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Cognizant CEO wants sales hands to target top 300

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The Economic Times
12th September, 2019 06:48 IST

MUMBAI: In a bid to stave off competition in digital services offerings, Cognizant CEO Brian Humpries has directed client-facing executives to increase sales to the company’s largest, top 300 clients in an effort to maximise engagement and revenue from them, and to return the company to doubledigit growth.

The company’s account teams have been directed to focus on building more relationships with the C-suite of its largest clients to deepen relationships.

“Every week I meet with the Csuite of our clients and partners and I have asked our executive leaders to do the same to deepen our highest-level relationships,” said Humpries in an email to Cognizant executives, accessed by ET. “We have so much opportunity right in front of us. To capture it, a first step is to increase our upselling and cross selling within the top 300 clients that account for more than three-quarters of our annual revenues.”

Responding to ET’s queries, a Cognizant spokesperson said the CEO had only spoken about a majority of revenue being derived from a relatively small subset of 280-300 clients. “Do not recall anything specific about sales efforts related to that subset,” the spokesperson said.

The company had earlier approved the hiring of over 500 direct revenue generating, sales and client facing associates. These measures have been taken in preparation for shift of client investments towards digital engagements, which will be project focused and with lower total contract values, as earlier indicated by the company in analyst calls. “Our clients are under pressure to modernise their environments, extract more value from data… and migrate more of their data and apps to the cloud—all to be more competitive. While they need our help, they always have a choice about which strategic partner to work with. In this highly competitive marketplace, that’s a reminder that as clientcentric we already are, we must continue to get better,” he added. The company is also building more consultative selling skills, digital talent and targeted sales compensation programmes according to the chief executive.

Analysts suggested that tying the client-centric, digital strategy with better sales compensation measures could help the company, while adding that it would be important for the company to not shy away from specialised digital projects which have lower deal sizes.

“Often clients would not consider their existing largescale managed service provider as a ‘digital partner’ and these small deal-sized, specialized work would go to small niche and more nimble service providers,” said Mrinal Rai, principal analyst at ISG, a global technology research and advisory firm.

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