With its millions of SMEs and startups, India is a key destination for US-based software company HubSpot as it seeks to expand in the market to integrate and augment customer relations management (CRM) beyond mere spreadsheets and instill focus on its customer-centric “disruptions” to “grow better”.
The Cambridge, Massachusetts-headquartered firm, which has a presence in over 100 countries and pitches its solutions for an effective integration of sales, marketing and customer service for businesses to attract and expand clientele, has appointed a new India head of sales to deal with its increasing customer base in the country, spanning educational institutions to corporate gift providers, top HubSpot officials said.
Customer relations management products faces two major barriers in any country, including in India, HubSpot co-founder and CTO Dharmesh Shah told IANS.
“First there is the technical obstacle, about the product being too difficult to use, especially with many in India still relying on spreadsheets and e-mail, and then the financial, about it being too expensive. The second is especially key in a cost-sensitive market like India…
“But HubSpot seeks to surmount both these issues. Our product is easy to use, and the basic version is free so the users can see if they are getting value for their money,” he said.
Adarsh Noronha, previously General Manager at Oracle India, has been appointed as the new head of sales in India, which is an increasing focus area for the company, whose products and services also help their clients adapt and thrive in social media marketing, content management, web analytics and search engine optimization.
HubSpot’s Managing Director, APAC, Shahid Nizami, said that they have more than 65,000 customers over the world, but the APAC market is “exciting”, especially India with its 40 million SMEs and thousands of “interesting” start-ups. The company is “bullish” about its India prospects, which have spread from metros and tech hubs into Tier-II and III cities, he added.
Many start-up founders may be good technically but may find themselves at sea when it comes to sales, marketing and customer service, and more importantly, fashioning these into a composite whole to be successful in building relations with customers, and this is where HubSpot aims to provide its expertise.
HubSpot said its clients span various verticals, including Pune’s Symbiosis University, whom they helped to move from newspaper advertising to inbound marketing, tyremarket.com and many others. They also have tied up with Nasscom and held road shows in four Indian cities recently.
Shah said that they had roped in various Indian partners to help with specific industries, while Nizami added that they had developed a “good partner ecosystem” in the country.
“We have clients in cities like Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Chandigarh and it is heartening to hear success stories from the smaller cities,” Nizami said.
Nizami, who delivered the opening keynote address at ‘Grow with Hubspot’, the firm’s annual event for digital marketers held here last week with the aim of helping them “grow better” or without losing focus on customers instead of only growing, had highlighted how disruptions in the business world had gone beyond the B2B (business-to-business) segment.
He showcased how technical disruptors like Google, Tesla and Apple had now ceded place to “experience disruptors” like Netflix, Airbnb, Spotify and Linkedin. “How they sell is why they win,” Nizami stressed, listing six adaptations of these companies.
These, he said, are moving from product market fit to experience market fit, from friction-filled to frictionless experience, from anonymous dealings to personalised dealings, from selling to customers to selling through customers, from following business models to busting them, and making the product/solution easy to use, not difficult.
Shah and Nizami also dismissed the issue of security, noting that they were a 13-year-old listed company which never faced any issues.
“We have even been selected by the Singapore government for a huge project for their sports agency,” Shah said.
Shah, however, admitted that some of their clients, including in India, faced data integration issues, but revealed that they had just acquired Belgian company PieSync, renowned for two-way customer data synchronisation, to help on this count.