Byju’s has made a key change in its sales strategy, moving away from a business practice that attracted the edtech giant criticism over the years.
The Bengaluru-headquartered startup, India’s most valuable, said on Monday its sales people no longer visit students' homes to pitch to their parents. Instead, the entire sales workforce now works from inside the office and reaches out virtually to only those whose children have shown a clear interest in subscribing to the platform.
The so-called 4-tier approach introduces multiple checks to verify customers' intent and consent to purchase a subscription, the startup said. Byju's said it has also introduced an affordability test for all potential customers, ensuring the child's family income is at least 25,000 Indian rupees ($306) before they can move forward with the purchase.
The refund is also done over a Zoom call, the startup said.
The firm, which employed its early practice in 2017, made the change in October last year and said that the transition is bringing more accountability and transparency to its workforce and it’s better for both sides of the equation.
The new sales tactic is also allowing Byju’s to expand its reach in the country and is already returning a higher conversion rate, said Mrinal Mohit, the chief executive of Byju’s India business, in an interview with TechCrunch.
“The Covid helped increase the category awareness of online education learning and brand awareness of Byju’s. Plus we now have multiple products. That’s why we are moving to ‘inside sales,’” he said.
“The sales journey now begins only after you have downloaded my app and used it multiple times and for long periods of time. If you don’t download the app, or like our product, we are not going to reach out.”
The Indian edtech has been criticized over the years for its aggressive sales tactic with allegations that some of its personnels made misleading pitches to the parents and persuaded them into buying a subscription when they couldn't afford it. Byju's offers a range of learning platforms to students from free content and classes to hybrid lessons at its centres across the South Asian market. It also connects parents who need to take a loan with banks and non-banking financial companies.
Mohit, who has been at Byju's since the beginning and took over the India chief position last year, said the revamp is bringing more transparency with the parents and what its sales people are telling them.
“I had 120 offices, my download comes from everywhere but I was able to reach only 50% of these users. With inside sales, location is not a barrier. All these calls are recorded, so we know what is being pitched to the parents. We have more transparency with parents,” he said.
If an individual doesn’t know how to precisely answer a parent’s questions, the startup is able to pull more experience and relevant personnels in real-time, he said.
Sales is a key part of Byju's success. The startup's classes operate on a two-teacher model, where the lessons are taught through a pre-recorded video while an on-site or live teacher tackles students' questions.
The startup's philosophy from the beginning has been to bring the best education to students and this means relying on lessons from certain teachers as the base of its offerings. Sales people are tasked with explaining the benefits of this model.