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'Sell Me This Pen': Turn To This Startup For Answers Sales engagement platforms, such as Vymo, are a single interface to efficiently plan, execute, track, measure and optimize interactions between sales and customers across multiple channels

By Soumya Duggal

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Venkat Malladi, co-founder & CTO, Vymo

Most entrepreneurs will agree that your product is only as good as your best salesperson. How, then, can you increase the latter's efficiency? Bengaluru-based Vymo, a digital sales engagement platform for financial institution, offers many a solution: day planner, intelligent routing, meeting detection, geo intelligence and more. In its own words, the startup helps your sales force 'do more'.

Prior to establishing Vymo, its co-founders Venkat Malladi and Yamini Bhat were working at tech giant Google and global management consulting firm McKinsey & Co., respectively. It was while working as part of the Google Mobile team that Malladi observed an ongoing shift in consumer technology: from reactive (waiting for the user to ask for information) to proactive (being an assistant that will predict what the users need). "This shift was inevitable, but no one was thinking about enabling enterprises to do the same. Enterprise software has always been designed as a data entry tool for the seller and as a reporting tool for the buyer," he says.

At the time, Yamini, Malladi's close friend from college, was trying to help enterprise sales teams at Mckinsey become more efficient and productive. But the biggest challenge was technology: by the time the data was available as a report, it was too late to influence anything.

"We realized the obvious need for a product that is mobile-first, contextual and proactive: Something that would understand what the top performers are doing differently and use those learnings and insights to nudge the right person at the right time towards the right action. Yamini had several ideas and an understanding of the domain, and I was confident in building a tool that would solve these, and that's how we got started," says Malladi about the inception of the duo's company.

Operating in this space of 'digital transformation', Vymo needed to not only offer a great product to an organisation but also drive all its decision makers towards this journey. For instance, even before managing to sell the product to a company, the Malladi-Bhat team had to convince some of its early customers that their sales teams should spend less time in the office and more time on the field with the prospects.

"We also wanted to learn from our customers by spending a lot of time with their sales teams and sales leaders and removing any hurdles towards product adoption. Two things became obvious: the larger the customer is, the more value Vymo can drive, but at the same time, we needed to work extra hard towards adoption, customer success and driving tangible outcomes. So, even though it was challenging, we decided to sell to enterprise accounts where we could show a high return on investment (ROI). Luckily, this bet paid off, and today we work with some of the largest financial institutions in the world," explains Malladi as he outlines the initial challenges faced by Vymo.

US research and consulting firm Gartner defines a sales engagement platform as a single interface to efficiently plan, execute, track, measure and optimize interactions between sales and customers across multiple channels. According to Vymo, this segment has seen the fastest growth rate of all the technology in the overall sales engagement category.

"To be honest, the biggest competition we face even today is 'build vs buy'. Companies tend to view the problem statement only from the lens of making the data available to a desk-less worker, but it's much more than that. The platform needs to help with planning by making it as data driven as possible; convert them into daily actionable playbooks; automatically capture high quality contextual data; drive best practices at scale via contextual nudges; enable managers to coach their teams; and do all of this while providing the best possible user experience and ideally in a unified journey to reduce the context switch between applications and interfaces."

Vymo offers deep vertical solutions in the BFSI segment, claiming to understand the industry better than any other horizontal platform. The startup states that its daily adoption rate is over 75 per cent and that in some mature deployments, it even goes up to 90-95 per cent. "If an average sales person requires about ten apps daily to perform various business functions, it is imperative to stitch the user journeys together across different apps and provide a seamless end user experience. We call this a 'single pane of glass', and Vymo is the only company innovating in this space working directly with our customers," insists Malladi.

Vymo raised Series C funding in February this year and has received backing from Bertelsmann India Investments, Emergence and Sequoia. The startup plans to use the recently secured funds towards building a global team and establishing its footprint in the US and Japanese markets. "Our motto has always been to put our heads down and execute. And we will continue to execute our strategy of focusing on new markets, strengthening our presence in India and Asia Pacific, and building our customer base," says Malladi before signing off.

Soumya Duggal

Former Feature Writer

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