Ramanuj Singh - The Ed-Tech Industry Is a Proven Market and Is Booming Day by Day (Vice President - Sales at WhiteHat Jr)

Ramanuj is a visionary and a self driven leader with a focus on Ed-Tech Sales and Operations excellence. He has enriching experience in Ed-Tech and has held various leadership roles and is known for his 10X growth vision and execution. His professional career spans across diverse industries and companies such as BYJU’s The Learning App, Toppr's, WhiteHat Jr/ BYJU’s Future School and Officers Training Academy, Chennai - INDIAN ARMY and has pursued a fellowship from Harvard (Corporate).

1. Tell us about your background and journey.

From being an Electronics engineer to joining Officers Training Academy, Chennai - INDIAN ARMY and then  becoming a Vice President - Sales (WhiteHat Jr/ BYJU’s Future School) by the age of 25 had a lot of ups and downs with a large involvement of high risk but calculated decisions.

Born in Mumbai, I was brought up in a family with military roots (Indian Navy). I did my schooling from Naval Public School also now known as Navy Children School in various different cities/states due to routine transfers (Call of duty of every Defence family). I’m also a K.V product. I did my engineering in Electronics from Mumbai University. 

As I saw my father serving in the forces, during the college itself I decided to don the uniform. I started preparing for my SSB’s (Services Selection Board - Joining the Army/Navy/Airforce as an Officer). After graduating i started giving my SSB’s to join the forces but got screened out followed by conference outs meanwhile i joined BYJU’s as an Business Development Executive and learnt that sales is my forte as I was a top performer. Meanwhile as we know the ad of Armed Forces ‘’ Do you have it in you? ‘’ made me always go for it. There were times when I exhausted all my leaves and had to switch jobs from BYJU’s to Toppr's to WhiteHat Jr.

My life changed when I met Mr Karan Bajaj (Founder of WhiteHat Jr & Ex C.E.O Discovery Networks ,South East Asia) and joined WhiteHat Jr as a sales manager at a very initial phase (the overall company had 5 employees including Mr Karan Bajaj). I being the 5th employee and very initial sales hire got an opportunity to set up the processes of sales end to end (Creating pitch, inventions, hiring, training,etc) where it was a new movement for India - first time any start-up was offering coding to kids from age 6-18 years old. 

As I worked and geared up sales at WhiteHat Jr in the initial 6 months I worked really hard and learnt a lot. Meanwhile I got my call letter for SSB again. In my previous attempts I was screened out once and 5 times I was conferenced out. As we know ‘’ Birds of a feather flock together’’ is a proverb I learned a lot and enhanced my personality working  very closely with the CEO himself (Mr Karan Bajaj - My professional idol). 

This was my 7th attempt and I cleared my Services Selection Board form 24 SSB Bangalore and stood All India Rank - 2  to join the INDIAN ARMY as an Officer. I joined the Officers Training Academy, Chennai and was a part of Naushera Company, Shivaji Battalion where I witnessed a great transformation and learnings I imbibed in me through rules and traditions (Once a Shera always a Shera - The Royal Sheras). As already learnt earlier that i was very good at sales i could make out that i would have been much more happier and satisfied in my life outside the fauj, i took a hard call during my first term to join back my previous organization but before leaving the academy i promised myself that i will always follow the values and ethos that i got from the Army till last breath of my life. 

I rejoined WhiteHat Jr as a sales manager again and started from the bottom. It was very difficult for my family to digest that I left a Government class A gazetted officer service and joined back the corporate world. But I had fire in my belly to work hard and grow fast. I was thankful to Karan sir for trusting me and giving the new initiatives, we launched in the US and the journey started again. I broke all the records as a sales manager with highest revenue and was promoted team leader in just 2 months followed by my team remarking new records and I was promoted to Associate Director in another 2 months. Took many initiatives of forming US Renewals business and also handling India Renewals business simultaneously being promoted as a Director. Again as a Director my team clocked a remarkable record and I was promoted to Vice President - Sales for WhiteHat Jr/BYJU’s Future School. Since then I have been leading from front and generating huge profits for my company. I have been a firm believer to always run for 10X growth.

A fast growth from a sales manager to Vice President in just 9 months and after having consistent top performance as a VP for 1.5 years and handling a business of $27-Million+/year, my company invested in me and honored me to pursue my fellowship from Harvard (Corporate). Now all set to create and handle $100-Million+/year business with new initiatives for WhiteHat Jr/BYJU’s Future School.

2. What is a typical role of a BDE in any organization?

ny Business Development Executive is a trained frontline soldier and a sole person responsible for generating the revenue for the company. They are the backbone of any company. Here the BDE role is to  connect with the Customers to understand their background and experience so far with the product, build the rapport and trust, create a need of the product that he/she is selling, demonstrate the product to the customer and make them understand deeply how the product will bring a change in the life of the customer and make the customer the pay for the product+services that the company offers. The higher the productivity of BDE the higher is the profit for any organization. 

3. What are some major challenges in the future of the industry?
Linkedin - Ramanuj Singh
The Ed-Tech industry is a proven market and is booming day by day. Rather it has seen a boost in the business during such pandemics times also. Major challenge for any Ed-tech company in the future is to enable technology and to develop pedagogical tools/platforms that can enhance concept understanding of any child with great level of interaction in a virtual world scenario. With this evolving tech-world, those who can keep up the learning and fun together will always win. Those getting into new fields and innovations like WhiteHat Jr started with teaching Coding to kids for the very first time in India at a very large span and covering entire India followed by the success in India started with the US, Australia, New Zealand, UK and across globe now. A company having a vision and introducing any new area/field with a great product will always flourish.

4. What skills does one need to make a career in Sales?

For a very successful career in Sales it requires an excellent communication skill, effective intelligence, reasoning accompanied with organising ability moreover it requires a great sense of responsibility and discipline which is a must. A person having a 10X growth mindset will always work hard and come up with lots of new innovations leading to a great career. 

But most importantly to have a persistent career one has to have an attitude of being an owner not a renter, focused on daily self-improvement, extremely ethical and have an impenetrable integrity. In sales, while you grow in your career one has to be a team player, develop a skill to influence and motivate a larger group this will always bring in the performance of the teams/cohorts and keep you growing.

The major learning's from ‘’ The Harvard Fellows Programme’’ that i learned to be a successful leader in the sales is :- 1) Personal leadership style - Setting an example by leading from the front for leaders reporting to you and they will start implementing the same. 2) Data oriented approach - It magnifies the loopholes in the processes which will always impact in a positive way immediately or with time. 3) Inspire teams to deliver results - Sales needs inspired people to give their 100% every single minute they connect with the customer. Those following the above will always have a remarkable career in sales.

5. What has been your biggest challenge that you faced and how did you overcome that?

As being a top performing leader I was always sent to lead the new projects and different non performing functions to get the output in place, where many times it required the team to be developed right from scratch even hiring the folks, preparing sales pitch and setting up the processes. 

I faced a major challenge and dilemma that this frequent movement after solving and bringing in the performance on track within no time i was always shifted to lead another non-performing cohort might slow down my growth. But with time I rather than only thinking of self growth I developed a mindset of accepting the changes and taking it up as a routine cause for every 1-2 months. Meanwhile I realized with time that change is a part of life and actually getting into various projects making them successful and knowing the overall functions in and out actually resulted in my fast growth within the organization.

6. Which is your favorite book and why?

My favorite book is ‘’Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business’’ by Frances Frei. Frances Frei is a Professor of Technology and Operations Management at Harvard Business School. Her research investigates how leaders create the conditions for organizations and individuals to thrive by designing for excellence in strategy, operations, and culture.

The book shows how, in a volatile economy where the old rules of strategic advantage no longer hold true, service must become a competitive weapon, not a damage-control function. That means weaving service tightly into every core decision your company makes. The authors reveal a transformed view of service, presenting an operating model built on tough choices organizations must make: How do customers define “ excellence” in your offering? Is it convenient? Friendliness? Flexible choices? Price? How will you get paid for that excellence? Will you charge customers more? Get them to handle more service tasks themselves? How will you empower your employees to deliver excellence? What will your recruiting, selection, training, and job design practices look like? What about your organizational culture? How will you get your customers to behave? For example, what do you need to do to get them to treat your employees with respect? Do you need to make it easier for them to use new technology? Practical and engaging, uncommon service makes a powerful case for a new and systematic approach to service as a means of boosting productivity, profitability, and competitive advantage.

After successfully completing ‘’The Harvard Fellows Programme’’. The Harvard Business Publishing Corporate team gifted me this book as a compliment for being an honorary mention for my performance during the fellowship programme.

Interviewed By - Pragti Gupta