Eilon Reshef, Co-Founder and CPO at Gong speaks about their latest release: Engage and how it’s set to impact how modern sales teams function:
Welcome to this SalesTechStar chat, Eilon. As a salestech veteran of sorts, we’d love to hear about your observations and key takeaways from the changing salestech ecosystem: what key trends are you seeing today that are redefining the scope of salestech?
This is an exciting time to be in salestech; advances in AI are poised to have a huge impact on the way that sales teams work. One of the most exciting applications of AI in salestech is the potential to remove the drudgery and mundane administrative tasks that sales teams can spend so much of their time on. Reps spend 77% of their time on non-selling activities – we believe this needs to change.
Since we started Gong in 2015, we’ve been using AI to help revenue teams increase their efficiency and close more deals. And through this, we’ve accumulated a robust dataset of billions of sales interactions and have analyzed them to deeply understand context, intent, and outcome. We recently released our own proprietary generative AI models, trained on this corpus of sales-related data, that can identify events like customer objections, deal with risks and opportunities, and generate accurate and relevant next steps. These models will help sales teams reclaim the time they spend on administrative work and free up more time for relationship building and selling.
We see AI as acting like a “co-pilot” to sales professionals, freeing them up to spend more time generating pipelines and closing deals, and we’re excited to see how it reshapes the industry.
We’d love to hear about Gong’s latest product Engage and how it’s built to help sales teams accelerate their goals.
The mission at Gong remains the same since its inception in 2015 – to uncover the insights and information that help people and companies reach their full potential. Engage is a testament to Gong’s commitment to advancing this mission. According to our previous research, sixty-one percent of sellers don’t know where to focus their engagement efforts. Engage empowers sales leaders and bolsters engagement with insights, recommendations, and visibility starting from the initial conversation to the post-purchase follow-up with a customer.
Engage leverages AI to surface recommendations and insights that are more accurate and personalized—enabling sales teams to optimally develop their customer strategy.
We’ve built Engage to help sellers:
- Make intelligent recommendations on accounts: Understand historical data to recommend the best contact and surface all key buying signals.
- Reduce administrative work for sellers: Create highly accurate summaries of meetings and action items, categorize prospecting calls and emails, and assist with writing.
- Centralize all sales and prospecting functions: Provide analytics and deals dashboards and connect with various partners, including LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Chili Piper and Calendly.
When building out Gong’s newer product enhancements and features, we’d love to hear about some of your internal processes: what product building/product development frameworks do you follow to drive product growth and goals based on changing industry needs?
As with all of Gong’s product development, we focused on removing the drudgery from the day-to-day life of a salesperson at every touchpoint. We increasingly hear from customers that revenue teams want a single place to conduct business – and that place is Gong. So our product development is focused on the idea of Gong as a salesperson’s front office. What can we deliver to make their lives easier? What can we bring into the platform that might have traditionally required a clunky integration to achieve?
Gong’s product teams work in a pod structure. What this means is that for each area of the product (say: sales forecasting), there’s a dedicated pod, which consists of an engineering team, a product manager and a product designer. That pod works closely with design partners in this area—companies who are interested in new and not-yet-existing functionality. In this process, the pod figures out the needs of those customers, prioritizes them, and releases new functionality based on this assessment. Gong works in a continuous release mode of operation, which means that new versions of the software are released to design partners on an ongoing basis – as often as multiple times a day. This allows our teams to iterate quickly and ensure the solution meets real companies’ needs.
Once a capability is deemed ready for broader use, we release it in a so-called limited availability to dozens or even hundreds of additional customers. Once we collect data and feedback from this phase, we make the product generally available across our customer base.
How do you feel sales teams and sales leaders today can better capitalize on the use of AI across their sales functions and stages, while talking about this, we’d also love a few snippets on what common faux pas should be best avoided.
Leaders must understand that AI is not a panacea and avoid throwing the technology in for technology’s sake.
Where AI excels is by being able to scale up the understanding of what’s going on in the market, and by helping make informed decisions.
If a leader expects an AI system to pop up and tell them which salesperson to hire, that’s probably premature, and they’re likely to be disappointed.
But, if a leader wants to know, for example, whether all their salespeople are following the latest company message, an AI system can do that more accurately and much more quickly than a human. Similarly, if a leader wants to know what type of behavior is the right one – say, what account strategy leads to the most success – they can employ AI, which will first capture all of the interactions with customers, then turn this into data, and finally help leaders understand how the data indicates what good looks like.
If there was one thing that you could ‘’fix’’ about B2B sales, what would it be?
The one thing I’d most like to fix in B2B sales is to figure out a way to transport information from one person’s brain to another.
Today, most of the information about sales – where the customer stands on making a buying decision, how the salesperson is performing, and so on—really resides in a salesperson’s head, as they’re the ones who spoke with a customer last.
Consequently, there are numerous meetings and mechanisms to try to (poorly, if I may say) transport information from one head to another. Think of meetings like account handoffs, account handovers, pipeline reviews, account strategies, meeting debriefs, meeting preparations, and more – they are all about transferring information from one brain to another. But this can be prone to subjectivity and recall – not to mention it takes time. It’s not the best method of transferring knowledge accurately.
At Gong, we are partially solving this problem by analyzing customer interactions and making it easy for one person to consume the key highlights using AI.
But, in all fairness, if there were a way to simply make it possible to transport the information from one head to another, I think that B2B selling would be on a different level of efficiency and effectiveness.
Gong enables revenue teams to realize their fullest potential by unveiling their customer reality. The patented Gong Revenue Intelligence Platform™ captures and understands every customer interaction, then delivers insights at scale, empowering revenue teams to make decisions based on data instead of opinions.
Eilon Reshef is Co-Founder and CPO at Gong
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