My journey as a Product and Business Leader helping Sinch become number one on CPaaS
I am Vikram, SVP and GM at Sinch. I was born and raised in New Delhi, India, where I grew up and went to school. I moved to the US immediately after college. Almost all my professional experience was in the US, and I have been here more than half my life. In my previous work experience, I worked for Microsoft in various product groups. I was eager to learn about different product areas, including different business models than what I had seen or worked on at my previous job.
Because of that, I decided to embark on a new challenge, in a smaller company, that was rapidly growing on a global scale. In 2019, Sinch was looking for an ambitious CPO and I was looking for a new opportunity to meet my goals — it was a match! I ended up joining Sinch, with my main objective being to help the company create a product strategy in the CPaaS space, set-up a modern product organization and hire key leaders from inside and outside to set us up for number one on CPaaS. Later, as we restructured the company, and I took a new role that also included engineering and parternships.
Even though I have got 20 years of experience, I am still learning everyday. My career at Sinch has been teaching me not only about new products, but also operating and scaling business at a global scake. I and my team work with almost every part of the company: sales, ecosystem partners, and many other entities across our Bus internally and externally. This is very exciting and something I had never experienced before, and I do not think I could find it in any other company.
The global nature of Sinch is unique — spans from Seattle to Sydney touching all major cities and countries. Sinch has grown organically and inorganically; 8 companies have been acquired since I joined and it’s amazing to work alongside 8 other entrepreneurial CEOs in the company. In 2020 and 2021 we have been the fastest growing public company in the world and no other rocket ship journey comes close to it
Today, I am part of the Enterprise and Messaging Business Unit, and one of my responsibilities is to drive product innovations in the martech and conversational AI space, and serving them to biggest customers and partners such as Salesforce, Oracle, Adobe, SAP etc. We innovate with them, get them to adopt our products into their roadmap, and then they open doors for us to approach their customers.
I lead product management, engineering and partnerships teams in that regard. We partner with all regional leaders in the cloud companies across the globe and in my opinion, working with so many different points of view is the best part about this job. We are in the intersection of products, sales and customers, what makes this a very impactful team and a very impactful role.
On one hand, we are working with customers to understand their needs and, while inspiring them with impactful things they can do with Sinch’s product portfolio. On the other hand, we are helping improve products we have, and address gaps in the roadmap. So, we’re straddling both sides equally by conducting the market needs into our product roadmap, and then driving adoption of the product portfolio with the customers via Sinch and partner sales teams.
With big customers comes big responsibility. We’re working with some of the biggest brands and partners in the world, and must be very thoughtful, well-prepared, and structured in how we engage. It’s important to know our customers and their market as well as they do, and sometimes even better because we want to inspire them. It is important to be ahead of the innovation pace compared to your competition and to your partners and customers, because only then you will have credibility. In a good way, it raises the bar for everybody professionally.
In terms of leadership values there are some core values I believe are essential for a person to scale their career. First, you need to take care of your people, which can be done in many ways. You need to give them emotional and career support, always ensuring proper guidance and clarity, so they can do their jobs properly. It’s very important to be super clear when it comes to sharing the company vision, where we are headed and why we are doing what we are doing. Being clear will help drive clarity downstream.
Something we also do in my teams, and that for me is important, is having regular in-person meetings every quarter with team members spread across the globe, this way we can spend time with each other and build trust. Second, stay customer focused and understand not only their requirements but also their true needs. Third, leverage the power of people and software technology to drive innovations to solve hard problems
If I were to give a piece of advice to someone who is willing to join my team, it would be reach out to me or my team members at Sinch and learn more directly from them. They are smart people, who have a lot of experience and are very helpful. Anyone would have a blast working with the team and having the opportunity of learning how we are delivering impact. Also, we have some deep knowledge of customer requirements and market needs, so we are driving lots of change in a meaningful way with our product portfolio.