Byju’s has made a significant change to its sales strategy, moving away from a business practice that has drawn criticism from the edtech giant over the years.
The Bengaluru-based startup, India’s most valuable, said on Monday its salespeople would no longer come to students’ homes to pitch to their parents. Instead, the entire sales force now works from the office, virtually reaching only those whose children have expressed 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, to ensure that the child’s household income is at least 25,000 Indian rupees ($306) before they can proceed with the purchase.
The refund will also be made through a Zoom call, the startup said.
The company, which adopted its early practice in 2017, made the change last October, saying the transition brings more accountability and transparency to its workforce and is better for both sides of the equation.
The new sales tactic also allows Byju’s to expand its reach in the country and is already yielding a higher conversion rate, Mrinal Mohit, the CEO of Byju’s India Business, said in an interview with gotechbusiness.com.
“The Covid helped boost category awareness of online learning and Byju’s brand awareness. Moreover, we now have several products. That is why we are moving to ‘inside sales’,” he said.
“The sales process now only starts after you have downloaded my app and used it several times and for a long time. If you don’t download the app or don’t like our product, we won’t contact you.”
The Indian edtech has been criticized over the years for its aggressive sales tactics with allegations that some of its staff made misleading pitches to parents and persuaded them to buy a subscription when they couldn’t afford it. Byju’s offers students a range of learning platforms from free content and classes to hybrid classes at its centers in the South Asian market. It also connects parents who need to take out a loan with banks and non-bank financial companies.
Mohit, who has been with Byju’s since its inception and took over as head of India last year, said the revamp brings more transparency to parents and what the vendors are telling them.
“I had 120 offices, my download comes from everywhere, but I could only reach 20% of these users. In inside sales, location is not a barrier. All these conversations are recorded so that we know what is being pitched to the parents. We have more transparency with parents,” he said.
If a person doesn’t know exactly how to answer a parent’s questions, the startup can gain more experience and relevant staff in real time, he said.
Sales are an important part of Byju’s success. The startup’s classes operate on a two-teacher model, with classes delivered via pre-recorded video while a teacher addresses students’ questions on site or live.
The startup’s philosophy from the start has been to provide students with the best education and this means they have to rely on lessons from certain teachers as the basis of their offerings. Sellers are tasked with explaining the benefits of this model.