A large percentage of small businesses today either feel underserved or exploited by large marketing technology companies. Every feature or capability they need for their marketing needs comes at a price that is not within their reach. That is where companies like EngageBay step in.
EngageBay is making marketing automation a reality for several small businesses worldwide. The marketing technology company that started in 2017 provides CRM, Marketing, and Sales capabilities to small and medium-sized businesses at the most affordable rates. With over 28,000 customers, EngageBay is making marketing technology accessible to many for the first time. Earlier this week, I caught up with Radhika Mohan Singh Roy, Head of Marketing at EngageBay, to understand how the company has evolved over the last few years and how he sees the martech space evolving. Without further ado, here is the interview with Roy.
1. How did EngageBay come into existence?
In the last few years, the martech ecosystem was replete with point solutions, many of which were expensive, clunky, and offered solutions for specific pain points.
It was observed that even small firms of up to 50 employees used over a dozen SaaS solutions, on average.
For most businesses, a standalone point solution was not sufficient to address the needs of every business process.
This meant that a business needed to buy multiple software to run itself. Also, most of these software were incapable of communicating seamlessly with other software.
While enterprise businesses could afford several such solutions, the smaller businesses were facing the brunt of buying, integrating, and maintaining multiple solutions.
It was then that we realized that there was a big need for an affordable, integrated All-in-One software for growing companies – a single tool that streamlines all the marketing, sales, and support processes and is still affordable for any small business owner.
Since there was nothing in the market that fitted the bill, we decided to build our own platform, EngageBay, and price it at less than $1 a day, making it super affordable for businesses of any kind.
We launched EngageBay on Product Hunt in 2017 and have grown to power over 29,500 businesses all over the world as of today.
EngageBay empowers startups and growing businesses to do all their online marketing, sales, and support from a single piece of tightly integrated software.
It eliminates the need for multiple disparate tools, integrations, expensive installations, and on-site maintenance.
2. What are some of the challenges Engagebay faced as an organization, and how did you overcome them?
The top challenges that we faced initially were:
- To iterate the product faster
- To measure metrics carefully – because we believe that you can grow only what you measure
- To figure out growth channels carefully by experimenting.
The development time for perfecting the MVP was slow in the beginning.
Our initial reliance on part-time employees was staggering, but we soon realised that we required a fully dedicated in-house team for greater efficiency to create a successful startup.
Our milestones were getting delayed, and other plans were falling off because of our heavy dependency on part-time employees.
We realized at an early stage that we needed a team of committed people who could spend all their time developing, marketing, and selling this product. Nothing short of it was acceptable if we were going to scale to become a successful startup.
Once the whole team joined us full-time, things progressed at a decent pace. With concerted efforts and a lot of continuous and consistent brainstorming, we moved a lot faster and began to see the growth that came with it.
Measuring milestones and OKRs was initially challenging due to a lack of cohesiveness and disparate data groups. Additionally, we could have given more importance to metrics such as our website’s traffic sources, bounce rates, etc.
Moreover, we were in an experimental phase initially, and there was a lot of trial and error while figuring out the optimum growth channels.
3. How do you see the marketing technology space evolving? From an Indian perspective, do you believe India has matured as a market for marketing technology adoption?
Marketing is shaping up into multiple contexts. Social is getting popular and powerful, and new ones are growing and coming up (Tiktok, Insta). Influencers are becoming more powerful (YouTube, Insta, etc.). Additionally, the omnichannel marketing experience is gradually getting more pervasive across the board.
The scope of marketing is increasing continuously. In fact, it may be safe to say that marketing is the new sales. Great marketing pulls customers a brand’s way. Brands need to deliver a great customer experience today.
With that being said, the future of marketing technology is surely poised for exciting times. Marketers across the world are increasingly embracing new technologies to innovate in their fields.
Moreover, the pandemic has necessitated an unprecedented push for all industries to adopt digital acceleration processes and marketers have no option but to adopt the newer technologies to meet the demands in a post-pandemic world.
Sophisticated content experiences powered by GPT-3 and AI, innovative engagement strategies, an understanding of augmented and virtual reality, and an understanding of programmatic ads will serve marketers better in their efforts to expose their brands like never before.
Remote working models across businesses due to the pandemic have become the new normal. This will slowly and gradually encourage distributed marketing.
Cloud technologies such as collaboration tools, marketing automation, and sales automation will increasingly begin to take centre stage.
Virtual events will be the new networking ground for marketing professionals across the globe. Digital spaces may completely replace traditional marketing events, expos, and seminars.
We will also likely see a huge number of innovative MarTech solutions being offered to meet the continuous challenges of the coming days.
In India specifically, marketing is exploding, thanks to the mobile revolution and the huge young population we have that is quickly adapting to technology. Brands are investing in martech to provide omnichannel customer experience (mobile push, SMS, email etc.). Ecommerce growth will only fuel it further.
It is only a matter of time that MarTech companies such as EngageBay disrupt the status quo and ensure India’s dominance in the MarTech landscape.
4. Is Engagebay’s business product-led? What growth strategies have you deployed to generate business for Engagebay?
EngageBay’s is both product-led as well as marketing-intensive. Our continuous development of the product is directly proportional to our extensive marketing and branding outreach activities.
We rely heavily on content marketing, organic ranking strategies, and branding. We also work closely with noteworthy influencers across the MarTech domain to further our brand.
Moreover, thanks to our award-winning support team, we are growing in the accounts where we started (land and expand).
We also have a number of affiliate partners due to our rewarding affiliate program at EngageBay.
Additionally, the superior quality of our product ensures that we receive a steady stream of unbiased reviews across the largest review platforms such as G2 and Capterra.
All of the above, backed by a strong social media and community presence, helps us to win the trust of existing and potential customers, thereby enabling growth.
5. How do you manage churn, and from a marketing perspective, what can businesses do to reduce churn?
Churn is an issue for any provider serving the small business market, as most of these businesses operate on tight budgets.
From our past experience with SaaS companies, we realized churn is the single most worry for any SaaS company selling to small businesses.
At EngageBay, we try to engage with our customers at all times. We seek feedback, ask about their experience with us periodically, and if they decide to leave, we like to speak with them and find out why, rather than send ‘sorry to see you go’ emails.
We identify at-risk customers and contact them to resolve any issues they may be facing. Communicating with our customers is key at EngageBay.
Segmenting customers into ‘high-value or ‘at-risk’ categories helps us incentivize them or address their concerns faster.
In fact, during the pandemic, even though it was a tough time for us as well, we went ahead and supported some of our customers by waiving the subscription charges for 6-9 months until they recovered.
Luckily, most of the businesses recovered, and they continued to remain our customers. This whole process was a lot of learning for us at many levels.
The marketing team defines the buyer persona, which is crucial since cancellations are inevitable if the product is not a good fit.
Marketing as a function is responsible for onboarding, customer feedback, and the quality of customers signing up.
Additionally, we believe in taking feedback periodically, and that helps to reduce churn.
And all this and more would not have been possible, but for the proactivity and professionalism of our customer support team that always goes the extra mile to attentively listen to customer grievances and address them promptly.
I would strongly recommend that any business that is looking to arrest customer churn invest heavily in genuine customer support resources.
6. With Hubspot’s recent integration with PieSync to offer data syncing and automation, how do you see data usage evolving among consumers? Are we likely to see more marketing automation solutions partnering with data providers?
The common buzz nowadays is that data is the new oil. Data is crucial to interpret and draw insights. With relevant data and a 360-degree holistic view of the customer, we are in a position to make better-informed decisions; we can draw powerful insights into customer behavior. The more customer data we have access to, the better customer analysis becomes.
The integration of PieSync with HubSpot enables businesses to better understand and adapt to their customers, no matter where their customer data lives. A Large chunk of customer data available in the MarTech domain is now accessible to HubSpot, especially after acquiring the fastest-growing real-time intelligent customer data synchronization platform, PieSync.
According to HubSpot Chief, Brian Halligan, “The addition of PieSync’s two-way sync technology will amplify that power and enable our customers to get the most value out of the tools they use every day.”
PieSync’s two-way sync technology will amplify that power and enable the users to get the most value out of the tools they use every day.
This means that HubSpot’s customer experiences will now be highly personalized and tailored. The customer will be at the center of operations.
This also means that as an all-in-one platform with access to data from hundreds of different apps, the Hubspot customer will be in greater control.
The HubSpot Operations Hub is a great model for other marketing automation solutions to emulate, and going forward, these B2B players will definitely look to partner with more data providers.
At EngageBay, we are already partnered with some of the largest data providers and integration apps, such as PieSync and Zapier.
7. What qualities do you look for in potent hires, and what advice would you give someone looking to build a career in the martech space?
In my experience, a SaaS marketer wears many hats.
However, having said that, while knowledge and skills are important qualities that we look for in a potential hire, we give preference to a candidate who is willing to learn continuously, has a friendly disposition and a go-getter attitude, and above all, a high level of integrity.
MarTech is a great space to be in now and for the foreseeable future as a career choice. These are very exciting times for the MarTech community, and if you want to make a career in the MarTech domain, I can only congratulate you.
For a career in MarTech, one should always be in the learning mode, keep oneself abreast of the latest developments and technology trends, and not be afraid to reach out and network with like-minded people.
Today, knowledge is freely available on the internet. Follow the top 50 MarTech influencers, and learn from them.
Awareness and good communication skills are key. The work in the MarTech domain is not easy, but if approached, well, it can be extremely rewarding and satisfying.