I am Pradeep, Founder of Saleslift. Today, we reached an important milestone – we now have 10,000 users on Saleslift. When I look back at the journey that brought us here, it feels incredible. I would like to take this opportunity to share the story of how and why I founded Saleslift.
I started my career as an Engineer and was deep into coding advanced image/video processing algorithms for the first 8 years of my career. Along the way, I had a chance to work with a number of Product Managers and was always fascinated by their work. That was the time when there was a lot of buzz on Product Management and every weekend, I used to attend workshops and seminars with the hope to meet and learn from practicing Product Managers. It was fun.
While I was preparing myself to get into a product management role, I by accident noticed that there was a job opening for a Product Manager at Coimbatore (!) for a Silicon Valley based company. I was pleasantly surprised by this because Coimbatore is very close to my home town and I decided to give it a shot – of course after convincing my wife about the possibility of relocating from Bangalore to Coimbatore.
After 3 visits to Coimbatore and nearly 2 months, I was offered the role of a Product Manager in November 2012 and I was on top of the world. Relocation with a 9 month old kid was a huge challenge, but luckily I had great support from my family who made this possible. I moved to Coimbatore in January 2013.
The first 2 years were incredible. Moving to a Product role from Engineering had some challenges, especially if you are an Engineer at heart (even now, my friends still say that I am an Engineer). I had the chance to develop some amazing products and learned tons of things on defining product strategy, execution, go to market and a lot more. This was the second most exciting part in my career of 12 years. I am living the most exciting part of my career right now 🙂
One fine day
There is a popular saying – “All good things must come to an end”. I am not a believer of this, but one day, I had a chance to experience this (BTW: I still don’t believe in it). There was a reorganization of my team and as part of the changes, I lost my job – collateral damage. I was not prepared for this and wasn’t really sure what to do next.
I went to the white board and listed down the options in front of me – go back to engineering, join another company as a product manager, entrepreneurship. Two factors guided me in making a decision here. I wanted to jump into entrepreneurship after my current (then current) company has a successful exit, so this was always something I wanted to do. And my mentor always wanted me to do something on my own – create opportunities for people around me. I used these 2 as guiding factors, gathered my thoughts and decided to start a venture.
Idea of Saleslift
The next big challenge is to identify what problem should I be solving. In my previous job, I had the chance to understand the market of sales & marketing and I also had exposure to the data industry. So I decided to build a solution for sales & marketing professionals – a product that provides accurate and up to date contact data. This space has a lot of existing players, but I realized that there is definitely space for new players.
I was up and running within a few days and started building Saleslift. We launched the private alpha of Saleslift in the first week of September. I started reaching out to my LinkedIn connections, friends and literally everybody on my contact list to try the product. Once we were confident about the product, we did the public launch in October. There were two products that we were focussing on:
The initial growth was very slow and the holiday season didn’t help either. I was also struggling technically to manage these two products and even though I had plenty of ideas, because of the lack of a strong technical person in the founding team, we were not able to move fast. That’s when I realized that I needed a co-founder.
Some time in February 2017, I met with Surender, a good friend of mine and a colleague at my previous organization. It was a great coincidence that he was also exploring new opportunities. I started to pitch the idea, showed him what we’ve done so far and the vision of Saleslift. After a few more meetings, he agreed to join Saleslift.
We’ve worked together for more than 3 years earlier. So both of us know each other very well. Things started to move incredibly fast once he came onboard. We were improving our product and pushing out new features and products almost every month since then.
- Stripe integration for payment processing
- Major overhaul of our pages that gave us 300% traffic growth
- Google Sheets Add-on
- Email Personalizer
- Freshsales CRM integration
I would like to highlight some key metrics that summarizes the traction we are seeing now:
- We now have 10,000 customers using Saleslift!
- 100 New users every day.
- 75K data contributions from our users every day.
- 135K new contacts added every day by our web crawlers.
Along the way, we’ve been getting great feedback and suggestions from our users. Some of the feedback we’ve got:
“Good tool. High percentage of accurate email addresses delivered.”
“Using this tool for over a month and really love everything about it. Had more hits on contacts”
“Extremely helpful. Though it does not detect the email ids on some rare occasions, overall this is an A+ extension. So great, I am left surprised. Thank you so much.”
It is feedback like these that push us to continue to move forward and also gives us a huge sense of accomplishment.
We have identified 3 strategic areas we should be focussing on:
We are constantly looking at ways to grow the data we have. There is plenty of raw information available out there on the web. We are investing heavily in technology to get this raw information and apply NLP and ML techniques to convert this raw information into meaningful insights and build our database with contact data and account insights.
We are working on some ideas to effectively distribute the data that we have in a way that improves the productivity of our users. We believe that for any product to be successful, it has to be integrated with the existing workflow of the target users. In our case, a significant number of our users are using CRM and by doing our integration with CRMs, our users can get all the data they need without ever having to leave their workflow. Recently, we launched our integration with Freshsales CRM and have plans to launch integration products with several more CRMs.
With the strategy and Product/Market fit in place, we want to focus on growing our revenue next. We have three enterprise customers and our subscription user base is growing steadily. Almost all the paid customers we have so far are inbound and we haven’t spent much time in outbound selling. I think there is a tremendous opportunity for us out there to go and conquer.