This tiny marketing firm has pivoted to launch a SaaS CRM solution and keep SMEs embracing technology



When Vikram Kotnis, Ketan Sabnis, and Vinayak Katkar started a digital marketing agency in 2010 in Pune to help small businesses adopt digital marketing solutions, one thing has disrupted them: the inability of SMEs to harness technology.

While dealing with small and medium-sized businesses to strategize for marketing initiatives, they found that the reasons why they could not embark on a technology upgrade were varied, including lack of skills, budget and a solution that could handle them.

The problem was neither new nor a problem with simple solutions. According to a survey by the Indian SME Forum, a lack of understanding and knowledge of digital communication tools has led only 34% of Indian MSMEs to adopt digital means to interact with employees, customers and suppliers.

The trio knew a solution was needed to put small businesses on the path to growth.

In an interaction with SMBShistorysays Ketan: “We knew a solution was needed to manage SMEs, but then we were very small. Although SMEs wanted to learn more about the technology, there were very few options. The market was not ready.

But the COVID-19 pandemic has made a difference.

While MSMEs and small businesses bore the brunt of the blockages nationwide, technology was the only thing holding them together. Demand from SMEs to adopt the technology increased and the market opened up for Vikram, Ketan and Vinayak. And, in June 2021, they proposed Kylas, a new enterprise-grade customer relationship management (CRM) product, which competes with Freshworks, Zoho, and Bitrix 24.

Make a solution

In 2010, the trio could not immediately launch a technological solution for SMEs because it “involved a lot of research and the market was not ready”. However, they saw huge potential in the then booming real estate industry in transition to technology, and launched a CRM solution for developers and brokers in 2012.

Their company, K2V2 Technologies, had top clients like Mahindra Happinest, Emaar, Hallmark etc., and although they worked, the co-founders did not forget the struggles of the small business sector, which plays a vital role in Indian economy in the face of changing business landscape.

After more than a decade, the trio launched Kylas, a next-generation, customizable enterprise SaaS product that is uniquely positioned to help small and midsize businesses streamline their sales efforts, effectively interact with customers, and connect with each other. develop.

“SMEs in India have been severely affected by the uncertainties of start-stop bottlenecks, unreliable cash flow and disrupted supply chains. The pandemic has forced SMEs to accelerate digital adoption and ensure the continuity of their activities. We launched Kylas now with the vision of making high quality CRM software accessible to small businesses with tiered pricing and no hidden costs to help them focus on relaunching the business, ”said Ketan. SMBShistory.

Ketan adds that the primary purpose of founding Kylas is to allow SMEs to focus on relaunching their businesses without the added burden of rising technology costs.

The product

Ketan says Kylas was designed and manufactured especially for small businesses, keeping their unique challenges in mind.

He adds that most small business entrepreneurs who use CRM software complain about paying for features they don’t actually use and paying extra for critical features.

“We want to add value to SMEs that need to accelerate their digital transformation faster than ever. All business service integrations, data import, configuration, implementation and training are free with Kylas and with no hidden costs, ”he explains.

In its beta launch phase, Kylas has received over 800 SME registrations and is expanding its team to include more clients. Kylas offers three service plans: Embark, the free basic plan; Explore, which is priced at Rs 3,499 per month; and Elevate, the premium plan priced at Rs 7,499 per month.

To support SMEs on their journey to digital transformation and help them grow their businesses using digital methods, Ketan says the company has also developed a six-week development program that offers sessions and practical help where Facilitators delve deeper into areas such as business resilience, strategy marketing, and help with setting up digital lead generation, digital marketing, paid advertising, database marketing, e-commerce, and more.

In the first batch of her development program, Kylas received 60 registrations.

“Growing businesses need all the support now when they face the repercussions of a pandemic and for the recovery, survival and growth of SMEs, we have developed this development program to impart the right skills. to entrepreneurs to accelerate their digital transformation journey, ”adds Ketan.

Challenges and way forward

Demand for digital solutions is at an all time high from SMEs, but retention is one of the biggest and biggest challenges.

“There are a lot of CRM solution providers out there, and small and medium-sized businesses don’t know who to choose. If they face a bad experience, they resist trying another provider, which is not a good thing for the players, ”says Ketan.

Making SMEs aware of the product they should use according to their business structure is both a challenge and an opportunity, and Ketan says Kylas aims to offer development programs to more SMEs.

Kylas is also working on scaling up while researching and adding more useful features to CRM.

Edited by Teja Lele Desai


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