Bangalore, Karnataka, India, 8th November 2019: This year, Bizom, a retail intelligence SaaS company, will exceed $5M in annual revenue with more than 95% generated from Indian customers. They are one of the very few (if not the only) SaaS companies in India to do so.

Bizom on the Secrets of Building a Growing, India-first SaaS Business

The company has more than 350 enterprise CPG brands as its customers, and over 150K distributors and sales executives use its platform. Thanks to the $10 billion worth of CPG business that passes through its platform, Bizom captures the data of more than 5 million unique retailers in India.

These are all impressive figures given that building a fast-growing SaaS business with only Indian customers is often considered “mission impossible“. Here is the “art of war” if you want to pursue a similar mission.

From its early days, Bizom adopted the “inch wide mile deep” focus. According to Lalit Bhise, CEO and Co-founder of Bizom, it’s about channelling the company’s resources to win a significant market share in a small segment rather than spreading the business too thin. From the beginning, Bizom wanted to be a market leader. But they decided to be a market leader in small regions or small segments rather than have a “worldwide” focus.

Lalit and his team broke down the universe of CPG into mini verticals like beverages or fresh foods and regions like Mumbai and Bangalore. “We did not even start selling Bizom to Mumbai-based customers until we had more than 10% market share in our home market in Bangalore. We expanded to Delhi only when we had a good market share in Bangalore and Mumbai. Only in 2019, when we were the undisputed leaders in this space in India did we started looking outside,” commented Lalit.

The company’s focused approach made sure the sales and marketing rupees were spent to create maximum impact. It also generated word-of-mouth referrals in their focus markets which is critical in India. Mid-market companies base their buying decisions on referrals which the company was able to leverage with its “inch wide mile deep” approach.

Today, the company adds 10-15 new customers each month, more than 90% of which are inbound via referrals.

When Lalit started Bizom, industry experts told him that India is a price-conscious market. It would be difficult to build a large SaaS business. What Lalit and his team discovered though was that India is not as price-conscious as it is value-conscious. Customers are willing to pay for the right product as long as Bizom could customise the platform to meet their needs.

Bizom sold its platform as a customised product from day one. That was the secret sauce. They built a configurable platform which behaves differently for each customer or product line despite having one codebase for all their customers. It is a technological feat, and the credit goes to the company’s engineering and product teams.

This innovation has poised the company to win in global markets. What is perceived as a complex customisation challenge, Bizom executes with a click of a button. In a market where six months is a norm to onboard a product or platform, the company consistently takes two weeks to go live. This platform approach has helped the company grow fast and expand its customer base.

I have seen a lot of SaaS companies attempting to acquire large enterprise customers before achieving “product-market fit“. I think It’s suicidal. We started working with tech-oriented CPG startups like iD Fresh. The growth achieved through our tech helped put us in the next orbit of mid-market companies like Parle Agro, Jyothy Laboratories, Fena, etc. From there, we made inroads into MNCs like Reckitt, Mars, Hershey’s, Pepsico, etc. But going up the value chain is not just about acquiring customers. It involves continually adapting our creativity, thoughts and approach to the needs of each industry segment. While ensuring, we retain the sanctity of scalable, repeatable and automated solutions. We call this organisation wide culture of constant learning as Algorithmic Jugaad,” said Lalit.

Every year, at least half of Bizom’s growth comes from existing customers alone. The secret behind it is the company’s customer success team. Unlike most other SaaS companies, their customer success team is made of business analysts and not glorified support executives. These business analysts help customers drive their business outcomes using Bizom. They measure success by the success of their customers. Since no one expects software vendors to help drive business outcomes, customers are satisfied and expand the scope of business year-on-year, and continue to give the company rave reviews and referrals.

While in retrospect, this all sounds simple, there is one thing that makes this possible, the team and the culture Bizom has built within the organisation. As a company, they follow People=>Product=>Profits philosophy. Which means they want to work with the right entrepreneurial people with the hope that they will build a great product that brings revenues and profits. If there is one thing Lalit will tell SaaS companies is to focus on working with the right team throughout their journey.

Bizom provides insights and intelligence to CPG brands and has just started to make inroads into other emerging markets. The company helps brands achieve smart distribution by tapping into its vast network, and by improving the customer’s manpower efficiency, channel performance and product performance.

It first helps businesses to digitise the customer’s entire sales functions and supply chain. Once the digital transformation is activated, the company helps its customers move from a push-based distribution to a pull-based distribution using solutions that facilitate assisted- and inspired-selling. 

Mobisy Technologies

Mobisy Technologies was founded in 2008 by Lalit Bhise, an early inventor of hybrid mobile programming. He also has patents pending in visual merchandising using image recognition. He is an expert on the Indian FMCG industry having worked closely with market leaders to advise and then actually solve their sales and distribution problems. His motto is to disrupt the retail industry using technology in a manner that helps the entire retail ecosystem move ahead digitally.

Mobisy uses the mantra of Algorithmic Jugaad whereby it places a very high value on entrepreneurship to drive greater success among customers.

Today, Mobisy is one of the fastest growing tech brands in India. The accolades speak for themselves:

  • Ranked 3rd fastest growing technology company in India at Deloitte Technology Fast 50, 2017
  • Ranked 43 in Financial Times’ 1000 High-Growth Companies Asia-Pacific list for 2018
  • Highly rated by customers (4.6/5) on Gartner peer insights 
  • Top 3 in the Accenture Consumer Tech awards.

Bizom

Bizom, a Mobile first, SaaS-based suite of automation solutions, is the retail intelligence platform for brands and their retailers.

We are leaders in providing insights and intelligence to CPG brands in India and emerging markets and are now making inroads into markets in Europe and other developed markets. We help brands achieve smart distribution by improving their manpower efficiency, channel performance and product performance.

We achieve this by helping businesses first digitise their entire sales and supply chain and later help the move from a push-based distribution to a pull-based distribution using solutions that facilitate assisted and inspired selling.

Its customers include international brands such as Reckitt-Benckiser, Hershey’s, Nivea, Mars as well as top Indian brands such as Parle Agro, Jyothy Laboratories Limited, JK Helene-Curtis, Parag Milk Foods, among a fast-growing list of over 350 brands.

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