On Episode 39 of AI at Work, Matt Walsh, co-founder and president of Noted Analytics, joined us to share his insights and expertise in AI and Sales.From his previous experience in sales operations roles, Matt recounted seeing the power of gathering good information in the field and packaging it in a way that delivered insights back to the team, making them more efficient in their sales cycles. “I thought well, how can we bridge that gap of capturing information that the team collects and package it in a way that actually helps them close more business?” he shared.
That’s the idea behind Noted Analytics - utilizing the data that’s already being captured through meeting notes and making it actionable to drive more revenue.
Noted Analytics is utilizing AI to drive their product. The first step in bringing AI into their work, Matt told us, was auto-categorizing information as it was captured. When the auto-recommended tag comes up, the user can select a check mark or an x, creating a feedback loop to train the model as its being used. With more and more data becoming available, it will eventually become possible to tailor it to a particular user, said Matt.
Matt shared an interesting insight into how he and his team talk about AI to customers during the sales process. The takeaway: AI is not the main focus of these conversations. Customers are most interested in the value proposition of saving customer reps time and creating more efficiency. From an investor perspective, Matt shared, this isn’t an example of technology for technology’s sake. The focus is on “what we're delivering,” said Matt, and “It just happens to be AI that's facilitating.”
In the next segment, Matt transitioned us towards general insights around AI and sales. Here’s what he shared with us in a Q&A session with AI at Work host and Talla CEO, Rob May:
1. How can buyers tell the difference between what’s real and what’s not?
“A lot of buyers are going in having been burned,” shared Matt, and so they’re skeptical at the outset. For Matt and his team, the approach is to make getting started as easy as possible. “We could talk about how much data you're going to see from this. But rather than talk about it, let's put this in your hands. Let's get feedback from the reps, and let the data speak for itself,” he told us.
“That's our approach in general with Noted Analytics - allowing sales reps to work how they want to work,” said Matt. Which means sales reps can continue taking notes in a word doc and still gaining the benefits of Noted Analytics, without disrupting their workflow. “The next iteration of where we're going with this AI is then being able to provide insights back to the rep,” said Matt, looking ahead.
2. What are some of the trends in AI for sales and CRM that you find most interesting?
There’s a big push in automation to get more personalized messages out, shared Matt, noting that at the same time everyone is now bombarded with messages that are seemingly personalized, but really aren’t.
Call recording is a highly useful tool, he shared. There’s a great utility to being able to play back a meeting and analyze “How is that objection handled? Or when pricing came up, how did you handle that,” said Matt. Being able to showcase which approaches are valuable for others to hear has been a big success with other managers, he said.
3. How do you recommend people keep up with the industry?
“It depends on the line of business. Certainly on the marketing and sales side, I think you have to be knowledgeable of it,” shared Matt, saying that he also tries to keep up to date, as well as his technical co-founder who is, naturally, “a practitioner of it.”
“It's such an ingrained part of all companies and technology in general,” said Matt, “I mean, every company calls themselves a technology company now. I read an article about Sweetgreen saying that they're are a technology company, right? They're a platform and salad is their content, as they say. I think that's the mindset, and everyone has to stay current on it, whether it's attending conferences and just meeting other thought leaders and people in that space.”
4. Do you find there are certain types of companies that are more successful with rollouts for tools like this than others?
In his previous roles, Matt shared that he observed the following: “Companies that were willing to experiment, willing to try something and see if it fails, learn from that and iterate were the ones who were successful.” The ones who got too caught up in calculating ROI and the time it would take them to get their money back - general analysis paralysis - were the ones who just couldn’t move forward and fell behind.
As the landscape of available tools changes, it is also essential to change your approach. To illustrate this point, host Rob May shared a story about the advent of web pages, and how those who tried to maintain the same process as for paper graphic design ultimately didn’t see the success they hoped for. With new technology, there’s a need to have a new workflow oftentimes.
5. Do you think about potential ethical issues in the use of AI for sales?
In terms of the future of AI, Matt shared that he believes the human element is going to keep evolving in terms of how we are involved in this technology. Mostly, our touch point of oversight will continue to grow, he said. “Before, it used to be that we are doing 80% of manual work, and then 20% of just reviewing our output. If AI is going to drastically shrink down a lot of those tasks, then our whole entire focus is going to be in that oversight,” said Matt.
Looking ahead, our role will be concentrated on looking at what’s happening, analyzing trends, and jumping in when something seems to have deviated. In Sales, this might look like pushing a person too much, or eliminating a huge group of buyers. People will be able to step in and redirect the AI in these cases, shared Matt.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this Q&A session with Matt Walsh of Noted Analytics. A meta-takeaway, perhaps, is that watching how AI applications continue to expand the realm of possibilities in the world of sales will certainly be interesting.
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