In this episode of SaaS Connect by Cloud Software Association, we hear from Manoj Ramnani, Founder and CEO of about the mistakes the company made early on and what led to its eventual success.

At the time, the company—then branded CircleBack—solved a well-known problem (with software that automated updates to contact info of business contacts), had a great team, served a big market, and had raised $30 million. As such, you would think they would have succeeded in building a billion-dollar company, but they made a few big mistakes, even though they had put in maximum effort.

Plan A didn’t work, so they moved on to Plan B and, after implementing their new strategy, the company went from zero to $one million in five and a half months. Plan A was not a total failure though, as it served to teach them many lessons which they can now pass on to you:

  • An ecosystem is essential, but from the right location, or it may fall flat. They initially based the business in an area where the community did not have the right mindset for the business, therefore location was key. They had the right idea but it was in the wrong place.
  • They went to market with a premature product.
  • Raise money for growth and not for experimenting on the product.
  • They wanted to grow big quickly, so they hired 20 top sales and marketing people which was just way over the top, and still they did not scale.
  • Investor fit is important and it’s important to assemble your board very carefully, otherwise it’s like giving a sword to a monkey.
  • Know what’s going on around you.
  • You shouldn’t partner with everyone—a small company is too small to add value, a big company doesn’t often give you much, and a mid-sized business is sometimes not structured.
  • Going to the customer directly with their own brand was the one major change they made. Today they partner with non-direct partners to always display their brand, and this is not negotiable.


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