LeadSquared – A leading marketing and CRM software for small and medium businesses

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In today’s connected world, optimally spending on various marketing channels is a nightmare for almost every marketeer. Where should I invest? Whether my investment is generating any returns or not? How should I customize my campaign for such a huge customer base? these are few questions which every marketing professional asks every day.

Businesses struggle to make all this to work together using different tools. Then, with all the data across multiple tools, it is very hard and tedious to get meaningful and actionable insights.

LeadSquared is a leading marketing and CRM software which set a goal to address precisely this challenge – to build easy-to-use yet powerful software that can help businesses:

Lead capture automation – capture all their leads across all online and offline sources

Lead Nurturing – track and nurture them to become sales ready

Sales Acceleration help sales people identify and follow-up the leads they can close, and

Analytics – provide deep analytics that can give insights on what is working and what needs to improve.

Techaloo got an opportunity to have a conversation with LeadSquared founders, let see what they want to share with us.

Techaloo: When did you start your journey?

The LeadSquared story started in the summer of 2012. Before we got down to write even the first line of code, we spent 15 months working with dozens of B2C and B2B businesses to build their marketing and lead generation engines. We generated tens of thousands of leads for our clients running several hundred marketing campaigns through inbound and outbound channels.

Previously, we founded Proteans, a recognized leader in software product development services space. We helped build the company from scratch to 350 people strong serving over 100 ISVs world-wide, before it was acquired by Symphony Teleca Corporation in 2010. Post-acquisition, and after Proteans becoming a great success, we decided to start with another venture which was LeadSquared.

Techaloo: What was your vision/mission while starting LeadSquared? How did this idea come to your mind?

Before the inception of LeadSquared, we spent several months working with dozens of B2C and B2B businesses, helping them run marketing campaigns through inbound and outbound channels. While doing so, we found that businesses were using multiple tools to run their marketing, lead generation and sales operations and struggled to make all this to work together.

Then, with all the data across multiple tools, it was very hard and tedious to get meaningful and actionable insights. Addressing these challenges was where the inspiration for LeadSquared came in. We wanted to build easy-to-use yet powerful software that can help businesses.

Techaloo: What hurdles did you face while starting?

The first hurdle we faced was to release the minimum viable product and take it to a captive list of customers. Second, was to build marketing and sales processes that consistently got new trial users. Third, was to convert the trial users to paid customers and finally, drive customer retention. Across all the phases we had our share of challenges in hiring talent.

Techaloo: How did the experience at “Proteans” help you while shaping LeadSquared?

One of the reasons of success of Proteans was our ability to consistently generate high quality leads using online and tele marketing. A lot of businesses are not able to grow beyond initial customers, because of under investment in marketing or broken marketing and lead generation engine.

From the experience at Protenas, we figured lead generation service will have lot of takers and started the company offering lead generation and marketing strategy. Afterwards as LeadSquared started taking shape, the core idea was the same – solve the business’ problem of generating and managing leads from several sources.

Techaloo: How many small businesses have you served till date?

We have serviced over 300 small businesses till date and that includes companies like Flipkart, O2 Spa, Byjus, Randstad, Deltin Group and others.

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 Techaloo: How is the response till now?

The response has been good. The traditional notion is that it is hard to make money in software business in India and the market is small; we don’t agree with this, as we have figured out how to make money in this market.

Our initial target was to go after B2B companies like IT firms. We had some success there but it was taking us longer to sign up customers. One of the reasons was that a lot of small IT firms do not have a pressing need to do marketing or spend on lead generation. They are happy to build their business via referral and repeat orders from existing customers. That being said it was not a pressing need for them to buy LeadSquared.

So we looked around and found companies who cannot survive without spending on marketing and also generate leads. It was easy to find that audience in businesses like Education, Real Estate, BFSI, Travel & Hospitality, Health & Wellness and more.

Techaloo: How are you different from other service providers?

We differentiate from other businesses operating in marketing automation domain by combining marketing automation with the most-used components of CRM. This approach obviates the need of a CRM for a vast majority of businesses, as both marketing and sales now have complete context to each lead within one common view. Some key differentiators are:

We are able to get zero lead leakage for our clients by automating lead capture from all their possible sources.

Businesses don’t need to use three or four systems to run their marketing and sales operations. This offers massive value for money when compared to using multiple systems.

Our clients really like our support – you can read reviews on https://www.g2crowd.com/products/leadsquared/

LeadSquared is sales acceleration software that offers powerful marketing automation capabilities along with robust CRM that makes leads travel faster down the sales funnel. The power of two systems in one, at half the price of the two put together makes it a compelling alternative to the rainbow coalition of several different systems.

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 Techaloo: What is your pricing model?

LeadSquared is offered to customers on subscription model. We started in Bangalore and continue to have our head office here, while our sales presence is in all major metros of India. We also have a subsidiary office in US.

Techaloo: How important is to track the leads for a marketing campaign?

Anyone who’s been in the marketing long enough would know that tracking everything is the key to get results in marketing.Every campaign that you run, the ultimate aim is revenue right? And, a lead is where is all begins, so you need to track it right from the point it enters your system to the point it becomes a customer or is junked, and even after that. Some lead sources would work great for your revenue and others would completely suck. But, you would know this only if you are tracking your leads properly. Also, you would be able to understand the behaviours and interests of your prospective customers also if a lead tracking system is in place, which would again translate to better nurturing, and faster conversions. So yes, for running profitable marketing campaigns, you need to track your leads.

Techaloo: How can a SMB get benefitted by using LeadSquared?

As we were discussing before, LeadSquared kind of obviates the need for 4-5 systems to run marketing and sales efficiently, so SMBs can benefit immensely from it.

Smaller marketing teams don’t generally have the bandwidth to look at multiple systems and collate all the data together. Also in the process many insights get lost. So, it helps them capture all their leads, engage them, prioritize sales conversations, and get analytics right within one system.

Techaloo: Customer behavior for marketing campaign highly depends on type of campaign. How does your product take care of it?

Definitely! Different people have different kinds of preferences – in terms of the channels they choose to be on (Facebook or LinkedIn or both), the type of content they want to consume (e-books, videos, infographics etc.), how they consume it (hand-help devices, desktops).

All these preferences translate to how they react to different kinds of campaigns.

So, LeadSquared would let you know which particular campaigns worked – in terms of whether your e-books got you people who convert to customers or, whether a plain old demo is good enough (in terms of lesser, but high quality leads that convert to customers). So, you would know the next time around what is the channel you should target, and with what kind of content.

Techaloo: What are your plans for next 3 years?

We see huge and growing opportunity in India, and will continue to invest here. International markets also offer the opportunity for us and we plan to serve them out of India. We are planning to raise 10 million dollars to expand and build our business.

Techaloo: What message do you want to give to an aspiring entrepreneur?

  • Startups should raise money if they can. Cash is lifeline of the business and hoard it as much as you can.
  • Reach the stage of product market fit as soon as possible.
  • Founders should always be selling – make it a regular routine to reach out to potential customers through email, phone, face to face or any other relevant forum.
  • Do not focus on selling through partners; if you cannot sell partners can’t sell either.

Techaloo: What do you think about techaloo.com?

Techaloo.com seems like a good place for young entrepreneurs to showcase their products, find information and network in general with likeminded individuals.

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Mohit Bansal(23) is B.Tech in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, India. He has interest in business and entrepreneurship and has published couple of research articles. He is also associated with various NGOs. He is with Techaloo when it was just in concept stage. The Techaloo site was not existing even then. Currently Mohit is working with Mu Sigma as a Business Analyst Profile.

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