This AI-based personal assistant is all set to make sales teams more efficient
Eight years ago, Nizamudheen Valliyattu, then a twenty-one-year-old student of C Abdul Hakeem College of Engineeringin Vellore, was clearthat he wanted to start his own venture after he graduated. He co-founded a social media company called Social Tiger in 2014, which is still around.
But Nizamudheen wanted to do more, so he worked for a couple of startups between 2011 and 2016. It was during these stints that he realised that sales was one of the most difficult functions for a company to track. He also felt there was not enough interaction between sales teams within companies because of busy schedules, meetings, and the responsibility of managing multiple tasks. Since these teams were rarely in one place, their ideas were rarely captured effectively, and sales productivity was seldom optimised to meet targets.
“I love tracking sales and am motivated to explore what a salesman goes through,” says Nizamudheen.
Vidhya and Nizamudheen
It was a business opportunity that Nizamudheen believed was worth going after. In 2016, he set up Toolyt, an enterprise SaaS application based out of Bengaluru. The platform, which is an intelligent (AI-based) personal assistant for field teams (sales team/relationship managers), helps companies increase their productivity 10x by automating their daily operations such as meetings, jobs, and tasks with intelligent workflows, he adds.
Some of its prominent clients today include Vivo, GE Healthcare, Eastern and Qikpod. Barely three years old, Nizamudheen is confident of closing 2019 with close to $500,000 in revenue.
While Freshsales and Zoho are CRMs focusing on customer pipeline and revenue, Toolyt helps to focus on the ‘team’ and accelerate the frontline with the help of 300+ performance KPIs. It also helps to reduce internal dependencies with the help is intelligent workflows.
“Toolyt works on top of CRMs such as Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, etc. for existing clients,” explains Nizamudheen.
The product and business model
Nizamudheen says that while large enterprises use a number of internal tools such as CRM, ERP, billing, and transaction apps, the data generated from these stores, especially customer information, is not available to the sales teams.
“They are dependent on their managers to access the data to even plan meetings with a customer,” he says.
The Toolyt app and web platform automates these sales process - from capturing leads to closing deals and managing meetings - the data gets captured on a real-time basis. According to a recent Harvard Business Review (HBR) report, people in sales spend only 15-25 percent of their effective time with their customers, and rest of their time gets wasted in reporting or paperwork.
As an intelligent personal assistant for field officers, Toolyt connects the field team with internally available data and delivers actionable recommendations, which are contextual or data-driven. An enterprise can use its app or integrate its SDK with any home-grown system.
Nizamudheen adds that the company is focused on building a solution for ‘adoption’ and wants to ensure the enterprises adopt its technology.
“Even if you build a solution with world’s best technology, it is hard to get the enterprise team to use the software. Our value proposition is like a ‘Personal Assistant’, which performs multiple tasks such as reminders, planning, triggers and report generation on behalf of the sales team. As it helps in saving time, today we see ninety percent adoption and very less churn,” he says.
“We also give contextual recommendations based on the team’s activities and help managers to monitor red hours and extend support when required,” he explains.
The company charges its clients $10 per user per month for a few basic features and $25 to use other features such as task management, data collection/survey, performance tracking, visits management, and sales force automation.
The team and challenges
Nizamudheen says his first client came on board in December 2016. “We actually built Toolyt as an internal tool for monitoring sales teams. It all started when we were talking to the head of one of the largest spice companies at an event, and he said that he was looking for a similar solution. He eventually became our first customer,” he recalls.
The company’s first employee, Vidhya Mattummel, whom he brought on board when he set up the app development services company, currently runs the company’s tech team. Today, Toolyt has nearly 30 employees.
But, things were not always easy.
“Clients would ask them if we had corporate customers, and that became a difficulty in the early days. We had to work a lot to convince the customer to get a proof of concept and to run the trial well,” recounts Nizamudheen.
As data security was a concern, it was also a challenge for Toolyt to convince enterprises to host their data on Toolyt's servers. Other challenges the company faced included identifying and reaching the right point of contact in closing B2B sales. In India, sales cycles are long and approval dependencies from internal teams in an enterprise is time consuming.
“To get paid high from customers in India compared to the US and other countries was another challenge,” he says.
The market and future
According to Allied Market Research, the global sales force automation software market was valued at $3,872 million in 2016, and is estimated to reach $7,773 million by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 10.6 percent from 2017 to 2023.
The global sales force automation software market is also expected to witness a significant growth due to the rise in demand for streamlining sales process and effective utilisation of workforce across the developed and developing regions, including North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
To tap this huge market, Toolyt has also raised a small round from Axilor. V Ganapathy, CEO of Axilor, says:
“Several SMEs in the country and around the world do not have access to enterprise grade sales force productivity tools. Toolyt solves this need.”
At present, Toolyt has has 40+ customers, which includes clients from diversified industries -from banking and telecom to pharmaceuticals and FMCG. Over the next year, the company says it aims to double its revenues and its clientele.