The tech unicorn from Utah is building out its platform to not just help sales people manage deals but to track which deals are or are not likely to close in the future
InsideSales, the Utah-based tech unicorn is betting big on artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive analytics with its two latest products which hint towards the future of the company.
Since being founded in 2004, InsideSales has built its products on its Neuralytics engine, which processes a rich pool of billions of anonymised sales transactions that enterprise customers can tap into and enrich with their own proprietary data.
The company’s first application for Neuralytics was for the sales industry, giving reps smart suggestions on when and where to contact leads to better close deals through smarter prospect scoring.
Now, CEO Dave Elkington compares the evolution of the InsideSales platform to that of Netflix or Amazon. You don’t tell Netflix you like horror movies and therefore would like to see more of them, the algorithms do it for you. This is where he wants InsideSales to sit in the enterprise, not just making smart suggestions off to the side like Salesforce Einstein or some of the smarter BI tools do, but to actually do more of the heavy lifting in the background.
So what is the difference between this and Salesforce Einstein? According to Elkington, InsideSales beats out any other predictive lead scoring system because of its underlying, crowd sourced data pool. Other providers that have brought this capability in over time will have to get customers to agree to new terms of service, otherwise they are reliant on proprietary data.
Playbooks and HD Forecast
This drive to more predictive and proactive tools has essentially evolved into the latest InsideSales product called Playbooks, which was announced back in September.
Jared Haleck, VP of product at InsideSales told the Accelerate audience that the Playbook’s version of enterprise AI is built to “help reps find more qualified pipeline”, the holy grail for sales teams.
In practice Playbooks suggests actions in the CRM system based on a prediction of how likely that deal is to close according to the historic, anonymised data. Using data science techniques like regression testing it can suggest the ideal actions based on what has succeeded in the past and perform that action within the platform.
The play part of Playbooks is the suggested actions that the system drives, such as suggesting that a text will be a better approach to a lead than a phone call. It does this by matching the profile of the decision maker that has been identified to similar profiles in the database.
The interesting thing about Playbooks, and part of the company’s big push into being the solution of choice for millennial workers – who don’t spend their time in the system of record, according to Elkington – is the tool follows users around the internet. This allows reps to take leads discovered in non-traditional places like LinkedIn or Crunchbase to be assessed and even brought straight into the pipeline from the web. This means less dreaded data entry.
Then there is HD Forecast, which uses predictive models to determine “in-pipe deals that will close and anticipate deals that haven’t hit yet due to short sales cycles or sandbagging,” according to the vendor. HD Forecast is aimed higher up the food chain, allowing sales managers to predict how their pipeline will end up and take action to resolve any shortcomings or risk factors.
In all, this isn’t AI that seeks to automate sales tasks though, it is the sort of augmentation that Satya Nadella spoke about during Davos earlier this year. As Elkington said at the time of the Playbooks announcement: “This is about science, including big data and AI technology, holding the key to unlocking human potential. To be clear, we’re not talking about robots taking over sales jobs.”
Hospitality customer Caesars Entertainment employs sales reps to sell ‘experiences’ at the company’s 40 casinos and properties worldwide, be that a concert, boxing match or just a trip, to loyal and VIP customers.
The company implemented InsideSales core sales acceleration
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