The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 4 years ago

Arun Lal on How Salespeople Can Utilize AI for Content Creation

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

There are new tools out there to help sales reps cut down the amount of time it takes to find the right content, organize it, and put it into a pitch that is going to be compelling and move a sales cycle forward.

Today’s guest is Arun Lal, cofounder and CEO at Contiq, a new startup in the bay area that’s bringing a product to market that should drastically reduce the time it takes sales reps to create content.

Find a breakdown of this episode here.

We're listening to the BTB revenueexecutive experience, a podcast, dedicated El, an executives train theirsales and marketing teams to optimize growth, whether you're looking fortechniques and strategies, wor tools and resources. You come to the rightplace. Let's accelerate your growth in three to one: Welcome evyory one to theB to be revenue executive experience, I'm your host, Chad, Sanderson andtoday we're going to be talking about AI and content creation. How there arenew tools out there that are helping sales raps cut down the amount of timeit takes for them to find the right content, organize it put it into apitch that is going to be both compelling and move a sales cycleforward. In order to do that, we have with us a ruined law, cofounder and CEOat Contikue, a new startup out of the bay area which is bringing to market aproduct that is going to help drastically reduce the amount of timeit takes for sales wraps to create content, and so, let's begin bywelcoming a room to the show today. Thank you very much. Fo'R Takeng a timeit's great to have you on great to be here excellent, so we always start withthe kind of off the walk question. Just so our audience, you get to know you alittle bit better, would love to hear about kind of a defining moment in yourcareer, something that happened, that you took lessons away from and maybe goback to over and over something that was really impressionable, hmm sure soyeah Chad, one experience that comes to mind is you know. I was at V ware, Ilid product marketing for the VV, clad suite or the software to find datacenter, and we were in a meeting with the CIO British delocom and pitchinghim on consolidating all his data, all thedata centers. They had into a very new modern data center that was built on VNwhares latest technology, which is the software to find data center. So we were at the VMR briefing center andthere was a group of about fifteen people from British delacom, includingthe CIO in the room, the AE the Accounte Zack was there. I was there and very interestingly, the the CIO Britishtelicom asks Hey, I, a by the way just to set somecontext. Thet was about two weeks before the quarter was about to closebout. Seven million dollar deal was on the line and it was December fifteen and we were inthe last stages and everybody was getting excited close the deal, and here comes that the see I was thereand he asks hey guys. I love what you guys are doing with. We have alwaysloved we and were products we a d. We Love Your Vision for the Softar to finddata center. But can you give me some reference architectures fromdeployments that you might have done in Europe in other telecom companies...

...and then he asks another question. You know the softar define data centeris so modern and such a new technology. Can you give me some best practices formy organization and the kind of reskilling I need to do to you know to get the most impact andbenefit of out of this Yeu architecture and the third question he asked was youknow I went to microsaft a few days ago and I heard I heard a very similarpitch, and can you give me some bench marks on youknow if a similar stack was developed on vnwarestack versus a microsofts tackand what the key metrixcs would look like across these tags? What thosebenchmarks would be so he asked all these three trickyquestions and I was looking at the sale ky and the Sales Sgay was looking at meand as soon as the meeting ended, he asked Hiw. Do you have thisinformation? I said no, and I asked the the sales got. Do you have some ofthis information? He said no and essetially all help ROKclose after the meeting, because we started to scramble to get all theinformation needed to to answer these questions, and given itwas December, fifteenth half the people were on vacation. We tried reaching outto the professional services guy in the MEA and asking if he had some depoymentand some details Ar ound deployments, but at the end of the day, whathappened at the end of the quarter was we last the deal ouch and that cut me to a very pivotal pointin my career and sort of a defining moment, and that moment was, I felt,like you know via were: is a company that's trying to grow from manybillions dollars to the next billion of dollar billions of dollars and the mostimportant function of a companies to create revenue? Yet all the salespeople have such a hard time getting to the information that they need to goand close deals and need the information needs of theircustomers, and I was Alli started wantering. Whyare the enterprise sales people who are at the tip of the sphere, for you knowthe strategy of a company? Why are they so unsupported and that pivotal moment kind of Lekt tothe birth of Cantakue, the startup I' working on is how can we enaall the salesperson?Do deliver highly personalized, highly taylored presentations and pitches to theircustomers and get the information needs that they have made the needs that their client met inthe most efficient and automated way, so that was kind of the Birthof Cantig,and that was a pretty important moment...

...in my career, which led me to start thecompany with Michael Founder, who else who I also met at Beinwere. So that'swhat's Vori excellent, and so that I mean that there's a lot there right, Imean there's thego whole content, curation part, but I also know yourecently gave a talket sales. Three Point, Oh entitle pitch perfect and itdeals with ai in this. So coul Yoa help me understand where the where the AIinterest came from and how you started to lay that in yeah. Absolutely so fundamentally, I amproud to admit I am a geek. I I've been absolutely fascinated withthe AI computer programming since, as as a teenager and I've been reading more and moreliterature about Ai- and I got super fascinated with the AI in the lastabout five to six years, when the breakthrouhs, with the deeplearning and came about so ticks like tents or flow,I think tensor flow came out a little bit later, but the programming language are came intobeing in a more dramatic way. The computers got to a point that wherethey were fast enough to do a lot of the processing and and I've always been taking classesin ai on Corsera or any of the other online courses, and I took a course with the University ofWashington, my amamater on AI and overappear about six weeks. I was ableto write a simple program that was doing a text classification, so whatthe program did was it could identify if a speech was delivered by one of the you know about about ten precedents, so espencially the program was Yeuwould give it a speech, and I would try and decide which precident gave thatspeech without knowing which precident wrote that speech to beginwith. Sois it processing audio or is it processing just the text? It just textfor started tax, so I was able to do that got very fascinated. With textclassification and Anand Concept Search wrote a simplealgorithm where you can search for a concept, let's say competitivedifferentiation and or value proposition, and and then Iwent back to my experience at Vea, where, where we have having such a hardtime, you know finding the right content that we needed. The idea we came up with was what, ifhe fooled all the content that existed in the enterprise and got people toconnect their silocs of content, and if you could run concept search on top ofall that content, then you could very preclisely and quickly locate the content that you need, for example,Best Practices for...

...the softwar tofind data centerdeployments, stuff like that and so okay. So this is a. This is a veryfocused application of AI, but I as a huge topic right, a lotof Tas people s there I mean, let's just put it blettntly a lot of themfreak out, because Rit really understand what it is. Or now you gofrom everything from Hey heyeis going to replace me to. How do I leverage it? You knowthose that, like in this instance, how do I leverage it to make my job easieror to help an organization be more efficient? I'm kind of curious, I wouldlove your take on. You know Ain sales like what's your kind of view on it,and should some of these enterprise reps be freaking out or not yeah. So I think, there's absolutely no no credence to being alarmed with aIRAL. In fact, the state of AI, in spite of all the Hopeli AI, ispretty bad at solving generic problems, thatmore sales people have and is very good at solving problems with alarge data set of outcomes and learning very narrowly for a specific usecase ora specific problem, providing very good good sort of results or outcomes whenthe use cases are very narrower. The decision points are very narrow, but ei is not good at general, common senseor General Intelligence and there're, noalgorithms out there that kind of support that so essentially ai the way I see it is great forargmenting intelligence of salespeople in tasks which are fairly narrow, but Imean given what sales people do, which is so broad and complex, and such so much of it as a relationshipbased. I think, th Ai is far from it. In fact, every saled enterpricesalesperson or even sales people should embrace ai and start using them for thenarrow tasks where lots of data exist, and they can use AI to get to a smaller Sert of possibilities which are more applicable to theproblem they might be solving. Even if you've been in sales fordecades, new technology, new buyers and new dynamics create challenges. Yourteam may not be ready for value. Prime solutions enables you to focus on saleson the prospects and customers, not the noise and the sales framework youimplement with them is simple: scalable amdproven check out value PrimeSolutionscom and ask how they can help you be your target, but there's three:Three: general classifications of AI machine learning, deep learning andneural networks, and so yeah you give...

...considering that our audience is.Typically, you know revenue, exact, CMOS shirt, an stuff like that. Can yougive us kind of a quick summary T, a that? My small brain will remember sureyeah these tend to be. These summaries tend to be very helpful at cocktailparties and dinner partis. What have you so? The first one is AIAI. Simply you know a machine, or essentially amachine or a computer applicating what human intelligence can do and we'rereally talking about rational human intelligence. So that's that's thesimple definition for artificial intelligence, basically replicatingwhat human intelligence can do and then there's machine learning.Machine learning is a subset of artificial intelligence, and what it's essentially trying to do isthat, given a large pool of results or outcomes and a large set of inputs that led tothose outcomes, machine learning is simply away of fairly predictively getting from thoseinputs to those outcomes. Essentially, the program is or the machine is,learning to predict the outcomes, learning from a large pool of inputs and outcomes, how that's clear,Yeph, yeah and then deep learning is simply a model or a machine that mimics howhuman intelligence works of the human brain works. Essentially, humans have lots ofNeurans and the layers of neurans work together to remember things and learnthings and that same thing being replicated by a computer is what deeplearning is at a very high level. Okay and neural networks- Oh yeah, neueral etworks, areessentially a subset or a technique for deep learning and essentially it'sa representation of the human brain based on the Neurans that we have inour brains. Neural networks are essentially the programatic orcomputers way of mimicking what the brain does. Okay, excellent, and so wetalked a little bit about you know where Ai is stay and you think wetshould be embraced. I'm curious, what do you see in the next five years? Isthere? You know everybody's hearing about you, know Elon, musk and andbuild jelets and theyre talking about the end of the world and all this stuff.It seems a little over the top to me, but I'm just kind of curious from froma general ai standpoint, more specifically from a sale standpoint.Where do you see it going in the next five years, yeah so the next for fiveyears or so I would say well, first of all five years, it were pretty hard topredict. So really, I think what we have visibility into is what air isgood at in thusand and seventeen, and...

I can make some estimates about twothousand and eighteen, that's as far as we can go, because this technology israpidly invo evolving. So I think the future beyond that seems pretty I mean the probability of thevariability is pretty high. So for two thousand and seventeen you know,generally speaking, Ai is good at four broad categories. The first broadcategory is natural language, processing and textclassification, so things like Seri, even Google search, are good examplesof natural language processing and text classification and machine learning allcombined. The second area is perception, so Ithink iand machine learning is getting very good at you know like driving andperceiving objects. Just things like computervision and perception of objects is improving constantly. So that's a bigarea where E is showing a lot of promise. The third big areais aroundrobotics, you know the work that's being done at Boston Dynamics isshowing that AA is getting pretty good at doing simple tasks with which involves some manuallabor and then, finally, I think decision decision making as well as game playing,is in a broad area where is showing crit promise, but coming back to what? How all thismatters for sales, I think for sales is going to be most effective at areas where there's largebools of content which become the basis for a machine tolearn on. For example, you know which whild Sechof customers become the most hypaying customers or which set of customers aremost likely to curn, but you need to provide the machine with a Lara dataabout inputs or the facets that go into figuring out. You know what are the attributes of acustomer fo that determine a certain outcome, so so were large pools of data available and the problems are fairly narrow inthe context of those four categories I talked about, that's where we can see afor sales, really picking up in two thousand and eighteen for sure. Okay-and we talked a little bit about how you know the idea for Contik camearound I'm curious. Can you give us a littlebit more understanding how you're marrying those two things right: th thecontent in the data and the yeah? What help help our audience understand the the breath of the problem? I mean, Ithink anybody who works on an enterprise understands. You reallycan't find anything right. But how are you combining that into asolution gives youter a detail on that...

...yeah sure would laft Os. So what wenoticed was that ther're about thirty five million bittby sales people outthere in the world and we' done some good research, and we found that basedon the complexity of the deal they spend anywhere from three hours to seven hours and by theway this sevenour goes to be m. Many many much much higher of the dealcomplexity or the deal size is much larger. So that's the amount of timethey take to create a pitcher put together all the information requiredfor a very tailore or persoalized pitch and on an average they're going throughat least seven systems or to collect all this information. Thisinformation can be in crm systems. It can be in sales, enablement systems, learningmanagement systems. It can be in you know, in people's head, so you talk tocontent creators to get the right information and that'sa lot of manual searching around or processing that a salesperson has to dojust to get the right information to create a compelling Fitch for theircustomer and then once t letse, you get all this information that takes a longtime to go and edit and refactor this information into a pitch dack and getthe getting all the funds right. Getting all the you know. The pictureste size correctly there's a lot of like time wasted by Salesperson and frankly, nonproductive tasks likeediting and theming to make the the pitcture thepresentation look like right and the third big problem we're looking at isyou know the biggest insights about what works with a customer Ar are theybecome tribal knowledge in most companies, essentially that knowledgeis not easily available. The content, that's one. The most is also tribalknowledge to a large extent, so esetially. These are the threeproblems that more sales people face while creating pitches, and that'swhere a lot of the three to seven hours goes and what we're trying to do withcantikue is take the process of creating Fitch down to thirty minutesfor three hours and then eventually Tho thirty seconds and an an and at the same quality thatsales people are used to you know the the countit is available, all thecontent that that need is recommended to them ar suggested to them and the way we do. It is in this waythat going back to the idea that fied fullall the content that exists in an enterprise and basically, we put what we create, whatwe call the enterprise content lake, the enterprise content lake isessentially where all the silos of relevant sales andmarketing content can be pooled, and then we run concept, search or AI,based concept search on top of that, so...

...a discovery of precise slides, precisesentences is very easily available. The second thing we do is we've createdessentially a simple editor, a lot like powerpoint- and you know it's- Thefifteen percent of power point that sales people use. We made it even easier, so they they can. You know, get theright slides together they can team them. There's one click, loco changes,one click teaming changes and the third thing we've done with Kantiku is wealso enable the salesperson to present through contikue, and they can captureinsihes like how much time was spent on a slide by the way, every pitch is connected toa sales force opportunity or any whichever serum system Yo use. So wealso track whether the pitch was spared I actually on or was part of a winning winning opportunity or not and all thisinformation. All these insights are basically fed back into the enterprisecontent, lege and the essentially, what we're doingis we're rescoring the enterprise content lake based on the performanceof the content. So what happens? There were learning from each pitch werelearning what conted is performing the best and your most effective contentkeeps bubbling to the top. So, as a result, you can now createpictures in thirty seconds or thirty minutes to thirty seconds. Based on howcomplex the deal is and your wind rates improve, because you're now using the most effective content which isgetting presented in your entire company and learningfrom it. Well Nat I mean that's a huge savings. I an I can speak for my ownexperience when we would do complex B to be pitches. I mean seven hours seemskind of light for some of the time that we would put in and granted on my salesteam. I was kind of known because actually knew how to use powerpoint orkeynote, or whichever one it was, but the vast majority of sales people Imean you hear marketing complaing about it all the time you don't want salspeople putting together those presentations because they never are.You know thematically consistent throughout. You will have fons that arescrewed up to be able to really see what works from your top performers andwhat pitches to have that Desinalik. That's a that's a powerful return,especially if you can also do it, while reducing the amount of time it takes toput them together. Yes, absolutely absolutely. In fact, marketing plays akeyrole in this whole sort of ecosystem by making sure that the content thatthey're creating is available in the content lake, but what essentially wins in an enterprise is is, is the most effective contentand that being making that contact...

...available as a learning tool for othersales. People is a pretty powerful way of improving the outcomes for theentire company, Nice so, and so the company is a whole. I mean you guyswere in stealthphone for a while. Obviously, since we're tapping publiclyyou're no yeur, not now but yeah kind of Weir, where are you guys on the onthe growth path and en one ofe the biggest challenges you're facing rightnow? Yeah, we just launched Abeta, so you can go, try it out and most of the discovery capabilities forCantikar out now and we are expecting to have a lot ofthe editing and theming as well as the inside capability is available in Vinthe November late November time frame right after Thanksgiving, so sales people will be able to take it for a test, drive, createpitches and hopefully in three thirty seconds in some cases, but definitely in thirty minutes or so,which are highly personalized and Taylor and and have the insights from other sales people within their companyand see what's winning and what's not winning so that's kind of where we areso we're going to go from Beda to full production in early next year, sometime in January,and the biggest challenge has been just you know. I guess people are a little bit reluctant totry something new and they're a little skeptical and theyhave the provet kind of mentality and we totally embrace it and bringing out anything. That'sinnovative and new has its own challenges. That's, I would say that'sthe biggest challenges you know getting people to look at things slightly differently and proving tothem that it really works, and so for my own etification. If I were to go, dothat Beta? Where does it start to pull content from my? Does it just use mymachine in the Bata? You can uplod content from your machinefrom Google drive and dropbox, so you just need to enter your credentials andall your content is sinked and then you can search a cross, Google drive anddro bark. You can see the Visual Cape, visual search capabilities. You can seethe AI based concept, search capabilities and then we're adding new content.Depositori such as barks and one drive and share point in the next few months,and so I know there's a little off of trackbut whatso I'm because I'm deeply curious about this, because I spend waytoo much time doing presentations yeah so in that instance, okay, I'mproviding I'm an individual, I'm a rep, I'm providing access to all of mycontent. So I guess M. Maybe it's more like a data pond inste yea at thatpoint, but for rolling it out to an enterprise.How long like? How long would it take...

...this system? You guys, I guess you guys,would set up a Daa to like point everything at that and then telleverybody to dump their content into it, because you know sales reps are allcarrying around. You know multiple versions of decks and stuff. How longwere I that type of, are you guys estimating that type of implementationwould take well what we're noticing? So all ourimplementation is actually up and running in less than thirty minutes.It's really the time it takes for the content to sink is the time we needwe've a sint, a pool of about a hundred thousand dacks in less than a day, but really the I mean really, you needa couple of hooks right. One is you need a hook to the company conterrepository that that really takes a few minutes? If you have the rightpredentials, then that's all you need, and then you need a hook to the salesforce system. Individual raps can do them or the the company Adman can do it forthem, but really set up in deployment is less than five minutes. The datathink can take a while, based on how much contert you have. But yeah were we just deployed for acustomer called V, Armor Team of about sixty cales people, and they were upand running in less than a day with all their content sinked they were usingcontig to prepare their pitches and the head of sales. ENABLEMENT isalready reporting that eighty percent of time in discovering the rightcontent is, is disappeared. They've really intractive taken there'sdiscovery time down from thirty from about three hours on an average to less than twenty minutes right now, sothat's randy savings nicely good saving nicely done xsorry. So let's change thdirection here, a little bit Sur, ass, calver, guess kind of the two standardquestions towards the end of each interview. Now you as a cofounder andCEO of of a funded startup that makes you it the politically correct term is aprospect I like to just call like I see it. That makes you a target for othersales people who want to get in front of you and I'm curious from yourperspective. What's the best way for somebody to capture your attention,build credibility with you that you've never met before great question. I think I absolutely appreciatesomebody who has done a little bit of research about the company and about me to know at least have a pretty good hypothesison w a things like what I care about just that level of preparation and creating a vision for how they can potentially add value to my business,or...

...you know whatever aspect of my lifethey might be targeting if they can show a vision around that and it seemslike they've done their homework and they're not pushy and thathat. That would definitely get myattention. Okay and so ask question. We call I our acceleration insight. Therewas one thing, one piece of advice or insight: You could give to salesmarketing consultants, one piece of advice that you believe would help them,hit their targets or be more successful. What would it be? And why so I'll give an example? I I mean Ibitche Te vcs a lot and one thing I've noticed that seems towork up really. Well is just what I talked about doing a lot of preparation and building a as complete as a pictureof of the person. As you can, so I fundamentally believe that all sellinghis person to person, so one thing I've started to do- is beyondthe linked Dan and looking at ot their website and looking at their twitter, post or blockpost. I alsostarted going starting to go to their like essentially to their facebook page ornot, not in a creepy way, but just to get a better uneestanding of you know.What are they all about like what do they really care about as a person and and then even talking to somecommon connections and trying to better understand what they care about and not in the first meeting? But one thing that seems to work reallywell is taking a very thoughtful gift, not inthe first meeting, but maybe, as the conversation keeps progressing, that that's very tailored and personalizedto their interests. That seems to do a do quite a bit ofmagic. In fact, one of our prospects, you know notprospert one of our lises who's who did invest in us. He had a huge fashion for books andlearning and based on some of the talking and some discoveryconversations we had. I discovered that he had a passion for AI and and machine learning and there's this book called the. I think it's called the big out the bigalchoristm or the becger algorithm ar try ind tike it up. But this was thisfoundational book about how and machine learning is going to impact business inthe next twenty years in a big way, and I gifted him that and he was absolutely thrilled to get itand he a he told me- he read it within a week or two and he wanted discuss the findings and justdiscuss like how I viewed the impact of AAND technology aitechnology onbusiness overall. So so those are a few suggestions. That's perfect mean thepersonalization, the making sure that...

...they know you're paying attention tothem and trying to see the world through their eyes. It's extremelypowerful. It doesn't take, at least in my experience than take a huge amountof time. Just take some focus. I see a lot of people struggle with that. So Ithink that's some great advice, so thank you, Arrin. I can't think Youreeneugfornow on the show today. If people want to get in touch with you ortalk more about the topics that we've touched on, what's the best way to getin touch with you, yeah just email me Aruna, contatcom,excellent, all right! Well again, thank you very much for being on the show inreally appreciate it. Thank ou so much all right, everyonethat does it for this episode, please check us out of BTB revizeccom sharethe episode with your friends, Families Coworkers feel like woutd. You hearplease write a review on itunes. We do use that input to determine who webring on the show and until next time we avevalue prime solutions wish youall nothing, but the greatest success you've been listening to the BTBrevenue executive experience to ensure that you never miss an episodesubscribe to the show, an itunes for your favorite podcast player. Thank youso much for listening until next time.

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