Case Studies: Business-to-Business Services in Tech

January 31, 2017 | Raj Srivastav

The tech industry is a many-faceted world, with many different successful industries. As a tech development company, SDI keeps our eye on all of them. But one of our favorite topics is that of B2B services. These are apps, websites, and custom Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) that deliberately target other businesses.

They provide support for other businesses in a variety of different ways, including improved analytics and even HR management. One of the things we love about this sector is that these services provide tons of value for the dollar spent. They help businesses grow exponentially, without costing an arm and a leg.

Additionally, a skilled SaaS development team can easily build highly customized systems for individual businesses. Many B2B tech services, including some of the ones that will be written about today, can even be integrated with other software, including custom software. With tools available to the modern business owner, it becomes relatively easy to quickly grow startups, SMBs and even global corporations.

Building a Custom Software for businesses can even lead to a B2B service itself. We’ve built many a custom SaaS system for a specific business, who then turned around and sold it to their competitors as a Subscription-Based service. The B2B tech service sector is a thriving industry – contact SDI now to get started.

This article will focus specifically on three Case Studies: Big movers in the B2B sector, each offering three different services: Communications; Customer Relationship Development; and Cyber Security.

Case Study 1: Slack and the Future of Business Communications

Slack is a business chat startup, counted among a few elite startups known as Unicorns (startups valued at over a billion smackeroos). Slack, currently valued at $3.8 billion, has provided communications support for other Startups and SMBs. Slack is also getting ready to release its enterprise edition which, despite a tough fight ahead, promises to be very profitable.

A software that offers communications services seems like a simple thing, but having clear lines of communication is essential to the success of any business with more than two people – and even then you should still look into slack! Additionally, Slack supports Video Conferencing, document sharing, and other collaboration features useful to any organization.

Plus, Slack supports integration with literally dozens of other different B2B services, including industry giant SalesForce (they’ve even hired former execs from SalesForce). Slack additionally supports multiple threads (or channels, as they call them) that can be easily organized along several different lines. A robust search function and native apps for both iOS and Android put the cherry on the cake and make Slack a big player in the industry.

Key Takeaways:

Digital Collaboration Tools are useful to businesses and can greatly improve the productivity of any team. So to a B2B service, they are an extremely valuable feature to offer;

The Search Function. It’s ubiquitous, but vital for any business that produces tons of information (also known as every business); and

Cloud-based is the new thing. It’s more secure, easier for updating and repairing, and more profitable for the SaaS owner.

Case Study #2: SalesLoft, Atlanta’s Startup with the Heart of Gold

About a year ago, this company went to its investors and told them it no longer to support its biggest product, Prospect. One that was worth $4 million. In exchange, they wanted to promote one of their newer products (Cadence). Which only made $75,000 thousand. As in a quarter less than $100,000. As in $3,975,000 fewer than their flagship product.

So what was Prospector? And why in the world would they want to stop it? This service basically went through contact databases on Social Media networks like LinkedIn to generate targeted sales leads. But instead, users of Prospector would use it to mass spam thousands of people, generating nothing but bad press for SalesLoft.

So the CEO, Kyle Porter, went to investors and, amazingly, convinced them he was right to drop their most successful product. Instead, they wanted to focus on their new product, one that used the hottest in tech (like AI and Machine Learning). Cadence uses theses tools to show businesses how they can improve customer relations. And today SalesLoft, thanks largely to Cadence, has received more than $100 million in investment.

Key Takeaways:

Investors prefer honesty. Porter was completely above board when he went asking for money, and VCs loved it. So be honest about your intentions. There is no better way to sink your investment chances than to lie.

Prospector was creating a bad reputation for the company and would have hurt SalesLoft in the long run. In the end, offering services that focus on quality (developing good relations) is better than quantity (as in spamming everyone on LinkedIn).

Case Study #3: Zscaler and Cloud Computing Security

This Web Security company is set to be one of the hottest and highly anticipated IPOs of 2017. Zscaler is one of the few security companies to focus entirely upon cloud security services, as opposed to hardware security offered by many competitors. Why is Cloud Security important? Well, in the words of Zscaler Jay Chaudhry,

“When Business happens in the cloud, you need security in the cloud.”

Basically, Zscaler takes client internet traffic and funnels it through “Gateways,” where the traffic is examined for potential malware or hackers. They made some big headlines this week recently when they identified a fake Netflix App (called SpyNote) that is in actuality a RAT (Remote Access Trojan). That means that all data stored on a device with this app on the can (and will) be stolen.

Key Takeaways:

Cybersecurity Startups receive billions in investment. As with security services in the real world, Zscaler controls safe access to the internet. As investor Nehel Raj states

“This is a strategic place to be.”

Like it or not, the future of online business lies in the cloud. Zscaler was an early adopter of this point of view and it will continue to pay dividends for them.

So, to conclude, B2B services provide a way for entrepreneurs and startups to make a name for themselves, to become a new player in a market that is just getting started. Want to jump in? Give us a call at 408.621.8481 – or click to contact us!

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