#54 - Product Innovation: How the combo of AI and a Sales rep can increase sales productivity by +80%

An interview with Ilan Kasan, Co-founder and CEO of Exceed.ai

This podcast interview focuses on product innovation in the sales & marketing space that has the power to increase sales productivity by over 80%, and my guest is Ilan Kasan, Co-founder and CEO of Exceed.ai.

Product InnovationIlan has built an 18-year career in general management and product management for leading global technology companies including, Cisco, WebEx, Comeet and others. During this time, he’s proven to be a successful product leader with a track record in product, user experience, sales, marketing, and building products users and enterprises love.

September 2016 he co-founded Exceed.ai around the belief that sales reps time is precious and shouldn’t be wasted on menial, error-prone tasks. As such, they developed an AI Sales Assistant that automatically contacts and engages every lead in a personalized and timely manner in order to qualify and book meetings directly on the reps calendar – allowing the reps to be laser-focused on high priority prospects. This triggered me, and hence I invited Ilan to my podcast.

We explore the challenges every salesperson has in performing in their job and how the bulk of their time is spent on tasks that don’t use their competence in an optimal way. We also assess why a combo of Sales + AI delivers better results than simply trying to replace Sales with AI.

Here are some of his quotes:

“I was exposed to what I would say, the middle of the funnel, how difficult it is to manage a huge stream of leads.

I saw how much time reps are spending in qualifying, getting back and trying to set appointments, talking to the wrong people. How many leads that marketing created, nobody actually does anything with them, or follows up one.

So I understood that there is a real problem here that is not necessarily related to the size of the company, but rather the nature of the business.

The problem is that when you get all those leads at the top of the funnel, you get a lot of noise.

It takes a lot of time to work through all the leads and filter out the noise, it’s a very manual process.

And we said, okay, this is repetitive, it repeats itself. So let’s find a way to automate it.”

By listening to this interview, you will learn three things:

  1. That to stand out in your market you have to deliver value beyond what ‘the others’ are delivering. Going the extra mile pays off – and sometimes this means pivoting your business
  2. That the value is in the data – and often the data is not there – meaning you have to find clever ways to gather it. This way you are not building a product, but a platform that gets smarter and smarter with every interaction.
  3. How your biggest competitor is often ‘doing nothing’ because of inertia or simply being skeptical (or fearful). The ultimate way out is positioning.


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About the author

Sales Pitch

Ton Dobbe is a former B2B software product marketer who's on a mission to save mission-driven SaaS CEOs from the stress of 'not enough' traction. He's the author of The Remarkable Effect, the host of the Tech-Entrepreneur on a Mission podcast, and writes a daily newsletter on the secrets to mastering predictable traction.