Sales4StartUps first partnered with Fileboard on startup sales events about 1.5 years ago. They had participated in the 500 Startups program and I really loved the pain point that they were solving. Their CEO Khuram Hussain (photo below) had a strong vision for the company and was a real hustler. I recently caught up with Khuram about Fileboard’s sponsorship of the upcoming Inside Sales 2014 Conference and decided to interview him. Check it out below:
Jorge: Tell me about your professional background and what inspired you to build Fileboard?
Khuram: I have an aerospace engineering background but started my career in Information Technology. Before founding my first startup I worked as a consultant and then evolved into business development and sales roles primarily being exposed to Fortune 500 companies. Fileboard was founded when we started looking closely at the impact of mobile on sales. Our conversations with sales people revealed several problems. Ranging from not being able to access sales collateral easily to not being able to share the content.
Jorge: How was your experience at 500 Startups and what are the most valuable aspect of participating in a program like this?
Khuram: 500 Startups is great, the program can be pretty intense which helps you accelerate your goals. There is a lot of knowledge and expertise between the 500 team, founders and mentors. This can help you with all aspects of your business.
Jorge: What is Fileboard today and the vision for the company long term?
Khuram: The vision of our company is as follows: We believe there are a lot of tools and technology to keep an eye on sales people but not enough to help them. We are only just getting started with that mission. Right now we are tackling the challenges around doing live sales pitches without headaches and sharing sales collateral but we will be introducing more products to empower the sales person in the future.
Jorge: What has been your experience to-date and what is your philosophy behind hiring sales people at Fileboard?
Khuram: I think building your own company is an exciting path. Building the right team is critical. My philosophy for hiring is simple, “Keep it real”. I believe that people who fit in with the culture of our company is very important. We want to offer value to our customers and don’t want to play games trying to get clients to sign on to our platform. That mind set is key. We want people in our team who have a genuine interest in helping the customers and not just getting the deal closed.
Jorge: What has been the top 5 challenges that you have faced when building Fileboard?
Khuram: It maybe difficult to name 5 but I will try to name three:
1. There is a lot going on in sales space so you have to work hard to stand out.
2. I think it is important to finding the right platform for your product so whether you are going to go mobile first or web first or a combination is important. Something you should really devote time to understand before building.
3. I think like any other company we also find it challenging to find the right talent. Though we do have the advantage of having an European office.
Jorge: What advice do you give founders when building a sales focused saas company?
Khuram: I think it is really important to focus and understand who the user of your service or product is going to be. Sales is a pretty big discipline and is not enough to just assume that long as your sales person our product will work for you. So really do deep research into who the user of your product is going to be and what their profile is going to be like.
Jorge: Anything else you’d like to share with our readers about yourself or Fileboard?
Khuram: I think there is exciting new developments coming to the sales domain and it is definitely the next area of disruption after years of focus on marketing automation. But at the same time sales is about people and we shouldn’t forget to polish our soft skills.