Zero One: Super Bowl, AI, and Closing the Deal
New England Patriots are back in the Super Bowl, making it a great time for closing deals in Boston. Bad weather? All the better, because customers have shown a higher propensity to engage with salespeople when their sports teams are rolling and the sun isn’t shining.
“We know if you live in a representing city of one of the Super Bowl teams, whether you’re an underdog or not, you engage in sales differently,” says InsideSales.com CEO Dave Elkington. “We know that the Northeast during Super Bowl periods react more extremely” than the Northwest.
InsideSales.com’s artificial intelligence engine, called Neuralytics, correlates contextual data such as weather, traffic and sports, with more than 100 billion sales interactions and 100 million unique buying profiles to come up with insights that help salespeople close deals.
Now Neuralytics is going to get a lot more data thanks to a tighter relationship with Microsoft. InsideSales.com, a Microsoft Dynamics independent software vendor, raised $35 million from Microsoft, an existing investor, The Wall Street Journal reported last week.
“It’s more of a product fund,” Elkington says. “It’s a commitment for supporting each other through a very, very in-depth product integration. In six to 12 months, you’re going to see elements of our consumption of Azure and our integration into things like the Power BI and the Enterprise suite, LinkedIn and Office 365.”
Data from LinkedIn, Office 365, Skype and Cortana will add fuel to Neuralytics’ predictive efficacy, although it’s not clear how much. InsideSales.com says its customers already experience a 20 percent revenue boost from AI-generated insights. An additional 10 percent comes from higher productivity – more phone calls, more email – via InsideSales.com’s tools.
At least one customer, AvePoint, an independent software vendor, envisions a bigger pipeline.
“We are long-standing customers and partners with both InsideSales.com and Microsoft,” says Tom Lin, corporate vice president at AvePoint. “We believe the combination of InsideSales.com and Microsoft data can bring even more value to our sales teams who are constantly looking for increased predictive power around who to engage and how to engage them.”
InsideSales.com’s go-to-market strategy will also be impacted by its tighter relationship with Microsoft – specifically, its ability to make use of the channel.
Part of the plan calls for migrating InsideSales.com’s core technology away from Amazon Web Services and onto Microsoft Azure. This will give InsideSales.com access to Microsoft’s channel partners who are incentivized to promote Azure and sell products on it.
Today, 90 percent of InsideSales.com’s sales are direct, but “you’ll see us engage much, much more with the channel partners,” Elkington says.
Tom Kaneshige writes the Zero One blog covering digital transformation, AI, marketing tech and the Internet of Things for line-of-business executives. He is based in Silicon Valley. You can reach him at email@example.com.