BII x Squadstack – Revolutionising the Telecalling Industry

 /  By Antje Thoms

When Martin Luther King Jr. asked, “What are you doing for others?”, we understand SquadStack took it a little too seriously. SquadStack is an AI-driven sales outsourcing platform that works with a fully managed on-demand network of inside-sales agents working remotely to boost client conversion rates. Now, allow us to simplify this and explain why BII decided to be a part of the Squad-ron.

When Shikha got married, she didn’t think she will have to quit working due to filial responsibilities. With most well-paying jobs requiring her to commit at least 7-8 hours daily, she was forced to drop out of the workforce. She was only 24 then. Shikha’s story is the story of millions of women in India, and our unemployment figures are staggering. In June 2022, less than 36% of India’s working-age population was employed! This figure fluctuates depending on the season. Out of the 160 million homemakers in the country, 10-12 million are skilled and employable. In some ways, inflexible working opportunities have rendered many employable people unemployed.

Given the above (and accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic), #flexibleworking is emerging as a new trend in India with strong tailwinds. Gig workers are expected to grow to 23.5 million by 2030, comprising ~7% of the non-agricultural workforce. Even according to our respected PM, working from home can be a key enabler to improving labour force participation for women. Creating a high-quality and skilled #workforce for India to progress is also critical. The quality of gig jobs offered by Squadstack are aspirational and aimed at building a ‘career for life’, starkly different from the low-skilled, menial jobs created by the last mile delivery, ride-hailing companies, and others. We see a great opportunity in the gig economy, and in partnering with Squad, we attempt to define the ‘future of work’ in the country.

SquadStack partners with young graduates, homemakers, and existing call centre employees, imparting them training and allowing them to start or restart their careers. The elegant solution is easy for the users to understand. Here is how the app works:

  • The agents work remotely based on their availability.
  • All they need is a smartphone to go live on the platform.
  • Pre-screening tests with a 10% acceptance rate ensure that only the top-quality sales agents are onboarded.
  • Rigorous training is provided to all agents.
  • Post-training, the agents start making sales calls.

The top sales agents help SquadStack’s clients generate up to 2-8x revenue growth in a year. There are around ~2,700 live agents with SquadStack catering mainly to the financial services industry. The best part is the flexibility offered on the platform. Sales experts can work anytime, anywhere and earn higher than they would in a traditional call centre. They are paid daily, can withdraw their earnings from the platform every week, get regular feedback on their performance, and of course, have an abundance of opportunities to learn and grow. While traditional call centres are plagued with the problem of high agent churn, Squad’s agent tenure is 2x higher than traditional call centres, bringing immense value to the client. Some of Squad’s HO employees joined the team after working in the call centres themselves!

With such an inspiring journey and clarity in vision, Bertelsmann India Investments is thrilled by the idea of Squad. It is reimagining the decades-old telesales industry to offer a win-win proposition to all key stakeholders. For most businesses, the customer is the king. SquadStack, while keeping customers foremost, treats its gig workers at par with their customers. Squad has boosted their sales agents’ skills, respect, and financial independence and delivered a meaningful increment in their clients’ top line.

And this is the second part of SquadStack’s story – the story of its clients.

Take Upstox, for instance. Their lead conversion rate has risen from ~22% to ~33% in 6 months post-association with Squadstack. ZestMoney did not want their customers to wait until the next day and found scaling up their customer care team incredibly hard. Partnering with SquadStack, they could process 63 lac+ leads in a few months. Another client, Dr Vaidya, said about Squad, “Working with SquadIQ is more like an extension of our own company than a third party. With them, we can now easily monitor quality control, scale-up campaigns, and handle higher volumes”. 

 Businesses have been dealing with inefficient and low-quality call centres for as long as we can remember. Squad enables these businesses to variable-ize their call centres, where it has disrupted the pricing by linking it to efficiency, resulting in bottom-line improvements for its clients. By supporting its remote workforce through Data and AI technology, Squad also reports enhanced conversion rates for its clients vis-a-vis traditional call centres. Stringent data controls and the highest privacy standards ensure clients’ personal identification information is safe and secure.

 While the stars in our movie are the sales reps, Apurv, Kanika, Vikas, and Rishabh are the directors, working diligently behind the curtains to make all the magic happen on stage. They, along with their strong team, are the reason behind BII’s strong conviction in this new-age tech-driven call centre. Under their leadership, SquadStack has reported a 140% y-o-y growth in revenues with a 1.5-2x gross margin of the traditional call centre model. Their sales agents earn 1.5x more than the traditional industry, with a much higher agent tenure due to the remote work model. And the best part is that the platform has made it possible for the turnaround time spent on each lead to come down by 30x. Talk about delivering exceptional quality with lightning speed!

 As for Shikha, the 24-year-old girl who had to quit working after her marriage, SquadStack took her under its wings, skilled her into a high-performing sales rep, opened a plethora of opportunities, and made her financially independent. Today, she closes leads for SquadStack’s clients, such as Upstox and ZestMoney, earning a stable monthly income of INR15-20k by working from the comfort of her home. She is saving money for her daughter’s education and has reclaimed her lost identity thanks to Squad. And the best part is that she sees her work not as a short-term gig but as a long-term career aspiration. Like millions of people like Shikha, we at BII are delighted that we came across Squad.

BII is optimistic about the ‘future of work’ as a sector that will boom in the coming years. India is rich in human capital, and technologies like Squadstack are optimising the use of this skilled workforce. BII looks forward to associating with startups that share our excitement and passion for the ‘future of work’, which provide quality gig jobs while creating a meaningful difference for the clients and will continue to back founders rethinking employability.