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Bootstrap First, Raise Money Later: Senraj Soundar, CEO of ConnectLeader (Part 4)

Posted on Thursday, Jun 22nd 2017

Sramana Mitra: What were the revenue levels in 2013 and 2014? How was the company growing?

Senraj Soundar: We were staying somewhere around 80% to 100% growth for the next two to three years.

Sramana Mitra: When did you hit $5 million in revenue?

Senraj Soundar: In the last two years.

Sramana Mitra: What else have you done in this time frame between when you started selling the product in 2011 till now? Are there other strategic moves that you’ve made? Obviously, you have to relentlessly sell the product and grow your business.

Senraj Soundar: While we were selling this product, we realized that this product was being adopted only by specific sales roles within a sales organization. Not everybody in the sales floor is able to use this product effectively, because this product is a high-value product for the sales rep who needs to make a lot of calls. We realized that we’ve got to expand our offering so that the other types of sales roles can use our platform. We strategically made the decision to add other sister products. We have a power dialing product on the same interface except there is no calling agent behind it. The software automates everything.

The only difference is the sales rep is required to navigate the call. Still the product can automate things like caller ID. When the call goes to voice mail, the sales rep doesn’t have to keep repeating the voice message. They can record once and they can simply drop a voice message. We introduced our click-to-call product in 2015.  In 2016, we introduced our predictive intelligence product, which scores the leads and prioritizes which prospects to contact. Recently, we released our gamification software.

That kind of decision is very strategic in nature. Instead of blindly expanding with our leading product, we made the decision of expanding the product line. Lately we added gamification because you need to help the sales team to look at the metrics, gamify the process of selling, and the sales activity.

Then we were drawn into solving other problems faced by sales reps. When the sales rep wants to connect with the prospects, in what order are they going to connect with them? If somebody needs to contact 2,000 prospects, to call all 2,000 prospects will take several months, depending on what type of product they are using. We have to help them scout those prospects.

We use a predictive intelligence engine to lead score all their leads. We tell them in which order they should contact. We added these strategic solutions within our platform to add a lot of value to our customers. Now we are driving towards the next phase of expansion.

Sramana Mitra: You introduced a bunch of different products with the idea that you wanted to sell more products to the same customers that you acquired. It’s definitely a best practice in the industry. It’s expensive to acquire customers. Being able to sell more products to the customers that you’ve already acquired is always considered high-value strategy.

The question that I have for you is in what sequence did you start introducing these new products? You talked about three or four variations on your product. When did you introduce each of them?

Senraj Soundar: We introduced our dialing product and click-to-call product in 2015. In the later part of 2015, we released our gamification software. In 2016, we introduced our predictive intelligence product, which scores the leads and prioritizes which prospect to contact.

Sramana Mitra: What did this do to your business? In your earlier one-product scenario, you were doing $50,000 average deal size per customer. With all these other pieces, what does that do to your average deal size?

Senraj Soundar: Deal size is going up. Since we have a platform with many tools, we are able to sell pretty much to the entire sales team. In the past, if you bump into a sales team, it’s 50 on the sales floor who might sell to 5 to 10 users. Now we still sell to that 5 to 10 users and also to the remaining 40 to 45 users.

This segment is part 4 in the series : Bootstrap First, Raise Money Later: Senraj Soundar, CEO of ConnectLeader
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