Margo [00:39] Hi, my name is Margo and I'm going to be your host today. I'm super excited to have Tom Wesołowski, a founder of Edward.ai today on this show. Edward.ai is a software that helps sales teams reduce repetitive tasks and close deals faster. In this episode you will learn how sales leaders can help their teams automate processes, how to make sure sales reps are doing all things right from a regular follow-up message to closing a deal on time and more importantly, how to monitor the work of the whole department without physically being in the office. Are you curious how it will help you see the right numbers in the end of the day? If your answer is "yes", then let's start.
Margo: [01:22] Hi, Tomek!
Tomek: [01:24] Hi! Hello!
Margo: [01:25] So you are a business founder and a specialist in sales. Your main, let's say child, technological child is Edward,ai, a tech solution based on artificial intelligence. And so you've been working hard to be where you are now. Could you say a few words about yourself, how you started and why did you decide to create Edward?
Tomek: [01:49] Yes. We started two years ago and we started from scratch, from the idea to create Edward, which is a powered assistant, to introduce him. To create team we needed to build a whole software platform. I will tell you more about it, but actually we started many, many years ago. We started in business many, many years ago by having our own software house, because this was my beginning in IT business and we've been creating a lot of software projects for our customers. But we saw that software is becoming more and more complicated and the people who are using, don't use it often. So because they don't have time. Because it is also complicated, because they just don't like it. After I quitted my previous job - I sold my previous company, I decided to start with a new one and we decided to create something simple and something really easy to use for people in sales. I mean, not for the sales manager, but for the people who in the field and need something simple to use and something to assist them.
Margo: [03:05] So it was supposed to be for sales representatives, right?
Tomek: [03:09] Yeah, that's right. That's right. They is our target group in terms of using the software. Of course the managers are buying the software, but the sales representatives are using it.
Margo: [03:19] So by creating this solution, you started observing the market, you've understood that there is a need for that. So how did you get this knowledge from the market? How did you get the feedback?
Tomek: [03:33] First of all, as I said previously, we've been running our own software company, so we've been creating a lot of dedicated software project also for the people in sales and we saw how the market is changing, I mean the, a lot of CRM software on the, uh, on the market and in the beginning we wanted to create another type of CRM, but really simple to use and user-friendly. But we saw that this market is so overcrowded and creating an another CRM makes no sense. So we decided to go into the niche as you, as you said, and this niche is called intelligent assistants and the fact is that this niche starts to grow rapidly two years ago because of the popularity of AI-powered solutions. And because of the popularity of a new way of using the software, I mean using the software as a conversation. So you might often see this type of interface when you are using messenger software or when you are chatting with chatbots, which are very, very popular on the web pages and this was the type of interface we wanted to use, but we didn't want to create a chatbot, which is often a misunderstanding when we're talking about Edward rather than creating an assistant which is more complicated and it's more closer to the user than a typical chatbot.
Margo: [04:57] Yeah. This, this important to see difference and not to get into a misconception, but how could you explain this difference amongst small midmarket and enterprise companies and their sales departments? Are there any differences? How do they manage their people? Especially for team leaders, for managers, let's say heads of sales, VPs of sales.
Tomek: [05:22] You mean the difference between small and medium companies and the big companies in terms of management?
Margo: [05:27] Yeah. What I'm actually very fascinated with is that in fact smaller companies and sales teams, which differ from those enterprise companies. In bigger companies, so those bigger companies would definitely have more people to manage. And that have many more problems to solve by sales leaders, by sales managers. So would all of them prefer to use Edward?
Tomek: [05:52] I think that there is a difference in terms of managing people in enterprise and small companies and there's also we see that it's also a better understanding of Edward in enterprise right now. We firstly targeted small and medium companies going to the small and medium companies and we saw that a lot of them even don't use any software to support them. They're working with paper notebook or with excel spreadsheets. Some of them are using CRM, but only for some simple, some simple things. And the enterprise they are using software. I mean they have a lot of complicated software and they have a lot of processes and I think it's the main difference between small and big company. In a big company you have a lot of processes that you have to work with and you need to work according to them because of the size of the company and to work with these processes you have to know them and you have to struggle with the software that was deployed, I don't know, ten or five years ago and it's outdated in terms of interface.
Tomek: [07:01] So when we showed Edward to the enterprise, there were very happy that finally there is a software that they can use very easily for the people in sales and Edward has one big advantage because it can fill out the existing CRM automatically. One of it modules is that connecting to existing CRM and feeling out automatically. And this is the main thing that convinces managers in enterprise to use Edward. Of course all the assisting features are also important, but the data in the CRM for the enterprise is crucial in smaller companies. In small companies, for example, in teams of three, four, five to ten people, they are more with their team. I mean the manager is the part of the team they're selling with them, studying with them and I mean he's in the constant contact with sales reps.
Tomek: [07:56] He's sitting in the same room often and they often, they even don't need the typical CRM to know what is happening. So the data for them, they, they don't realize the power of data yet. So for them we needed to change the communication so we needed to change the communication from filling out the CRM automatically to assisting people and giving assistance features because this is more important for the smaller companies. Also the difference is that the smaller companies, they can quickly change the software they use. So today they are using some cloud solution and tomorrow they can use another one and they have no, I mean no enterprise procedures not to change the software for example. Yeah. So this is also, this is also important that smaller companies using often using more modern software in terms of interfaces, in terms of measures, in terms of functions, then the enterprise.
Tomek: [08:59] But the truth is there are not fully using it in terms of all the possibilities. So often they have, they are changing their CRM, because of one module and then in a few months they're changing it to another one. So that's a big difference between small and enterprise companies. If commit enterprise to sign a deal, you often have this deal for many, many years because they just worked at enterprise. In small and medium companies you can close the deal faster, but then they can change you in a few months.
Margo: [09:34] Yeah, I've been actually talking to heads of sales in companies that have already outgrown those mid-sized companies from the side of numbers of people in a sales department. So they say that basically in many cases they have their own tailored solutions that they create for themselves for the sales department and they don't need such kind of tools like for example Edward or such kind of even Callpage because they have their own and they invest in this kind of solutions. So it's hard to convince them that basically our tools can do something for them. Have you had this kind of situation? So when you were approaching companies with Edward?
Tomek: [10:18] I mean Edward is a different solution because it actually can work on the top of an existing software. So it's only a matter of money if you want to integrate it with your dedicated CRM solution and we see that some of these dedicated solutions often lack the mobile experience and Edward is the dedicated for sales people who use smartphones. So often these companies who are creating their own tailored made solutions, for example, CRM solutions, they want to try Edward, but often they don't have enough money to invest into creating an integration. For example, Edward is a new solution. The whole segment of intelligent assistants is a new solution on the market. So our problem is that everyone likes it and everyone likes to try it, but not everyone is willing to buy it because we are still seeking for the value for a lot of customers because you know them, they don't know what is intelligent system. They don't know how it can really help them. So sometimes it's even trying to convince them to try it and because they say yeah, we like it. It's super cool. We like mobile solutions so it may help our people, but after we will say that, so okay, so let's try it. We have a problem to convince them to do something here.
Margo: [11:42] You should show that there is this AHA moment that's there is this a success they reach at some point, for example, when they use Edward to finally book a sales call and then closing a deal in the end. They see the value. That's basically it has facilitated them to close the deal indirectly. Right? It's not about, it's not the software that's closes deals automatically, but it's really facilitates coming to the point of closing the deal much faster than they would ever do using their CRM using a piece of paper or using the Google calendar in their phone.
Tomek: [12:31] A time-selling solution is also an argument for the managers, but then you know them is that the solution you provide increases sales. So if you are able to prove that you are increasing sales, most of the managers we are willing to talk with you.
Margo: [12:47] Yeah, exactly. When I've been talking to bigger companies, they basically don't care what their managers are doing. What they care about is that those managers come to them in the end of the month or when he wants or she wants them to come to the office. Then they should definitely bring those numbers and that's exactly like one job to be done. Have a head of sales and they don't care about anything else. That's how it should be communicated.
Tomek: [13:18] That's true. That's true. But also we often show that if you don't have activities, you don't have sales. So we are working with increasing the activities of the salespeople. I mean calls meetings and especially the follow-ups because follow-ups are crucial in sales, so if you increase them, sales will go up and if you don't even with the best tool you will. You will achieve nothing. So what we are trying to show and during the presentations of Edward, that it really helps to do follow-ups quickly. It really allows you to create summaries, to set up meetings, to summarize the meetings and to have a very strong contact with the customer during the whole process and this is crucial insights in B2B sales where we are competing with a lot of companies to have a contact with your customer, not only one, not only two, but a few times and to following up in a few times because he don't remember about what you said in one or two weeks ago and we believe that increasing these activities, it can be a really game-changer for increasing sales.
Margo: [14:37] Could you describe your tool is working in terms of scaling work of representatives? What is this journey of, let's say sales rep talking to a customer for the first time and then along corrode or maybe a bit short, shorter road because of Edward to closing the deal. How does it look like?
Tomek: [14:59] So the first step is to install Edward on your mobile phone because it's a mobile app. So the manager chooses the team members to be using Edward. They're installing Edward on the phone and a manager has information about them in the web dashboard and after they do that, Edward hooks many data points, like phone calls, like meeting, meeting the calendar entries, emails and so on, and based on the data points, it pushes sales reps to do actions with customers. For example, right after the phone call, it pushes them to create a follow up with customers and allows them to create a summary of that call using a voice. So he's calling the customer. A customer is calling him back. He sees all history relation in front of the phone screen.
Tomek: [15:54] If you don't remember what you said last time, right after the phone call, you have a push notification from Edward to create a followup and you can simply say the summary. For example, we schedule up a meeting about an agreement next Wednesday at 11 and Edward will understand that and we'll create a followup automatically. It's an intelligence note that it's very simple to use and you don't have to remember about setting up the follow-ups manually. This is a typical scenario connected with a phone call and of course manager has a dashboard so he can see all the actions in the real time so he can see that the sales rep called the customer and what was the result of the call and he doesn't need to ask the sales guy if he did the followup, what was the result, because he can see that in the front of the screen and Edward will push the sales guy to do the next action so he would have pushed him to create the followup and the followup to do the actions to close the deal and he will also ask him if he closed the deal or not.
Tomek: [17:06] So this is more like an assistant for a sales guy who is acting as a junior manager and Edward pushes him to actions and of course for example, at the end of the day or at the end of the week, Edward summarizes all the actions in the email. Not only for the sales guy but also for the manager. So this summary can be used for one-on-one meetings. For example, every week manager is meeting the members one-on-one and he can prepare for a meeting based on the data from Edward, which was gathered automatically, so it's super simple in front of interface, but it's quite complicated in terms of data it gathers, but that is said this data is crucial to knowing what activities lead towards results. So for the manager, it's very important to have all this data.
Margo: [17:58] Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Yeah. That's also one of the jobs to be done of head of sells because they really want to open their computer and see every single one dashboard or just read one report and know everything about what is going on in the sales department. So insights, that's what you mentioned?
Tomek: [18:17] Yeah. Because they don't have time for often they ask the if they, uh, if they also need to use the assistant or only people in team, we say that they may use the assistant, but the most important thing for them is the dashboard that is available on the computer because this dashboard is crucial in terms of insights and data and drawing conclusions for the managers.
Margo: [18:52] Yeah, right. I started thinking about what drives sales and what really determines the successful end result. So as you mentioned that you discovered that if sales representatives do more follow=ups, then it's automatically leads to more closed deals. Have you already noticed that there are some other connections between some actions and positive end result of a of sales reps doing this kind of things?
Tomek: [19:21] Okay, so the amount of follow-ups that lead to closed deals is not our discovery because it's well-known that you have to have over five follow ups to close the deal. The only thing we discovered is that Edward really simplifies the way of creating follow-ups and pushes the sales guys to do the follow-ups. And we also, uh, we also see that after they started using Edward, they increased the effectiveness in terms of activities. So they do more phone calls. They schedule more meetings. I mean the before Edward, they may have some meetings, but we didn't know about them, but not right now. That is controlling all the meetings in the calendar and the as the follow-ups, creating follow-ups and doing follow-ups in a very easy way. I think that's the most important things in terms of closing deals because no matter if the deal's a deal will be close to one as a lost. It shouldn't be just left and left without following up. So if you follow up, you know, what is happening. If you don't follow up, you simply have a lot of deals that you don't know what to do with.
Margo: [20:34] Do you think that it's possible to first analyze this journey for potential clients from being a potential client to a closed deal that if you use Edward more or if you're doing something, some special, uh, activities like more calling, emailing or I don't know, just doing some more interactions with these potential customer then does it mean that a sales cycle can be shortened to a very considerable amount.
Tomek: [21:06] Yes. Yes, for sure. For sure. It can be. It can be shortened because you know if you don't have anyone to push you to do follow-ups and to close deals, sales guys often like to have a lot of open deals because they believe that they have opened them all, they they, they will close in the future, but the future may be one month, maybe three months, maybe six months, and after you will have a process and you will know that you have to close six, seven or eight follow-ups, and then you have to close the deal and you will have a tool that pushes you to do that. You're simply close the deal faster and you will faster. Now what is wrong or right with your offer again, because if you have the deal open for many months and you simply don't follow up, don't talk with your customer, you don't know if it will be closed or not. And often at the end of the quarter or the end of the year, the manager sits with sales reps on one-on-one and pushes them to close the deal because they need, they need a result and but sometimes it is hard to do this, for example, in one or two weeks at the end of the day, the end of the quarter or year. So you'll have to work day by day.
Tomek: [22:27] And working with every person in your sales team, I mean for the manager, day by day it's very hard because if you have one or two people, it might work, but if you have more it's simply impossible. So what we are trying to create is a system that constantly works with your team members and says them to do actions instead of working with their manager day-by-day.
Margo: [22:51] Right. Right. So that somehow scales effort of those managers who have to coach their sales reps. So does it also mean that these kind of solutions like Edward will probably substitute some salespeople in the future, that's sales departments will not really need so many sales reps?
Tomek: [23:12] We believe that in B2B sales, it will rather assist people rather than replace them because you know, in B2B sales, especially with bigger deals, a lot of a lot of work is done, is done on the relationship basis and right now the machines are very good and will be very good in, in maybe another repetitive tasks, but it relates to tasks that don't require people relations. Algorithms are not really good with relations. So we believe that especially in the B2B sales it will take a long time to replace, replace human because we simply like to talk. We simply like to meet each other, not to meet with machines. Yeah.
Margo: [23:58] That's a good observation. And um, how do you believe that artificial intelligence is going to develop in the future because you've got the software house experience and background how it's gonna unfold, how it's gonna develop in future? Could you share your own insights about progression of technology?
Tomek: [24:20] I mean, the progress is super fast because as we started two years ago, some of the things were simply impossible. For example, speech analysis in the languages, I mean not, not in the English, English language, creating some sentiment analysis automatically. That was the algorithms that are only available for the big companies right now. You are able to create your own model, your own machine learning, AI to do that. And it's quite simple in terms of in terms of creating. So the first thing in the AI development will be speech understanding speech transcription and a better understanding of what you are saying. I'm in this role, this leads us to the future where you will be able to communicate with the machine and that way I mean the conversation and the example we, when we started in 2016, it was impossible to do the speech and speech transcription in Polish language.
Tomek: [25:28] I mean, only the English language was very good. Right now we have it in, in that world and it works pretty well. Not to mention the English, which is almost perfect for right now. So this, uh, this technology connected with speech recognition and language transcription, I think it is one of the technologies that will really grow in the future and also analyzing sentiment and so on, and also the big players, for example, like Salesforce or Dynamics are also introducing these tools to analyze sentiment of your sales calls to analyze how to react during the call to make it more efficient. The second thing is the data analysis and focus because the holy grail of sales is too be able to focus what will be the future sales of your company and having a lot of historical data and having an AI algorithm, you're able to make predictions.
Tomek: [26:31] Maybe it's not the best prediction in the world, but it also develops very quickly. I mean all these predictive models to analyze data and predict the future from the data. The third thing, I think the whole intelligence assistance segment will grow rapidly and according to too many companies, it will, it will be a boom for intelligent assistance in the following years because simply the technology is now capable of doing such things. Not only their systems for the big players like Google assistant, Cortana and Alexa will be, will be used and because often in the companies you need some dedicated solutions for your needs, just like Edward is dedicated to sales process, or any other B2B assistant will be dedicated and fit it into your and into your process. So right now in the companies they often use chat bots on the web pages, but they don't use intelligent assistant to help people in the field or in the office. And this will change in the, in the following years. And we believe that this is our niche and we will like to specialize in it.
Margo: [27:42] Those predictions given just are just in line with what I'm thinking about the field and probably also resonate with our listeners. So could you also say where, um, where people can find you and also start a conversation on a new technologies and new technologies enabling sales? Where to find here?
Tomek: [28:03] if you would like to find me, you can find me on linkedin. I'm available to talk with any of you about artificial intelligence, about sales. So feel free to contact me and if you'd like to try Edward, simply at Edward.ai web page, you can sign up for a demo, you can download the app and sign up for a free trial to use and try the experience of using Edward. And our experiences says that after using Edward you will be really happy because over 90 percent of our customers really like using Edward. So it's, it's super promising for us.
Margo: [28:41] Yeah, that means that the users, if they finally decided to take up the solution, the customer satisfaction will be high.
Tomek: [28:49] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, that's right. That's right.
Margo: [28:52] So thank you, Tom, for this conversation and I hope people connect with you and more sales leaders use Edward in the future. Thank you very much.
Tomek: [29:02] Thank you.
Margo: [29:03] Thank you.
Podcast moments that will matter to you: