SA’s Skynamo expands to UK, targets US also

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South African startup Skynamo, which has developed field sales management software and a mobile sales app, has expanded to the United Kingdom (UK) and is planning a push in the United States (US) early next year.

Formed in 2012, Skynamo is used by representatives and their managers to improve insights into field sales activity, reduce administration, and create coaching opportunities that lead to higher sales.

Its cloud-based app is used by over 5,000 users at 440 companies with teams of representatives in the field who regularly visit and service or sell to an existing customer base.

Chief executive officer (CEO) Sam Clarke, who was recently selected to join the international Endeavor network, told Disrupt Africa the business was initially set up the build a portfolio of B2B solutions.

“The first solution was a field sales management app that would become known as Skynamo. It was developed around the needs of a small beverage company with outbound sales reps,” he said.

“The drinks were great but getting them to market required the management of a team of field-based sales representatives. It was their task to get the product on the menu in bars and restaurants and on the shelves of retailers.”

The company asked Clarke and his team to build a mobile app that would let them know where their sales reps were, which customers they were seeing, and capture orders in the field.

“The product was created, and demand started snowballing,” Clarke said. “The company became so focused on its delivery that it abandoned the initial plan of developing multiple products in favour of selling the one application.”

Over the six years since, Skynamo has built itself into South Africa’s leading solution for this problem amongst small and medium enterprises, and now has a team of 55 people. The success is down to the fact it solves a serious problem.

“Managing field sales teams effectively is nearly impossible – the entire process lacks visibility, connectivity, and automated tools. Insufficient real-time data surrounding individual reps’ performance and each customer’s sales history results in significant sales losses and reduced face time,” Clarke said.

“Skynamo provides a cloud-based platform and mobile app that enables seamless management, administration, tracking and data collection for the outbound B2B field sales process for short-cycle B2B selling. It provides insights into inventory, pricing, and a customer’s sales history in the field when reps need it most. In addition, it gives managers and business owners full visibility of activity in the field, in real time.”

Skynamo received seed funding from its shareholders, with all other growth having been funded organically by the business. Clarke said the leadership team is currently investigating funding options to determine whether further investment is the best way to grow.

Growth, however, has already been impressive. The startup opened a UK office at the end of 2017, and though Clarke said South Africa remains a core market, it is increasingly looking further afield.

“Our expansion in the UK began with opening a sales office at the end of 2017 with a push into the US planned for early 2019. The regional expansion is supported by two different, but complementary routes to the market,” he said.

The first is targeted at smaller sales teams, and centres on a purely digital purchasing model through the Skynamo website. The second route to market is a value-added reseller strategy, where Skynamo partners with accountancy and ERP software vendors such as Sage and Xero to package Skynamo and re-sell it to their clients as part of a packaged solution or value-add.

“The South African business has been built on the back of direct sales model, but international expansion will require a more scalable sales and distribution strategy. Currently, Skynamo has signed partnerships with Xero and Sage as well as niche regional ERP vendors such as Lakeview in the UK,” said Clarke.

Skynamo is a software-as-a-service (Saas) product, with users paying a monthly subscription fee. There are three tiers of pricing depending on the size and needs of the sales teams.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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