Wingman: Making sales calls effective

Published: October 28, 2019 12:02:40 AM

The company is currently targeting B2B clients who sell to the US market. It has on-boarded a few SaaS companies such as Chargebee, Synup and Capital Number.

(L-R) Wingman founders Muralidharan V, Shruti Kapoor & Srikar Yekollu(L-R) Wingman founders Muralidharan V, Shruti Kapoor & Srikar Yekollu

By Deepsekhar Choudhury

Imagine how it would be if Dale Carnegie whispered in your ears what to say each time you had to close a deal. Wingman, a company backed by startup incubator Y Combinator — which boasts of discovering eventual unicorns such as Airbnb, Razorpay and Stripe—does the same. Founded by a former investment banker and two ex-Google engineers, Wingman helps salespersons pitch products in real-time by telling them what to ask and say to a prospective customer.

Co-founder and business head Shruti Kapoor says the idea occurred to her when she was trying to implement a go-to-market strategy and sales process at a fintech company. That’s when she figured Excel sheets and customer relationship management platforms were not the most effective way of capturing everything important in a conversation. “In a sales context, if a particular person is not going to become a customer, you might not take any notes at all. For the sales manager it becomes very hard to know why this person did not buy,” says Kapoor.

Wingman’s tool records, transcribes and analyses calls, and picks out trends on what’s working and what’s not in pitches made by salespersons. It allows the managers to set up cue cards to automatically coach the people when they are on the call. A bot will show a cue card if a prospective customer asks a question on how a product is different from a competitor’s. Then it will show talking points such as “Our competitor is good at this, but we are really great at that.” A review card shows up at the end of the call — it has a list of next steps with regards to what was talked about in the call. For instance, if the salesperson is on a long monologue, the tool flags it and suggests: “Pause and ask questions”.

The company is currently targeting B2B clients who sell to the US market. It has on-boarded a few SaaS companies such as Chargebee, Synup and Capital Number.

According to Kapoor, “Without Wingman it takes 3-8 months to fully ramp up a new sales rep. A large part of this is in training them on best practices, tribal knowledge and handling customer objections. With Wingman, companies can cut this time by 30-50%.” The former Morgan Stanley banker says that the biggest cost for the company is that of customesr acquisition — the industry number for this is close to 9-10 months of the revenue for the first year. The second biggest cost is cloud computing — for example, speech to text can cost around 2 cents per minute. “Once the scale sets in and once you have customers who are expanding, infrastructure costs can be minimised and the margin would be 60%,” she says.

The product costs $1,000 per salesperson per year. At present, it is used by 350 sales people. Besides figuring out the product-market fit, the startup needs to finding the right talent as the software-as-a-service (SaaS) space is still young in India. It plans to move into the B2C space with sectors such as real estate and financial eservices. It has raised $2.2 million in the seed round, led by Venture Highway, Speciale Invest and Y Combinator.

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