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Thought Leaders in Artificial Intelligence: Canice Lambe, CTO of TAS Group (Part 4)

Posted on Friday, Nov 6th 2015

Sramana Mitra: You already talked about some of the trends in the low end. For rather simple sales cycles, things are getting automated. It’s becoming more self-service. Customers tend to want to buy as opposed to being sold to. We’re seeing this all over the place – these inbound leads. As a result, the websites need to be really complex or really well done sales tools. You’ve talked about the higher end of the sales cycle with complex products and complex sales cycles as being the territory where you are in. You are driving that with technology and methodology. What do you see out there as open problems that  you or your customers would like to see solved by new entrepreneurs?

Canice Lambe: One interesting area is the move from a capital purchase to a subscription model. In fact, many of our customers are on that journey themselves where they may have, in the past, sold a one-off sale. They’re now selling a subscription. I think there’s a lot of opportunities there to have dedicated forecasting modules. One of the challenges that people in that business face is how to do accurate projections.  For some people, it’s almost like a pay-as-you-go model. Coming up with good and clever ways of predicting churn and then being able to use that as a basis for financial forecasting, I think that’s one area that’s interesting.

One area that’s related to our area but I’m not sure if it’s something we’ll be looking at ourselves in the immediate term is, some aspects of customer success to complement the sales side, whereby especially in a subscription type of model, customer success is key. You want to retain what you’ve sold so far as well as how best to grow the footprint. We do help with aspects of that, but getting all the customer data back in a meaningful way where you can effectively determine if it’s an account that should be grown. Another thought I had from what I understand you’re doing is most of our customers come from the big guys. They have a very well-established structure for their sales organization. They have segmented out into account management versus new acquisitions.

I’ve spent most of my life in startups. Typically, it would be as the Founder CEO doing the selling. I think there are some really interesting opportunities to see how quickly a startup can embrace a lot of the enterprise best practices in a right-sized way, and also walk the line between not being too sales-led to the detriment or product roadmap but at the same time, being able to win those early critical deals especially if they’re selling to enterprise. As you know, it’s not necessarily easy to sell to big companies.

Sramana Mitra: Thank you for your time. Nice to meet you.

This segment is part 4 in the series : Thought Leaders in Artificial Intelligence: Canice Lambe, CTO of TAS Group
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