MarTech Interview with Beerud Sheth, Founder and CEO at Gupshup

Beerud Sheth, Founder and CEO at Gupshup chats about the continued significance and impact of conversational AI to core business functions and how these platforms can enable better customer experiences:

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Welcome to this MarTech Series chat Beerud, tell us more about Gupshup, the story behind the platform’s launch and its growth journey so far?

Gupshup is now global leader in cloud messaging and conversational experiences. Over 100,000 businesses and developers around the world rely on Gupshup’s platform for customer service, including Google, Verizon, Citibank, McDonald’s, and Amazon. With a presence in the U.S., Latin America, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Africa, Gupshup’s technology platform processes over six billion messages per month. In 2021 alone, Gupshup raised $340 million, entering the unicorn club with a valuation of $1.4 billion. It exited 2020 with an annual revenue run rate of approximately $150 million and grew almost 80 percent in terms of both revenue and messaging volumes

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We’d love to hear your thoughts on the growing impact of conversational AI on not just marketing and sales but also HR goals in today’s business environment?

Conversational AI continues to impact every aspect of business, both for external operations as well as for employee-facing interactions. For internal, it improves human resources, finance, administrative, IT support, and areas where employees have queries, from taking PTO to requesting conference rooms. There are countless employee requests that oftentimes large companies have a hard time responding to, especially outside of normal office hours. Leveraging AI automates frequently asked questions and generates instant responses. 

Hiring in tech has always been a challenge because of constant changes to tech innovations itself, there is a growing need for specific technical and analytical skills today; can you talk about your experience in hiring across the tech market and a few best practices you feel business and tech founders should keep in mind when they hire and shape teams?

AI continues to be a more significant part of how businesses are run and therefore companies need to hire carefully. They need employees that can technically drive transformation of the company before offering to customers. The best way to hire smart technical talent is to look for versatile individuals, not just specialized skill sets. Versatile people can navigate continuing waves of new technology. If you have versatile teams that can handle this, they can help the company continue to stay updated. For example, in addition to hiring an android programmer and java developer, it’s important to have technical architects and software designers who can create the right infrastructure that is futureproof. You must have flexibility instead of rigidity. 

Some very specific thoughts for when it comes to shaping and building customer-facing and customer support teams (marketing / sales) teams?

It’s better to think of customer support as customer success. Members of this team are responsible for the successful outcomes of the customer rather than simply being reactive to customer queries. They’re not just relationship managers; they’re solutions consultants and technically versatile. The best customer success teams will take full accountability for resolving customer issues and will also be proactive in proposing new ideas and solutions. They will succeed at achieving key business objectives such as net revenue retention, cross-selling/up-selling, driving product expansion, etc. It’s a win-win that you have a team that’s proposing ideas and resolving challenges as they arise. This drives more revenue, increases customer stickiness, and improves customer loyalty. The best customer teams will have these attributes.

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What are some hiring best practices that you feel tech startups need to hone more of to retain and attract best-fit candidates?

The most talented individuals choose where they want to work based on much more than just compensation. Wherever they go, given their talent, they will be well compensated. Beyond that, they care about the purpose, vision, and mission of the company. They care about the culture and values of the team and who they will be working with everyday. They care about impact. It’s critical for companies in this day and age to be purpose driven. They must clarify their values, get buy-in from the whole team, make sure all the employees operate according to those values. This leads to a culture that is entrepreneurial, collaborative, highly creative. It’s wise to define roles that are high impact, provide substantial autonomy. At Gupshup for instance, we’ve been clear on how conversational experiences will make a lasting impact that affects the lives of millions of people, they will change business to customer interactions. We foster an innovative, entrepreneurial culture that is collaborative, empowering, and atypical. 

A few last thoughts and takeaways for marketing leaders and CEOs/CMOs to keep in mind through 2021?

Yes – that conversational messaging is rapidly becoming all pervasive. It may be invisible on the surface now, but more and more businesses are automating and streamlining their customer interactions. They’re creating customer satisfaction, increasing revenues, and achieving higher conversion rates- all through the power of conversational experiences.

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Gupshup is a platform that helps businesses and consumers interact and transact through conversational messaging.

Beerud Sheth is the Founder and CEO at Gupshup

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