Sulekha.com is been a success story in the field of Online B2B for SMEs. The company has experienced exponential growth in the number of SME’s advertising on it’s marketplace. Currently Sulekha have 44,000+ live paying SME’s on its portal who get leads/responses from Sulekha.com, discussing the industry trends, opportunities and issues, Satya Prabhakar, Founder and CEO, Sulekha.com interacted exclusively with Faiz Askari, Editor, Small Enterprise India.
The interview excerpts:
Small Enterprise India: What are unique drivers of online B2B marketplace?
Satya Prabhakar: The key drivers of a b2b marketplace across any of the leading countries are the following:
- Critical volume of buyers and sellers interacting on a daily basis
- Usability and design friendliness of the website to enable the interactions
- Strong word-of-mouth about the effectiveness of the marketplace
More than any level of ATL/BTL marketing or high-level of product feature sets, the above three must-have conditions have led to success of multiple marketplaces like Sulekha, Alibaba, EC21 (South Korea) etc.
Sulekha has witnessed a huge uptake from the Indian SME vertical. What are your views on this segment?
We estimate a total of 550,000+ SME’s of multiple categories who can benefit from Online/Mobile presence – since the value that is delivered from online marketplaces are quantified around guaranteed leads/responses/clicks that the SME gets as potential buyers.
At Sulekha we view the Indian SME’s as a huge blue ocean opportunity – since print newspapers or print yellowpages can’t adequately serve these customers because of multiple considerations including high price, lack of global-local-hyperlocal access etc.
With regards to business development, market outreach what unique benefits can be achieved at Sulekha's paltform?
Sulekha offers 3 different platforms for SME’s – Classifieds, Yellow Pages and B2B. Together we have 15 million+ unique visits on our site, who visit our site each month for either buying/selling or finding other businesses relevant to their search. At the buyer end, we have millions of visits of high-value SEC A buyers who visit our platform to search for high quality sellers – who either post ads, profile pages or their product listings.
Using this buyer traffic, Sulekha generates 3 million leads and responses per quarter to SME’s registered on its site. Each of these leads/responses are mobile verified and come with guaranteed name, city, buyer enquiry and other fields demanded by sellers.
SME’s can significantly benefit by plugging into one or all 3 of Sulekha’s eco-systems and improve their business.
What trends did you observe in today's evolving SME business?
SME’s are becoming increasingly ROI centric – this is great for companies that can quantifiably deliver value in the form of leads/responses/clicks.
We see a surge in advertising on the internet – particularly led by Google’s SEM solutions amongst SME’s, because of the above-said quantification advantage. In Sulekha.com, we have taken the notion of clicks one step further. We guarantee the exact number of leads-responses that the customer is going to get for his city and sub-category combination. This quantification has helped us to move millions of $’s from offline advertising to Sulekha.com.
How many total number of MSMEs are registered with Sulekha, can you provide us some sort of demography of the same?
We currently have 44,000+ live paying SME customers on Sulekha.com – across Classifieds, Yellow Pages and B2B.
Besides this we have 1.8 million free listings on all 3 services combined. These free listing SME’s also get a minimum number of responses per quarter, depending on the city and sub-category in which they are currently listed.
What all business verticals are active on Sulekha?
Sulekha gets customers across 250+ sub-categories. Prominent amongst those are Real Estate Builders, Real Estate Agents, Packers and Movers, Security Service Agencies, Security Guards, Machinery Manufacturers, Used Car/Bike Dealers, Computer Sellers, Computer Service SME’s, AC-Fridge-Washing Machine service providers, Textile exporters, Food exporters etc.
Now, coming over to Sulekha's own business success story. How did you experience the overall business journey?
Sulekha’s success has come because of three key things that continue to help us in our business journey:
- Highly motivated set of team members with long tenure in the senior management/sales hierarchy levels
- Loyal set of users who utilize our services – and vouch for it amongst their friends/relatives through word-of-mouth
- Highly capable and participative leaders who occupy our board
The journey has also been a lot of fun because of the multiple challenges that have existed and our solutions to solve a few of them very well.
Is there any new areas where you are looking at foraying into?
We are evaluating multiple new business areas to help the SME’s succeed further. At this point we have no announcements to make.
What message would you like to send across to our readers who are mainly from the MSME segment?
We think your readers will benefit immensely from the internet/mobile advertising media – and they should start ASAP by trying out 2 or 3 different options at fairly low cost – like say Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 for an internet ad with guaranteed clicks/leads/responses etc.