Gamification plays key role for startups

Gamification plays key role for startups
Mirhan Mandour realised that being mobile-first makes the lives of sales people easier.

Dubai - Ensure ideas make sense, says SalesArm's Mirhan Mandour


Sandhya D'Mello

Published: Sat 14 Apr 2018, 8:42 PM

Last updated: Sat 14 Apr 2018, 10:50 PM

The UAE is a fantastic place to start your business as the ecosystem is quickly evolving for fintechs and startups in different industries, said Mirhan Mandour, managing director of SalesArm.
The digital evangelist says: "Women entrepreneurs are actually encouraged in the UAE, a country where women are occupying leading roles in the government and in businesses, having equal opportunities to prove themselves. Our presence at the innovation hub of Dubai Internet City, In5, has facilitated the setup of our company and helped connect us with key people in the community."
As the world is going digital, organisations are gradually shifting from human to digital channels for client interactions. On the other hand, while human interaction remains necessary, organisations can also digitise their humans, leveraging mobile technology to shift their productivity to a whole new level, she believes.
The in5-incubted startup - SalesArm Digiteam - is an award-winning sales digitisation and gamification mobile solution that helps guide, engage and track sales teams.
SalesArm is designed as a personal digital assistant for salespeople, automatically capturing client interactions as they happen with no need for additional reporting. Accordingly, it allows managers to track and guide teams in real-time, enabling them to give comments and assign tasks. It has a track record with large banks, and has helped them improve their sales productivity by up to 30 per cent. Besides banks and large institutions, SalesArm is also available for SMEs and organisations in all sectors to download on the App Store and Google Play.
"Throughout my professional career working in banks and for banks as clients, I've seen a common problem that most organisations face: a lack of visibility on client interactions. Organisations are not sufficiently aware of the conversations happening with their clients. Who was met, what's the next step and updated deal pipeline," adds Mirhan.
"Most of the times teams on the ground are requested to fill into a system or spreadsheet at the end of the day the number of client meetings that had been conducted but the quality of this data is rarely accurate or reliable." Mirhan realised that the solution had to be mobile-first and has to be very intuitive to make the lives of sales people easier rather than being a burden. That's when the idea of SalesArm was born.
"We started off with a simple version that was piloted at one of the large banks in the UAE. The results were outstanding, with tangible improvement in sales re sults in a short time, and so they were ready to expand to more users and more departments. We also had a lot of learnings from user feedback as to what we could do to make their engagement even better. We incorporated each and every suggestion and created a new powerful version which runs on both iOS and Android and is multi-platform, multi-currency and multi-department," she says.
The success of the tech solution made it attractive to other organisations and the firm is steadily witnessing growth in their client base of banks and expanding to other countries and industries beyond banking.
"Everything we do is about improving user experience and driving engagement, which is why we incorporated gamification. Bringing game dynamics into the sales environment is one of the effective ways to boost team productivity, as they track their own improvement with time as well as compare their performance against peers or other teams," said Mirhan.
On expansion plans, Mirhan explains that SalesArm is focused on leveraging digital technology to optimise the value of the human channel and improve the productivity of teams through gamification.
"We have already won best innovation from Temenos and best fintech from Next Money for the region. Our success is driven by the value we are delivering to our clients, where we have helped deliver ROI in a short time. We have ambitious expansion plans not only to new sectors but also to other geographies outside the UAE," the MBA degree-holder says.
The successful entrepreneur, who is also a wife and a mother, added: "Being an entrepreneur means that there are no boundaries to how long you can work, and that is a sacrifice you have to make as your business becomes 'part of the family'."
"We are blessed with hired help in the UAE, and I am very lucky to have a supportive husband and son. We try to focus on quality family time which is limited," she concludes.
Mirhan Mandour is an experienced professional in the banking field. Besides spearheading the setup of one of the largest retail banks in Egypt, Mirhan has been a senior consultant for local and multinational banks in the Middle East, helping them improve their methodology in wealth management and retail banking sales. Mirhan holds and MBA from the American University in Cairo where she has also earned her BA in Economics.
Advice for peers
'Clients are the lifeline of the business. Understand your clients and prospects inside out especially when you're starting up. Once you get it right, you're ready to scale.'
Things to remember
'Do ensure that your idea makes sense from the customer perspective first and foremost.'
'Don't be afraid to hustle. I actually have to remind myself of that all the time as I don't want to come across as being annoying.'

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