On March 26th, the Demand Sage team held two virtual roundtables on using HubSpot and Google Sheets to enable and support collaboration in the workspace. In the first one, Demand Sage co-founders Henry Cipolla and Randy Dailey welcomed Sonciary Honnoll, co-founder of Quala, the human-first customer success platform, moderated by Demand Sage's Ben Carcio.
Enjoy the recording:
And for those of you who would rather read the transcript, here it is:
All right, great. Well why don't I kick it off here? It looks like we have some attendees, panelists look ready to go. Can flex, can stretch. Great. I want to welcome everybody to the webinar round table, virtual round table. So the round table is virtual, so imagine us all around a round table.
What we're going to be talking about today, or the intention of this, and introduce myself first, I'm Ben Carcio, I'm an adviser at Demand Sage. I'm also a mentor in residence at Techstars, an entrepreneur in residence of National Grid and former founder of a company called Promoboxx.
Which is a brand street to marketing platform. So I'm excited here to help facilitate the conversation around collaboration. Specifically around the collaboration around HubSpot and Google Sheets. But before I do that, "Why are we here?" We at Demand Sage are building a platform that's built on top of HubSpot, and HubSpot every year has a partner day.
And it's a few days, and partners get to come together, collaborate, talk about all the different things that they're doing. So this data that we're having today and the schedule of this, was supposed to coincide with the physical event. And based on the recent news, that event was canceled.
So we decided to switch that to a virtual event. So we can have the same type of conversations virtually. And then that event was pushed out weeks. So we decided to stick this event here, so that's why there's two virtual webinars today. It was intended to coincide with what HubSpot was talking about.
But I think to me it's really indicative of the current state of the world that we're all in today. That the meetings that we were having, we were getting opportunities to sit and talk and meet each other face-to-face, have now all been changed. And we've been given this opportunity to use tools like Zoom to collaborate.
So this is a really exciting opportunity for us to reach out, talk to you all around collaboration and around Google, and HubSpot. So anyway, so I'd love to intro the panelists. All of whom I think bring great perspective to the concept of remote work. From a Demand Sage perspective it's a small and strong team, about a half dozen people.
So when the company was forced to go remote it became really easy, because the company was already natively remote, building remote platforms. But we'd love to introduce Henry Cipolla, Randy Dailey and Sonciary Honnoll. Sonciary is actually from a company called Quala, but I'd love for each of them to quickly and briefly introduce themselves.
So, I don't know Henry, if you wanted to kick off? Intro yourself and explain your awesome background you have there.
Sure. Hi guys I'm Henry Cipolla, I'm the co-founder and CTO here at Demand Sage. Whereas Ben mentioned, we're helping collaborate through spreadsheets. Before this I was co-founder and CTO of a company called Localytics. We were a mobile app analytics platform here in Boston.
Achieved a lot, worked a lot of brands, helped them understand their users and then do different level marketing to those users, to a lot of different channels. And, my background is a scuba diving picture, because I figure it's a good way to convey a little bit of personality, in what I do.
Thanks. Thanks Henry. Randy do you want to intro yourself, and obviously stick another brand and a brand message there with the Demand Sage logo there in the background? You're on mute Randy.
Rookie, Rookie mistake.
I'm actually really shocked that you did that, but that's cool.
All right. Good morning everyone. I'm Randy Dailey, I'm co-founder and chief product officer at Demand Sage. I'm like Henry who loves the outdoors, I'm a spreadsheet aficionado and an avid indoors man, and in the past I've worked at these really large companies as well as small companies.
So I've seen the gambit of different collaboration options, and looking forward to the conversation today.
And prior to Demand Sage Randy, you were working with the MBTA, so I'm sure they're going through a bunch of challenges relative to all this remote work. It's really hard for them to be remote, right?
That's true, for sure. And I think about it as different ends of the spectrum. You have start ups, super agile, lots of quick movement. Then you have big governmental organizations, in this case the MBTA that runs the transit system for State of Massachusets, basically.
And you see quite a different perspective when you're looking at three year long projects with multiple mile-stones and things like that. So, yeah. Totally.
Yeah. Collaboration is definitely going to be important to obviously build the infrastructure we need moving forward. And I'm super excited to introduce Sonciary Honnoll, [inaudible 00:06:55] back story, since Sonciary is my co-founder at Promoboxx. She's founded an amazing new company called Quala.
Sonciary, please introduce yourself. Talk about Quala but also please tell us why you have that amazing backdrop behind you where you're patching in from?
Yeah. Well let's start with that first. So I am in Amherst, New Hampshire, I'm in the middle of the woods by a pond. So I've been enjoying the view, trying to take advantage of being able to work remotely, and glad that I'm here to chat with you guys today. So I am co-founder of a company called Quala.
And we are a human first customer success platform. We blend qualitative measurements with quantitative usage metrics in order to give start-ups and later stage companies a clear view of customer health. So, yes. And previously before Quala, started Promoboxx, a marketing tech company in Boston with Ben.
Been dedicated and fully in on the Boston Eco start-up scene for... I don't know how many years now? A long time. More than I care to say.
Dozens of years.
And it's been awesome. So thanks for having me.
Yeah, I would love for each of you to give your perspective on being remote. How does it feel? Has it made you more efficient, and the ways it's made you more efficient? And then maybe in some ways it's made you less efficient. So, Sonciary, do you want to jump in and just give us your feeling about collaboration in general? Not just specifically reporting, not just specifically HubSpot or Google Sheets?
But talk to me about how that's working for you and for your organization?
Yeah, sure. So Quala or Nexus is in Boston we work out of the Underscore offices, but we're all around the city. And I also work from my home office in New Hampshire. So it wasn't a huge shift, but I have to say, I've found that I love being out in the field. I am my best self when I'm with our customers.
Whether that's face-to-face, well I love being face-to-face. Video conferencing is an amazing way to connect too. But definitely miss a lot of our coffee and lunch meetings, chatting about just how we can make our platform better and connecting with people that are in the customer's success community.
So, what I have really loved about working fully remote and having most of our customers remote as well, or all I should say. Is that it's been a very, very human experience. So it used to be that when I was remote, if my pups would walk-in or snore as they were sleeping, I would get embarrassed.
And now we just realize that look we have puppies, we have animals, we have kids, we're normal people. And we're working out of our homes, and I found that I've learned a lot more about my customers. Seeing a little bit about... Or learning about their home offices, I really enjoyed that.
What's been maybe a little bit frustrating of course, is that I love being face-to-face. I love being in the field. So, that's been different. The other thing, of course give the fact of current events, people have been under a ton of pressure. So, the upside is that we've had a lot of again, really human conversations.
But on the other side of that too, there's been a lot of sharing about difficulties that we're going through, and the uncertainty of just what's going on.
Yeah, no. That's great Sonciary. Randy please yeah, you've been in my mind a remote work aficionado and in addition to a spreadsheet aficionado, for as long as I've known you. Is this finally the world has come back to you, or give me your feeling? Has it been everything you imagined or have there been some changes, both good and bad?
Sure, yeah. Good and bad seems to be the right thing. There's trade-offs. If you're a developer or something, and you're looking to do some flow state work and you want to put your heads down for four hours, then it's fantastic. You have this defragmented time, it's really great for this productivity work.
But there's a tax on collaboration that has to be managed. If you're not putting an energy there you get entropy, you get badness. There's a little bit more writing things down, a little bit more of that overhead to manage it. Demand Sage, again we're a pretty small unit right now.
So, I think the juice has been worth the squeeze in terms of us really netting out on a lot of productivity.
See if my co-founder [crosstalk 00:11:19]?
Yeah, no. Why don't we turn it back to the outdoor enthusiast.
Yeah, right. I am a curmudgeon, and I hate it. So I think it's wonderful that it's been forced on me because I did not have the muscle for it at all before. And I still don't. I don't have the discipline, I get distracted. We talked about pups, it's great having the dog, but when he comes to play with the ball or something.
That is way better than writing this email I don't want to write. So I go and do that. And so I find myself staying up later than ever before to keep up with work, because I don't have the discipline to do this well. I also am used to sending an email and then glancing over my shoulder at my employees body language to see, "Did I upset this person? Did this land okay?"
And so, losing all of that has been a bit of a challenge. Having to replace it with tools and things, and I actually really appreciated hearing what Sonciary had to say because yeah, there is a humanizing piece to it that wasn't there before. Maybe I should embrace more of that, it's a lesson.
You'll see that I'm hiding behind a virtual background because I'm too embarrassed to show you guys how messy my room is. You see, that's an example of something I need to do better to get to some of that human piece back, that is missing that makes me not like it as much.
Yeah. Yeah. I need to poke on one thing, I need it. So talked to me about the juxtaposition, you said you're a curmudgeon, but you hate remote. Talk to me through that, talk to me through that [crosstalk 00:12:51]?
A curmudgeon hates new and different. We've worked the same way forever and ever, and I like coming to work, talk to my co-workers and do things the same old way.
Versus I guess more tradition meaning, meaning that I hate people and I want to be alone, which is not true, okay. So, call me out for my misuse of the word curmudgeon. Thank you Ben.
No. I was worried that if you went remote you'd become more curmudgeon. But, that's what you were saying. But yeah, no, it's really, really good.
I have to say though, Henry-
... just quickly about backgrounds. So I was on call with someone for the first time. We were meeting for the first time, it was original coffee it was great. And his room was so messy. So I have this background and it was chaotic. He was... His whole gaming set up, but we talked about his love for gaming, and also I noticed that he had tons of pop tart boxes, that were just amassed behind him on a dresser.
So then we were like, "What's your favorite pop tart? Mine's cinnamon. I hate the frosting." And it created this whole opportunity for connection. So, no pressure but it can be a good thing.
Cool. Well I'm going to bring us back. I love the pop tart story, Sonciary. And I think too, and this echoes with the positioning of your company, Quala, and how you're trying to bring the human back to technology. But it's interesting that these human stories are actually becoming more human.
You probably would never have known that, that person will like pop tarts if you hadn't seen that in the background. So it's really a great story. And transitioning that back to our topic, arguably one of the most inhuman things, and maybe this is my bias coming into this question.
One of the most inhuman things that anyone can operate in, is a spread sheet. Sorry, ear muffs randy, any spreadsheet aficionado's. I would love... Randy, especially. I'm going to come right at you because you claim to be the aficionado on spreadsheets and I'm not going to deny that. But tell me, "How do we humanize spreadsheets?"
How do we make them more human? When in reality they're really intended to show data, they show numbers. Is it possible? You're on mute again.
I got it this time. All right. All right. So, recollecting here. I think spreadsheets they get a bad name. You have every SAS vendor pitching against it saying, "Get out of spreadsheets, get into our tool." But I think a lot of times that is actually code for, "Stop sending static documents around in email attached. It's stale data."
And people malign spreadsheets to mean that. It doesn't have to mean that. Spreadsheets themselves, there's a lot to like about them. In my mind it's really about finding ways to make them easy to use. To remove some of those barriers to access really. So, if you think about spreadsheets, there's this process of manually exporting data and importing it into your spreadsheet. That's not very fun.
The process of ideating exactly what your dashboard should look like, that's not very fun. The process of building the custom reports, again that cannot be fun. It gets the Demand Sage perspective where we think the solution here is automation. Where we are trying to automate this process, we're trying to be turnkey templates, we're trying to actually bring some of that humanity and maybe the ease of us of a SAS tool, in terms of strong templates, strong defaults, all of that, to the spreadsheet.
And to maybe just touch on the social aspects super quick. I mean, there's comments, there's presence, there's tasks, there's the ability to annotate. I think when you compare Google Sheets or something to a generic SAS dashboard, from your favorite SAS vendor, you'll find there's a lot more in terms of collaboration niceties there. It's just a matter getting on board and exploiting those.
Yeah. You actually mentioned a second ago, I think it's really interesting how you mentioned the learning curve of a spreadsheet and a lot of what maybe people don't like. The focus group of one, being me, is some of the intimidated aspects, data entry and things like that, and removing that allows it to become more human.
But you mentioned a second ago, email. It's just all this sort of technology that you have, an email and you attach a spreadsheet. And I know, Henry, you have some opinions on email. So talk to me about that workflow that we've all seen done every day.
Which is spreadsheet, "Hey take a look at this spreadsheet." In an email. Is there a better way to do that? Is there a role of emails and spreadsheets being one? Talk to me about your opinions there.
So, the question is set up for failure because I have to champion the thing, that we've just agreed on, feels inhuman and terrible from your own words, right? Email is neat, and maybe some of it's because we have a lot of muscle for it. But email is, okay poor man's asynchronous communication, workshop and warehouse, right? Because you can use as your task scheduler.
You can use it as your way to communicate about... There's very specific threads, you can use it as your way to keep track of things. You can use it as a way to message and notify someone else. We use a lot of email terms like, "Bring it to the top of your inbox." And play all, and all these things, because they're built into how we've learnt to work.
And so when a tool like Slack comes around, which is very popular and I'm glad we have it. And I know everybody loves it. But, I find it to be the worst part of the whole remote experience. It comes to disrupt and usurp a lot of those things that email does really well.
So, I think that while we're going to hear from Randy, and the new age way of doing things. If you have things that are working over email, I think that a lot of companies go out of their way to drop that and replace with new tools, just because. And there is still some stuff that works, right?
There's still, no matter how remote you are, a memo sent over email with, "Hey, here's the problem and here's what we're doing about it." It's still one of the tools that is most effective. And you don't have to worry about were employees in general when I said that, or did they miss it. Did people have the right alert set up or not, right?
It just gets out there and gets read. So I've got a lot of affinity for email still. Even though this whole experience is teaching me how to use Slack and how to configure it and all that good stuff.
Yeah, so I was an intern at American Online, if you can remember that, in 1999. So I'm old enough to have gone through many, many stories around, "We finally have the death of email." There's some new killer app that's going to kill email and email continues to soldier on, to all the points you just mentioned.
We actually have a great question from an attendee around structured databases, and the fact that Google Sheets is unstructured. And the role of Demand Sage and others, bringing some structure into sheets and from that perspective, making them more of a useful app.
So, I'd love to turn it back to Randy on this, and then we would definitely love your thoughts Henry. Because I just know the pain points of structured, unstructured, work that you have underway.
Yeah. So maybe a couple of points. I think the first, almost the unstructuredness and flexibility of G Sheets, a lot of its power in a lot of ways. You think about HubSpot Dashboard. They've got great reporting. Use their reporting, but you don't have a way to mung in your own first party data.
You can't take your HubSpot data and set it against your goals, or your budget, or your resource constraints, or annotations you've made in the past. Google Sheets gives you a nice value prop as this all-in-one workplace, precisely because you can bring in all of this unstructured data.
Having said that, speaking from what we've done on the Demand Sage perspective, just to maybe elucidate the use case a little bit. Demand Sage connects directly to HubSpot. So we know that a deal's a deal, we know a contact is a contact. We sort of know the structure of your data, and that means we can organize it, and we can give you these default templates that will give you value added metrics, or will lay out the data in a certain way, or give you a template that helps you see over new deals or something like that.
We are very aware of the HubSpot data model. HubSpot's a great product because their data model's very prescriptive and it's very similar. Customer to customer. So we do have a lot of liberties to add that taxonomy, add that prescriptive, opinionated layer in the reports.
So just to send it back to Henry, in maybe a slightly different way. Does the flexibility and collaborative aspects of G Sheet make structured data reporting challenging? Right? I can edit. If I'm not given the right permissions I can mess up a spreadsheet fairly easily.
Look how popular wikis are, and wikis are the definition of unstructured editing, and as mean as I can be about Slack, I can give you 10 times meaner about internal wikis. That's where information goes to get hidden and die. So, you do have a lot of the same problems with cheats.
You get tab overflow. Where if someone creates a tab that's the reporting tab. And then someone else says, "Oh, boy. I want this tab, but I want to a slightly different review on it." So they clone it and they change it a little bit. And three years later you have a whole lot of tabs with the date, at which point that was timestamped and then the next one was created, and then the next one.
And you've got versions in there. And so if you're aware that, that is a problem you can run into. Then just like with wikis, if you're aware that's a problem you can run into, or the way you solve the problem there is you create a good table of contents, you create discipline around going back, editing and trimming down and moving things.
And you use analytics to see which pages no one ever reads, to decide, "Hey maybe these are unlinked." Or, whatever. If you take that same discipline to sheets, you can have a good experience. This is the master tab, we'll pull from the other tabs but we're all going to use this as the updated version in the answers.
And don't create new tabs, use commenting. Don't create new tabs, go in there and add what you want to the existing tab. Make it a single live document. That has your information. Is a good habit, and good hygiene to get into. Usually going back to the question itself. "Are you bringing taxonomy and anthology to Google Sheets?"
That's upfront work. What are the columns that we really care about? And how do we put those in? And if you do a lot of upfront work, then the rest becomes just display. And that I think, isn't so bad. Yeah.
Yeah, I appreciate that. It sounds to me Henry, it's important that you need to embrace the flexibility of the medium, right? So if you're going to lean in on Google Sheets, Mathew, it's one of the situations where you're going to have to lean in to everything that's good about it, and it does present challenges.
But I think to the point earlier, about what happens with technologies. You get muscle memory and people start getting used to it, and they create their own tabs and things like that. So I think it's a really great, great way to frame it. And so I'll surely love to turn it back to you, Sonciary, and just get your perspective on...
In this new world that we're in now. Where we're not traveling, we're not having coffees, do you think we're going to be more focused on the metrics, more in our spreadsheets, more in our reporting dashboards, than we ever have been? As business people?
Yeah, that's an interesting question. Yeah. Well I would certainly say that we are trending towards that. I think we've already seen, specifically I mean my world is post sales, so customer success. We've already seen a lot of managers now hiding behind data dashboards, and not having the customer connections that we would love for them to have to understand truly what's motivating our customers, and what's the value that they perceived from the products we're providing.
So, I think that was already happening before we started going, or before we went primarily remote. I do think, though, that going remote has... From the conversations I've been having, has really made people crave having those one-on-one connections. Having some time by the water cooler, talking with our customers face-to-face, if it's over Zoom.
So, I see that the pendulum has swung... Or I should say, is swinging back. Where people are realizing, that we need data. We absolutely need data. It's hugely important for us to make good decisions. But we also need to qualitative metrics, or measurements that we get from having conversations with our fellow team members, with our customers, with our partners, in order to inform how we leverage that data.
What's the narrative behind that data? And a lot of it comes from personal conversations. So, I think the pendulum swung hard in one way and we're coming back to find that that qualitative, quantitative piece, those person to person interactions are incredibly powerful, and we need to put a premium on those.
So, how do you... And I love the pop tart story and I forget, partner, customer potential employee, but how do you quantify that? That to me is to know that piece of information about somebody is deep and meaningful. How does that get into data?
Yeah. Yeah. That's such a good point. So, I think similarly how we were talking about Google Sheets and how unstructured they are, we're looking for the ways that we can provide flexibility to measure the unmeasurable. We need flexibility around that, but we also need formulas for how companies can be successful.
So, one way to do that, and I'm just talking specifically about Quala, because this is the world I live in, is allowing people on the front lines who are having conversations with customers, to be able to add information about those conversations in a way that can be measured. So, for instance, it's helping them with topics, things to discuss.
Watching how customers are using their products and then surfacing of topics, things for them to discuss on their calls. And then after those calls asking CSM some very key questions. Where they include a rating from one to five that allows us at Quala to be able to actually quantify that qualitative data, is essentially how we're attacking it.
So... Attacking is a little bit of a strong word, how we're looking at it because it is very important. And there's a lot of unstructured data out there, narrative data out there, that has to be captured that we have to put numbers behind if we're going to use it in a way that's meaningful for our customer interaction.
So, I'm going to throw it over to Randy. We'll have Randy to dovetail on top of this one, how do you meld the worlds of structure data, what is true from a data perspective and what is opinion, right? So Google has create commenting tools, they have great task assigning tools, Google Sheets excuse me.
How do you meld those two worlds together to paint a better picture? The qualitative, quantitative in your mind?
Yeah, sure. So I would think about Google Sheets, the features that you've mentioned, that collaborative layer, you have tasks, you can assign tasks and you can suggest edits in fact, which is a great way to do it. Where you're affirmatively saying, "You should do this." Rather than just saying, "I don't know, this seems edgy." So that's almost a domain of that opinionated world.
You've got the free form way to mark up the document, to add comments, to add annotations, to add your own flavor. At the same time the actual contents of the spreadsheet are hopefully the sources of truth. If you have a metrics spreadsheet or something, great your canvas is the spreadsheet. Maybe you're automating, bring that in. That's your source of truth, there's your google analytics, there's your HubSpot.
And almost that opinion layer becomes really the commenting tools, et cetera, if you're using sheets the way we use sheets.
Right. And Henry, would love for you to talk about... One of the things that we hear from everyone is that everyone wants to integrate everything, right? "I want all my data in one place." I'd love to get your perspective on that. I mean obviously the technical challenges around that, but the practicality of that and are people on marketing teams or agencies working with marketing clients?
Are they chasing something that's nearly impossible, and should they focus in on one particular element at a time? Or does it make sense to try to create a world where all data's merged into one?
This depends a little bit on what your data is. One of the reasons why we like HubSpot is, HubSpot's a pretty good source of record for a lot of things. Salesforce is another example of this. Where this is now one integration, if you bring your Salesforce or HubSpot data into sheets or whatever tool you're using, that gets you a lot for a not a lot of lift, which is great.
If you are advertising to a huge long tail of networks, and you want all of that data in, or you're on every social channel possible, then you could be set up for a huge lift in order to get all of that integration. Fortunately there are partners to leverage, obviously I'll point the finger back at us, because that's a thing we do. But there's a lot of different solutions for how you can get that in.
And so, as long as you're not doing it yourself, which is the worst possible case, right? Spinning engineering cycles, to reinvent the wheel that other people have invented just to get half of your data into a sheet, so that no one really trusts it anyway, is not a great outcome for anybody. But if you use the right partners and you attack this successfully, yeah I do think it's possible to get all of your data in.
And you even see companies that will start to prioritize stuff, right? There's a lot of companies that say, "If something isn't measurable we won't spend money on it." So now your initiatives need to start with, "Well how are we going to measure this as we plan this initiative?" And, "Maybe we can't do this ad campaign that we wanted to do with you, because you don't try measurement and we'll find someone else."
And I think that's super important, otherwise it's a constant ad hoc nightmare that never gets resolved.
Yeah, it's a really great point. And I'd love to introduce a concept which I think potentially is controversial and there's a lot of definitions around that, and that's artificial intelligence. Layering in artificial intelligence, and I know both from a Demand Sage perspective, and from a Quala perspective it's part of the visions in a way for their platforms.
And any other folks on the call I'm sure, are thinking artificial intelligence, or thinking about ways to leverage artificial intelligence, could be a multi-trillion dollar business over the next decade or so. So, I'm going to turn it to you Sonciary, because I know I'm going to move away from the two, product and technical, and not to say you're not product or technical.
But certainly would love your opinion as someone who's building a human first customer success platform. How do you view the long term role of artificial intelligence to start making human-like judgements on our data, on top of sheets, or on top of platforms like HubSpot or platforms like yours?
Sure. I mean I think I'm totally into it. I think there's absolutely a place and it's helpful to us, I think the key is that we leverage AI in a way that serves us and not in a way that's hurtful to us and our businesses. And that probably seems pretty trite and obvious, but what I mean by that is I think the place for AI is that it can help us make better decisions, certainly.
It can help us save time, it can help us create more efficiencies. While we are watching the data come in and we have a layer of AI that allows us or allows for surfacing of insights and suggestions so that we can act on those insights and suggestions in a way that's more human, based on the additional information that we have.
That, that's hugely powerful for us. So I know obviously at Quala that's something that we think a lot about, that we are using. We want to continue to leverage and grow on because we think it's better for our customers if they can have this information at their finger tips and we think it will make them better at what we do.
Now, we think that it allows them, it enables them to be better at what they do. We don't think that it takes over, not... Certainly at this point. Given for us, we're in start-ups, we all realize how important our relationships are. I mean we are a relationship driven culture for sure. So, there are things that we uniquely do in our conversations and our connections, that I think AI can help support.
And I think we carry it across the finish line, so yeah. Hugely important, I think for us in our review, built into our efforts.
Yeah, I would love to... Because I know AI is part of the ongoing conversation at Demand Sage and part of the vision of Demand Sage, so I'm going to throw it as a jump-all between Randy and Henry, if you have a strong opinion and will want to jump in on this topics of AI and its role and collaboration on top of our data?
Yeah, I mean, we think a lot of the ritual people do in spreadsheets is they're in spreadsheets, they're trying to dig through the data, manipulate the data to unearth insights. And longterm we see the opportunity as being able to automatically surface those insights for people. To almost analyze your data on your behalf.
So that may mean saying, "Hey, it looks like you have a campaign here that has a pretty cost per acquisition." But maybe have a long deal cycle. You can't really wait to see what the LTV is. We can give you an early notification and say something like, "Hey this campaign that looks really goods, actually nobody's advancing to a pricing phone call within 30 days." We could surface that.
There's also some benefits to being able to deeply understand the data of something like a HubSpot, in terms of us being add that judgements or prescriptive layer to things. So, we see a lot of cool tail winds in that direction. The next couple of years, that's definitely a place we'll be looking at.
Yeah. As a founder and Chief Technical Officer, Henry, we'd love your perspective on the role of AI. Is it truth? Is it fiction? Yeah, we'll definitely love your thoughts.
I mean, it's certainly truth. Does that justify the fact that... I don't remember the number, but something like 70% of start-ups that got funded last year, had AI either in their pitch or in their name. And one the tricks when you're trying to raise money is to talk about how your longterm vision is an AI play. Because that's all anyone wants to talk about.
No. So, yes I think it's the future, but I think a lot of people get so hung up on what AI can eventually do, that they don't think about all the steps in between, and how far you can get with just rules and simple human assumptions about what you're doing. Most of the data that we're getting coming in, comes from sources we know.
We already know roughly where the lines should be, so do I need a anomaly detection of all of my data at times zero. Maybe not, maybe all I need are thresholds. Do I need predictions on the results of these five campaigns, I want to figure out where to put the money? Probably not. Maybe a simple formula based on what happened in the past will give me a ratio that gives me enough of a guide.
So, yes. Amazing things we can do with AI, amazing thing we can do with AI in the future, but let's get today right first.
Yeah, and taking AI which is, say from a technological evolution perspective, here or in the future. Let's take it down to what's facing a lot of people today. So if we think of the value proposition of Demand Sage, enterprise, grade, marketing intelligence for everyone. And if you look at a platform like Quala which is a human first customer success platform.
I think the common thread between the two companies are the fact that you are both supporting earlier stage companies, whether that's start-ups and, or small businesses. So, talk to me... I'll start with you Sonciary. Talk to me about how you see the role of your companies, in protecting and supporting arguably the most vulnerable part of our business strata.
And also ensuring that they're going to be success to address some of the challenges that we're going to have over the next 12 months. Talk to me about your perspective there and how technology and your platform and collaboration can be used to support that.
Yeah. I think I would probably start with just the importance of efficiency. And I know we all talk a lot about efficiency. But there are things that we are doing, decisions that we're making, strategic decisions where we're not totally sure if those activities and those decisions are pushing our business forward.
So I think it's incredibly important for us to take a look at where we're spending our time, those key actions, and actually measure. And it's not hard to do, which is of course one of the things that we help with. But, to measure if those activities are actually driving and increasing connection with your customers, which is increasing renewability, increasing the value of your platform.
So, I think that efficiency has always been something that we've been focused on but it's now extremely important, especially with Tier Point, Ben, how you said the most vulnerable of businesses that are out there really trying to look to see how they can survive. And I think that the ROI that you provide as a platform, as a partner, is extremely important.
Why are your customers working with you? Is it easy to work with you? Are there efficient ways to work with you? How can you understand, help them understand how to better connect and measure their customers, and if they are providing value to their customers? And how can you do that, of course, like I said, extremely efficiently.
So I think the key is for us to help them understand, what they're doing that's providing value and to get rid of the wasteful actions and activities that don't provide value and don't help their business. And to come alongside them. I mean just the conversation that you can have around honesty is incredibly powerful.
Look this is an uncertain difficult time, we're not saying that it's going to be easy, we're here to come alongside and help you. We're all in it together, just acknowledge the fact that this is not an easy thing to move through, and have those one-to-one conversations. They can be so powerful.
And your customers will tell you, how you can help them. And I think that's where all of us would be better, to start with just those one on one human connections.
Yeah. Thank you Sonciary. I'm going to turn the Demand Sage question over to Henry because I think it's really interesting, your story. Again current value proposition of Demand Sage is enterprise, grade, marketing intelligence for everyone. But having formed arguably one of the most successful data analytics platform for big enterprise.
Talk to me about how you view data, and bringing data to everyone and how you view that supporting these businesses and supporting society in general?
Well one of the things to note there is that... Especially when you're just starting out, most peoples data isn't super unique, right? Most people have the same types of objects. Most people want to do the same things with those objects. So what you can do is you can work with a number of companies, look at their objects, look at the analysis that's helpful to them.
And then you can scale that out so that other companies don't have to go back and re-invent that same thing. And so you start to get a lot of value out of the volume of data without actually having to share anyone's data with anyone else. Just by learning how the data's connected and how people want to use it. And so you can repeat this and make a really good system for a lot of people to get a lot of value out of their data without them having to invent it.
Tying that back to the theme of collaboration in how we all work, right? One of the first uses of this of, "Hey, so someone's looking at my data for me. Help me understand it. What did they do?" Is notifications and deciding what should you bring your attention to right now? I think that's one of the most useful things because as we're moving into this asynchronous world where you have all your work in one spot that we're trying to collaborate in, in the sheets.
Figure out how to direct peoples attention so less of their time is spent exploring to find these things. But instead actually deciding and acting on them, is the most useful thing you can do. So if you have a lot of data you can look at, figure out what are the patterns, then we can use these patterns to help other people find their stuff. I think you've actually accomplished a lot and you have saved some time.
Yeah, I mean I can't tell you how many times Henry, I see people struggling with the, "How do we build a spreadsheet to show ourselves our sales and marketing report?" And I think your point is, that's been done. And been done many times, and if you can use platforms that are already doing that. Then you eliminate a lot of wasted time there.
Randy I would love for you... So, we have an attendee question, I'd love to throw over to you, because it has the word opinionated dashboards in it, and I know the word opinionated dashboards will jump out to you. So if you see that question, do you think we'll start seeing a shift to more sheet oriented analytics products rather than opinionated dashboards, apple to GA et cetera?
So I don't know if you wanted to handle that one?
Yeah, for sure. So I don't know if they have to be mutually exclusive, says rather than opinionated dashboards. You can have a pattern where a, you've got a spreadsheet but the Google Sheets is a very extensible platform, you can build plug-ins on top of it, you can extend the platform. That's part of what we see ourselves doing at Demand Sage.
Where we're offering a template gallery, where you can press a button. You can download a opinionated report and have it work. And it's a lot easier for us to come up with this library of different reports for your win, loss analysis, or your new opportunities or whatever you'd like. Because at the end of the day they're sheets.
They're more easy to create, they're more easy to just load the data into. We don't have to build a giant front-end. So I see the terminal state here I guess, as, yeah. Sheets is great. Sheets is a lot of flexibility. If you can take sheets and you can give it the ease of use of a SAS product, by adding in niceties like real time data sync, or template galleries.
I think you'll achieve a better platform. You have the sheet with all of its benefits, in terms of being able to bring in all of the data from all of the sources. Whether it's offline or not, and you have that married with the ease of use of a SAS tool. So, I think we're seeing some early shifts that way in the market, but I'd expect it to continue.
That's great. We also have another great question coming from Mathew, on the attendee list. And it's near and dear to my heart, but when your client asks for data, to back it up. To back the vision up and there is no data, I think Sonciary will remember at Promoboxx all the conversations we had with Promoboxx customers, where we insisted that it was working but the data really didn't create a strong enough case there.
So, how do you address that? And where would you direct their intention instead? And how do you project demand ultimately? Because basically anything that you say, is all changed. There is no pattern to be matched to a certain extent. So, I'm going to throw a jump ball up on that question, if any of the panelists would love to jump in on that one. I think that was a great one.
Yeah, I'm happy to jump in. And I don't know if this exactly answers it, but where my head goes is, "Where can we borrow credibility?" And we have this conversation a lot, for those of us that have raised capital and we're talking to investors, if we're talking to customers, if we're talking to partners. If we want a team member to join.
We're asking them to take a leap of faith when we don't have a ton of data. And that leap of faith, that credibility can be borrowed from a lot of the qualitative narrative, the conversations that you've been having with people in your community that you've been capturing. It can also happen with a market analysis that you've been doing, or data from there.
Again I'm not sure if this goes directly to the question, but I think for me my head immediately goes to, we're all developing assumptions and creating a thesis based on what we think is true. And we have to just get through that feedback loop as quickly as possible. So we have an idea, we think it's this. We might not have a ton of data, we have some narrative around that we think is true and we're going to go ahead and build that thesis.
We're going to test it, we're going to measure it, we're going to tweak it, and we're going to go through that loop again. So, I think there is definitely a premium to be put on quickness, and ways that you can borrow that credibility from qualitative metrics, that can really be helpful to your cause. And again, that can work for any different cohort. Whether it's investor, et cetera, et cetera.
Yeah. Yes. So point on this thread Henry, we'd love for you to speak in your immense wisdom about projecting forward, given the fact that everything in the past is potentially different. How does technology play a role? How do we work in such uncertainty with our data and our view of the future?
I mean I don't think the data is actually as uncertain, it doesn't take a lot of time to find really small tests. So just really small tests to generate data out. Creating data when there isn't data, is often not that hard. You can look at everything we've just done, and look at the output and the output and the results of it. You can sample.
So if you've got a lot of things we can take 10% of them and look at all of them. We can look for comparables, right? So what are other people doing and how is that working? So even when we're in a really uncertain time, like right now. Where every conversation you have, people are like, "Well we're in this time that we've never seen before."
Actually if you look at market data and you look at other large and macro data sets. What we're looking at actually doesn't look all that different from 2008. So there are comparables and there are formulas you can apply to answer whatever question it is you're trying to answer. And no, this is not correct and accurate data.
It is assumptive, presumptuous data. But it's grounded in assumptions that we can all agree on and that is better than nothing. And then we can do a couple of small little tests, to prove that a, it's trending in the way that we're predicting. And, re-evaluate in a day or a week or whatever, depending on what we're talking about.
So I'm going to pull us back to the collaboration question, and I'm going to T you up on this Randy so make sure you're unmuted. It's obvious, we know there's challenges with remote work, right? It's putting a lot of pressure on everybody. And I thought the question Mathew asked is a good one, it's going to create challenges with us presenting what we're doing and getting people to buy into our vision.
So, how do you think we should change how we work? Talk to me about how you see the future of collaboration, based on everything we've learned before the situation, and what we're learning now?
Mm. Yeah, I would break down the challenges of remote into these two parts that can be overcome. The first is, tools. And they have to play catch up on the collaboration story, on the present story, on the ability to simulate that water cooler feel in the office. But the second big bucket I think is norms.
And we're just talking about the processes you set, the cultural inertia at your business that you may need to overcome. And I happen to think that change in the norms is probably the bigger lever in to achieving success in remote work.
We touched on this a couple of times but if you think about real life meetings. They're synchronous, they're real time. This is a synchronous meeting. If you think about asynchronous things, that's email. I sent a message, Henry replies five hours later.
When you think about remote work, I think a lot of success depends on embracing those asynchronous workflows. So, not necessarily having an expectation that somebody's going to respond on Slack if you are a newly distributed company in multiple timezones, with people working flexible hours.
You can fight against the system and those barriers, or you can try to embrace the [asynchronousness 00:51:59]. And if you buy into that, what that really means is put your work items where the work is. Put your tasks where the work is. If you're talking about a deal, that can be associated with the deals object in HubSpot.
If you're talking about a contact, that can be associated in HubSpot. If you're talking about a support ticket, you can go to Zendesk. All of these things are giving you a place to collaborate where the stuff is happening. It's contextualized, it's asynchronous, people can have filtered views.
They can see what's assigned to me. They can see what's overdue. That structure pays a lot of good dividends in this remote work where all of your collaborative interactions have longer feedback loops. It takes longer to get information. So, you have more threads, and those more threads can be overwhelming.
So to sum that up, if you can do collaboration in some of these SAS tools do it. There's a bunch of places where they short though, like HubSpot, you could collaborate on deals but you couldn't collaborate on the metrics that talk about deals. Or if you're talking about marketing campaigns, that doesn't live in one system of record per se.
That's a decentralized thing. Is it your trade show, is it your digital campaigns? So I think there are a whole bunch of cases where you ought to use that spreadsheet as that new in-workflow based place to collaborate. To talk about things, talk about metrics.
It lends itself to synchronicity, and it helps get past that overwhelmingness of having nowhere to talk about metrics or something. Besides Slack or email.
Yeah, I know. I appreciate that Randy. And I think from a Demand Sage perspective, we're going to continue to be thought leaders around collaborative work, especially around metrics and creating collaboration on that. We're getting close to the end of our time here.
I think we have time for one more question, but before then and appreciate the audience participation. But before we do that, would love each of the panelists to give me a twitter size, new twitter size... What's that, 240 characters? View of the future. Where do you see us 12 months from now.
Assuming that we come back next year, same time. Same bad time, same bad channel. Where do you see us? I'll start with you Henry.
So there's a lot of advantages to remote work. It allows companies to access pool talent they couldn't before. It allows companies to leverage time zones better. It allows people to add leverage, different skills that exist in different pockets around the countries.
It's cheaper, you don't need to maintain as many offices. So, the inertia is positive and it's there. You will see that even all these big companies that would have never gone remote, that were forced to go all remote. I have a friend at United. United's one of the oldest companies, in terms of how they operate.
They don't even have a casual dress code there. United forced every employee that isn't critical, isn't in critical operations, to work from home. And there's no going back from that. They're going to have employees come back in the office, but they're going to have seen some pieces that can work.
They're going to have seen some of these advantages, and so you're going to get a lot... I forgot this is supposed to be twitter sized. You're going to get a lot of-
Twitter stream. You're going to get a lot of companies that still hold onto the pieces of this, and a year from now, once all the dust is settled. It will be more normal to work from home. It will be more normal to have someone dial in, with their kid in the background. And so, while I hate it. It's better for the world. And, I'm happy to see us go there.
So Randy, I'm going to swing it back to you. Talk to me about the future. Talk to me 12 months from now. Are we all going to be on iPad Pros? Is that what we...
I'm a big fan. But I would say... Yeah, I mean everyone's going to go through this bootcamp where they have to learn some basic literacy in how to work remotely. We'll be playing with new tools, we will be experimenting with more asynchronous means of communications. Comments and follow ups versus ad hoc emails and things like that.
Some will stick. Some won't. But for me I think it will just be this big exercise of people building a basic literacy in new tools in general. Hard to predict what sticks, but it's a net good thing for people to have that diversity of experience to Henry's point. Wrap it up.
Perfect. Perfect size, and then last but not least, Sonciary you've been remote at Quala before. It was certainly cool and definitely before it was required. Talk to me about where the world will be 12 months from now around remote collaboration?
Okay. Sure. I think a lot of companies were thrown into the deep-end. They were forced into doing this and we're not prepared at all. I think we're going to see a huge influx of creativity and flexibility. Like it was said before, Randy, it's not going to stick for everyone.
It's not right for everyone and every company. But I think that people will find that they're finding more creative ways to connect and do their work, and they're going to take that into wherever they end up. Whether it's at their home office, or at their official headquarters. Or a mix of both.
That's great. Well, I appreciate that. We're getting to the end of our time here, I want to thank the panelists, I want to thank all the participants. We got some great questions. And this is an improv group, right? This is I don't know, [imrovisy 00:57:46]. If you're from Boston, the ground lanes, if you're from I think California, second city from Chicago.
So if you want to attend the 4 o'clock session, I guarantee you it will be very, very different. But if you know anyone that would find value in this, I'm going to send the link in here right now. Feel free to share it with folks and again, I just want to thank everybody.
We're going to be blogging and recording, and send this around to everybody and if you have questions about Demand Sage, visit demandsage.com or Quala, that's at quala.io, Sonciary let me know if I get the spelling right. Q-U-
Exactly. So yeah, thank you everybody and wash hands regularly, and hope to hear from you all soon.