Channelplay Limited is a leading Sales Force Automation, Shopper Marketing & Channel Management Company in India. Working with clients in diverse industries, it delivers high-performance solutions to help clients increase their sales at the Industry’s best ROI.
In the following interview with Insights Success, Sundeep Holani, CEO and Co-founder, shares his views about the industry and his company’s role in it.
- Kindly brief us about Channelplay Limited and its inception story.
Channelplay was founded in 2006 by three IIM Calcutta graduates from the class of 2003. The three founders worked in different jobs from 2003 to 2006, where they collectively realized that there is a huge gap in the channel enablement space. Many companies that make great products find it difficult to understand, conceptualize, develop and manage a sales channel that can take their products to customers in the wide Indian geography with complicated sales and distribution structures. To address this gap, the three started Channelplay with a vision of providing a complete go-to-market solution to its client. The Market Research offering is often the first step which helps brands understand their customers, channels and competitors to create the right go-to-market plan.
- Brief us about the Founder/CEO and his/her contribution towards the upliftment of the company.
The current CEO Sundeep Holani is also a co-founder of the company. Under his leadership, Channelplay has grown to over Rs. 200 crores in annual revenues, and has over 5000 employees in over 300 cities in the country. Aside from being one of the industry leaders in size, Channelplay is also widely recognized for its quality of service, leadership in technology adoption and for its great organizational culture.
- What are the distinct products and services provided by the company?
Channelplay provides services under three major heads – Consulting, Execution and Technology. Under the consulting business, it has services for Market Research, Mystery Shopping & Audits and Sales Training. Under the execution business, it provides services for Sales Force Outsourcing, Visual Merchandising and Loyalty Programs Management. The technology business provides industry leading SAAS solutions for sales force automation, distributor management, data collection and analytics and CRM.
- What are the challenges in the industry that Channelplay Limited tackled on its way to success?
One of the key challenges to address in the industry has been poor availability of human, technical and physical infrastructure – especially in non-urban parts of the country which are significantly large markets but do not have appropriate resources for professional execution of work. Channelplay has built capability to hire and train quality resources, has developed a great technology stack that enables it to execute with reliability and transparency, and has also developed a great network of physical infrastructure providers that help it run its business effectively.
- How significant is the Market Research Industry in today’s business model?
A deeper understanding of consumers, channel and competition is critical to the success of any business – and Market Research is the primary way to gather this understanding and insights. While Market Research models have changed over time to incorporate digital modes of information capture, the industry itself is as integral as ever to most consumer brands.
- Please mention any recent technological advancement that the company has incorporated for offering better solutions.
Technology is at the center of Channelplay’s business. Channelplay’s inhouse market research management and insights platform 1View has long been a key tool that has helped ensure that reliable data is captured in real-time and with transparency, and that actionable analytics are conducted through advanced BI tools and data is presented in a intuitive way that supports decision making. 1View has now become a standalone product that is now being sold to market research and mystery shopping companies across the world.
- What methodology does Channelplay Limited use for market research that makes it unique and is an advantage over competitors? Please also mention the awards and accolades.
Channelplay’s market research offering is structured around being technology driven, having high geographical scale, and having great execution speed. The most frequent use case that Channelplay serves is when its clients want reliable insights in a short time frame from a wide geographical footprint. Channelplay believes its work speaks for itself, and has received numerous awards from its clients for great work done. Channelplay does not apply for awards from privately held event and award organizations.
- How does the company keep employees motivated and handles it’s societal responsibility?
Channelplay is a very progressive organization with a very employee centric culture. It believes that size and provenance have nothing to do with culture – and one need not be a Silicon Valley tech company to have a great culture. Channelplay’s people, policies and infrastructure are world-class, and best in industry.
Channelplay is a socially responsible organization, and undertakes many good initiatives through the Channelplay Employees and Public Welfare Trust. Channelplay by virtue of its size also falls under the legally mandated CSR policies for large organizations, and it discharges its duties with great diligence.
- What would be your advice for the budding start-ups and entrepreneurs in the industry?
Channelplay is not only an entrepreneurial organization in itself, but works with a large number of entrepreneurial organizations to help them successfully take their products to consumers across the country. Our conclusion from all of our experiences is that India is merely at the beginning of a great period of growth and development, and that opportunities abound. The biggest advice we can give to entrepreneurs is to keep at it, and to adapt as needed. If you can stick around long enough – success is inevitable.
- Brief us aboutChannelplay’s future perspectives.
Channelplay has been growing at over 30% year on year, and recently crossed 200 crores in revenue. We now have even more aggressive growth plans, and expect to cross 500 crores in the next 3 years and become India’s leading company in each of the business verticals that we serve.