect things we do and things that matter to the customer. We deal largely with SMEs.
Most of the Zoho development team is in India. How often do you travel to India and what do you focus on during your trips there?
When I travel to India, I am truly engaged in everything we do: product teams, partner programs, communications, content and so much more. I like to engage across the board and get to know as many team members as I can. We are a very “flat organization” and it’s extremely important to travel to India and meet with the majority of the team on the ground. I go there about 3 to 4 times a year.