Welcome to DrupalCon Asia!

It was in 2011 that Srijan spearheaded the first ever Drupal Camp in Delhi. A few meetups had happened before this. There were barely 50­-60 of us at the Camp, but the interest in Drupal was high. Some of us even dared to think that one day we could have Drupal’s global conference, DrupalCon, right here in India.

Cut to today. We have the very first DrupalCon of the continent being hosted in Mumbai in Feb 2016. And when we look back, as a community we have grown and come a long way!

Drupal started off as blogging platform in 2001, today Drupal is recognized as a robust enterprise-ready web content management. The latest release, Drupal 8, has a modern development framework and technical improvements to help us build multilingual, mobile and highly personalized experiences of the future. But technical wizardry aside, the best feature of Drupal is the community. With over 1,000,000 passionate developers, designers, strategists and architects, Drupal has one of the largest open source communities in the world.

Increasing number of Drupalers: India has over 70,000 registered ‘Drupalers’ and is  the second highest source of traffic on Drupal.org, the global community portal

Huge contributions to Drupal code: Developers from various Drupal agencies and IT companies in India have committed their time and skill into resolving critical issues for Drupal. In fact, India had the second largest number of contributors working on the Drupal 8 core.

Camps to encourage Drupal talent: All this has been made possible because of the efforts of Drupal agencies, and their efforts to build the community by conducting Drupal Camps in various cities. Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Pune and Mumbai and many other cities have been conducting Camps, and it is heartening to see the Camps getting bigger each year.

Global events, the DrupalCons: DrupalCons are mega events for the community, drawing Drupalers from across the globe. These are held across the US and Europe and give the community a chance to come together and participate in learning sessions, talks, code sprints and social events. Indian companies have been regular participants at DrupalCon events in Los Angeles, Austin, Barcelona, London, Munich and more.

IIT, Mumbai will be the venue for the first Drupal Con in Asia: That India is avenue for a DrupalCon speaks volumes about the strength and passion of the Drupal community in India. DrupalCon Asia has lined up top speakers from the Drupal community across the world to present valuable tech and business sessions. A key highlight of the event is the one­day Business Summit, where Drupal agencies will discuss trends and challenges for their businesses today.

Engage with DrupalCon: We would like to invite the Indian IT community to engage with DrupalCon. There are many ways one can do that. IT companies can send their Drupal and PHP developers to attend the event and keep abreast with the latest in code. Companies seeking Drupal development, and Drupal agencies will find the one­day Business Summit very insightful. Companies can also be sponsors for the event, details of which are here.

DrupalCon Asia 2016 is going to be an exciting event, and pathbreaking for the Indian Drupal community. Come, be a part of it!

Contributed by Rahul Dewan an entrepreneur, open source and agile evangelist, blogger, green activist and yoga & meditation practitioner. He is the founder of Srijan Technologies, a 13­ year­old consulting company with expertise in building high­traffic websites and building online business applications.

Sales Stack: A Recipe for Selling a Product Globally from India #Mumbai

This PlaybookRT will focus on Product startups (B2B) who are keen to sell to the global market. The PlaybookRT is facilitated by Samir Palnitkar, President of Shopsocially.com. Samir will host a highly interactive Playbook Roundtable for Product Startups and share his journey of building shopsocially globally.

Similar to a “development stack” used to build a product, this roundtable will introduce the concept of a “sales stack” that is used to build an entire sales process geared to selling overseas by keeping as many resources in the India office.

Topics covered in this roundtable will be the strategies, techniques, team and the infrastructure required to sell a product effectively from India. Enough working examples will be provided to give a real feel for how the process might work. The objective is for attendees to walk away with enough knowledge to build a sales stack within their own companies.

Samir will cover the following topics:

  •                  Building a website geared towards sales
  •                  Team Structure
  •                  Required Infrastructure
  •                  Marketing driven lead generation
  •                  Target List creation
  •                  Building collateral and scripts
  •                  Tracking lead progress
  •                  Analytics and monitoring
  •                  Sales closing

To apply for this PlaybookRT please fill up the online application and we will get back to you. The session is open to the company’s Founding Team, CEOs and/or head of Sales. Applications are due by the 1st August 2015. The goal is to have at most 12 companies so as to make the interaction effective. If there are other interested attendees, we will arrange a subsequent RoundTable. This PlaybookRT is FREE and there are no charges.

Brief profile of Samir:

Samir is a serial entrepreneur with over 20 years of industry experience. Samir’s passion is startups and new ideas. He is a founder of four successful startups which include I2P acquired by Lattice), Obongo (acquired by America Online), Ingot Systems (acquired by Synopsys) and AirTight Networks (category leader in secure, cloud WiFi). Samir is also an active early stage investor and advisor. His expertise includes social media, strategy, productization/execution, and business process setup.

Samir holds a B.Tech in Electrical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, an MS in Electrical from University of Washington, Seattle and an MBA in International Business from San Jose State University. Samir is the author of two highly acclaimed books and holds 5 US patents.

Understanding Software Sales from the Tally Experience

It is safe to say that Tally is the grand daddy of all Indian Software Products, the only company to have discovered the holy grail of selling software to Indian small businesses at scale. So when one of the key architects of the Tally sales network, Deepak Prakash (Tally employee #3) came down to Mumbai to do a iSPIRT Roundtable, there was little chance I would miss this. And Deepak Prakash did not disappoint. In typical Delhi banter, Deepak walked us inside the mind of a top performing sales executive and how the goals of an entrepreneur and sales person, while contradicting from the outside can be wonderfully complementary if managed right.

2015-03-14 14.29.14 HDRIn the era of online marketing and social media, old world sales seems like a relic of a bygone era. But not in India. In a country full of contradictions, traditional sales still has its charm and companies that want to sell in India, must understand the nuances.


The most recurring theme Deepak’s talk was Empathy. The ability to listen and ask good questions. This applies to both, the relationship between the customer and the sales person and the sales person and the entrepreneur.

Deepak talked about the importance of knowing the sales person and making sure their aspirations are aligned with the company’s aspirations. If the aspiration of the sales person is to buy a car or buy a house, then the person must be able to see that this job will be able to fulfil these aspirations. Aspirations of changing the world have to be translated to the sales person.

Being in sales is a crushing job. Most of us a wary of sales people and feel they are intruders. Hence it is very important for someone who is managing a sales team to constantly boost the ego of the sales person, It helps to keep up the “shabash” and back slapping. If the sales have not been good, its not a good idea to bring it up the first thing in the morning. Mornings should be positive. Its best to have an evening call and close the day’s issues.

Productising Sales

Once the sales process is stable and repeatable, it is important to standardize it. Deepak calls it productising the sales. Getting the words right is very important. It is necessary to always talk in the language of the customer. While calling the customer to renew, saying that “their account is going to ‘expire’” can send wrong signals. Avoiding use of jargon, having a clear pitch and script was at the heart of the sales process. A good sales person is always well prepared should never be in doubt of what to say in any given situation.


One of the key learnings for most of the fellow startups was market segmentation. Deepak shared to attack  a new market. For example if you  were targeting automobile dealers,you  would first have have your own sales people break into 10% of the market and once the network effects started, i.e., you will  have enough references and word of mouth going, then you  start handing it over to a reseller or partner network.

In Deepak’s words “you should  eat the elephant, but piece by piece”

Channel Building

A point will come when it will be  impossible to keep growing the sales network. Not only will it be  expensive, it will  also difficult to manage large sales teams. Hence it imperative for you  to start building a partner network. On being asked, when was the best time to start a partner network, Deepak answered, when there was a repeatable (productised) sales process.

International Expansion

There were many other topics Deepak touched upon like hiring (good sales people are great listeners), Tally’s approach to piracy (don’t inconvenience the customer), managing targets, bringing in influencers (charted accountants in case of Tally) and being clear of what you want (Tally was clear they did not want to go for enterprise customers).

Some of Deepak’s stories reminded me of the Jagdeep Sahni scripted “Rocket Singh, Salesman of the year”, which I think is a brilliant, highly underrated Indian movie for startups.

The Key to selling software to SMEs in India

One of the things Deepak wanted to share with the startups, something that Bharat Goenka, the founder of Tally has also spoken elsewhere, is that the buying patterns of small businesses in India are like enterprises in mature markets. They are used to being sold things rather than they pro actively going and buying stuff. Deepak wants to warn software companies (and their VCs) that they need to plan for scale (more than 10,000 customers). This is not a market for half measures.

My Take

While the session was delightful and insightful, I don’t think startups should try and emulate what worked for Tally. Tally was a product of an era where there was no internet and software adoption was in its infancy. They succeeded because they had the right strategy, risk apatite and execution for the market they wanted to succeed. Also once they hit critical mass, the role of the sales person was only to ensure availability, because the customer already knew they they wanted Tally.

11063806_10152785041892794_1847266351215314437_nThere is a reason the roles of travel agents or insurance agents is shrinking every day. The internet is a wonderful for discovery, learning and distribution of software and startups should go on this path. While sales may be necessary for enterprise, it is too expensive small businesses.

We understand that today, the Indian small business may not be ready to buy without being sold to, but this is changing fast. We are happy to wait and perfect the online game, so that when the markets open up, we have to most compelling offering ready.