SalesTechStar Interview with Tim Harsch, CEO of Owler
Tim Harsch, CEO of Owler chats about Owler’s new Owler Max platform while diving into the evolution of sales intelligence:
Tell us about yourself and what inspired Owler.
I’ve been in the product specialist space for over a decade now. After graduating from Dartmouth College in 2011 with a Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, I immediately jumped into what would become Owler.
I worked alongside Jim Fowler at his company Jigsaw in 2008. As a contact information database company, Jigsaw focused on crowdsourcing. We quickly realized the importance of company information and began to invest in it. Salesforce bought Jigsaw soon after in 2010 and wasn’t interested in pursuing company information as an internal project, but we saw the power of crowdsourcing. During this period, data wasn’t updated for around 90 days at a time with traditional internal curation models. We took advantage of the early opportunity to derive value from this type of data and built Owler. Since then, we’ve focused on building tools for sales teams to track companies in real-time to make personalized outreach and closing in on prospects easier and more efficient.
Post the Meltwater acquisition in 2021, what has the journey been like?
The Meltwater acquisition in 2021 was a very positive experience for us. The Meltwater team and company as a whole has been very welcoming. You hear a lot of horror stories regarding acquisitions, but we are very fortunate to have joined a very supportive company. Sales intelligence was a new market for Meltwater, but the team made an effort to learn with and alongside us, which has been an incredible experience that allowed us to build the foundation for Owler Max. Since the acquisition, we have successfully launched Owler Max, the industry’s first sales intelligence platform to provide a single source of company data and seamless integrations exclusively for sales professionals, and our community has continued to grow.
What are your thoughts on the evolution of sales intelligence? What in your view are B2B sales teams missing or really seeking?
Sales intelligence once consisted of very little information with sales teams walking into an office with hardcopy documents. We now have everything available online and are better informed, but the data is not in a format that can really be leveraged in the best way possible and Owler Max aims to change that.
I think sales teams are missing what computers do really well, which is gathering and summarizing information and making it available to create a much more personalized experience. The next phase of sales intelligence will leverage tools like Owler Max and AI-powered platforms to help sales professionals sift through the white noise and focus on the tasks that drive deals.
What inspired the new Owler Max platform and what can users expect from it?
We wanted to find a way to make the jobs of sales professionals easier. Owler Max helps teams save time by streamlining tasks so more time is spent on building relationships with prospects and closing deals.
Users can expect really easy, seamless integration into their CRM and communication tools, such as Slack and Salesforce, as well as the opportunity to receive news alerts in real-time to build stronger relationships with prospects. Owler Max is a team tool, so sales teams can share alerts in Slack, whether it’s a two person team of a business development representative and an account executive or a whole selling team that wants to know what’s going on with certain accounts. All capabilities are available in existing workflows, so teams don’t have to spend extra time learning how to take on any new tools; their efforts are better focused on prospects. Users can continue to work as normal, but Owler Max capabilities will arm teams with the right data at the right time for more actionable and engaging discussions with prospects.
When it comes to B2B sales tactics today and the kind of business intelligence sales people really need to drive true ROI, what do you think teams need to be doing more of to ensure they have the right intel and data to further streamline every sales movement they make?
To drive ROI and streamline operations, having the right tools to sort through the quantity of data that’s out there right now is important, and AI supports that. More so, understanding the need for good communication and collaboration across teams to prioritize human value and build stronger relationships that are not just transactional. When teams align empathy in sales and build through relationships, that pays dividends in the long term for sales teams more than anything else.
Seeing how trends, data and salestech is rapidly redefining a lot of core sales values and processes, what thoughts do you have surrounding the future of sales intelligence and B2B sales?
From an approach perspective, empathy is necessary. Sales leaders need to realize you’re dealing with other human beings and building long-term relationships with them, as opposed to the relationship being purely transactional. The value of humans in the sales process is the empathetic nature, versus putting an order in online. I also think we’ll continue to see B2C trends where people are becoming more and more comfortable making large purchase decisions by simply putting down a credit card. People are buying hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of products or services that used to go through a sales process. That part of the market for lower-priced items will become purpley transactional, but it will even more so highlight the importance of really empathic sales.
This combination of empathy and recent DTC buying behaviors will work in tandem. That being said, there will need to be a closer collaboration between marketing and sales within a company; it’ll be that much more important to have a positive brand image to ensure your company is where customers are swiping their card.
Can you share a few thoughts on how you feel salestech as a marketplace will evolve given all of this?
I think the next stage of sales technology is the combination of AI and human intelligence, and the collaboration between the two. This way teams are leveraging the power of technology to have the right information at their fingertips and being armed with the best of what computers and humans do. I don’t think they’ll ever be the point where sales technology is fully automated, but there’ll be more opportunities intertwined between the two going forward.
Owler is the world’s largest community-driven business information and insights platform. Owler provides exclusive firmographic and competitive data on over 15 million private and public businesses, curated from a community of 5 million business professionals. Owler helps professionals outsmart their competition with actionable insights and real-time alerts about the companies that matter to them.
Tim Harsch is the CEO and Co-Founder of Owler, a business insights company bringing transparency to private businesses around the world. After joining the company as an Associate Product Manager out of college, Tim’s relentless work ethic and technical expertise lead him to become the CEO of the company all before the age of 30.
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