SLP Hyderabad – Class 2 – Customer Development


The second session was all about Customer Development and Goto Market Strategies. The CEO for the day, Mr. Naveen along with the Co-CEOs Sri Harsha, Ravi Teja and Shravya has done a commendable job to put together a well planned schedule for the day. We had a great set of experienced and reputed speakers who shared their experiences and helped clear most of the doubts we had. Apart from the speakers we were provided with great insights from SLP alumni Jitin, Dhiraj and Mayura.

Effective Goto Market Strategies are essential to built a good base of customers. Building a product is one aspect of the product cycle whereas targeting the right segment and building an effective base of initial customers is another aspect. The sessions were planned in a way to help the SLP batch to analyse proper strategies to build a customer base and to clarify the hiccups faced by SLP students in building a customer base for their startups.

The day kicked off with a great hour session by Mr. Prashanth Meka, CEO of Akshar Speech Technologies. He helped analyse how to categorise customer base effectively and spot the early adapters who would be willing to use a new product and give important feedback to improve the product further. Later, a few interactive hands-on sessions helped us analyse various potential market segments and rate them on various factors so as to better categorise them.

Few of the SLP students then shared their success stories in building their base of initial customers.

1. Mr. Rohit, Omnipolis, shared his experience in cracking his first deal for his security solution. He shared his knowledge about the lack of quick response from the current Police system and how his platform helps in quick response from the police in case of need.

2. Mr. Sainath, AasaanPay, discussed the efforts he put in to crack clients from various domains. Working on a remote payment system that applies to diverse set of domains he shared the information about how a new strategy has to formed every time he approaches a client in a new domain.

3. Mr. Naveen, Gramener, shared valuable set of information in building his company from the ground up. He discussed about their beliefs from day one and how they made sure to value their product in the right way from their first client by not offering any free services. Their efforts to leverage already known contacts helped them spend the least amount of money to market their product, yet build a good client base. He closed the session by enlightening the importance of building industry contacts by constantly leveraging opportunities such as speaking in conferences.

The next session was essentially a Q&A session where we had Mr. Srikant Karnakota – Microsoft, India Country Head for Server and Cloud Business and Mr. Srinivas Kollipara – COO, IIIT Hyderabad Foundation answering questions asked by SLP students about customer acquisition. Having a batch of entrepreneurs working on products and services in diverse domains we got to hear about problems and solutions in various domains. Very valuable session again.

The day ended with four ideas pitched to Mr. Manoj Murali, COO, Airtel AP. He gave valuable feedback on how to improve the products and extended help to all the four ideas to explore further possibilities of associating with Airtel. The ideas pitched were

1. Merxius – Vaishali

Idea: Build a customise AR solution for Airtel to create a better bond with their customers.

Response – Did any company implement it already? Can we segment the customers and target them with specific ads? Suppose we send an email will the content size add on to the email or in the app?

2. Mauka – Santosh

Idea: End to end recruitment platform. If someone wants to hire from multiple locations Mauka saves time over this process.

Response: Airtel currently recruits YL (young leaders) and students form local MBA colleges as graduate trainees using current advanced recruiting platforms. Does Mauka also provide such advanced and certified testing solutions? Why not extend it into village level to ensure hiring of more loyal employees?

3. Skeap – Meraj

Idea: Talk to anyone on Skype/Gmail/Yahoo using your normal phone and without any internet connection.

Response: Any customers already? Can you send us a business plan and proper proposal with more details? A few technical questions.

4. MYOV (Make Your Own Video) – Pavan

Idea: Create an app that creates a video from the media on the phone. This can be part of the VAS on Airtel.

Response: Actual thing with Airtel is that they do not promote more than 20% of the VAS (value added services) directly. This is a niche service so it generally does not go with the large operators. Building a considerable size of customer base is difficult with such services.

A special thanks to Naveen for handling the event very well. All the talks were quite specific to GTM and Customer Development and provided valuable insights.