When Vikram Kotnis, Ketan Sabnis, Y Vinayak katkar started a digital marketing agency in 2010 in Pune to help small businesses adopt digital marketing solutions, one thing disturbed them: the inability of SMEs to take advantage of technology.
While dealing with small and medium-sized businesses to strategize marketing initiatives, they realized that the reasons why they could not opt for a technology upgrade were varied, including lack of skills, budget, and a solution that could sustain them.
The problem was not new nor did it have simple solutions. According to a survey by the India SME Forum, lack of understanding and knowledge about digital tools for communication has resulted in only 34 percent of India’s MSMEs adopting digital media to interact with employees, customers and suppliers .
The trio knew a solution was needed to put small businesses on their path to growth.
In an interaction with SMBStoryKetan says: “We knew a solution was needed to restrain SMEs, but back then we were very small. Although SMEs wanted to know more about technology, there were very few options. The market was not ready. “
But the COVID-19 pandemic changed things.
With MSMEs and small businesses enduring the brunt of the lockdowns nationwide, technology was the only thing that held them together. The demand from SMEs to adopt technology grew and the market opened for Vikram, Ketan and Vinayak. And, in June 2021, they came up with Kylas, a new-age enterprise-grade customer relationship management (CRM) product, It competes with companies like Freshworks, Zoho, and Bitrix 24.
Making a solution
In 2010, the trio could not immediately launch a technology-based solution for SMBs, as “it involved a lot of research and the market was not ready.” However, they saw great potential in real estate, which was booming at the time and transitioning to technology, and launched a CRM solution for developers and brokers in 2012.
His company, K2V2 Technologies, had major 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 the Indian economy. faced in the changing business landscape.
After more than a decade, the trio launched Kylas, a new-age enterprise-grade and customizable SaaS product that is uniquely positioned to help small and medium-sized businesses optimize their sales efforts, engage with customers in a effective and grow.
“India’s SMEs have been severely affected by the uncertainty of end-to-end lockdowns, unreliable cash flows and disrupted supply chains. The pandemic forced SMEs to accelerate digital adoption and ensure business continuity. We launched Kylas now with a vision to make high-quality CRM software accessible to small businesses with tiered pricing and no hidden costs to help them focus on reviving the business, ”says Ketan. SMBStory.
Ketan adds that the main goal of building Kylas is to allow SMEs to focus on reviving their businesses without the added burden of increased technology costs.
Ketan says Kylas has been designed and engineered especially for SMBs, keeping their unique challenges in mind.
He adds that most SMB entrepreneurs who use CRM software complain of paying for features they don’t actually use and of paying more for critical features.
“We want to add value to SMEs that must accelerate their digital transformation faster than ever. All business service integrations, data import, setup, deployment and training are free with Kylas and have no hidden costs, ”he explains.
In its beta launch phase, Kylas received more than 800 SMB registrations and is expanding its team to incorporate more clients. Kylas has three service plans: Embark, the basic one that is free to use; Explore, which is priced at Rs 3,499 per month; and Elevate, the premium plan priced at Rs 7,499 per month.
To assist SMEs on their journey towards digital transformation and help them scale businesses using digital methods, Ketan says the company also developed a six-week skills enhancement program that offers sessions and hands-on help where facilitators delve into areas such as business resilience, marketing. strategy and help to set up digital lead generation, digital marketing, paid ads, database marketing, e-commerce, etc.
In the first batch of his improvement program, Kylas received 60 entries.
“Growing companies need all the support now when faced with the repercussions of a pandemic and for the reactivation, survival and growth of SMEs we came up with this training program to impart the right skills to entrepreneurs to accelerate their digital transformation journey, ”adds Ketan.
Challenges and way forward
The demand for digital solutions is at an all-time high by SMEs, but retention is one of the main and main challenges.
“There are many CRM solution providers on the market and SMBs are confused about who to choose. If they face a bad experience, they are reluctant to try another provider, which is not good for the players, ”says Ketan.
Raising awareness among SMBs about the product to use based on their business structure is both a challenge and an opportunity, and Ketan says Kylas aims to offer skill enhancement programs to more SMEs.
Kylas is also working to scale as he investigates and adds more useful features to the CRM.