SaaS Industry in India: Thriving in a data-driven world

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By Kartik Walia, Head of Operations-India,

For the past few years, India has become the beacon of innovation in the technology sector. The fast-paced digitization in the country and the flourishing start-up landscape are key catalysts for this aggressive digital adoption. The story is true for the SaaS industry as well. According to a report by NASSCOM, India’s SaaS revenue has reached $3.5 billion as of FY2020, with 75% of it coming from global sales. That’s a huge number and only proves that there is a growing appetite for India’s SaaS tools all over the world. While the ecosystem is fast evolving, the current growth is coming in from SaaS solutions like CRM (Customer Relationship Management), ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), Accounting, Project Management, and Email Marketing. Today, I want to deep-dive into CRM – how it has evolved, the opportunities, and of course the potential it holds.

Conversational AI – redefining digital customer engagement

Gone are the days when as a customer you would wait for hours or days for a representative to respond. Early chatbots responded with scripted answers to scripted questions, no matter what your concern was! AI capabilities were very limited. What was not limited was the amount of customer data businesses were sitting on. Conversational AI as a SaaS offering is a shining beacon of the advances in automation, AI, Natural Language Processing (NLP), and Machine Learning (ML). It creates natural, purposeful conversations that mirror human-to-human interactions across sales, lead generation, feedback, consulting, and other customer service communications based on rich data sets. Today, as a SaaS tool, a Conversational AI platform can empower businesses to build and manage agents themselves with zero-code, drag-drop interfaces.

Customer Acquisition: The Art of Nurturing

With cut-throat competition and overdose of content and social media platforms, a business is challenged with building strong brand recall. Customers are looking for instant gratification whether it’s grievance redressal or personalized recommendations. To meet the dynamic needs of customers, and in hindsight not lose the lead to a more agile brand platform, the customer care process needs to be taken seriously. With Conversational AI you are able to automate this journey and literally be at the customer’s beck and call with full-automation and escalation to human agents when needed. The faster the response the faster you can move a lead across the acquisition funnel. It’s the act of nurturing that can make or break an opportunity.

With advanced NLP, these conversations are far beyond being robotic or unnatural. For instance, in the US Presidential Election campaign to garner voter engagement, we saw millions of voters across a broad spectrum of political ideology, issues, and concerns. Our Conversational AI system was successful in engaging a very high percentage of voters in multiple conversations, garnering valuable information that enabled the campaign to personalize each conversation and gain deep insights into voter sentiment and intent, which in turn enabled the campaign to optimize their message of persuasion.

Customer Journey: A data-friendly approach

Post a successful product discovery experience and onboarding, the journey to being relevant begins. The key lies in offering an Omnichannel experience. No matter where and when customers are interacting with you, create an integrated experience so that customers are encouraged to engage at any time on any device. With Conversational AI you are also empowered with data and automated insights right from the lead generation phase enabling you to build a more personalized customer journey in real-time. Furthermore, sentiment analysis helps you to deep-dive into emotions and interactions across platforms to understand the evolving needs of the customer. This gives you an opportunity to add more relevance to your conversations, reducing churn. Along with offering low integration costs and a great return on investment, Conversational AI also empowers you with insights that enable the determination of cost-efficient manners to serve each new customer.

Return on ad spend (ROAS): It’s all about tangible results

Brands across the world are enjoying great returns on investment with Conversational AI. It is evident by now that traditional, standard, or channel-based advertising is no longer effective. With predictive analytics, you can create intent-based ads across platforms and witness increased sales and conversions, ultimately boosting your ROAS. This is one of the most important digital marketing metrics to quantify the impact of marketing/advertising strategy.

Customer Lifetime Value

Ultimately, with AI-powered conversations, you are building an opportunity to increase customer lifetime value (CLV). As I mentioned before, brands are sitting on valuable data that is just waiting to be harnessed. A data-driven approach will reveal insights valuable to both sales/marketing and support teams. Instead of working in silos influencing singular touchpoints across sales and online conversions, both teams need to be able to work together to increase the CLV by identifying a priority tier of customers. This is based on data such as purchase history, engagement, interactions, customer support inquiries, and more. AI enables you to swiftly move through heaps of data and build a hyper-targeted approach to convert leads, drive additional sales and generate natural conversations and engagement to build and reward loyalty, and create advocates.

Opportunities Ahead

With the growing popularity and high ROI of SaaS, companies are now rethinking infrastructure, expenses and redirecting investments. From a customer engagement standpoint, Conversational AI will continue to gain prominence with companies realizing the power of data-driven insights and automated action. Metrics like CLV will soon become the industry norm to analyze and build personalized, 1:1 interactions that will have a transformational impact on a company’s economic engine.

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