Salesforce turns to SMEs in smaller cities to boost growth in India

Salesforce turns to SMEs in smaller cities to boost growth in India
Sunil Jose, country head (India) at Salesforce.
11 Sep, 2018

Smaller cities and small & medium enterprises (SMEs) are likely to drive Salesforce’s next phase of growth in India, a top executive at the cloud software maker told TechCircle.

Sunil Jose, Salesforce’s country head for India, said that the US-headquartered company had primarily focused on large cities, metros and large companies until now.

"In India, some smaller players in the market have grown fast working with SMB players in smaller cities,” Jose said in an apparent reference to homegrown players such as Zoho and Freshworks. “India is fairly a large Tier-2 market." 

He said that in India, SMEs had embraced the cloud before large enterprises.

“When they looked at the infrastructure cost, management and scalability, they wanted to focus on business," he said. Such firms used Gmail and spreadsheets, he added, thus making them aware of cloud companies and products.  

Jose said that Salesforce, which specialises in customer relationship management (CRM) software, has doubled its sales in India every year over the past three years.

It is now looking to penetrate deeper into the market with the help of IT distribution firm Ingram Micro, which recently became a Salesforce reseller and will help deploy its solutions in Tier-2 and Tier-3 markets. Ingram Micro has a local presence across more than 40 locations and 6,000 distributors.

"It gives us reach and coverage apart from providing an opportunity to spread and helps us to gain the speed we want in this marketplace," Jose said. 

While the senior executive did not comment on Salesforce’s pricing strategy, he said that the company's advantage would be its wide range of products.

"There are a lot of players and a fair amount of competition. Some of our competitors were doing well in one segment but we have a full suite which helps us to gain more customers. So anyone wanting an end-to-end digital transformation story would likely prefer us," Jose said. 

Salesforce's biggest local competitor is Zoho, whose founder Sridhar Vembu had told TechCircle that India had become the company's second-largest market by revenue and could even top the US market in five years.

Zoho has been aggressively marketing its Zoho One business suite of products of late in India.

Another competitor is Freshworks, which recently expanded its product suite to include CRM. Founder and chief executive Girish Mathrubootham had told TechCircle that the company has been fairly successful in cross-selling its newer products to existing customers.