Tell us about your role at Pipedrive and the team/technology you handle.
At Pipedrive, I oversee the product vision and strategy essential to Pipedrive realizing its true potential. This means leadership of the product, data, design and research organizations for the company. Having been based in Silicon Valley for two decades, for roles within customer-centric organizations such as Google, Uber, Yahoo! and Adobe, I’m helping our teams be more innovative, use AI creatively and bring clarity and focus to our work.
What was the biggest draw for you at Pipedrive?
I have joined at a really exciting time. Pipedrive has an awesome reputation with salespeople worldwide — the solution is genuinely loved by sales teams. Pipedrive is growing rapidly. We now have over 75,000 customers, hundreds of thousands of active users, and the Pipedrive team has grown to 475 worldwide.
The SaaS CRM market is huge. There are millions of sales heroes out there that have an incredibly challenging job to do — and Pipedrive has been the leader so far in meeting their needs, but there is so much more we can do to make every salesperson truly efficient.
Which key events in the SalesTech innovation industry made the biggest impact in 2018 on your business and how?
In 2018, we say our efforts in bringing email directly into the sales workflow be received very well by our customers. We also rolled out smart contact data, which automatically populates critical contact information — an activity salespeople do a lot. For the more advanced salesperson, we rolled out a suite of workflow automation tools that make short work of repetitive tasks. We are seeing all of these perform well and having real impact in the lives of busy and time-starved salespeople. They can then spend their time on the activities that help them sell more.
This year also brought GDPR — what this means for salespeople is they need to be very careful with what data they keep and what they must purge or get rid of. We sense a lot of confusion here generally and we think our product can help salespeople, managers and security admins have tools to make it easier to be GDPR compliant that does not hurt the business.
What are your predictions on Sales Intelligence tools making a larger impact on revenue charts in 2019-2020?
We are going to see an increase of useful and actionable insights. Activities like calling, where salespeople spend a disproportionate amount of time — are fairly opaque and I predict we will see these actions become more ‘transparent’ and technology will help sales managers and salespeople extract key insights that will help everyone make more productive and efficient calls. Applying these techniques to other time-consuming parts of sales will be a huge focus for us at Pipedrive.
What role would AI/ML play in making CRMs more accurate and fast-reporting?
In terms of accuracy, one challenge that is widely recognied in the industry is that salespeople hate to update the CRM with the outcome and next steps from their customer call. They find that activity slow, manual and repetitive. I truly wish we can leverage some technology smarts, including AI, to elegantly solve this problem. Wouldn’t it be amazing if after a positive meeting with a client, the next steps are already in the CRM, and their manager is notified, all in the 3 minutes while they wait for their Uber to shuttle them to their next meeting? It’s these kinds of AI-assisted experiences that will make CRMs more accurate.
As I’ve talked to the founders of Pipedrive, their true purpose was to create a tool that made sales inevitable. I believe AI will help us truly understand where each salesperson is in their own personal journey as a sales professional and our tools will intelligently guide them to behaviors that are appropriate in order to help them sell more. That is our true calling as a company. Fortunately, advances in AI make bringing such kind of personalized coaching a more realistic proposition today. We are excited to play with that and see how it helps teams sell more.
How do you plan to compete and collaborate in technology development and adoption with leaders in sales CRM, including Salesforce?
Having launched an integration marketplace in late 2017, we now offer a strong ecosystem of related apps, with more collaborations to come. Our R&D is focused on developing new tools to support the entire sales process — from prospecting, to after-sales, and even efficient document management. Pipedrive remains the most genuinely attuned to the user experience of real sales people, and the support they need in their everyday work.
An important differentiator between Pipedrive and legacy CRMs is that salespeople actually love to use Pipedrive — they use our software every few minutes, every day. This means that we have tons of data to analyze and use to help make their lives better.
Thanks for chatting with us, Vinay.
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