167th 1M/1M Roundtable For Entrepreneurs: Positioning And Focus Create Fast Sales Cycles

by Sramana Mitra on Friday 29 March 2013, 7:25 PM | Category: Entrepreneurship| View: 1878 views

Today's roundtable had some very interesting businesses, each of which has a high potential for success.

First up, Ranjit Nambiar, from Bangalore, India, pitched Sapience (a 1M/1M premium company). We worked on Sapience's positioning and go-to-market strategy, primarily. Sapience has 50+ customers, mostly in the Indian outsourcing industry, helping them monitor the productive working hours of the workforce. The solution is a self-monitoring solution that employees use themselves, and managers get to see opportunities for productivity optimization. Sapience is delivering 20-30% increase in productivity in large organizations.


Obviously, in certain segments (IT/ITES, in particular, but KPO, BPO, captive off-shore units of MNCs), the solution has clear appeal and proven success. In my view, one of the mistakes Sapience is making is to not fully leverage this position of success in its core segment, and trying to go to segments and markets where the value proposition and positioning doesn't have any proven adoption yet.


For all of you struggling with scaling issues, remember, the trick is to find a segment that has clear, perceived pain, and to which you have a proven solution. After that, it is a matter of creating a repeatable marketing and sales process and selling the hell out of your product.


Now is not the time for testing additional segments. Now is the time to sell.



Then, Manoj Kumar from Gurgaon, India, pitched Knowlarity, a Sequoia-funded cloud-based PBX solution that is already doing about $2M in revenue. 75% of the business is Indian SMEs, and about 25% Indian enterprises like Pepsi. Manoj wanted to know how to expand to other geographies.


This particular business generates 60% of its leads through Google AdWords searches. To close, they use telesales. My advice was to check the competitive dynamics of the relevant keywords in various markets they are considering, and the costs associated with each. That should provide a good prioritization of where there is under-served market demand. Most likely, the US will not be the right market to get into. Competition in this segment is extremely high.



Next, Nilson Filatieri da Silva from Curitiba, Brazil pitched eadBox, a learning management solution that includes the ability to sell courses online. The product is geared towards education vendors, of which Brazil apparently has over 100,000. Over 300 local searches a month on Google drive a steady set of leads, and Nilson currently has 15 paying customers, 92 trials, and a clear roadmap of how to dominate the Brazilian online education market.


Focus is key. No need to look at any other market for the moment.



Last up, Gregg Anderson, from San Diego, California, pitched Jobioz, a solution that helps streamline the college recruitment process for enterprises and SMEs. Gregg wants to offer a vertical search engine focused on screening college students, manage all the career development office relationships at various colleges and universities, and make it dramatically simpler for HR organizations to manage campus recruitment.


You can listen to the recording of today's roundtable here.


All four are promising businesses, and as you will see in the recording, most of the discussion, in each case, was around positioning and go-to-market strategy.

As always, I would very much like to hear about your business, so let me invite you to come and pitch at one of our free 1M/1M public roundtables. We will be holding future roundtables at 8 a.m. PST on:

Thursday, April 4, 168th 1M/1M Roundtable, Register Here.

Thursday, April 11, 169th 1M/1M Roundtable, Register Here.

Thursday, April 18, 170th 1M/1M Roundtable, Register Here.

Thursday, April 25, 171st 1M/1M Roundtable, Register Here.

If you want a deeper relationship with me, you are very welcome to join the 1M/1M premium program. If you have any questions about the program, please, first study the website, especially What to expect from the 1M/1M premium program and the FAQs. If you have additional questions, please email me, and I would be very happy to respond. Please note that I work exclusively with 1M/1M entrepreneurs.

I also invite you to join the 1M/1M mailing list for the ease and convenience of getting updates. This way we can stay in touch, and it will help you to decide if 1M/1M is a program for you.


Sramana Mitra is the founder of the One Million by One Million (1M/1M) initiative, a virtual incubation program that aims to help one million entrepreneurs globally to reach $1 million in revenue and beyond. She is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and strategy consultant, she writes the blog Sramana Mitra On Strategy, and is author of the Entrepreneur Journeys book series and Vision India 2020. From 2008 to 2010, Mitra was a columnist for Forbes. As an entrepreneur CEO, she ran three companies: DAIS, Intarka, and Uuma. Sramana has a master's degree in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


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