Outsell is a sales enablement technology that helps sales reps of manufacturing companies have more meaningful conversations with prospects and customers.
At a glance:
Based out of: Bengaluru
Founded in: 2017
Founder: Raj Dam
Sector: Sales management
If you’ve walked into any car dealership, you would be familiar with the sales representative. It isn’t uncommon for any sales rep worth his salt to rattle off details, including the specs and mileage.
Question a little deeper about the technicalities, and the answers are not that free-flowing. This is primarily because the sales representative doesn’t have much information on the product. This very problem led Raj Dam to start Outsell, which offers a sales enablement technology that helps sales reps of manufacturing companies have more meaningful conversations with prospects and customers.
Functionally, Outsell has a content management system that makes discovery and sharing of sales content easier, and a learning engine where sales reps can be trained on an ongoing basis without time and resources spent on classroom training.
“Emotionally it acts as a ‘buddy coach’ to the sales rep, and gives her the support required to excel in day-to-day sales meetings,” Raj says.
Inspiration in a bakery
The idea of Outsell came to Raj in 2014. While at a bakery in Bengaluru Indiranagar’s BDA complex, he happened to be around a few sales executives working at the dealership of a leading carmaker in India. Coincidentally, Raj wanted to change his car and ended up chatting with the representatives.
While they were able to give information on the car, the only response Raj got when questioned about the suspension was ‘it’s good’. He realised that the sales representative wasn’t able to explain the basic technicalities of the car.
“All he was interested in was making sure of getting my contact details and punching them in his CRM. This got me thinking that although sales has fundamentally changed in the last 20 years, and buyers today have all the information they need (because of the internet), sales training is still like it was in 1995 – classroom-driven, with no reinforcement later. Still like training man hours to be completed as a checklist,” Raj says.
Raj felt technology could play a better role. He says the product manager of a bestselling car has a lot of data on safety, performance, suspension of the car etc, but the sales rep isn’t equipped to talk about it. Conversations and selling would be easier, he felt, if all this information was easily accessible.
Outsell has two functionalities, which the team calls CTC - Content and Coaching powered by Technology.
It has an in-built content management (discovery, access, and share) functionality for the sales force to use in meetings with customers. It also has a learning engine, which can run quick quizzes, offer certifications, reinforce soft skills etc in a structurally gamified manner (the team has a library of game narratives that admin can choose to create any learning journey) apart from standard mechanics like challenges, leaderboard, social contest, badges etc.
Outsell is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and is available on web and mobile devices.
Working around the challenges
Having been in the sales and marketing industry for 16 years before starting QuizWorks eight years back, Raj was a programme manager managing SMB operations at Dell. He roped in Miraj Vora, a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs London; Migom Pegu, a computer science graduate from NIT Silchar who has worked with IT MNCs; and Rwitam Dutta, a chemical engineering graduate from NIT Jalandhar.
Once Raj had the idea, setting up Outsell wasn’t a challenge as he already had a profitable company - QuizWorks - and had investable cash to fund this technology.
However, the challenge for the team came after launching. He explains that they didn’t do enough product-market fit testing before launching. “We went to large enterprises with our product and hit a brick wall,” Raj says.
Although the product was innovative and solved problems of large enterprises, the team wasn’t equipped to withstand the sales cycle ( 9-12 months) and committee-led decision-making that large enterprises have.
“We lost almost a year figuring this out and, in hindsight, would have taken a completely different approach if we were wiser,” Raj says. However, he claims Outsell turned profitable in 18 months of launch. They charge around Rs 8 lakh to Rs 12 lakh annually, to a customer for about 100-150 users for a Outsell deployment. For services it depends on scope of work and can vary between Rs 5 lakh to Rs 20 lakh.
The team claims to have a revenue growth of a compounded annual growth rate of 60 percent for three years. They ave around 40+ active clients ( around 15 on product alone, 25+ on services). "Some of our current customers include IBM, Net App, Nvidia, 3M, Times of India, Bio Rad Labs, J Mitra, Span Healthcare etc," says Raj.
Raj adds they focused on solving the sales enablement problems of SMB companies in the manufacturing area. “This proved useful and we quickly on-boarded clients who have stayed with us over the years,” he says.
The market and future
According to Research Nest, the global sales enablement market size is likely to touch $5 billion by 2020, from $700 million in 2017. Some of the major players in the space include SalesLoft, amoCRM, Opphound, Sales Rabbit, Zoho, Freshworks, and several others.
However, Outsell focuses on ensuring that the content the sales representative gets is detailed and straight from the product management teams.
Raj says they are profitable at each unit and - like most SaaS companies - charge “per user per year, and add any service fee if that is relevant (sales content creation, assessments etc)”.
“We started our North American operations in May 2018 from Toronto, Canada, and are looking to impact the SMB manufacturing market on the US East Coast and in Canada,” Raj ends.