My business partner Konstantin Krauss and I are both longtime SaaS entrepreneurs. In our careers so far, we founded, led, and sold technology companies, witnessing companies both thrive and fail. The one thing that rings true for most of these companies is that sales are the heartbeat of the company. Naturally, the entire company must be reliable for sales to be effective. Connected digital assistants will change the way we work and sell.

The sales team is responsible for ensuring that the bottom line is healthy.

Based on our sales experience and after talking with hundreds of seasoned professionals over the years, we noticed that smart, connected technology is missing from the workplace. Most sales and marketing teams use a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) program.

While using this tool, they develop a love/hate relationship with it. However, the hole we are talking about goes much deeper than just implementing a smart CRM. Over the past couple of years, smart assistants take the consumer market by storm. You couldn’t visit a park without hearing five people say, “Hey, Siri.”

Now when you walk into a home, more likely than not, you’ll find more than one connected device. Whether it be a smart thermostat, a fitness tracker, wearables, a personal assistant, they’re everywhere. Amazon even gave away smart devices with the purchase of a select product on Prime Day.

It is this kind of technology that helps more and more people every day be increasingly productive. People across the globe are using connected, digital devices to simplify everyday tasks and to streamline their lives. But, why aren’t more businesses using digital assistants and connected devices the same way consumers are?

Our “A-Ha” Moment.

The business market ripe with opportunity for new SaaS products. Our computers understand us better, so they can help in real-time business situations. We created the digital, connected assistant, designed for the workplace and, more specifically, inside sales representatives.

These assistants and personal connected devices have the potential to make the everyday lives of millions of workers more comfortable. The adaptation rate will be fast, as a result of previous advancements in technology. Virtual assistant technology has already been developed and tested through consumer devices and supports this new business software category.

Sales and SaaS Teams are Booming, but Struggle With Support 

  • SaaS sales teams are growing by the day. The SaaS market is anticipated to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.20% from 2018 to 2023.
  • Inside sales is also a massively growing field. Today, most B2B products and services are sold over the phone or via screen share.
  • Sales tools have become overwhelmingly focused on sales control (e.g., CRM for the most part). As previously stated, most salespeople have a love/hate relationship with their CRM. They are ready for an all-encompassing solution.
  • While most sales reps want and receive training (usually expensive training), few agree on its effectiveness.
  • When in a conversation, most sales reps have no support at all besides their notes and scribbles. Scaling sales organizations, even in large corporations, is like a game of telephone with apparent shortcomings. Conversation support will be a game-changer for sales teams.

CRM Should Not be the Only Sales Tool

A well-managed CRM can be a gold mine. However, a correctly managed CRM is like a unicorn that no one can ever find. A CRM tool is typically full of “buried” information, which is hard to find and hard to manage. For example, salespeople spend just one-third of their day talking to prospects.

The salesperson then spends the rest of their day writing emails, prospecting, and researching leads, going to internal meetings. Between all of those tasks, it’s hard to manage and keep a CRM system up-to-date.

It’s time for the workplace to adopt a productivity tool that allows them to get more out of their days. This new software will save significant time for professionals, especially when synced with their CRM. It houses all necessary data, and assists with critical processes like on-boarding, training, playbook, and suggested language. Not to mention, it ensures consistency across all teams and locations.

The Next Addition to Your Team: “Digital Assistant” 

There is so much knowledge that needs to be shared: sales frameworks, training, FAQs, and product roadmaps. Not to mention all the advice on how to have the best and most productive conversations. Most of the time, this information is either floating around on a server or intranet site, or in someone’s head.

However, the most logical place to manage all that knowledge is in a connected device. It’s accessed instantly or brought up based on conversation tracking, providing it way faster than humans can search for it. The connected personal assistant is an entirely new way for humans to work with computers.

A personal digital assistant for business will support the following functions:

  • Emerging Technology

    Previously developed voice technology allows real-time support; think of the talk-to-text and voice-search functions on cell phones. We believe that the role of a digital assistant for business has various advantages. For example, it can offer real-time support by listening to phone calls, providing advice, and transcribing call notes.

  • IT Integration

    Existing siloed enterprise software tools commonly have open APIs. An open API allows for new business models, such as a digital assistant, to work on top of them.

  • Share-ability

    Sales teams have sales frameworks, that is a fact. And with a digital assistant, sales teams can finally sync their daily operations with the company’s existing framworks. Then, sales conversations become a science rather than an art.

When you take all of this into consideration, the workplace is ready for digital, personal support. The assistant is a natural next addition to the “virtual team.”

What’s Next 

A new category of enterprise software is entering the marketplace. A digital, personal assistant that integrates all kinds of tools and provides collective experiences of various experts. With this rollout, we are combining two of the biggest markets – CRM a $193.6 billion global market with training an $87.6 billion global market. All fueled by intelligent software, augmenting human interaction in business.

People benefit from connected devices and virtual assistants, and the same trend stays true for businesses. Productivity leaps will take place, and the use of virtual assistants will become as normal as having a computer.

Although Ciara is the first dedicated digital sales assistant, we expect this category to grow as adoption happens within companies. If you’d like to learn more about Ciara, visit GetCiara.com to sign up for free and access your own personal assistant within minutes.

Martin Heibel

Martin Heibel

Heibel has been a technology entrepreneur since starting his career in 2004. After immersing himself around entrepreneurs he founded IntraWorlds in 2008, a global provider of innovative cloud-based talent relationship and corporate alumni solutions. He served as managing director for nine years and was able to garner top US-based customers such as KPMG, AT Kearney, Davis Polk, and PWC. He currently still serves on the IntraWorlds advisory board. To continue on his entrepreneurial journey, he founded XPRENEURS, an incubator for high-tech startups at UnternehmerTUM, one of the largest centers for innovation and entrepreneurship in Europe, founded by Susanne Klatten. Most recently, he co-founded Ciara in 2019. A digital assistant for sales teams. Heibel resides in Munich, Germany and spends his free time with his four children!