Yes, that’s Nektar.ai on Times Square. We are stoked to see that as well ahead of our US launch.
I am an accidental sales guy. While I am currently building a next-gen sales tech startup Nektar.ai, my entry into sales was serendipitous. So, where did it all start?
Well, for starters, I am a Chemical Engineer who, after spending time in renewable energy space in 2010, got intrigued by the fast-moving cloud technology space. I found that the concept of Software as a Service (SaaS) made it incredibly easy for any business to get value from new technology at a fraction of the cost. I believed that SaaS would be a massive opportunity.
I wanted to be a part of this SaaS ecosystem ASAP and joined Capillary Technologies as one of its early employees.
I began my career in SaaS in the customer success function, where I spent a lot of time helping users adopt the product and deliver return on investment to the buyers. I was later encouraged to move into sales to support the founding team distribute the product that saw a solid product-market fit.
Here my background in customer success helped me deliver a lot of value to the sales organisation. I started winning many deals due to my understanding of use cases, customer pain points, and numerous success stories of existing customers that I could contextually share in any sales meeting.
We grew the team fast (5 to 50 people in 18 months). I transitioned from an individual contributor role to a team manager and became part of the company’s board of directors.
Building a scalable and repeatable sales engine now became the highest priority. Unfortunately, that was easier said than done and proved to be super hard as I went through a steep learning curve in that process.
I leaned on to my peers at other SaaS startups to take their help and advice. I realised that almost everyone was having a tough time transitioning from a founder-led sales process to create a predictable & repeatable sales engine.
I tried many tools, processes, methodologies, sales training and enablement programs but struggled to scale and sustain the best practices across the fast-growing sales team.
I always felt a significant gap in getting the correct and complete data from CRM and other tools. This data that gets missing can provide visibility and drive collaboration needed across the GTM team required for timely decision making to win a critical deal, penetrate a strategic account or deploy our sales playbook.
Like other fast-growing sales organisations, we ran into a scenario where we had to let go of salespeople and hire new ones. I always hated firing sales reps and felt that we all in the sales leadership could better enable the salespeople and set them up for success.
Over the last few years, I have been on a mission to drive productivity and started exploring ways to enable more reps to become successful, more first-line managers to be better coaches and more revenue teams to become productive.
What started as a pain point I was personally solving for became the very foundation of Nektar.ai.
For me, the final trigger point was this article that came in Forbes, “57% of AE’s missed their quota last year”, and I realized that there was a global pain point around sales rep productivity.
I started speaking to numerous sales leaders and founders. I realized they all bake in the inefficiency (less than 70% reps meeting quota) and attrition (30-40%+) as they plan their sales capacity to hit their number. The sales plan and the revenue model incorporates bodies and numbers and not people to be successful.
I decided to quit and do something about it and started Nektar.ai in Feb 2020, along with my old friend from IIT Kharagpur, Aravind Ravi Sulekha.
We spent a lot of time doing customer development in our early days to understand how the sales world was changing due to the COVID situation and remote sales setting.
Source: Unusual Ventures
We decided to build an Alpha product and tested it across our early adopters and, after a few iterations, went on to launch a beta version of the product earlier in 2021. We saw a positive response to the beta product and decided to go deeper with it and make our early customers get value from it and become successful. Fast forward 18 months since we started to the present day, we have signed all our design partners into paying customers, have a 350+ waitlist of early access registrations, built a 15 member team, and most importantly, have a delighted early adopter base who signed full-year contracts with us.
And yes, we did raise a $ 6 Mn seed funding round in July 2021, taking the total seed fund we have raised to $8.1 Mn making it one of the biggest for a B2B SaaS startup.
What worked? Simple, Our focus is on our users and their problems.
We realised that the modern GTM organization uses dozens of tools across different revenue functions, generating tons of digital data scattered across various sales and marketing point solutions. On the other hand, salespeople continue to hate CRM and don’t furnish complete and timely data into it.
Net result, a broken collaboration across Go To Market team, gut feel based pipeline management and stale CRM that further sinks the investment made on sales and marketing tools dependent on clean CRM data.
Sales Enablement teams and leadership continue to struggle with driving consistent playbooks while Revenue operations and marketing teams cry for poor CRM hygiene.
AE’s and managers continue to miss their numbers. In contrast, VP Sales and Founders continue to factor in this sales inefficiency into their revenue plan and throwing more bodies at the problem driving their CAC up and making it harder to create a repeatable sales engine.
At Nektar.ai, we have pledged to change this. We are creating the world’s first “Connected Revenue Enablement” platform that helps fast-growing businesses accelerate their revenue in a predictable and repeatable manner.
After implementing Nektar, some of the benefits our customers have been able to experience are:
- Spend 15-20% more time on selling activities, which they would otherwise be spending on manual data entry.
- Identify winning behaviours by looking at multithreading scores for deals won vs lost and got everyone on their team to follow it.
- Savings on purchasing contact data from paid databases. One of our customers could save $50,000 that they would have otherwise spent in buying 3rd party contacts as Nektar could directly harness first-party contacts from their mailboxes.
- Collaborate on deals in real-time on slack to mitigate risks without even logging into any system resulting in 18% better win rates.
Nektar’s “Connected Revenue Enablement platform”.
We are proud to have marquee investors including B Capital Group, Nexus Ventures Partners and 3one4 Capital to help us move towards our goal of improving sales productivity for fast-growing sales teams and leave our mark in the ecosystem in this decade, which I believe is going to be the decade for Salestech.
As we gear up for our public launch in the first half of 2022, we have started growing our team.
We are remote-first, work from anywhere startup. So anyone anywhere can join the journey, and we look forward to hearing from you. Please drop us a note on [email protected] or check out our website for more details. Stay tuned as we reimagine the future of B2B Sales.