”When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favour” – Elon Musk
With these words in his mind, Paras Lohani launched B2B Sales Arrow in 2012 with an aim to create a position for the organisation in the market and to be counted as one of the leading market research and corporate event consultancies.
Comprising of a 40+ member team, B2B Sales Arrow is presently responsible for handling end-to-end bespoke corporate events, both physical and virtual. Providing high-end research and marketing technology solutions to its clients, the organisation believes in nurturing business with passion. It helps corporate giants in managing their bespoke virtual events, global industry events, identify and generate leads, virtual media production, and conducts deep market research for them.
Paras Lohani, Founder and CEO of B2B Sales Arrow is an Engineer in Electronics and Telecommunication. He has done a comprehensive program in Digital Marketing Transformation from IIM Bangalore. It was back in 2004, during Paras’ graduation days when the idea of becoming an entrepreneur stuck in his mind. As an entrepreneur, he believes that any business is like a Chinese Bamboo Tree, that requires continuous nurturing with patience to reap the benefits. Having an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and innovation, he is constantly challenging himself and his team to do better, bring the change in the current industry trends, inspire others to bring advancements that sweep the business world and take humanity forward.
Below are the excerpts from the interview:
What is B2B Sales Arrow all about?
In 2012, we laid the foundation of B2B Sales Arrow as a value-based organization driven by a set of ten core values – our most prized possessions. Based out of Bangalore, we are a research-based Marketing Technology Company specializing in Lead Generation, Corporate Event Solution, Custom Market Research, Corporate Media Production, Database Development, Social Analytics, and Digital Marketing.
What factors influenced or motivated you to start this venture? What seeded the idea of a startup in the Event & Marketing sector?
Back in 2004, while pursuing graduation, I read an article on LN Mittal, the then richest man of India, donating INR 400 Crores for a philanthropic act in his home village in Rajasthan. Mr Mittal’s compassionate gesture triggered a thought that I needed to create a sustainable income model by small or big actions against limited and fixed income if I wish to give back to society. It could be through philanthropy, creating high-quality job opportunities, and doing business in a manner that makes taxable income – fundamentals that we have always identified our venture with, and that’s where I conceived the idea of my first dream project.
I just had the knowledge gained, the experience earned, and 1500 Dollars to capitalize on, but I was ready to take the risk. Furthermore, I had a firm conviction of correct decision-making and steering in the right direction.
I have been passionate about Market Research and Business Development. However, the organization has grown over the years, and now we have solutions and offerings such as End-to-End Virtual Solution, HPMI, Corporate Events, Multimedia Live Streaming, etc.
What were the first few steps during and after the launch of B2B Sales Arrow?
Our first challenge was to identify a client who was ready to pay for our services. We started with an aggressive networking exercise at conferences and events. We associated with the key influencers in the IT and Technology industry, which paved the way to our first breakthrough – a leading mobile application company from Pune.
Recruitment was another significant challenge for our organisation. As a value-driven organisation, it was difficult to find the right talent who resonated with our core values and culture. But eventually, we found our way through and handpicked team members who have similar core values. Being an avid reader helped us with better decision-making.
Have you raised funds so far?
No! We are proud to share that B2B Sales Arrow is a zero-debt and self-funded organization.
Tell us about your motivation. What keeps you going?
I am deeply passionate about actionable learning. I love to avid read, take a lot of training, attend conferences, and expose myself to quality people and innovative ideas. Furthermore, I believe in inspiring the team to believe in themselves, strive for excellence, and raise their standards.
How has your journey been so far?
I strongly believe that if you want to collectively enjoy the thrill of bungee jumping, skydiving, rock climbing, and surfing, you should become an entrepreneur. This has helped me know who I am and know my limits, thus inspiring me to raise my standards.
How big is your team? How did you manage your team and business during the COVID-19 outbreak?
Before the Coronavirus outbreak, the B2B Sales Arrow family had around 30 members. Since we have adopted the Work From Home phenomenon from multiple states, our indigenously developed HRMS (Human Resource Management System) helped us streamline the tasks, ensure better delegation and project tracking to add a wow element to our solution delivery. Additionally, we extensively use several virtual platforms to collaborate within the team and with clients and stakeholders outside the organisation.
We at B2B Sales Arrow family have grown by 50% post the Covid Outbreak, now with a strength of nearly 45 team mates, still growing, with high-quality employment opportunities. We attribute this growth to our strong belief in the core values, a proactive thought process around experimentation with technology, new solutions, innovation and above all, taking care of our team as a family.
What is the USP of your brand? What makes you different from your competition?
We put our culture and core values foremost. We are bound to our values and lead by moral authority, our principals being the anchor that protects us and guides us in unprecedented and challenging times. Our decisions are led by values, beliefs, goals, norms, and principals. Our patrons are important to us, and so are our team members, we always promote fair play and stand by the righteous.
What role is your brand playing in providing research-based advanced sales and marketing solutions to companies?
We are a value-based and technology-driven organisation, experimentation is in our blood, we work in harmony and always keep coming up with innovative ideas:
- HPMI (Human Powered Market Intelligence): We have created this unique offering to assist our clients in gaining deep insights and a strong hold into their Key accounts. It is a hybrid of various cutting-edge Social Listening and Account-Based Marketing Tools topped by Human Intelligence.
- Virtual Event Technology Aggregator: We have partnered with some of the leading Virtual Event Platforms to help our clients with the Design and Production of highly customised and immersive End to End Virtual Events experience.
The events industry is one of the worst-hit sectors due to the pandemic. How will Event and Exhibitions be in a post-Covid world?
One of the industries which has received the maximum hit back due to the Covid 19 is the Event and Exhibition industry, which has now shifted to its virtual form. Virtual Events are gaining popularity as cost-effective and time-saving alternatives to physical events. The online events are more diverse in terms of content and meticulous in terms of audience behaviour tracking. The virtual event technology overcomes the geographical barriers and logistical challenges to gather an international audience virtually and offer them quality networking opportunities with like-minded domain experts. The post-Covid future is most likely to see hybrid events.
Being a startup, what do you think is the biggest challenge in India?
First, Identifying and Onboarding the right talent is amongst the top most challenges we have faced. Secondly, due to flaws in the formal education, courses and theoretical knowledge are not to the best extent allowed to align with the business or industrial requirements, resulting in a quality time investment to train the new hires, especially the freshers.
What are your plans for staying ahead in the competition? Where do you see B2B Sales Arrow in the coming 3 to 5 years?
Our industry is evolving with innovation every minute. Five years from now, I can visualize a hybrid world ruled by digital content where human interference will be equally crucial as automated or virtual technology.
What are your messages or leadership lessons for budding entrepreneurs/young generation?
There are many lessons that I have learned, but I would like to mention a few:
- From top to bottom, the organization should be Firm, Fair, and Polite – the essential ingredients for success.
- A leader who is patient and possesses a willingness to nurture his team, his organization, will thrive like a Chinese Bamboo Tree.
Be irrational and pursue your passion. Invest in exposing yourself to the most innovative ideas, cutting-edge technology, and the right people. Give your blood and sweat to take your love forward. Make your workbench your bed – literally! There’s no alternative to hard work.
Hope this interview will motivate all the aspiring entrepreneurs. It is a part of our startup profiling feature story/interview series. We are on a mission to bring forward the inspirational journey of successful entrepreneurs in order to spread some motivation during these tough times.
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