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We’re seeing a lot of engagement with HR departments for cloud based survey tools, Hamid Farooqui, SoGoSurvey

Over half a million surveys have been done using the SaaS based SoGoSurvey platform. Adopting a bootstrap model, the company doubled their revenue in 2018. Hamid Farooqui, Cofounder and CEO, SoGoSurvey speaks with Express Computer.

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Over half a million surveys have been done using the SaaS based SoGoSurvey platform. Adopting a bootstrap model, the company doubled their revenue in 2018. Hamid Farooqui, Cofounder and CEO, SoGoSurvey speaks with Express Computer.

When you launched SoGoSurvey, what gaps did you see in the survey industry?

When we launched, there were a lot of players in the survey industry, both big and small, but none of them were really focused on making a powerful tool with advanced features and a userfriendly UI available at a price point that suited small, medium, and enterprise businesses. We also saw that many users were concerned about security, and there’s nothing more important when you’re collecting data. As a result, we built with a focus on security from the very beginning, and we’ve designed a platform that can compete on both power and value.

Why would an enterprise purchase a SoGoSurvey account when there are so many free survey tools available online?

The reality is, people are choosing to buy from us every day. Of course, we do offer our own free version, because we know that some researchers have the need but not the budget. Plus, we offer free or discounted accounts to nonprofits, students, and academic institutions that meet the prerequisites. We have a range of packages, based on a user’s needs, but our enterprise users really want more. We’re able to offer personalized onboarding, customized support around the clock through multiple channels. These kinds of offerings require an investment, and our enterprise clients recognize the value they’re getting.

Who are your sales and marketing partners?

Sales is in-house. We have a large, highly trained sales team. They know our platform inside and out. We’re working with a freemium model, which allows prospects to sign up for a free plan, then upgrade to a paid package once they’ve finished their testing. Some of our larger clients don’t necessarily have the time to walk through everything themselves, and so we cater to their needs with customized demos, helping them to craft tailored solutions.

On the marketing side, of course we pay close attention to SEO. In SaaS, organic traffic to our website is an important driver of leads and sales, so that’s a high priority. We also invest in Google AdWords and social media ads to connect with the right audiences, and we pay a lot of attention to a number of neutral blogs and review sites to make sure we’re competing well. We’re number one on Wordstream, number three on PCMag, and we have high ratings on Capterra and similar platforms.

What’s your business model?

The freemium model caters to the individual users who are looking for something to help them complete a school project or one-off survey. For small and mid-sized businesses, we have entry-level packages that are pretty robust, and it’s possible to test them with a free trial right from our website. Those at the enterprise level, because they need advanced functionality or top-tier security and availability, are signing up for demos or reaching out directly to our sales team.

Our whole business is SaaS-based. Clients can access our platform from anywhere, and they’re launching surveys their audiences can participate in from any device. These are customized projects, with full branding and control, and they’re launched through just about any channel, with all of the data coming back directly to our powerful reporting suite. Our clients have direct access to their results at any time and can run their own analysis, export reports and data, and start to take action right away on what they’ve learned.

Describe the online survey software market in India and your targets in capturing this market.

India has seen immense development and the Indian market is rapidly evolving. Many Indian companies are doing business at a global level and coming out as strong competitors to western companies, but there are also plenty of companies that are still at the aspirational level. Companies in every industry understand that data is critical, including feedback on what the target market wants, how to satisfy and retain good employees, and what keeps current customers loyal. Indian companies have become really modern in their survey and data collection strategies, and they’ve seen that this kind of research is easier and better than ever in online, cloud-based tools. We’re seeing a lot of traction in India, and we’re capturing the market through Google Ads, through social media, and even just through our website.

Which industries are you targeting? What businesses are most likely to buy from you?

Currently, our targeting is more horizontal than vertical. We’re seeing a lot of engagement with Human Resources departments that are trying to understand and build employee engagement, and from customer success teams that want to improve customer experience. In western countries, we’re involved with banks and other financial institutions, as well as hospitals and doctors for patient satisfaction surveys. We’re working with all kinds of industries, including K12 and higher education, real estate and government, faith-based organizations and legal teams. The businesses that partner with us at the enterprise level are those that truly see the value in understanding both the big picture and the finer details because they need to make the best possible decisions based on their goals and available resources. Whether they’re looking at employees or customers, they’re often mapping a journey and trying to improve every element of the experience. These are the partners who get it, and who are ready to use their data to make a difference.

How have you performed financially in 2018 ?

2018 gave us good numbers, and because our business model is growth, we’re pumping all of the money we make right back into growing the business. Our revenue basically doubled in 2018, and it’s going to triple in 2019. We’re going to continue to grow in size, because we’re focused on the global market, not just India. While our greatest number of clients are in the US, we’re growing rapidly around the world, so reinvesting in the business is the best decision we can make.

How significant are the opportunities offered by political parties and agencies with regard to polling?

There’s an enormous opportunity in helping political parties to win elections. Smart data collection enables you to know what the most important issues are going to be for a certain constituency, or who’s going to win a particular race. If a company’s able to do those things, it’s a big deal, and so many companies in India are focusing on exactly this challenge right now. The problem lies in the fact that a majority of these players in India are not good at this business, which means a lot of chaos when they don’t get it right. As a company, we try to stay away from political surveys, because that’s not our area of focus.

High survey response rates can be a major challenge. How does your platform support participant engagement and completion?

High response rates is a product of two things: strong communication and attention to engagement. Communication needs to start offline, within an organization, and we advise our clients on many of these best practices. Within an invitation and even the survey itself, expectations need to be clear: Why should people participate? How will the data be used? When is the deadline? Beyond beautiful surveys and customized invitations, we can send intelligent reminders to nudge only those who haven’t responded. We can share dynamic reports with department heads to track response rates by departments, for example. Again, the organization needs to be actively committed to the project’s success, rather than just sitting back and hoping for the best.

To boost engagement, we narrow down to the key questions to deliver a shorter survey. We’ve built in a smart AI feature that lets you know how long it will take for participants to complete your survey. Additionally, if you already know details about participants, like demographics, pre-fill those answers to save them time. Then, choose from multiple single-condition and multi-condition logic options to ensure participants only see relevant questions. If participants are concerned about confidentiality, set a survey as anonymous so even administrators won’t know who said what. With the wide variety of interactive question types and professional design options, we’ve given users all the tools they need to boost response rates.

Which emerging technologies do you plan to integrate in the future?

Right now, we’re integrated with Zapier, which means we’re integrated with over a thousand apps. Especially for our clients who don’t have in-house development teams, this means it’s easy for SoGoSurvey to connect to the rest of the tools they’re using in order to automate their processes. From Asana to Zendesk, Zapier brings SoGoSurvey just a few clicks away from the world’s most popular apps, including Salesforce, Gmail, Slack, and Trello.

How are you funded?

Thus far, we haven’t taken any outside funding. We are owned by a group with deep pockets. We’ve really been fueling our own success by reinvesting our revenue in our own growth. Keeping in mind that one of our competitors was recently acquired for 8 billion dollars, we may look at outside funding options in the next 1-2 years to help ramp up our growth.

If you have an interesting article / experience / case study to share, please get in touch with us at [email protected]


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