Customer-centric Approach to Sales and Implementation
Deepak Belavadi Co-Founded SecurAX along with Prasanna Kumar Kotha and Praveen Gongireddy. They were colleagues at Infosys with inherent technology expertise. The idea arose after a casual conversation with friends about opportunities that lay in the electronic security space. The sector was familiar and interesting as they were involved in setting up ODCs for large customers and the requirements were pretty stringent in terms of identity management, authorized access, video surveillance etc. that they were not able to find integrated solutions or even a single vendor providing all of the required services. They also realized that this was a largely untapped and fragmented market with many small companies selling products and not solutions to the customers. Only the biggies such as Honeywell, Siemens provided solutions and the smaller companies were only box sellers. With the industry background and strong know-how of technology, they started SecurAX in Mar-2012. Deepak talks about responding to the customer’s requirement from sales and implementation angle to differentiate and win deals.
SecurAX provides RFID, biometric, surveillance, identity and safety solutions.They started with developing solutions by integrating hardware with in-house built software products and then added subsequent modules to build an integrated security solutions platform. SecurAX also offers SPaaS – cloud-based solution to enable plug-n-play electronic security solutions. This model has helped companies reduce overhead costs, drive in synergies between disparate systems and centralize all their data that can be accessed and updated automatically on a real-time basis.
Deepak talks about one of his first few sales experiences. A large IT services company was short listing a few companies to select their security solution partner. They had valid and probing queries, potential concerns about the breadth of solution & technology capability, services to be offered, scalability and how SecurAX can add value, despite being a start-up. SecurAX demonstrated the value-add in the initial meetings not only through an organized approach and commitment but also through their pro-active suggestions on process and technology. Deepak says that the good part of the decision process was that the client was not fixated on buying only from large vendors but was open to buying products from someone who could solve their problems. The senior person who took up the responsibility of implementing this solution also faced enough resistance within the company as it was a major initiative impacting all employees and infusing discipline at all levels. Hence any small issue during implementation could rapidly escalate and so it was extremely critical to ensure predictive and positive results right from the start.
SecurAX got the pulse of the customer’s problem and was able to provide the solution that not only covered all of the needs, but also provided additional benefits. Deepak said that a couple of things they did, secured the valuable confidence of customers: (i) They were not just responding to the requirements but they were also responding to the customer’s potential problems from a practical angle. By adopting this consulting approach, they were able to gain credibility and began getting referred customers. (ii) They also set up war rooms with the first few customers after the installation where they parked themselves in the clients’ office for a few days and they responded to every query / issue that the end users had in using the product, thereby training the team on product and keeping all stakeholders satisfied. As important as the client was, they also gained valuable inputs to better the product in the process.
On Market Outreach, SecurAX used extensive digital marketing as they had a lean sales team and often the founders had to front the sales themselves. There was very good traction early on, reinforcing their initial belief on the potential market. With increased confidence, proven products and client referrals, they could sign up bigger customers quickly. On the customer side, they primarily focussed on three departments within the client organization – Operations, HR and Admin – as they were the primary consumers of solutions offered by SecurAX.
Deepak’s advice to early stage entrepreneurs – Passion is something that drives sales and marketing in a startup and nothing will work in the absence of passion. One should also have a good customer perspective and identify the benefits that the customer can derive from your solution and not just focus about your product. One has to visualize the customer problem from a 360 degree perspective as that helps you to attack the problem comprehensively so that it benefits the customer and in turn, you as well. Don’t try to re-invent the wheel and give your customers an optimal solution. While it is extremely important to have a customer centric approach, learn to say NO and draw a line because you will not be able to give everything to the client. All of his customers liked SecurAX because they have been forthright and customers knew exactly what they were getting.
Securax today has around 75 employees across India and UAE. They have more than 800 unique customers. They were recognized by HID as the best performing partner in the last quarter and were selected to partner in the business connect of State Govt of Karnataka – KEONICS and TiE – that identifies start-ups to help the government with projects in Biometrics, RFID and Automation. SecurAX has been recognized by Architect Review magazine as one of the 25 most promising Security & Surveillance Products & Services Providers.
SecurAX is bootstrapped and is looking at funding for expansion in India and Middle East. They started operating out of 3 cities in India and 1 in Dubai, and are looking to expand to additional 25 – 30 cities out of India and 8 – 10 cities in Middle East.