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Meet Sreedhar Ambati – Empowering growing businesses affordably

Today we have selected Sreedhar Ambati to take his interviewHe is the Founder & CEO – EngageBay Inc.

First of all, how are you and your team doing in these COVID-19 times?

These are unprecedented and challenging times for me and the EngageBay team. While we miss working at the office for over a year now, each member of the team is remotely contributing to the daily activities with 100% commitment. We ensure that each member of the organization is fully taken care of during these trying times and that everything runs smoothly and productively.

Tell us about you, your career, how you founded or joined this company?

I have been a serial entrepreneur and have been associated with funding and launching startups for over a decade now. I also began angel investing in 2017 and joined a small network of other startup founders based out of Hyderabad, India. We identify good startups and provide the much-required angel funding, mentorship and assistance to budding entrepreneurs locally.

In my interactions with the startup founders, I saw a big need for an affordable integrated All-in-One tool – a single tool that streamlines all the marketing, sales, and support processes and still is affordable for any small business owner.

Since there was nothing in the market that fitted the bill, we decided to build our own platform, EngageBay, and price it at less than $1 a day which makes it super affordable for businesses of any kind.

We launched EngageBay on Product Hunt in 2017 and have grown to power over 29,500 businesses all over the world.

How does your company innovate?

Innovation has been a central part of EngageBay’s offerings. We were one of the early companies to believe in bringing the marketing, sales, and support teams onto the same platform so every team member gets a 360-degree view of the customer. This is going to truly improve the efficiency across the organization.

The result is that EngageBay’s all-in-one marketing, sales, and service CRM platform now helps startups and growing businesses to market better, sell faster, and support smarter.

How the Coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected every individual and every business. It came as a rude shock to the whole world and displaced a lot of things including how we worked and lived.

Our business operations also got affected and we had to switch to 100% remote working. We struggled initially but thanks to our team members, we pulled through these challenging times and started growing business.

While the ill effects on most businesses have been horrific, the silver lining in all this is that the businesses have been pushed to adopt technologies faster to streamline every aspect of their business to stay alive and adapt to the new reality.

Since EngageBay was in the business of helping companies acquire, engage, sell and support customers online, we got a chance to help thousands of businesses to transition smoothly into this new reality in an affordable way, without burning a hole in the pockets of the business owners who were already in a financial mess because of the pandemic.

Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?

Our target market for EngageBay is startups and small businesses. When the pandemic stuck, some of our customers who were on tight budgets really felt the financial pinch and the number of cancellations increased.

At that time, though it was a financial burden for us too, we went ahead and supported some of these customers by waiving the subscription charges for 6-9 months until they recovered. Luckily, most of the businesses recovered and they continued to remain our customers. This whole process was a lot of learning for us at many levels.

What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?

We use our own software EngageBay to run our daily marketing, sales, and support operations 🙂

Asana for project management
Skype and Slack for communication
Hivedesk for remote employee monitoring
SEMRush, Ahrefs, and Surfer SEO for SEO and content optimization
Profitwell for metrics
Hotjar for visitor recordings, heatmaps, etc

Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?

Our direct competitors are HubSpot, Freshworks, Zoho, ActiveCampaign, Insightly, among others. Our advantage is that we are among the most affordable solutions in the market and are more focused on small and medium-sized businesses. Most of our competitors are more focused on larger businesses.

We are continually adding newer features and more integrations to improve our platform. We have both free and freemium plans and make it easy for even the smallest businesses to use our platform to take their productivity to the next level.

When the pandemic hit, churn increased. A lot of small businesses were looking to save every penny. We reached out to such customers and offered them to pause the bill for 6-9 months. We were able to control a lot of churns.

Your Final Thoughts

Even though Corona has changed the very nature of the global economy and how we do business, I believe it’s time to embrace technology to stay in the game and sustain our businesses. Only with the help of technology can we survive this post-pandemic landscape and move forward.

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