TAS Group applies Expert System technology to drive methodology and efficiency in the process of selling complex products to complex enterprises. Their roots are in sales training, but they have productized their expertise. Very interesting discussion.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing our audience to yourself as well as to your company.
Canice Lambe: I’m the Chief Technology Officer with the TAS Group. The TAS Group is a sales effectiveness company, and we help our customers maximize revenue from key accounts, increase deal sizes, and win rates. In particular, we focus on the situation where there is a complex sales dynamics going on. Typically, the deals are large-value deals and there are lots of stakeholders on the buying side. It’s typically a complex buying process. Our software helps the sales team navigate that buying process to succeed.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s do a use case or two where you can step me through what help, specifically, your software provides and how that relates to artificial intelligence.
Canice Lambe: Ultimately, what we are supporting is what you might call sales best practice. The experienced sales professionals will manage the sales process and the buying process in a way that maximizes their probability for success. In doing that, they need to do a few things. They need to be able to focus on the right deals – just to have an understanding of where there is potential value. They need to be able to show the customer that they can actually create value for the customer and that they can understand the customer’s business. In doing so, show that what they’re bringing to the table will actually deliver business benefits. Then, they need to recognize that in these types of situations, there are probably competitive sales.
Therefore, it’s very important to get alignment within the buying organization. These are things like who are your supporters in the deal, do you have a mentor who will actually sell on your behalf even when you’re not there. Typically, there will be non-supporters as well. How are you going to manage that? In terms of helping the seller with all of that, our software embeds these sales methodology concepts. As the seller moves through the sale, the software will basically look to see that the seller is actually charting out the buyers in the organizations, the criteria that they care about, and also looking to see that they are connecting the buyers to different things the buyers care about and the value that our solutions are bringing. It’s quite visual in many ways actually.
Sramana Mitra: How does this work? Is it a bunch of widgets that you step a salesperson through? How is software supposed to answer who is the mentor inside of the account or who is the champion inside of the account? Is it a bunch of widgets that asks for that kind of information?
Canice Lambe: We have some core modules. On the politics side, we have what we call the political map, which is a visualization. It’s an organization chart almost where you can see the different people you’re selling into. The sales person will, over time, decorate that with attributes like who’s powerful, who’s less powerful, who likes us, who doesn’t like us, who influences whom. In terms of how the seller does that, the software will point out things like, “You are now 50% of the deal. You have not identified a mentor.” It will analyze that structure and decide that there are certain things missing that really should be there at a particular point in time.