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Published on: Feb. 8, 2021, 12:54 a.m.
HELMing marketing change
  • The Bhat siblings are anticipating what clients will need in the future

By Sekhar Seshan. Consulting Editor, Business India

The Pune mall Creaticity had a need to engage with customers more deeply thanks to the effects of the pandemic. “We needed to focus more on targeted conversions through closed-loop follow-up, rather than spray and pray,” says its CEO Mahesh M. Xebec Communications implemented a CRM tool which, he says, “appears to address our needs with respect to lead generation, lead assignment to our internal stakeholders and finally lead tracking with analysis”.

At the Satara-based automobile component manufacturer Cooper Corporation, marketing DGM Rahul Roy says the company needed such a solution for its sales team to manage direct and indirect sales leads and subsequently track them till closure. “This was definitely useful for our travelling salesmen, especially as it was also available on mobile and they could track and monitor these requirements on the go,” he adds.

Xebec, a 28-year-old independent creative and digital marketing services agency with offices in Pune, Mumbai and Bengaluru, has a specialised focus in the B2B (business-to-business) marketing space, according to its founder managing director Kiran Bhat. “We have now reinforced our B2B solutions with a plethora of new offerings,” she says. “With the change in the overall business environment and the new normal due to the pandemic, companies in this sector are looking to enhance their reach through enhanced digital marketing efforts and sharpened their customer outreach programmes.” With traditional marketing channels like B2B conferences, trade fairs and sales calls having come to a near standstill, she explains, these companies have embraced digital marketing in a big way.

A hybrid marketing agency is the need of the day, so Xebec collaborates with clients to arrive at winning solutions for their marketing needs, Bhat says: “We need to anticipate where the future of marketing is and what clients will need.” Having identified a need for a customisable, integrated LMS+CRM (lead management system combined with customer relationship management) solution, it came up in 2018 with HELM, an in-house proprietary platform. Some of the other products in this space, she says, are either too expensive or do not have customisable features.

Boasting ‘the best of a SaaS model and a customised solution’, HELM allows clients to capture leads directly from landing pages, add them manually, auto-distribute them as per hierarchy, update their details with additional information including the status like hot, warm or cold. It also enables tasks to be updated to follow up leads, a calendar view of tasks and transferring leads to the customer service department, with a customer complaint module, a dashboard view of leads and e-mail and SMS alerts.

Track, monitor and manage

With a number of marquee clients in the B2B space, including Volvo Construction Equipment, ABB, Kohler, Cummins Power Generation, Demag Cranes and ThyssenKrupp besides Cooper Corporation and Creaticity, Xebec also has clients in the IT sector, which come under the B2B domain and look at a focussed approach, like Amdocs, MphasiS, Tibco, MarTech and HR Tech. “We have deployed HELM successfully across industry verticals. It is being used efficiently to track, monitor and manage business,” Bhat adds.

‘We intend to deploy HELM as an integrated offering along with digital marketing,” adds her brother Anil Bhat, Xebec’s COO & executive director, who is based in Bengaluru. “Every company, which needs to reach out to potential customers, needs to run digital marketing campaigns which entails content and lead generation.”

Clients using HELM find it easy to manage the lead flow and nurture them to a logical conclusion, he explains: “There is no wastage of leads and the management gets a bird’s eye view of lead flow and the potential pipeline for the month or quarter. In fact, one of our clients has gone further to do production planning based on the order pipeline. Another client in the furniture space has been able to generate leads for their retail partners even during the lockdown.”

With the second-generation module of HELM being implemented now, customers say they are ‘witnessing greenshoots of effectiveness’. “We are keen to see some exciting results soon,” adds Mahesh of Creaticity. “We have codenamed the tool BEAGLE, symbolising the character of the dog breed with ‘immense tracking capabilities’, and hope to amplify the usage of this tool and improve its utilisation through refinement and learning.”

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