Endeavor Miami has added two more high-impact entrepreneurs to its roster: Lionel Carrasco and Marcela Henao, the founders of business app creator Leapfactor.
Carrasco and Henao have been in the business of enterprise apps since 2009, when they launched Leapfactor to “reinvent field sales execution” with business apps to transform the ways companies engage with their sales forces, employees, partners and customers. Its top app, Salesfactor, provides salespeople an intuitive tool to increase revenues and efficiency, ultimately closing more deals. The company works with clients such as Avon, L’Oreal and HD Supply.
In a mobile B2B market worth an estimated US$25 billion, Leapfactor is operating in a highly lucrative sector. What’s more, the team got a foot in the door early – so early, in fact, that Carrasco recounted, “Four years ago, people called us crazy.” The development of the business apps sector, as well as Leapfactor’s prospects in the market, were among the topics covered in a recent interview with PulsoSocial.
Emily Stewart: How has the market for business apps changed over the past five years?
Lionel Carrasco: We started Leapfactor with the idea of doing what Apple did for consumers and doing the same for businesses with apps. These are apps that companies can adopt with one click and manage in the cloud with a subscription model. Four years ago, people called us crazy.
The convergence of cloud acceptance in enterprise and the spread of devices for employees, customers and partners have changed the landscape dramatically. Now, more than ever, people are disinclined to pay millions of dollars to implement technology in a matter of years. Business buyers have become smarter and desire speed and agility. They do not buy – they lease and consume technology. CMOs, however, are quickly realizing that reaching customers requires a mobile first strategy that is no longer applicable for apps crafted for $50,000. They demand real enterprise-grade apps.
On the other hand, IT has a big challenge, depending on size and capabilities. Large IT organizations can afford to learn how to build apps that are critical for survival and to be competitive. This requires not only the skills of experienced app developers and systems integration teams, but also mobile platforms created for the modern challenges of mobility (like Kidozen) and not MEAP catching laggards. Smaller IT organizations cannot afford to customize and are better off with out-of-the-box SaaS apps with low barriers to entry and zero friction for adoption. Some business apps categories apply for small, medium, and large businesses.
Customers are buying, software vendors have evolved, and business apps are now a huge market – proving a different landscape from five years ago, full of new challenges and opportunities. Leapfactor provides apps that fit small, medium and large businesses across industries that can be implemented and go live in just a couple of weeks.
ES: Which industries are fastest to get on board with technology?
LC: Leapfactor is appealing to any industry with field sales staff, door to door sales teams (like ADT, Comcast and Avon), and industries with B2B sales agents on the field (such as L’Oreal, HD Supply and General Shale). The industries that must adopt new technologies lead by consumer adoption are the ones where their own customers force them to update.
Financial, transportation, leisure and retailers are the first to jump, forced by their own customer base and subsequently followed by every industry that deals with customers directly or with channels. B2B efficiency-driven processes disrupted by mobility are probably the last to adopt technology.
ES: Which have been the slowest, and how have you worked to convince them?
LC: We avoid certain industries that have a slow technology adoption pattern or simply face complex regulatory constraints. Those industries are coming to us slowly as they discover the value of our offer.
We focus on industries where we can create value and where decision makers can take what we offer quickly and give it a try. Showing little friction to adopt our technology and proving value to uses and company stakeholders is our best strategy.
ES: Which of your products have generated the most traction? Why?
LC: We are observing traction on apps like that of Aeromexico, which is oriented to consumers, and with apps, such as that of Avon, which is now oriented to both sales representatives and consumers.
Our Salesfactor app, however, is generating the most attention and the most revenues for us. Sales representatives like the app because it makes their lives easier, marketing directors are fond of the sense of “control” they feel for all of the content used by representatives, and management loves the results that we can create by increasing revenues and providing visibility of how representatives use the app and the content.
The Leapfactor platform is a disruptive technology, because for the first time someone provides one app for salespeople to better engage customers, impact the moment of truth and sell more. We integrate CRM systems in a seamless way, feeding the activity of representatives and details on customers’ encounters to systems of record. While representatives use content and swipe through the app, we record actions to provide insightful analytics not only to management, but also to users, to show how other representatives perform and the materials they use.
ES: Why make the decision to go the route of Endeavor?
LC: Miami can be a difficult place for a high-tech startup due to limited expertise from service providers, a shortage of experienced talent, and its very small community of VCs. We contacted Endeavor because we wanted to help others, and in the process, we discovered the effectiveness of their process and the power of their network.
The support for entrepreneurs in Miami is growing, and we are beginning to see the construction of an ecosystem. Endeavor is essential in making Miami a host for entrepreneurs. They have designed a process that undoubtedly encourages and helps entrepreneurs grow and better their vision by interacting with some of today’s top mentors and advisors.