India has been a tech savvy country all the while. The advent of Software technology in early 90’s brought IT services and along with that plethora of technical jobs. We as a country have a very strong penchant towards learning new technologies, but somehow, our learning has been more towards securing a job rather than to having innovation in technologies. This is the reason why, we remained a service country rather than a tech-product innovation country except for few products such as Tally,Finnacle etc.
Most of Indian businesses were paper-based and /or slowly started adapting to tech based solution. In the early days, if offered a product which customer should use on its own, it was almost impossible for the company to let customers use the product/solution on their own; a DIY model. During 2008, for every SME customer (event organizer, event management companies and promoters)in India, we at Explara , used to pitch to serve, the first question that my sales & biz team were asked “can you come and show us how the product works?”. There was no concept of DIY then in SME. We had to use feet-on-the-street sales executives to meet customers and show demo. Though the demo was hardly for 10 minutes but we had to travel for hours both ways to win a SME customer. This continued till 2010 but somewhere during that year magic started to happen. Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, ecommercestarted impacting businesses to use those platforms for mail, marketing, buzz and commerce. Most businesses were arriving on digital space and similarly few Indian products for SaaS (Software-as-a-service) had arrived. These factors created the ‘eco-system’ for the Indian product companies to switch to better DIY model for SMEs. We @Explara also switched to digital marketing and inside sales model without having to travel to customer premises to demo/show how to use the products for event ticketing & management.
However, India is still getting DIY friendly and about to see a huge growth. If you are offering a product, I would strongly suggest, evaluate the DIY aspect of it. And here are 7 reasons why you should make your product, DIY:
- Automation in marketing, customer acquisition and engagement model
- Reduced cost (money and people) to demo product
- Use of technology and process to scale your business exponentially
- Customers using your product could offer many insights/feedback vs. your own team setting up and not able to understand what works/what doesn’t
- Feature test/introduction becomes easy as many users could use the same and you get to know the usefulness of feature and/or time to roll that back
- Reduced delivery time
- Overall scalability of your business
During 2009-2010, we used to travel to demo 5 to 10 customer a week (in more than one city), whereas in 2013-2014, we acquire 90% customer via DIY and 8% via sales demo and 2% travel to customer to demo. Technologies like webinar, remote desktop sharing, survey apps, collaborative apps like Google docs &Dropbox, cloud telephony like Exotel & others have helped the DIY in India.
However, with mobility and having different platforms (iOS, Andorid, Microsoft Mobility), there is a new challenge of real-time access & service to customer. We stay optimistic that the above-mentioned technology and new ones will arrive to further simplify the solution delivery and device-agnostic DIY.
Santosh Panda is the Founder & CEO at Explara , an event ticketing and solutions platform. Explara has served customers from over 21 countries