January 21, 2021

How Remarkable Content and AI Can Enable B2B Sales

What do a premium content strategy and conversational AI have to do with driving revenue? Perhaps unsurprisingly, quite a lot! Content raises awareness and nurtures leads, and after the human handoff, Sales teams can use AI tools to assist them to close.

In this episode, ringDNA CMO William Tyree shares a behind-the-scenes look at the AI-powered sales enablement platform’s remarkable content strategy, starting with the acquisition of Andy Paul’s Sales Enablement podcast. He also discusses why businesses shouldn’t be afraid of conversational AI tools—they aren’t here to replace Sales, they’re here to augment and assist them. Check it out!

What You’ll Learn in This Episode

  • Why ringDNA acquired a podcast as part of its content strategy
  • Two of ringDNA’s remarkable awareness campaigns
  • How AI can augment and enable sales teams

Renegade Thinkers Unite Episode 224 on YouTube

Resources Mentioned

Time-Stamped Highlights

  • [0:27] The Link Between Content and Conversational AI
  • [5:34] Why B2B Brands Need Remarkable Content
  • [9:04] Why ringDNA acquired Andy Paul’s Sales Enablement Podcast
  • [14:21] The Value of Acquiring a Podcast Community
  • [17:15] ringDNA Awareness Campaign: The Top Call Coach
  • [23:29] How Powerful Content Campaigns Can Convert Leads
  • [27:51] ringDNA Awareness Campaign: Sales Madness
  • [32:15] How AI Augments Sales Performance
  • [40:06] The Future of Sales Enablement Tools

Transcript Highlights: Drew Neisser in conversation with William Tyree

[0:27] The Link Between Content and Conversational AI

“Using AI to make people better, make human beings better? Just irresistible to me.” -@williamtyree @ringDNA #RTU #podcast Share on X

Drew Neisser: Hello, Renegade Thinkers. Today’s episode is a twofer. Yep, we’re going to cover two topics that I know are pressing issues to Chief Marketing Officers right this minute. Now you could ask, how do I know this? Well, thanks to CMO Huddles, a peer-to-peer subscription service I started last year, I now have the good fortune—and I mean good fortune—of moderating conversations with 10-12 CMOs every week. This keeps me on the pulse of B2B marketing challenges, and here are two that have come up a lot lately.

The first is the vast world of content marketing and how you can make these initiatives more effective. There’s no doubt that every CMO has a content plan and a program in place, but they’re all wondering: How do I make it more effective? What should I be doing? So, we’re going to be talking about that.

And then second is conversational AI, but really, how can marketers help make every brand development rep and/or sales professional more effective in converting prospects into customers? There’s a connection between these two because content is supposed to be the thing that drives people into the funnel, nurtures them along the way. At some point, there’s a human handoff. That’s where conversational AI comes in.

All right, to cover both of these topics, please welcome William Tyree, the CMO of ringDNA. who has a really interesting story to tell about their content and a great deal of expertise about conversational AI. Welcome, William.

William Tyree: Hey, Drew. Thank you for having me here. It’s great to see you.

Drew Neisser: First of all, how are you and where are you?

William Tyree: I am great. I feel really blessed to be in Los Angeles today where it’s super sunny and yes, there’s a lot going on in the world, but there’s also a lot going right in the world, including being here with you so…

Drew Neisser: Well, it’s really funny—for those folks who are actually watching this on video instead of the podcast—in the background behind William’s right shoulder is a copy of my first book, and this is how you flatter a podcast host. Put their book in the episode. Thank you for that, by the way.

William Tyree: Hey, listen, I mean, no joke, I actually take that book down and reference it pretty often. You know, I shared a passage from it with my marketing team this week. It’s just, it’s one of those books that kind of keeps on giving, so thanks for writing it.

Drew Neisser: I love that. Did you hear that? Yeah, that’s The CMO’s Periodic Table: A Renegade’s Guide to Marketing. Anyway! You got to ringDNA August 2019. What was your mandate when you arrived?

William Tyree: I should start by saying this is my second tour of duty at ringDNA. I was actually the founding CMO and then I left to go work for another AI company as CMO for three years and then I came back.

The mandate when I arrived—obviously the mandate for a CMO at a B2B company is almost always “drive revenue.” That’s your number one mandate. In terms of one of the things that was really instrumental in getting there is, the company’s been pivoting from an algorithmic, product-led company, if you will, to a company that’s with a lot of great AI-powered solutions.

We knew that there was some fear out in the marketplace on: Will AI take sales jobs? Just a lot of chatter around that, and really overcoming that fear in a lot of different ways was instrumental to paving the way for our sellers.

Drew Neisser: It’s interesting, and I’ve talked to a couple of CMOs that sort of did that—they started somewhere and then they came back. There is that old expression: “You can’t go home again.” What was it that got you to come back?

William Tyree: Great people and, honestly, great product. I had been working with some of the same people across a few companies, just a great group of core people that are still there, so I never lost touch, stayed a shareholder, all that. But I think that when I saw the company heading into this new direction—CMOs, you know, many of us, they want to be not only with a great brand but with great technology, or at least I do. I think that the direction that not only the company, but the market is headed for what we call “artificial augmentation.” Using AI to make people better, make human beings better? Just irresistible to me.

[5:34] Why B2B Brands Need Remarkable Content

“In marketing, you can't do anything without great content.” -@williamtyree @ringDNA #RTU #podcast Share on X

Drew Neisser: Well, we’re going to come back to that in the second half of this show. So, as you were coming on board to drive revenue—obviously, that’s a big challenge. Where did content fit into driving revenue and how did you get yourself to a content strategy?

William Tyree: One piece of background—I really feel like, in marketing, you can’t do anything without great content. I think that that’s how you position your company, as an authority and expert so that you’re more than a brand, you’re really a resource that’s helping people overcome their challenges.

I think for us, we’ve traditionally always done a lot with influencers. People who—we call them “sales famous.” There’s just like a core group of 50 to 100 people that you know because you’ve read their book or you listen to their podcast or something, so working with those people, hearing their ideas, applying their ideas, we even take those ideas to heart and integrate some of those ideas in the general collective, if you will, into our product strategy.

Drew Neisser: So, you recognized the need. You’ve got to have content and you’ve got to have great content. I think one of the issues that a lot of marketers face is they’ve got content and say, “Okay, I’m going to get a couple writers and we’re going to just create a lot of content.” There isn’t necessarily a strategy behind it. There’s nothing that holds it together. That’s part one.

Part two—there’s often this issue of quantity over quality. There are a lot of folks who believe in a steady drumbeat, which I understand, but what that often means is the shortest distance to getting a blog post out every month and not necessarily a blog post that has tremendous value, that’s worth reading, that you would really want to share. As you were looking at the problem that you want to solve with content, was it more content? Better content? Both?

William Tyree: Better. For the most part, better. A little bit of more, though. I’m an “and” person. I’m typically not an “or” person. I think more content, but really, it’s about what we call “remarkable content,” premium content, things that are really built for specific personas. And for the most part, if it’s for professional reasons, it’s edutainment, right?

It’s like, what are their core challenges? How do we direct things specifically to them that speak to them, but also that they enjoy digesting, and it’s entertaining as well? I think the entertaining part is often what gets left by the wayside in B2B, so we wanted to solve some of that.

Drew Neisser: I couldn’t agree with you more. That entertaining part. And by the way, I just want to pause on the word “remarkable.” I love that as a standard for deciding whether or not content is worth sharing or putting up on your post and connecting your brand to.

[9:04] Why ringDNA acquired Andy Paul’s Sales Enablement Podcast

“In some ways, with this particular podcast, I felt like it was an acquisition of a community, not just a podcast.” -@williamtyree @ringDNA #RTU #podcast Share on X

Drew Neisser: And just think about that word: “remarkable.” What we’re really saying is that it’s worth sharing and remarking about. It’s remarkable. So, if that’s your litmus test for content— when you came in, was there remarkable content on the website?

William Tyree: I think that there was some good stuff for sure. Absolutely. But we wanted to take it up a level. I think for me, it’s kind of like hiring a team—you want to hire a team of A-players. But the folks that are helping you do that content, if they’re influencers, for example, you just want to make sure that you’re dealing with the best the best.

One of the things that we did to help us get there was—and by the way, this was a multi-channel effort across PR and regular demand gen and things like that—but on the influencer marketing side and the thought leadership side, one of the things that we did which was a little bit unique was acquire a podcast. So, somebody I think that you actually know…Andy Paul.

Drew Neisser: Not only do I know him, I was on episode 183 and 542.

William Tyree: There you go.

Drew Neisser: Yeah. And in fact, Andy and I were having a conversation—I think one of the last lunches that I had was with Andy right before the pandemic really sort of said, “You’re not having any lunches period. With anybody”—and we talked about the acquisition, that he had been acquired.

Let’s talk about that. So, you acquired a podcast. First of all, I’m hoping people are thinking, “Gee, I wonder if I can acquire Drew’s podcast?”

But, you know, that’s a big deal. It’s a big deal. I mean, look, if I was on episode 542—he has a library, a massive library of content, so that’s a big investment in one individual’s library. How did you decide that was the right individual, this was the right content, and this was the right thing for you to be able to take advantage of?

William Tyree: Yeah, it was a really interesting economics exercise. At some point, I’m not really ready to reveal yet all the things that kind of went into it, but that’ll make a great article someday.

Here are the kinds of things that we were thinking about. One is, yeah, Andy is incredible. I had known Andy for years. Our CEO Howard Brown had a good relationship with Andy for years. He was somebody that, back in the early days of our startup, we had zero marketing budget and Andy was one of those guys that we called up and said, “Hey, true story, we’re actually reading your books right now. They’re amazing. They’re helping us, but we’d love to do something together. Can we do a webinar?” And that’s how the relationship started. What can we do that’s kind of good for both of us?

Andy was just an amazing partner to work with, but in terms of a podcast, if a person like Andy has incredible guests, it’s really about the whole community. In some ways, with this particular podcast, I felt like it was an acquisition of a community, not just a podcast. And many of those people who were guests are folks that we’ve done a lot of other things with. For example, somebody who’s been on the podcast quite a bit, we did an executive roundtable with them yesterday with some of our customers and buyers. So, it’s about a lot of things, and there’s a lot of things that you can do beyond just the obvious with the podcast.

[14:21] The Value of Acquiring a Podcast Community

“Being able to get your messaging across an entire catalog and change it on a dime is super powerful.” -@williamtyree @ringDNA #RTU #podcast Share on X

Drew Neisser: We’ve been talking about an unusual scenario where ringDNA acquired a podcast by a gentleman by the name of Andy Paul, who is a well-known expert. I’ve known Andy—I think I first met him when we were both sort of “IBM futurists” among a group of B2B influencers. We stayed friends and then we reunited at Gartner maybe three or four years ago, which is how I met Brent Adamson. Anyway, just a really sharp, knowledgeable guy, and for a while he was recording one podcast a day, which was like, mind-boggling. I can barely get through one a week.

So…you acquire this massive library of content, but as you are describing, you also acquired a community. Now, you put a price on this. You paid some money. You’ve got to get value out on the other side. Now how do you make sure—and I know you can’t reveal everything—but what are some of the ways that you’ve been able to show that this was a good acquisition for you and a shortcut to a massive library and a community?

William Tyree: I think one of the most obvious things is, if you’ve got a big catalog, one of the things is you can drop messaging across the entire catalog. And that’s really powerful because, as you know, Drew, some podcasts are fairly guest-oriented and it doesn’t matter whether that was episode 1, 5, or 542. If people are interested in the guests, they are going to listen. I think being able to get your messaging across an entire catalog and change it on a dime is super powerful. So that’s an awareness play right there.

I think that another aspect to it, though, is people on a podcast like this one, they’re talking about things that are near and dear to the challenges of our target buyers. So, for example, that helps us connect…

For example, you’re doing some product marketing, right? We can pull some awesome quotes around things like helping your reps with quota attainment or helping to ramp reps faster from the podcast, associated with the brand in a really transparent way. But also, it’s a leaping off point too, where people can leap off and go digest. They listen to that content in normal times when they’re at the gym or in the car, in these days maybe when they’re walking around the block or working out in the garage or something.

[17:15] ringDNA Awareness Campaign: The Top Call Coach

“What's a really fun, remarkable campaign that might have synergy with our thought leadership out there?” -@williamtyree @ringDNA #RTU #podcast Share on X

Drew Neisser: I can just see, given the library that you had, the ability to use it as a resource is phenomenal. Looking ahead, I wonder how this fits into customer marketing and prospecting, and also, your ability to learn what’s going on in the market as a result of having this ongoing podcast. Because it wasn’t just the library—you’re still producing them, right?

William Tyree: Oh yeah, absolutely.

Drew Neisser: Let’s talk a little bit about the power of that and how are you thinking about the podcast? Let’s start with customers in terms of the value to them.

William Tyree: That’s great. So, as new episodes come out that are really relevant to the customers, we can include links in customer newsletters, for example. We are doing some really interesting things too with in-app messaging and our product. There’s a possibility that we can provide educational content or even snippets of educational content in the product in the future, so that’s really great.

I think that one of the really powerful things has been campaign support. We’ve done some really unusual awareness campaigns and, to some extent, lead gen campaigns in the last year that have been supported on the podcast. It’s typical for, I think, multi-channel where you’re doing something really cool in this space and then you want to echo that or syndicate that elsewhere, but in a really unique way. This is really nice; having a channel that’s fixed with a pretty loyal audience that you can do that in a meaningful way and, again, turn on a dime.

Drew Neisser: Yeah, you own your own broadcast network essentially. And for those of you who aren’t in the podcast world, one of the things that William is talking about is this ability to dynamically change messages on a podcast.

You have to sort of go in and get it programmed, but you can suddenly, in a minute—and with a catalogue like this, you’d be surprised, listeners, how much evergreen content there is and how many listens will be from older episodes. I’ve noticed that with my podcast, probably any given month, half of them are not from that month—the downloads.

So, you have this large catalog and people are listening and suddenly you can push out, so I could see how you could monetize it from there. Let’s talk about the awareness campaigns that you think were interesting that related to this.

William Tyree: I can actually think of a couple that are even related to the theme that we talked about before, which were how do you really solve for fear about AI? One of the things, for example, that we’re kind of fighting in the marketplace are things like, 2018, which is not long ago, Forrester had put out a report saying AI was going to take a million sales jobs. I actually love Forrester. I get so much value out of Forrester, but that was one that just didn’t pan out right and they were clearly wrong.

When we’re trying to do things, for example, to get the word out about our own products, we’re thinking, what’s a really fun, remarkable campaign that might have synergy with our thought leadership out there? It might be on the podcast, but one of the things was we created something called The Top Call Coach campaign.

So, one of Andy Paul’s long time points of view, which he’s kind of famous for, is that a lot of sales training and sales coaching is basically wasted. People forget 85% of it by their first day, and how do you kind of reinforce that, but also, how do you get better with institutionalized call coaching?

We did a campaign where we dramatized a bunch of internally famous calls, and we had it in our player. We had people go and listen to those calls and then they could upload reactions as if they were coaching the reps on those calls in a video interface. And then from there, people come to the website, they vote, there’s a lot of social media engagement.

What was really fun with the podcast though, is we did a series. A bunch of the finalists actually were guests on the podcast. They talked about their philosophies. Some of it was just really funny. Some of it was super useful and serious and a lot of psychology in there. That’s a great way that we use the podcast, social media, and these other channels to really gain awareness but also to help people get better at sales coaching.

Drew Neisser: There are several things I love about this program. One, there’s this dynamic of competition. Two, even though at some point we’re talking about technology, you’re using people to tell the story. So many tech brands—it’s like tech and data and hard edges and you can’t find a human on their website. If you do, it’s a stock image. It’s not a real person who’s engaged with this challenge, so I think that’s really interesting.

I also like the way the pieces circle back. You used the contest, if you will, to generate content and then you could celebrate the winners in the content. It’s a little meta, but it’s very cool.

[23:29] How Powerful Content Campaigns Can Convert Leads

“Spark a little bit of joy in people's life, maybe get people to know about the brand but drive revenue at the same time.” -@williamtyree @ringDNA #RTU #podcast Share on X

Drew Neisser: How did you measure the success of a program like this?

William Tyree: A couple things. One is, I mean, look, I live in a world where revenue, qualified opportunities, and pipeline are paramount. Lead generation has become kind of secondary but at the same time, you still want to generate leads. I would say that lead generation was one aspect to it. When people vote for the contest, for example, they’re typically right in our ideal customer profile or adjacent to our customer profile, so lead generation is absolutely one of those things.

But at the same time, we actually had a bunch of people that we were in active buying cycles with decide to jump in and take part of the contest. One of our biggest deals from that quarter actually was from somebody who was a finalist in the contest.

It’s really great when you can do something that’s really fun, especially in a year like we’ve had. Spark a little bit of joy in people’s life, maybe get people to know about the brand but drive revenue at the same time.

Drew Neisser: That’s funny. I sent out our January newsletter and of the resolutions that I suggested for CMOs one was “why so serious.” I know that there’s a lot of craziness out in the world, but as you think about that, your brand doesn’t have to be as serious as some of the issues that we are facing. I mean it’s business and we’ve got problems to solve, but we can have personality and we can be human. I would argue that now, in this COVID world, we need humanity and a little sense of humor more than ever to get through.

But what I heard you say actually that I thought was so interesting, and this is a big issue in 2020 and 2021, is getting a lead to convert. They’re at the very end of the cycle. You used to be able to invite them to a customer event and bring in a few prospects and that would be a great way to push them over the top. So, this became a very interesting—and I suspect you didn’t think that would happen, but it allowed you to, we’ll call it, deal acceleration or deal close. That last three feet to get the deal closed. This played a role; that’s unusual.

William Tyree: Yeah, it’s interesting. I think for us, this kind of lifecycle marketing, if you will, is bigger and bigger. And that’s really looking at, to the extent that as a marketing team, you can help your sales team really partner with them, help them get some other deals over the line. There’s absolutely a point where sales does not want you involved in the deals and that’s totally fine and mostly totally appropriate, but this was a case where, with something like this, it’s hard to not have that be a plus if we really execute on it right.

Drew Neisser: Yeah, that goes in the win column as far as I’m concerned.

[27:51] ringDNA Awareness Campaign: Sales Madness

“We came up with a simple algorithm to figure out the greatest 64 sales books of all time.” -@williamtyree @ringDNA #RTU #podcast Share on X

Drew Neisser: We’ve been talking about interesting content programs and I know you have another one that you did last year right in the middle of the pandemic. Talk a little bit about that program as well.

William Tyree: Yeah, so last spring, obviously, people were going through a lot of changes, society, and one of the things that came up was that a lot of sporting events people were looking forward to going out. When you’re thinking about your personas, one of the things from researchers—a guy named Steve Martin, who teaches at USC, did a lot of research on salespeople and where they come from, who they really are. There’s a huge correlation between athletics and the sales profession, so knowing a lot of people will be missing March Madness last year, we thought, “Let’s do our own March Madness.”

What we did is we came up with a simple algorithm to figure out the greatest 64 sales books of all time. We put those up in an online bracket and the model was essentially, let’s one, raise some awareness a little bit about—maybe it’s a good time, since we’re all inside, let’s get better at our profession. Let’s raise awareness about some great iconic books that you don’t know about, maybe some new ones that aren’t on your radar yet. Really falling back into that category, again, of being a trusted resource.

The way it worked was people come to the website just like if they’re picking college basketball teams in March Madness. You would vote. There were prizes. You could win a fair amount of money or things like air pods and things like that for voters. But then, there were actually prizes for the authors too. The final four winners—here’s the podcast again—we had them on the podcast. We later even had them at our conference called our Selling Forward Conference.

It was a lot of fun. We got thousands and thousands of votes. It kind of exceeded our expectations.

Drew Neisser: I’m imagining you did some kind of media support to help get the word out about this, right? You can’t just put that up and people will come.

William Tyree: Yeah, that’s right. We did email, a lot of social media, we might have done a press release to accompany it as well. But I think that the model for that was, if we really build this correctly, and it’s fun, it’s attractive, and everything, we thought, “We’re actually going to get most the attention from the authors themselves.” And that’s exactly what happened.

As soon as people were past the first round and they were confident, the authors would actually—with some of our support, we’d send media assets that they could use and things like that—they were actually urging their base of fans, their email list, their social media followers to vote for them for the next round.

Drew Neisser: What I like about this program, one, it’s a fun idea and a timely one in a moment where, as you said, people could use a little fun and we’re missing it. The second thing that occurs to me and it’s the same with the program you described, it’s wonderfully multi-dimensional. I think often when people think about content and promotions, they sort of think about them as one channel. “Oh, we’re going to put this piece of content and we’re going to drive everybody there.”

This has that. And then there’s this other thing which Geoffrey Hayes talked about in his first book that he called “other people’s money.” Other people’s money is a great place for marketers to go and in this case the money was the authors’ database of people and fans. You could use the authors as a way of promoting, and presumably people who read sales books from these authors are people who are in your target. I love how all those pieces fit together.

[32:15] How AI Augments Sales Performance

“We actually think that, in the near future, every single high performing rep will have a virtual sales assistant.” -@williamtyree @ringDNA #RTU #podcast Share on X

Drew Neisser: As we bring this episode to a close, is anything in the way you use your product for your marketing helping you inform the content that you create? Because I know that conversational AI, the way you’ve described it to me and the way I’ve read about it, it’s about helping salespeople make better decisions while they’re on a call, but also after the fact, learning in real time how to do things better. Based on what you’ve heard out there in the middle of one of these promotions, say, “Oh, we learned something.” I’m just curious. I’m trying to connect dots that may not be connectable

William Tyree: Totally connectable, actually. I think that for a conversation intelligence platform like conversational AI, the number one thing that buyers are typically looking to do is identify the traits and behaviors of their top performers, whether it’s overtalk ratios, whether it’s specific verbiage that they use, voice energy, things like that. Then identify repeatable things, create benchmarks, and use those so that other folks across the sales team can experiment with replicating some of those behaviors and see if they perform better.

So that’s number one, and it works remarkably well. Still, every seller is unique, every seller is going to have their own unique point of view—and they should—but it’s amazing what you can do, for example, if you just get a seller to do things that are really measurable like ask open ended questions and listen more and things like that.

But for markers, yeah, it’s really incredible. Guess what, you get the voice of the customer, it’s unfiltered, it’s right there. And you can also hear how your reps are doing objection handling, what kind of verbiage is working. It’s the kind of thing that you always want if you’re marketing at a B2B company.

You’re always wondering, “Well what’s going on in those sales calls?” Instead of listening to them after the fact, just hearing them firsthand is amazing.

Drew Neisser: I’m imagining that this can help really drive sales enablement programs. If the marketer is hearing this, listening to the call and they go, “Oh, I see where they are in the journey, this was their objective. If we had a piece of content or a program or ROI thing or some other thing that helped that person sell to another person—

And one of the things so important in all of this is, so often in the enterprise sales level, it’s multiple people involved. It’s not a linear process, nor is it an individualized process. I’ve talked about this on the show at nauseam, but the average enterprise sale, there’s 12 to 14 people involved, and it’s an 18-month process.

Your sales rep isn’t closing on that first call or second call or third call, so as a marketer, what you’re really thinking about is sales enablement. I’m thinking this has just got to be a gold mine for driving that kind of activity.

William Tyree: It really is. It absolutely is. I mean, it’s one of those things where if you’re trying to map out some reasonable buyer journey, for example, and as you talked about, it’s unpredictable, especially the higher you go, but if you can actually use this to get inside the mind of some of your personas at key buying stages, it can be really powerful to help you figure out what kind of messaging you need, what kind of content you need to support those sales efforts.

Drew Neisser: So, this comes in the door in terms of, “Hey, you really ought to be focused on how you both train and hire better salespeople.” And that starts by looking at the ones that you have that are doing well, so that’s where you sort of get in the door, but then there’s all this other information that you can glean as a result of having this.

The thing I want to go back to—your first statement at the earlier part of the show was the Forrester comment about replacing sales reps. My perspective on this, and I’ve talked to people in robotics, I’ve talked to people in conversation AI—the best technology augments the human.

It’s not a replacement, and that’s the hard thing for people to get their mind around. Whether it’s helping the rep figure out what to say right in real time, or whether it’s enabling the—we talked about this with [inaudible] and how they’ve built a system so they can just get the next best option in front of the consumer. Same kind of thing. It’s augmented, it’s robotics, if you will, using AI to help a human do their job better. Is that a fair assessment of the world that we’re in?

William Tyree: Yeah. Absolutely spot on. It’s interesting. We have, I mean, the concept of next best actions, as we call them, that’s core to everything that we do. We actually think that, in the near future, every single high performing rep will have a virtual sales assistant.

We actually have something that’s in private beta right now called YODA AI and it stands for your own digital assistant. The capacity to which it is used right now is, essentially, you could be on a conversation with somebody and you’re a pretty new seller. I don’t know what you’re selling, you’re selling like Ford Broncos or something, and you’re thinking, “Yeah, I can probably wing this for a little bit,” but then you get that person who has a lot of really, really detailed questions about the Ford Bronco, and YODA can say, “Hey, it sounds like they mentioned this. Here’s a bunch of detailed talking points. Here’s how to answer that question.”

At the same time, it can also prompt people based on what they don’t say. So, if you’re a sales development rep and your job is to book meetings and maybe six minutes have gone by and you haven’t asked, it can prompt you to do something like that.

That kind of augmentation is exactly the kind of thing that makes people better just in the way that Spotify makes great recommendations for what music to listen to. It’s really, to some extent I think, the same experience, but professionally.

Drew Neisser: I’m imagining two scenarios. When I was in college, I actually sold books over the phone for Time Life and I could have really used this in helping me figure out who this individual was based on their responses. But then I’m imagining the Google Glass version of this when I was selling encyclopedias door-to-door, which was another college job.

I’m imagining the future of all this is, it’s the maître d’ who says, “Oh, hello, Mr. Neisser, it’s great to see you again,” but the sales professional at the same time is able to have all this information at their fingertips—not in a creepy way—but in a way that is helpful to further the conversation.

All right. I love YODA as a name. Sell more, we must. Service more, we must.

[40:06] The Future of Sales Enablement Tools

“The next stage is actually intelligent, real-time recommendations for sellers.” -@williamtyree @ringDNA #RTU #podcast Share on X

Drew Neisser: I’m curious. As we wrap this up, where’s this going? YODA is the future, what else should we be thinking about as we look at enabling salespeople to use all this technology better?

William Tyree: You know, it’s a great question. I think that what we’re really seeing is a total transformation in what sales enablement looks like. I think that maybe the last decade for sales enablement was largely about creating repositories that may be categorized videos for training, a place where sales reps can get grab and go content in a centralized way so you can track it in marketing and see what’s working, all that.

That stuff is all great, completely still relevant, not getting obsolete anytime soon. But I think the next stage is actually intelligent, real-time recommendations for sellers. The most expensive thing that you can do is hire and train sales reps, and most organizations are doing it all the time because of the emphasis on quota attainment.

If you can actually harness all that learning and feed it to reps in the critical moments that matter during conversations and things like that, you’d actually get your sellers being a lot more productive faster. I think that’s probably going to be one of the biggest efficiency gains in terms of revenue and operations that we’re going to see in the next decade.

Drew Neisser: Right. So, in theory, you might be able to hire fewer reps or you can get more productivity out of your existing reps.

I want to make sure I understand one last thing. I’m thinking about these conversations and the digital assistant is providing information. Is there a loop on the other side that shows what happened, that tracks this individual, the conversation? Because again, you may or may not sell at that moment. Is there some machine learning in this?

William Tyree: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. That’s a really, really important piece to see, overall, across the platform, what really works in certain situations. I think the key is making sure that your machine learning is really contextualized.

One of the things that I really cringe at is data that comes out—and we’ve all seen it. It’s like, “If you say this word three times in five minutes, you’re 80% more likely to close the deal.” No. That stuff’s really useless, I will say.

It’s really being able to apply it to specific industries, specific companies, specific sections. That’s a hard thing to do, but that’s absolutely where it’s going.

Drew Neisser: Well, William Tyree of ringDNA, thank you so much for being on the show. I really appreciate it.

I want to say, I know at this moment, my listeners are saying, “Drew, wrap this up. I’m finishing out my workout, my drink is empty.” This has been a fascinating conversation, so thank you so much for the inspiration and the remarkable!

William Tyree: Thank you so much. It’s a pleasure talking to you and just love the interaction, love the podcast, love the book, obviously.

Drew Neisser: Thank you. Thank you.

To the listeners, if you’re still with us, do me a favor, go to your favorite podcast channel, and write a review of us. As one guy asks, give us a six-star review. Of course, there are only five options. Give us a review or share the podcast with a friend, and that is where we’re going to wrap up.

Show Credits

Renegade Thinkers Unite is written and directed by Drew Neisser. Audio production is by Sam Beck. The show notes are written by Melissa Caffrey. The music is by the amazing Burns Twins and the intro voiceover is Linda Cornelius. To find the transcripts of all episodes, suggest future guests, or learn more about quite possibly the best B2B marketing agency in New York City, visit renegade.com. And until next time, keep those Renegade Thinking Caps on and strong.