Nuts and Bolts of selling to US customers from India for First Timers

This PlaybookRT will focus on Product startups who are keen to enter the US Market. The PlaybookRT is facilitated  by Suresh Sambandam, CEO of KiSSFLOW / OrangeScape. Suresh will host a highly interactive Playbook Roundtable for Product Startups and share his journey of acquiring 9000 customers globally. Some of the key topics that Suresh would be sharing insights are:

  • Getting the Basics Right
    • B2B SaaS Customer Acquisition Model
    • Role of Product
    • Freemium vs Free Trial
    • Positioning (3 types)
    • Pricing
  • Marketing
    • Junk In – Junk Out (Top of the funnel)
    • Perpetual A/B
    • Inbound vs Out Bound
    • SEO
    • Adwords
    • Re-targeting and Re-marketing
    • Channels to Ignore
    • Signup Qualification
  • Engagement
    • Drip Emails
    • Engagement Tools & Tracking
    • Fix the product
  • Sales (Hunting)
    • Founding Team Commitments during early days
    • Role Definitions
    • Opening the Communication Channel
    • Region Mapping, Sales Agent, Multiple Shifts, Time Zones, etc
    • CRM Choices
    • Unified view for Sales Team
    • Support Driven Selling
  • Sales (Farming)
    • Post Sales Customer interviews
  • Infrastructure and Others
    • Recurring Billing, Payment Gateway choices
    • Product Feedback Loop
    • Continuous Content Marketing Loop
    • Automation Engineering
    • MIS Reports
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 10th November 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 subsequent RoundTable. This PlaybookRT is FREE and there are no charges.
 
Brief profile of Suresh is:

Suresh Sambandam is the Founder and CEO of OrangeScape, that specializes in building technology platform software. OrangeScape offers two platforms – Visual PaaS – a cloud application development platform for Large Enterprises and KiSSFLOW a workflow-as-a-Service platform for SMBs. OrangeScape has marque enterprise customers include the likes of Unilever, Citibank, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and its KiSSFLOW is #1 in the workflow / SaaS BPM space with 9000+ customers across 108 countries with a truly global footprint.

Indian Mid-market SaaS companies: Forging a new path to disruption

SaaS has changed the competitive dynamics for Indian enterprise software product firms, putting them on a level playing field with their western counterparts. It has opened up new market segments, notably the small and medium sized enterprise market, whose requirements are different from those of large global 2000 businesses. These customers demand products that are less complex, plug-and-play and come at a lower price tag. This has pushed product companies catering to this segment towards a light-touch, virtually enabled model, dramatically reducing the need for close customer engagement, large field sales force, and elaborate implementation – all of which traditionally put Indian companies at a disadvantage.

Leveraging this wave, a new generation of Indian software product firms such as FreshDesk, FusionCharts, KissFlow, WebEngage, RecruiterBox and others have started to emerge. This has created an important disruptive force in the mid-sized enterprise market. What is also interesting is that, in their pursuit for a light-touch model, these companies have evolved a unique strategy to define the product, market/sell the product and engage with customers. This iSPIRT report discusses the three core tenets of their strategy – Digital immersion, Desk marketing/selling and Cloud-based customer engagement.

Second 10 of the 50 Finalists: #InTech50 Most Innovative Products from India

InTech50, a joint initiative by iSPIRT and Terrene Global Leadership Network, that recognizes most promising software products by India’s entrepreneurs, is pleased to confirm the Second set of 10 selected products from over 200 nominations. Check out the First 10 of the 50 Finalists: #InTech50 Most Innovative Products.

InTech50 logoThe elected products that represent inspirational and pioneering concepts in software will be showcased at InTech50 , a two-day event to be held at Bangalore from April 9 -10, 2014, where global CIOs and transformation leaders will be present. 

How we picked out the Top 10 showcase products:

It is quite an honor to be in the InTech50  considering there was an overwhelming response for product nominations.

An esteemed panel of Chief Information Officers (CIOs), venture capitalists, and product leaders from previous successes have evaluated the nominated products.

The products have been selected based on their capabilities and uniqueness, while having the potential to transform the world around us.

The Second 10 finalists for InTech50 2014 Most Innovative Products (in alphabetical order) are:

  1. Contify is a Web Intelligence application for enterprise and teams. The product mines virtually all relevant online sources for information and converts it into easily accessible qualitative and quantitative insights on customers, competitors, and markets.
  2. i7 Networks is a 100% Agentless-way (ZERO-Touch) of detecting all personal devices, secure quadrupled fingerprinting (US patent-pending) of devices and apps etc. and provides network behavioural analysis. It then denies access to infected and compromised personal devices connecting to the network.
  3. KiSSFLOW is business process automation software that is deeply integrated with Google Apps environment. KiSSFLOW is the #1 app in the Google Marketplace in its category and has more than 5000 organizations and active users spread across 120 countries.
  4. Kreeo is a “Collective Intelligence & Unification Platform” for Companies which addresses three important aspects of effective information/knowledge management – Expression, Organization and Discovery (EOD). It provides a unified platform where information is shared/aggregated in various contexts and is intelligently organized around various concepts of relevance.
  5. MindTickle is a cloud based learning platform which enables businesses to create, deliver, manage and track online courses. It is easy to create courses on MindTickle by uploading or embedding existing content (videos, PPTs, PDFs, quizzes, etc.).
  6. RazorFlow Dashboard Framework helps you build interactive dashboards in HTML5 that work well on all modern devices. You can configure components of the dashboard using an intuitive API, which will intelligently render the dashboard according to the capabilities and form-factor of your user’s device.
  7. RippleHire is a technology product that gamifies employee referrals and enables social recruiting. By empowering the most effective way you hire (Employee Referrals), it reduces your hiring cost and effort and unlocks the multiplier in your employee social networks.
  8. Sapience is an innovative, patent-pending software solution that delivers over 20% increase in Work Output, from the existing team. Sapience achieves this through Automated Work Visibility, without requiring any change in process or extra management effort.
  9. SignEasy is a simple and convenient app for businesses and professionals to sign and fill documents from smart phones and tablets. You do not need a printer, scanner or fax machine. SignEasy is currently available on iOS, Android and BlackBerry.
  10. Seclore FileSecure is an Information Rights Management (IRM) solution which allows unstructured information (documents, emails, drawings, images,) to be remote controlled. It is possible to share information but have control: WHO can access the information, WHAT can each person do and WHEN does each person use the information.

Check out the First 10 of the 50 Finalists: #InTech50 Most Innovative Products. Stay tuned for the remaining 30 companies which we plan to announce in the next few days.

 

Domain knowledge is key to building successful B2B products

Suresh Sambandam is the founder and CEO of OrangeScape, a company he set up along with colleague from Selectica, Mani Doraisamy. OrangeScape provides a Platform as a Service (PaaS) to build domain rich solutions, easily and fast. The company recently launched KiSSFLOW, the first workflow-as-a-service exclusively for Google Apps which seamlessly integrates with Google mail, docs and contacts. In the first of a two-part interview for pn.ispirt.in, Suresh talks to us about what inspired him to start OrangeScape, what factors he feels are important while starting up and when to recognize the deciding moment of whether to give up or continue.

So many people from smaller town today who are getting into the business today — for example you have people from Udupi and Agra who are foraying into the business. What about your story –you yourself hail from Cuddalore, a Tier 3 city so where did it start for you?

I believe that there are two sources of ideas. One is typically a B2C idea – and this comes from your common encounters. You yourself are consumer, and you encounter different problems as a user of a product. You get frustrated and you think about building new products or solutions to solve this frustration. This is where you can see a lot of younger people like college kids or graduates getting in to the game – if you carefully observe most of these products you’ll see more B2C products because the founders would have been users themselves who were faced with a particular problem and then thought about solving it. These don’t really require very deep domain knowledge. On the other hand you can take OrangeScape which is a B2B product that’s complex, as B2B products tend to be. This is because it takes someone who’s been in the area to understand the dynamics, gain deeper knowledge and figure out the gaps and challenges.

Personally, prior to starting OrangeScape I was working for a company called Selectica which is a US based company that was one of the leaders in business rule engine space. At some point Selectica sold the Division I was part of, to Accenture, and we saw that as a great segue into the problem of how can we democratize application building process? That is a deep domain knowledge we got exposed due to our intensive work at Selectica in an adjacent area. So all this experience and knowledge helped the core team generate the idea and we decided this was something we should address and go after.

So essentially there are two key factors that started the OrangeScape story. One was the experience that you gained from the previous companies you worked at, that helped you identify scope for improvement. The other was the core team, which is obviously fundamental to getting out on your own. What other factors would you say are important when you’re starting up?

India is slowly moving from services to a product building country. OrangeScape takes this thinking to one more level of sophistication which from product to creating sophisticated technology /platform. As I said before, to know this side of the tracks you need a lot of domain expertise. You need to know the problem and go after that. Second, of course the team is the most important thing. We had been blessed with a great team starting with my co-founder Mani that stayed on course for a longtime on this journey. Thirdly, I would say to some extent the phrase ‘ignorance is bliss’ plays a role here. Initially, we didn’t know how big the problem we were going after really was.

It was only after years did we realize that this is problem that an IBM or Oracle would go after, not a startup. But then if I knew all that when I started off, there are chances that we would have given up. Sometimes you don’t know everything about the problem, but then you take chances. And then you need to stay put on the path and committed. You have to be convinced about the problem and pursue the solution. So all these things need to come together for you to go in the direction that you want to.

When you do you decide that you’re making it or breaking it? What is that deciding factor? Where do you decided ‘enough is enough it’s time to get a day job’, or ‘hey, we’ve cracked it’?

The defining moment depends on your assessment of how big the problem you’re trying to solve. If the problem that you’re trying to solve is big enough for you to stay put on your course, then that’s a pretty strong deciding factor. I don’t think many people realize that it took SAP 15 years to go from product concept to launch and in the last ten years, they’ve been doing good business. Now cloud is disrupting their business, that is a different story. SAP was convinced that the problem they were dealing with was big enough and this inspired the vision for them to stay on course. So this is one aspect that determines whether you should hang up your boots or not. I would say that if you’re going after a small a problem then after some years you may decide to give up, but if it’s bigger then this may not happen. The other aspect is that if you’re meeting progress and you’re doing reasonably ok (not significantly, but you’re definitely progressing) then again this gives you the motivation to stay focused. If none of this is happening, then that may be an indicator that you may have to move on.