Retail distribution in India, with its various channels of operations like general trade, modern trade, and ecommerce, is not only one of the largest in the world but also quite complex in nature.
With a scale that large, it naturally comes with its own set of challenges like fragmented technology, inefficient supply chain, and attrition in the field force.
In the era of mobility, businesses expect to be informed about daily activities and have actionable insights on their fingertips. With tech adoption on an all-time high, Gurugram startup FieldAssist brings together a one-stop solution for sales automation.
FieldAssist is a SaaS-based sales automation platform aimed to power smarter sales decisions to spur growth both in the short and long term. The goal, Co-founder and CEO Paramdeep Singh says, is to transform the consumer goods industry in India by bridging the gap in the market and enabling sales and supply visibility in real time.
Paramdeep had experienced the on-field sales productivity problem himself at his previous FMCG venture.
He says, “If the technology is leveraged in the right fashion, this is a huge problem to be solved. We studied the market extensively and our early mentors who were industry veterans helped us a lot. It was all hard field work of knocking on the doors of many CXOs."
FieldAssist, which is registered under Flick2know Technologies Pvt Ltd, was incubated at the Centre for Innovation Incubation & Entrepreneurship (CIIE), IIM Ahmedabad and founded in January 2014. The startup at present has a 75-member-strong team.
Initial product development
The FieldAssist app, after helping automate primary and secondary sales, allows enterprises to have a clear visibility of their sales operations and their team's performance. With the analytics app, the middle management at each hierarchy level is fully equipped with actionable data and insights to make smarter and quicker decisions.
"With a quest to serve our customers better, we have customised our platform as per their business needs by providing quick and practical solutions to get their sales strategy on point," Paramdeep says.
The product development started by enabling automation for the on-field sales teams to streamline their work. The objective behind this was to digitally empower them and reduce their manual workload.
The app enables sales heads and managers to automate their sales process, accelerate on-field productivity, and generate real-time secondary sales data by providing business intelligence for sales optimisation.
Over time, as the product and its impact evolved, the startup has started managing multiple stakeholders for its customers, including middle and top management along with business analysts and brand managers.
"We help all these stakeholders win in the market by using our data analytics platform," says Paramdeep.
Paramdeep graduated from Vellore Institute of technology and has more than 13 years of entrepreneurial experience in the FMCG and the IT industries. He ran Param Health Foods in Punjab for seven years before moving to Flick2know Technologies, whose subsidiary is FieldAssist.
Along with Divir Tiwari (who is the CBDO), Apurv Gupta (who is the CTO), and Peeyush Jain (who is the COO)—all of them being IIT Dhanbad alumni—Paradeep started FieldAssist.
The model and growth
A mobile-first startup, the FieldAssist platform consists of mobile apps in Salesforce automation and a distributor management software, as well as a web portal serving the top-to-bottom hierarchy of a sales team for any CPG brand.
The startup follows the SaaS model and charges its B2B customers per user per month. Paramdeep says the adoption of the platform has been quite high and therefore the churn rate has been consistently low; lower than the industry average.
He adds that the startup is able to maintain a high loan-to-value (LTV) ratio and is clocking an ARR of $2 million. FieldAssist serves over 40,000 sales personnel across companies, and caters to more than 375 CPG brands covering 4.5 million outlets.
The clientele includes the likes of Bisleri, Haldiram’s, RJ Corp, Mahindra, Bata, Everest Spices, Syska, Wipro, Priyagold, Hamdard, Raymond, Jockey, Eureka Forbes, Lotus Herbals, Bikano, among others.
"India is a value-driven but cost-conscious market. But given our entrepreneurial passion, team’s diversity, and technological superiority, we found a few early adopters through our mentors’ network and then more through word of mouth."
FieldAssist raised an undisclosed debt fund from Small industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) in 2017.
"We have been successful in developing a mature business model and are now a profitable company that is expanding its footprint pan India and growing exponentially," Param prides.
The startup is planning to metamorphose from a sales automation platform into a one-stop solution for the entire sale processes. The expansion also extends to investing in technologies like AI and ML to make the insights more accurate.
"Owing to our order book and pace of acquiring new clients along with international market footprint, we are eyeing $5 million in revenue by the end of 2021," Paramdeep signs off.
(Edited by Evelyn Ratnakumar)