Sales and marketing is a fast-evolving discipline. With customer expectations rapidly changing and posing new challenges to many businesses, automation is an incredibly powerful way to engage customers. But the technique has a reputation of being expensive, clunky and challenging to execute. In B2C marketing especially, customer data can be more than a little overwhelming, with so much of it constantly accumulating, and spread out across multiple platforms and channels. But instead of ignoring the problem or pushing it aside, you have to confront it head-on with the right sales execution and marketing platform. Thankfully, enterprise-SaaS companies like LeadSquared are available to help deliver an experience that will lead to better customer engagement.
Bengaluru-based LeadSquared is a marketing automation and sales execution platform that helps businesses increase their closures, manage their pipelines, and attribute their ROI accurately and completely - to people, marketing activities, lead sources, products, and locations. Their solutions are used by new-age businesses and traditional enterprises with high-volume sales, aiming at digital transformation.
Learning and building for the B2C space
LeadSquared’s founding story goes back to the summer of 2012. Prior to writing the first line of code, the founding team comprising of Nilesh Patel, Prashant Singh and Sudhakar Gorti worked with several B2B and B2C businesses to build their marketing and sales strategy. They learned that software systems for sales and marketing should capture lead data automatically across all channels. For marketing success, engagement with leads and customers should be automated, timely, relevant and measurable. They also understood that web intelligence and tracking of leads was important for businesses that market and sell online. Also, sales and marketing should have a common view of lead data and activity history of every lead. And finally, to accelerate sales, systems should make it easy for salespeople to find sales-ready leads.
Based on these learnings, they built a cross-functional solution, which could be used as the primary front-end system by all sales-centric teams including marketing, call centre, and inside sales.
Uniquely positioned to solve challenges in the B2C space
In the B2C arena, the most important challenge LeadSquared is solving is data management. Customers want all their data organised in a sane, clean, and a logically segmented form (in most cases, multi-layered segmentation). “We have always considered data important, so our data management tools are pretty strong – in terms of the ease of adding and managing data (including automated lead capture channels), maintaining data sanity (with strong deduplication tools), constant data enrichment (with tracking of the prospect activity and communication across all possible channels) and data segmentation, and reporting (making sense of the data). We’ll continue to refine our data management tools as new channels and possible manual errors come to light,” says Nilesh Patel, Co-founder and CEO.
LeadSquared also focuses on omni-channel customer engagement and seamless customer experience across all possible channels.
Another challenge they focus on is correct lead source attribution. “Marketing automation and sales requires multiple touch points. It’s rarely as simple as the prospect coming through one channel, engaging and then converting. There’s also the complexity of the same lead being generated through different channels or through different partners. Therefore, having proper lead source attribution and allowing the automation customers to define their own lead source attribution models is important,” says Nilesh. LeadSquared can track every single interaction that a prospect or customer has with the business and can identify the entry and conversion channels as well.
AWS brings in seamless deployment
LeadSquared has built their solution on AWS from the ground up in 2012. “AWS was a clear leader at that time too, and we were very clear of going with the #1 SaaS provider. We never had to regret the decision ever since,” says Nilesh. The deployment with AWS was seamless, given the APIs, Cloud formation and clean integration between relevant services within AWS.
Their entire SaaS platform runs on AWS. They use EC2, RDS, Elasticsearch, SQS, S3, Cloudfront, API Gateway, Lambda, Elasticache across Mumbai, Singapore and North Virginia. They are able to auto-scale all the important services based on user load, which gives them a huge cost advantage.
Continuous innovation with AWS
The biggest support for them was in terms of rapid innovation. “All the major services have continuously improved helping us to scale while keeping the costs in check,” Nilesh says.
Aurora MySQL has been one of the most powerful innovations that has benefitted them. With the kind of workload, multi-tenancy and concurrent usage, they were struggling with native MySQL in terms of performance, replica lag and recovery time in case of crashes. Aurora MySQL has not only addressed all these challenges, but also brought in some amazing innovations such as auto-scale of readers and database clones, which has helped them scale and solve unique customer use cases.
A few years ago, they decided to build a simple developer platform without their SaaS application to help developers extend LeadSquared and integrate with third-party APIs quickly. It took them less than three months to build the entire platform on top of API Gateway, Lambda and DynamoDB. Today, that platform is used by hundreds of developers and allows over 50 million executions a month.
Scaling quickly with no interruptions
By building on AWS, LeadSquared never had to worry about infrastructure and IT, and could focus 100 percent on the software and features for their customers and users.
Scaling with AWS has been all about efficiency and very little maintenance. They have been able to deploy, scale and operate seamlessly without any major disruptions. “We could not have scaled without AWS. There is no way we could have run hundreds of servers, over 100 database servers and billions of transactions without having to worry about infrastructure and a very thin DevOps team,” says Nilesh.
The road ahead for LeadSquared and AWS
LeadSquared is headquartered in Bengaluru, India but has offices across India, UAE and USA. The company is growing at ten percent every month and being used by over 1000 customers across the globe, with approximately 250 employees. Looking forward to plans with AWS in the future, the founder says that serverless tech stack has been the most relevant innovation in recent times for them. “Our goal is to leverage serverless tools as much as possible in the future to build applications,” he concludes.