Running a B2B SaaS company in the Indian edtech space is an exciting and challenging endeavour. More often than not, I find myself questioning if this market is ready for technology disruption. The answer is - Yes! Educationalists want to bring change to enable young minds to effectively manage their day-to-day operations with ease.
If you are planning to become an edtech entrepreneur, here are five insights and learnings
What we think customers need vs. what customers really need (Due-diligence)
Before starting an edtech business, it’s important to take your time to understand your market and your target audience. Interact with them to know what their problems are and how you can find a solution that makes their work easy and effective. Start by building a prototype or conducting a pilot study that gives you an overview of the market, the depth of the problem and in identifying early adopters.
Painkillers not vitamins
As human beings we rarely think twice before buying a painkiller (must have) when in pain as compared to buying vitamins (nice to have). The same way, educational institutions need products that are painkillers that will help with student coursework and or managing their day-to-day operations effectively. It is important to categorise the product you are selling as must haves or nice to have. A nice to have product’s selling and adoption cycle is usually longer than that of must haves. The goal here is to solve a real problem that the customer will readily pay for.
Customer experience = Success
On a daily basis, educational institutions have multiple companies selling solutions and products to them. As an edtech entrepreneur, be clear about your USPs and differentiators. It’s all about the customer experience. From the first interaction to walking out of the door with or without a deal, it is important to provide the best customer experience by following a few simple practices such as punctuality, being prepared, knowing your customer, quality support and open communication channels. The popular expression ‘customer service is the new marketing’ is definitely true. Word of mouth and referrals are the most powerful selling tools startups can leverage.
Build relationships, not client lists
Let’s think about how we buy products and services - we almost always look for well-known brands or look for products that have great reviews. As startups, no one knows us and no one has heard of us; there will be resistance in early adoption. The way to overcome this is to build credibility and trust with our customers. Good relationships with customers will go a long way in building trust. Running a successful company is more than just offering a great solution. It is about effectively engaging a customer and solving a real problem while gaining credibility in the market.
Madhavi Shankar is the Co-founder and CEO of SpaceBasic, Inc.