Expert Interview with Srivatsan Venkatesan, Business head at Freshsales.

Chirantan Patel

Chirantan Patel

Senior editor

Parul Saxena

Chief editor

Last updated: October 4, 2019

Freshsales is a full-fledged CRM software made for high-velocity sales teams. It emerged with an idea to target the need to integrate more tools into one CRM. In addition to building all of the basics, they have also integrated phone and email into it so that sales reps can manage conversations from one place. Along with that, Freshsales has event tracking in the system so that sales reps could see what users were doing on their website or product.

Srivatsan is currently Business and Product Head for Freshsales at Freshdesk. Srivatsan’s focus is to build the best CRM for high-velocity sales teams. Freshsales offers email, phone, behavior analytics and automation in one hassle-free package.

Prior to Freshdesk, Srivatsan founded Cloudnucleus in 2009, a Virtualization based Disk Backup & DR software startup based in Chennai, India. He sold the startup in Sep 2011 and served as vice president of product management with acquirer Vembu Technologies.

In this Interview we catch up with Srivatsan talking about his journey of experimenting and successfully executing what worked with the team of Freshsales, let’s have a look at the candid takes on business by the Business and Product head at Freshsales.

Q1) What according to you are the four pillars on which Freshsales stands upon?

We are committed to doing for CRM what Freshdesk did for customer service — build a product that is “out-of-the-box”, easy-to-use and feature rich.

Q2) How did you hit upon the idea for your Company?

Like most business ideas, Freshsales was born to solve one of the biggest problems we, as a company, had faced.

After we launched Freshdesk in 2011, we needed a CRM for our sales team. We had pretty standard requirements for a fast-growing SaaS startup. But there was no single tool that met our needs.

  • We were using a leading CRM and had to buy and integrate several separate tools for running sales campaigns, email tracking, and event analytics (to provide context for what prospects were doing on the website and in the trial).
  • We tried to patch together a useful system — but hundreds of thousands of dollars, and hundreds of hours of dev effort later, we still didn’t have the tool we wanted.

So, we built Freshsales to be the single solution that high-growth, high-velocity sales teams need.

Q3) Apart from Freshsales which other software do you use and would advise increasing productivity.

Basecamp, Trello, Heap and Google apps

Q4) Who do you consider your biggest Competitor and how do you differentiate yourself from them?

As a company, we prefer not to discuss other players in the market. There are many solutions on the market but they do not provide a comprehensive solution that is both features-rich and easy to use. The CRM tools designed for small businesses aren’t as robust while the tools for the enterprise are expensive and require purchasing other tools that then need a developer to incorporate into the CRM.

A big differentiator for Freshsales is that you don’t need a CRM plus four other tools to drive effective sales. Freshsales offers email, phone, behavior analytics and automation in one hassle-free package. Small teams can focus on selling and building their customer base – which should be their highest priority when they are looking to make it big. Freshsales lets you do that effectively, instead of worrying about purchasing multiple tools and trying to integrate them to work together.

Q5) How has sales evolved since you first got into the business? What hasn’t changed?

Recent times, Sales reps focus more on discovering customer needs upfront and most of the sales conversations are turning into solution fulfillment conversations.

Q6) Say you are having a bad day and a very imp. The meeting is up in few moments, how would you cope with the emotions and redeem the meeting in full fledge?

I would take a quick walk or play a table tennis game.

Q7) Would you rather be respected or feared?


Q8) Think of something you’ve done in the past; what would you have done differently?

Nothing specific at this moment.

Q9) How do you approach a decision where people disagree with you?

I personally think disagreements are important – it helps you make better decisions and understand each other.  

Q10) What do you expect to see over the next 5 to 10 years in the Marketing and Sales Industry?

Smarter CRMs with AI and predictive insights will empower sales and marketing teams to deliver more personalized messages and build better customer relationships.

Q11) What are your experiences with highs and lows at Freshsales?

Over the years, I have realized that – when I have lows, those are the times where most learnings occur 🙂

Lately, more and more Professionals are leaving their cushy and well-paid jobs to follow their passion. What’s your take on this?

Startup life is a rollercoaster and it takes few revisions to get the product-market fit. So remember to create enough runway to give your startup a real shot.

Chirantan Patel
Chirantan Patel is the Product Manager at Softwaresuggest & Callhippo, an Inc. 275 company that researches and analyzes software to educate, advise, and connect buyers and sellers of business technology.

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