May 08, 2019 by Stefan Groschupf
I’m thrilled to announce that Automation Hero is now publicly available. Automation Hero is an advanced sales AI automation platform, offering the first proactive and adaptive sales AI assistant – Robin.
After I helped bring Hadoop to life (now a $40 billion market), I founded Datameer, a company focused on big data business intelligence. With the help of my team, we built the company from an idea with three boxes on a paper napkin into a leader in the data analytics space with close to $100 million in VC backing. We managed to double bookings six years in a row. How? The secret sauce was a very data-driven approach to our marketing and sales process.
The sales data dilemma
We urgently needed high-quality data to optimize our sales processes but it became very clear that we were wasting the valuable time of our sales reps on data entry. But all sorts of processes and systems depend on quality data. We were facing the “garbage in – garbage out” problem, meaning sales or marketing automation or forecasting is only as good as the data in your CRM system.
I’m sure you’ve heard, “If it is not in Salesforce – it didn’t happen.” In fact, sales reps on average input about 300 CRM updates a week. Meanwhile, 79 percent of information a sales rep has doesn’t even make it into the CRM and 58 percent of respondents to a Salesforce User’s Benchmark report believe that less than a quarter of data is actionable and trustworthy.
Making sales human again
As I thought about this problem, I realized how completely broken the entire sales process is these days. We hire great sales reps based on their human interaction skills and then turn them into data-entry robots following made-up sales playbooks. Sales reps spend only 37 percent of their time selling and the rest of their time is wasted with pesky, repetitive tasks.
Salesforce’s “State of Sales” report found that a positive customer experience is the biggest sales challenge organizations are facing. This is an even bigger challenge if sales reps only spend 37 percent of their time talking to customers. It’s time to rethink our sales technology stack and processes. In 2018 we can’t have our sales reps, arguably the most valuable company resource, type data into a slow and clunky database front-end (a.k.a. your CRM system). In fact, I would pose the question of whether we need CRM systems (as we know them) in 2018?
We believe that AI can be a disruptive force in the sales world. Our mission is to automate the tasks that squander sales reps’ time and help them focus on what they do best – building customer relationships.
Augmented Intelligence not Artificial Intelligence
There are some companies out there that believe in a superhuman AI overlord. We believe in exactly the opposite. We believe that time is the most valuable resource and we should do everything in our power to not waste it. We believe AI should be the servant of people — not tell humans what to do.
Therefore we didn’t use a superhuman name such as Einstein or Watson but Robin – your friendly AI sidekick. We believe AI needs to augment intelligence.
It’s just email
The consumerization of enterprise technology also means that sales reps are overwhelmed by having to learn, login and manage up to 10 tools each day. We want to declutter and consolidate. That’s why our user interface is just an email and that’s how Robin interacts with each user. It’s that simple and powerful and it feels like a real assistant.
Sales AI automation as an unfair competitive advantage
IDC predicts that sales AI is a trillion dollar opportunity. This is the first time that a disruptive technology will crack the trillion dollar mark. The World Economic Forum describes AI as the 4th industrial revolution. Our beta users have already reported saving up to an hour each day. That’s less time spent on boring and unrewarding tasks, and more time on productive responsibilities. Large organizations in the financial service and insurance industries already predict a double (and even triple) digit million dollar ROI from Automation Hero.
Businesses have a shorter window to adopt this kind of technology. In 1925, Nikolai Kondratieff examines the relationship between technology and economic cycles and how these cycles are accelerating. In 2005, Ray Kurzweil describes the skyrocketing acceleration of technology in his book, “The Singularity Is Near.”
This means that fast movers will see an unfair competitive advantage and late adopters risk displacement in just a few years if they fail to get the ball rolling.
We feel it’s important to democratize AI and allow as many sales reps as possible to take advantage of its opportunity. That’s why we offer a freemium account (in addition to our Premium Personal and Enterprise versions) for individuals that want to get up and running asap. Signing up for Automation Hero couldn’t be easier — with two clicks, you can connect your company email and Salesforce account and Robin starts supporting daily activities asap.
If we already have autonomous, self-driving cars and autonomous financial trading, we need to think about what role AI will play in companies. After big data and Industry 4.0 / IoT, I would like to introduce the term ‘Business 5.0’ to express the next evolution of automating business processes.
Automation Hero is a Business 5.0 platform which connects diverse, structured and unstructured data sources, internal and external systems, business processes and most importantly, humans, into a cohesive intelligence fabric. We can elastically expand and contract, and process trillions of events and big data on a distributed and containerized compute environment in the cloud or on-premise. Automation Hero is a business operations system for the modern company.
Bright minds behind a revolutionary product
I’m honored to be joined by some of the brilliant minds I worked with at Datameer. People who built and marketed some of the most innovative big data and machine learning technology are working incredibly hard on ensuring Automation Hero’s Robin is leading the charge in sales AI automation innovation.
We’ve also attracted smart money early on with CometLabs, Baidu USA, Cherry Ventures and signals VC as investors. Baidu invests $3 billion annually into AI research, CometLabs is the premier AI investor in Silicon Valley, signals VC has extensive connections in the insurance industry and Cherry Ventures managed the largest European e-commerce company.
And, the good news doesn’t stop there. Joining as independent advisors are Deborah Hopkins, founder and CEO of Citi Ventures and Donald Farmer, principle at Treehive Strategies. Hopkins was Citi’s first-ever chief innovation officer and a senior advisor to Citi’s Investment Bank winning IPOs including VMware, Palo Alto Networks, Arista and Qliktech. Farmer led the team behind Microsoft’s Power BI and Qlik Sense, and has over 25 years of experience in analytics, data management and AI.
Join our community!
We’re incredibly excited to be driving an industry with so much potential. More than 80 percent of the most aggressive adopters of business AI technology say their companies are already seeing the rewards.
Sign up today for our sales AI automation platform and join our community of hundreds of beta customers, including many Fortune 500 companies.
Happy selling, Heroes!