LeadGenius is doing some truly awesome things in the sales enablement space. Recently I caught a presentation of Anand Kulkarni, the Co-Founder and Chief Scientist at LeadGenius in which he started by saying that by 2017 all sales people would be replaced by AI. He went on to explain for the next 30 mins how artificial intelligence is already able to replace so many of the sales person’s common day-to-day enabling those sales people to tackle bigger and more strategic objectives. His talk is thoroughly fascinating.
So, we caught up with Anand to get his thoughts on what building a sales machine in his world looks like.
What is one thing sales reps, in general, should be doing more of?
[Anand Kulkarni] Researching prospects before hopping on the phone with them – or better yet, having their SDR/LDR or marketing units carry this out on their behalf. Reps invest significant time making calls on the phone, but often forget to take ten minutes to prepare. When reps are aware of specific pain points on a call, they waste less time. They may find common historical points by looking at an individual’s social network profile that make it easier to reach a client; in some cases they may end up with a warm introduction.
Another thing that teams should be doing – regularly – is outbound prospecting. Individual reps shouldn’t prospect, since they’re better off spending time fulfilling demand generated elsewhere (and hate doing it), but marketing teams should absolutely have a dedicated outbound prospecting arm.
What are the top 3 tools in your sales stack right now and how are you using them ?
Salesforce is the core of our entire lead assignment stack – as it is for 70% of our customers.
We dogfood a lot, so LeadGenius itself handles most of the rest of our flow – researching, enriching our prospects, and customized outbound prospecting over email.
In the last mile of research, our lead research teams use a variety of tools when helping to provide accurate lead data; Rapportive might be the most useful for verifying contact data, but they also use LinkedIn to look for common connections between our reps and potential new clients.
If you were going to start a new team today what are the first 3 things you would do to get on the right track?
Roll out Salesforce day one with well-defined reports to monitor progress and workflow rules.
Get sales, marketing, and CSM in the same room to sort out well-defined policies on mutually-acceptable customers
Systematically identify and research every lead in one or two target markets, then pitch against their unique pain points (see above!)
Favorite quote, why?
“After product market fit, there are only two excuses for not growing your sales as aggressively as you can: Not being able to hire enough reps without compromising your hiring standards and not having enough leads to keep the top of your funnel.”
That’s from Parker Conrad, CEO of Zenefits (a phenomenal product, and YC brethren). There’s a reason they’re the fastest growing SAAS company of all time, and it’s because they executed on this philosophy to the hilt, systematically identifying and pursuing every possible lead in their target markets. Their funnel was never empty.
Give me one oddball thing you tried in the last 12 months that worked?
I don’t know that this is oddball, but I think this technique is absolutely brilliant and likely to become standard practice. Before a rep starts at LeadGenius, we prospect outbound on their behalf from their own inbox for two weeks, using LeadGenius. When they show up at their first day of work, they’ve already got a full pipeline.
Who are 3 sales teams/leaders that you think are “doing it right”?
- Bridget Gleason did a terrific job propelling Yesware up the food chain before moving on to SumoLogic.
- Bill Munroe brought UserTesting into a phenomenal place by having them focus on upmarket long-term contracts; classic SAAS move.
- Ryan Williams’ team at Adroll knew outbound SDR better than anybody else, and basically wrote the manual on it… which is why we hired him at LeadGenius.
Anand Kulkarni is Co-Founder & Chief Scientist at LeadGenius; a Y Combinator, Sierra Ventures, and Andreessen-Horowitz-backed startup using human computation and machine intelligence to automate sales at scale. Anand was named as one of Forbes Magazine’s “30 under 30” Top 30 Entrepreneurs Under 30 and has published over a dozen papers in ACM and IEEE magazines, journals, and conferences. Anand previously held a National Science Foundation graduate research fellowship in mathematics. You can catch more of his thoughts on twitter: @Polybot, or at blog.leadgenius.com.
See more interviews Anand’s here:
Matthew Bellows – CEO, Yesware
Douglas PB Freeman – VP, Sales at TheMuse.com
Brian Zang – SVP Sales, ShopKeep