How one company is using machine learning to help the sales process

Photo creds: Unsplash

SalesLoft, a company that focuses on sales development, has grown remarkably since they were founded, now focusing on their “ethical sales” product called Cadence. This platform uses deep learning and machine learning to make great salespeople that can sell without spamming or smiling and dialing. By making the sales process more natural, more organic, their clients use Cadence to understand the “buyer profiles” of prospective clients by classifying them into psychological profiles based on information obtained about them through the service. The tech will basically crawl the internet for these people and build profiles that let the sellers know how to interact with them.

One of the keys to selling is getting a process that works and sticking to it. This can be difficult for the “natural salesperson,” because generally speaking their main gift is the ability to just talk to people, to connect with them. While this is great, modern sales teams need solidified processes and plans to ensure that things are being done according to plan 100% of the time. That’s where Cadence comes in, allowing sales teams to set up tried and true processes that help guarantee you’re giving every prospective client the right amounts of attention, at the right time.

I had the chance to talk with Kyle Porter, founder of SalesLoft about Cadence and the tech that goes into it. I also had the chance to talk about their Rainmaker Conference (being held in Atlanta) and the future of the company.

So, how did Cadence come to be?

The best sellers in the world are going about sales in a more sincere, human, empathetic and 1 to 1 way. Before Cadence, we’d find they were still working very hard to do it in a process orientated, repeatable, scalable way. So SalesLoft saw the opportunity to build an engine that would allow these customers to take the data we were providing them and turn them into customer accounts in the best way.

I remember, we sat down at dinner one night with the leadership team and we bounced around ideas, and Cadence was the name that came out from the name of the product perspective. We were talking about things like rhythm, we were talking about more normal names like “Live Call Process,” things like that, so Cadence came from that conversation and it’s been really an amazing thing ever since.

Cadence uses machine learning, correct? How does that work?

In terms of deep learning and machine learning there’s two things that we’re doing right now. One thing is we’re leveraging technology to allow us to understand the personality profile of our buyers, so as our users are inside of the SalesLoft application, the system knows who they’re trying to contact and is going out on the web and is using technologies to identify the characteristics of those folks and classify them into psychological profiles. Then those profiles are delivered back to the seller so they know whether to use a joke, whether to be colloquial, whether to be super professional – you know, whether they need to be very blunt and to the point or if they can have good storytelling time.

That’s been really awesome in terms of helping our buyers connect with their buyers. Another thing we’re doing is using analytics and intelligence and really predictive insights to say, “Ok, this method is working, this method is not. Whether it’s this many phone calls this time of day, these templates, really getting smart on the types of activities the sellers are using to connect with their buyers and improving the processes through that type of big data analysis.

Tell us about Rainmaker, your conference in Atlanta, Georgia. What’s it about? What kind of people and businesses do you expect will attend?

We’re hosting our Rainmaker Conference in less than a week, at the beginning of March, in Atlanta, and this is the 3rd Rainmaker Conference that we will have hosted. It’s an unbelievable time to bring the industry together to talk about this transformation that we’re going through from legacy sales teams into modern sales organizations. What’s happened is, is that sellers from around the world have either been deficient in one of two categories. Either they were great at human connection and bad at sales process and repeatability. Or they were great at repeatability and process, but bad at human empathy and connection 1 to 1.

That’s all changed now with this modern sales movement, where organizations are starting to make the transformation and the best sellers around the world, they have to be that human side of 1 to 1, sincere, authentic, ethical, connected, but they also have to be that repeatable, scalable, process oriented, driven by science and math – ya know, this scientific side to process-oriented sales and when you combine those two things it really makes a huge difference.

So, we’ll have our closest friends and customers, over 500 of those folks, come down to Atlanta and participate in the SalesLoft Rainmaker Conference, where we’ll have industry best practices, great speakers and industry influencers, and really take this industry to a whole other level. In terms of attendees for Rainmaker, what it really is is modern sales leaders. So, it’s directors, VPs, even executives and and founders of fast growing organizations. Really, companies in the mid range of the 100 to 500 employees and companies in that mid-enterprise, 500-5,000 employees. That’s most of the attendees, we’ll also see VPs of Sales, directors of sales, directors of sales development, a little bit of marketing in there, but really folks who are totally focused on converting target accounts into customer accounts.

Anything exciting going on over at SalesLoft these days?

You know, there’s lots of exciting things that are happening at SalesLoft right now. One of them, is that the larger organizations have started to call. Because we built the first ever sales email solution that’s combined with a sales voice solution, we found some of the large organizations are started to get excited about what we’re doing and looking to move off of their legacy voice services onto SalesLoft. So really, what we’ve done is be able to become an enterprise-grade voice solution while also being an enterprise-grade sales email solution.

Another big thing that we’re doing is building lots of workflow and process around account engagement. The account-based movement is strong right now and company’s are realizing the best way to generate revenue is to identify their target accounts and then apply a process that’s not just sales, that’s not just phone and email, but also includes some marketing coordination and orchestration, so we’ve gotten into that game where marketers are able to lay out a plan for how sellers can engage in their target account, while the marketers themselves are doing things like running ads, sending direct mail, sending over swag and inviting them to events. So, this is really an exciting time for SalesLoft to build an account-based sales engine that does all of those things.

What does the future hold for SalesLoft?

You know, SalesLoft really had a transformative 2016, where we were able to triple the run rate of our core product in the year and really establish ourselves as a sales engagement platform across the industry, and the industry itself is really warming up to this product idea. I think, as a solution set, companies are coming to us now raising their hands saying, “Hey, we’re ready to buy this thing,” before they even heard from us.

It’s just the market is starting to pick up steam and become a category, so for 2017 we’re going to more than double the size of our run rate of the organization. We’re going to grow from 100 folks to 180 folks within the year, so lots of headcount growth. Really, what we’re going to do, is build this platform out to be the number one application and solution in the marketplace to help company’s convert target accounts into customer accounts by holding the team accountable to executing on a process and rhythm of communications and touch points in order to connect and qualify their customer opportunities.

This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.

This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.

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