For this episode of Stories That Inspire, we’ve brought on board Rohit Thakral (CEO at Target Integration) and Aman Thakral (Business Head, India at Target Integration) to tell us how they have empowered businesses through digital transformation.
Read their story of becoming a Zoho Premium Partner and providing Zoho services globally from India, the USA, the UK, and Ireland.
Rithikha: Let’s start at the very beginning. What was Target Integration doing before partnering with Zoho?
Rohit: Target Integration commenced in 2008. We initially started the business with open-source products. The idea was to provide value-based business process management systems to customers. It was a time when all the installations were not in the cloud yet, and open source solutions were the thing. Slowly, open-source systems started fading and we decided to ride the cloud wave. Though much has changed from the beginning, our foundation—i.e. our vision has remained constant.
We empower business owners and managers by providing business management solutions tailored to your needs, and ongoing support throughout your journey with us.
Rithikha: Speaking of change, how has Target Integration changed in terms of operations? We’d like to hear more about your foray into the SaaS market.
Aman: The current software market is rapidly growing. Back then, the cloud wasn’t popular and we had to work hard to educate people about it. Now, it has redefined the future and has become the de facto standard.
Rohit: Intending to create a cloud-first world, Target Integration partnered with several providers back then and started promoting the software in the industry. We slowly realized that we should focus on our customers’ business processes rather than on the infrastructure.
Aman: The market has consultants on one hand and software providers on the other. We believe that there’s no “one fit for all” software solution. We bridge that gap and have redefined ourselves as an entity that provides the best consultation and the perfect implementation!
Rithikha: How did Zoho come into the picture? What inspired you to get associated with Zoho?
Rohit: Zoho has a suite of 45+ applications like Zoho One, Zoho CRM, Zoho Desk, Zoho Recruit, Zoho People, and Zoho Creator. It is not its stand-alone applications that make Zoho exceptional but the fact that they provide the entire ecosystem. What we love most about Zoho is that the software is integratable, customizable, and extendable.
Aman: Zoho has few partners who promote all its applications. As a premium Zoho Partner, we are proud that we are into multiple domains and have multiple exposures. With best practices being used across the platform, we offer the unique experience of Zoho across different regions: Ireland, the USA, the UK, Greece, and India.
Rithikha: Talking about crafting a unique Zoho experience, are there any best practices you follow when it comes to implementations?
Rohit: The differentiating factor at Target Integration is that we look at business needs rather than technology. Our core responsibility as a Zoho partner is to collect the core requirements of the customer. Once the requirements of the business are gathered, we analyse and review them with a holistic view. Then, we come up with an implementation plan to serve them with the best possible solutions for their business. One should always remember that the product is the same, what matters is the customer experience. Being honest and simplifying the process for them is crucial.
Aman: We believe in leveraging the power of integration. The key to our Zoho implementations lies in crafting a full-fledged process management system. This not only helps organizations automate their business processes but also helps their talents perform more efficiently and effectively. This helps us stay grounded to our mission:
Every business should be able to leverage the power of their business insights.
Rithikha: Being an enterprise, how are you split up as a team to handle the operations? How do you train your staff?
Aman: We are decentralized as an organization. Predominantly, we have a consultation team, a requirement gathering team, and then an implementation team. We also have individual teams working on different products that are further divided into sub-teams.
Rohit: We believe that when an employee dedicates time and effort with us, it’s our responsibility to create value addition for them with regard to their skills. Most employees are technically sound, but they are not well-equipped to use it for the best business practices. That’s where our biggest challenge lies! So, we cross-train them on business processes, rather than just the software alone! Our strength lies in our team. We have a robust team who are Zoho experts and masters in understanding business.
Rithikha: Your journey must have seen tremendous growth! Can you please tell us about it?
Rohit: Our journey has been transformational. We have worked with 35+ industries around the globe. Implementing solutions for different business types, at different business verticals, and in different geographical locations has given us so much exposure. We have become experts in implementing CRM for associations, clubs, and non-profit organizations.
Today, we have offices in the USA, Ireland, and the UK, as well as three offices in India (Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore). We also have a development centre in Greece and are planning to grow it into a fully functional sales office. We are also working on extending the Indian offices to Tier 2 cities like Chandigarh, Jaipur, and Pune.
Rithikha: That’s incredible! Could you tell us about your marketing efforts? Which is your most trusted customer acquisition channel?
Rohit: Our self-driven business primarily comes from our customer references! People moving from one company to another take us and Zoho with them. Once they trust us and believe that we can deliver, they introduce us to other customers. That’s how we have built our business globally.
Aman: Customers are more educated than before. It’s important to make sure that we have the right information available to our customers at the right time. Providing educational content in the form of webinars and blogs has helped us generate leads. Target Integration has a strong marketing team. We work very closely with the team at Zoho. This helps us generate the right content.
Rithikha: What do you foresee for Target Integration in 2020?
Aman: Zoho is now competing with big players in the market like Salesforce and Dynamics 365. These days, customers look for a very robust system. There has been a market shift in terms of requirements. Initially, it was just lead management, contact management, and sales management, but now customers look for integrations with e-commerce portals or with tools like Amazon and lead portals like IndiaMART. Integrated systems will be the game-changers.
In 2020, we expect the demand for integrations with third-party tools to grow. Increased geographical enrichment and geographical reach can make this easier. From the Target Integration point of view, we will be expanding to more cities in terms of a physical base.
Rohit: While extending in India is a significant market growth for us, in 2020, we would like to look at other markets as well. Moreover, we also aim at penetrating the market by having partnerships with associates and other CRM/ ERP providers in the region.
Rithikha: This year has been so unpredictable. How are you handling the COVID situation? Would you like to share any tips that benefited you with other partners?
Rohit: This is a tough time for everyone. Fortunately, we are in the cloud! Thanks to the hard work and commitment of our team, remote assistance and cloud collaboration tools were our companions in this journey. We should remember that we are together in this. It’s time to help each other.
We have extended our business consultancy support free of charge (for up to two hours) for anyone seeking it. Also, we have conducted webinars (in regional languages) on Zoho Apps for remote team management and online collaboration.
Along with Zoho, we were a part of the implementation of the first COVID-19 Distress Call Center in Jammu and Kashmir, India for the citizens of Srinagar District.
Aman: The global pandemic has taught us a lot. It is time for us to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of our employees and customers. Being proactive and persistent with customer communication can positively impact customer experience and help create goodwill. Timely communication is crucial during this crisis. This is a good time to empower and up-skill our employees. (Thanks to Zoho’s online training and certification!) Also, we could revamp the content on our website and create awareness by leveraging the power of social media.
Rithikha: What’s your take on competition? How do you measure your performance as an organization?
Rohit: I believe that competition makes us faster, but collaboration makes us better.
Rather than competing with someone, we look forward to creating partners in every city, county, and country.
Synergy is greater when we work together. That’s why we are happy to collaborate. Our Zoho Partner family has been a pillar of support. Zoho Inspire has been a great way for us to strengthen our ties with other Zoho Partners. At the end of the day, it boils down to mutual help and collective growth!
Aman: When it comes to measuring our performance, it’s internal competition, with ourselves. We look at our past, our future potential, and then set metrics. It’s not projected or measured against anybody else! We strive for self-improvement. Customer feedback plays a significant role here. We still go by the age-old-adage “Customer is king!”
Rithikha: That’s inspiring. So you have attended Zoho Inspire!
Aman: Of course! We have been a regular attendee at Zoho Inspire. We love this event and keep looking forward to it. During our bonding sessions at the event, we share success stories on how we win over tough clients. Our discussions range from working on lost deals, to which product could have been a better solution for the customer, to how we could remain consistent in our work deliverables. My gosh! I’ve got so much more to tell.
Rohit: Zoho Inspire has done a tremendous job by building a collaborative platform for partner engagement. Apart from bringing to the table the best industry practices, it enables us to exchange ideas, obtain insights, and foster great relationships.
Aman: We admire how Zoho builds lasting relationships and has an amazing organization culture. We are assimilating the same culture at our workspace too. Keep up the good work, team Zoho! May you keep performing at your best!
Rithikha: Thank you. We wish you the very best in your future endeavours. Let’s keep rooting for each other!
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