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For SMBs, digitisation is all about survival: Kylas’ Ketan Sabnis


As small businesses in India are picking up the pace in the world of digitisation, their needs and goals are increasing. Starting from digital bookkeeping, ERP and creating plug-and-play websites, the small businesses are now looking towards aligning with services such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Ketan Sabnis, CEO & CO-Founder of Kylas, a SaaS CRM firm, talks to ET Digital about the digitization and demand of CRM among MSMEs in India.

Economic Times (ET): What are the key challenges regarding SMBs‘ path to digitization?
Ketan Sabnis (KS):
As part of our preliminary research before building Kylas, we spoke to over 100 small and medium enterprises and the four key challenges they face on their path to digitization can be broadly classified as follows:

  • High cost of ownership- SMBs choose CRM and other digital tools to help drive growth, but as their sales teams expand, they must keep paying additional license costs. It becomes expensive for any business to not know the predictability of software and technology costs as they are growing.
  • Lack of timely support- Smaller businesses are new to technology and hence need more handholding and support. For most CRM providers, enterprises take priority over smaller businesses and hence their issues do not get resolved effectively or in a timely fashion.
  • Lack of organization- Product Fit- Growing businesses are forced to pay for features that they do not need and are too complex to use. Plus, they also end up paying (extra) for features that are critical to them.
  • Product adoption & usage issues- Employees of growing businesses do not get proper onboarding & training. They face challenges in using the tool effectively and this derails product adoption and usage within the company.

ET: There has been a lot of focus on digitizing SMBs in the last couple of years and many firms have emerged for this purpose. How is Kylas trying to stand out?
KS:
Many organizations have reached out to help SMBs in their digital transformation journey. This has become even more pronounced because of the challenges faced by SMBs during Covid. However, many of these organizations cannot understand the nuances of small business operations and their growth needs.
We have conducted extensive research to understand the needs of SMBs across sectors, and engineered Kylas to cater to these unique needs. One of our key learnings is that SMBs need holistic support and not just tools in their digitisation journey. We need to work with them to not just implement their CRM system but also help them digitise their sales. For instance, help them establish a digital presence, set up their e-commerce channels, guide them on lead-generation through digital mediums, work with them to build customer databases & support them in their own marketing journey.

Kylas is an enterprise-grade, robust SaaS Sales CRM, which is intuitive and easy to use. It’s built and priced for collaboration – it has a flat pricing structure and you can onboard unlimited users on Kylas for true collaboration and you do not have to pay any additional license cost.

We also believe that service and product go hand in hand–especially for SMBs. All integrations, data import, set up, implementation and training are free and come at no hidden costs. Our mission is to help SMBs in India leverage technology to scale quickly. We offer industry expertise and share best practices to help smaller organizations make their mark in today’s competitive market scenario. We have also started an SMB Upskilling Program to help small business owners in their path to digital transformation.

ET: How are the digitisation needs of SMBs different from other startups or larger firms?
KS:
During the past year, SMBs in India have been severely impacted with the uncertainties of start-stop lockdowns, unreliable cash flows and disrupted supply chains. Covid-19 has forced SMBs to move to digital-first, becoming more dependent on technologies to ensure business continuity and resilience.

For larger firms/ enterprises, digitization is about increasing efficiency, efficacy and profitability; for small businesses, especially in the post COVID era, digitisation is all about survival. Even though SMBs need the same tools and services as larger enterprises in order to compete, they face unique challenges that enterprises don’t. These challenges include resources to deal with the complexity, lack of in-house skills and expertise, and tighter budgets. Additionally, they also face time and resource constraints in managing their core business.

ET: Tell us about the market demand for CRM for SMBs.
KS:
The global SMB CRM market is pegged at $43billion and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10-12%. The market in India is pegged at $1.7 billion and is expected to grow at a much higher rate of 25%. There are over 2.5 million registered MSMEs in India who are poised for growth and looking to digitise many aspects of their business.

ET: What is the long-term roadmap of Kylas?
KS:
Our priority is to help the SMBs in India grow with Kylas. We plan to onboard about 5000 SMBs on the platform this year. Our industry focus will be mostly on verticals like consulting companies, media agencies, IT/ ITES, manufacturing and education firms. After stabilizing our presence in India, we have plans to take the product global with near-shore and also the US & EU market.

We currently have sign-ups from over 1100 SMBs since our (beta) launch. Currently, our reach is focused on Tier-1 & Tier-2 cities, and we are seeing some promising numbers coming in from Tier-2 as well.

(The one-stop destination for MSME, ET RISE provides news, views and analysis around GST, Exports, Funding, Policy and small business management.)

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