A Tryst With B2B Marketing – Reshma’s Internship Experience At CreditMonk
Through this article, I attempt to take you through the journey my internship experience and share some of my key takeaways that are persistent to life, but most essentially applicable to Marketing.
- Accept rejection with grace and never give up
- Stay alert and always look out for opportunities
- Be sincere in your attempts
I got an opportunity to intern at a fin-tech startup called CreditMonk, based out in Mumbai. This was established with an intention to solve the late payments issue faced by about 97% SMEs. Creditmonk is a user based reviewing platform where companies can rate each other on their usual payment habits. They can also access to the data on payment habits of other companies with whom they are willing to deal in future. This kind of data is of immense importance to most companies across the country as this gives credit related information which is bread and butter of most businesses.
The idea and value proposition of the company are great and will be most sought, once the data builds up on the site. The data builds up only when there are more active users on the site, willing to share and build up the genuine data. But users are willing to use the site and contribute only when there is sufficient pre-available data. This is the problem of chicken and egg and we interns (team of 9), were expected to do the B2B marketing, sell the concept to increase the awareness, get more users active on the site and hence build up the data.
All nine of us in the team was new to Mumbai. Arranging accommodation and sorting out our travel with a minimal expense was one of the key challenges we faced. A lot of our energy got diverted in sorting out these things during the initial days. Mumbai seemed very difficult for us, most of us fell sick in the first week and were cursing our fate. But we were fixated on our goal. Since this was the first formal job (internship) for most of us, we were hungry to prove ourselves and make the company and our institute proud of us. We decided that we will stay strong and give our best and contribute significantly, be what may.
After regular brainstorming sessions, our team shortlisted on few ideas that were both plausible and feasible. A few of them included direct marketing, increasing awareness through PR, seeking some associations/collaborations for gaining synergy etc. After a thorough segmentation, targeting, positioning and strategizing, we set out on our field visits from the second week. We split work among ourselves based on our strengths and interests. Since we were working in a startup, we had great flexibility in decision making and implementation, though there were some cost constraints.
The key to concept selling in B2B marketing is approaching the right person. Most of the times, you will have the right product/service that the company desperately needs. However letting your customers know about your existence and offering, and getting them to buy your product/ service is very challenging. Unlike B2C marketing, the customers/clients here aren’t usually much flexible, aren’t in huge numbers and are very hesitant/conservative. In such a scenario, approaching the right person is the key, who will be able to listen to what you have to offer patiently and then decide. But knowing who is the right person and getting that person’s contact details is sweating and time taking.
We faced rejection almost every single day during the first half of our internship. Most of the times, people didn’t have the time to listen to us, were very hesitant to adopt to something new( despite it being a child’s play) and sometimes there were trust issues. Slowly our enthusiasm levels were coming down, we clearly understood that concept selling that too on a B2B space is not easy a task. But we didn’t want to give up. We kept brainstorming, came up with new ideas and tried many different alternatives. So, we decided to focus on building the trust and improving our site during the second half.
In the second half, we visited the same old customers but with more energy, enthusiasm and confidence. Now, most of the companies were very much familiarised with us. Gradually they tried to listen to us and were slowly coming out of their shield and were willing to try out our service. In the due course of time, we got very well acquainted with most people in the companies we visited. We also exchanged some casual talks about personal life etc. We were successfully able to build the trust among them on us as well as the company. They clearly understood about the website, started using it and also recommended it to their clients and suppliers. We were successful in generating the word of the mouth marketing.
We did publicity on various online and offline forums. Though we didn’t have 100% conversion, by the end of the internship, we were able to incorporate significant improvements on the site and build in proportionately a very good amount of data and customer base. Since we were alertly looking out for potential clients throughout, we were able to meet many people during transit, around our place of stay, who turned out to be of a great help to us. These people patiently explained their pain-points and requirements, that we were able to incorporate on our site, later.
Eventually, our internship term came towards the end. The end results very fruitful and our founder was very impressed with our contribution and the efforts we put in. She also gave 15% hike in the pay to all of us. I personally became very attached to the work, my teammates and the founder. During this journey, I met many people, made friends for life and got the key takeaways for life. Had we gave up, or been insincere in our efforts, we would have never been able to achieve what we did. Now Mumbai and CreditMonk is a nostalgic feel for me.