You’re talking too fast; consider slowing down. Did you realize you’ve spoken more than your customer has? Or that you’re speaking far louder than they are?
These are statements you’d expect coming from a sales manager. But they’re computer-generated prompts designed to help a salesperson trying to sell a product via video call.
The platform is Salesroom, which came out of stealth on Wednesday with an $8.5 million funding announcement, led by Craft Ventures. The company, which uses machine learning to analyze participants’ audio, joins the booming video conferencing industry at a time of skepticism surrounding attention- and emotion-tracking features on video calls.
Still, Salesroom’s AI-powered in-call assistant made the platform especially exciting for facilitating the valuable time spent between sellers and buyers, says Mike Marg, a partner at Craft Ventures.
“There’s a lot wrapped up in making sellers perform well on a sales call,” says Marg, who worked as a sales manager in the past. “When I saw technology that was specifically designed to help you lead a call, I thought, ‘well, that’s going to save me as a sales leader a ton of time, and it’s going to prevent me from missing my number.’”
Salesroom, founded in February 2021 by Roy Solomon and Daria Danilina, is built for the buyer-seller relationship. The platform’s AI assistant co-pilots sales calls — by detecting questions and measuring speech speed, for example — and prompts sellers to adjust how they communicate with buyers in real-time.
The platform also provides running estimates of how likely a customer is to buy a product based on how the buyer and seller communicate. Additionally, the browser-based platform features an in-call notes feature, live transcription, and personalized waiting and meeting rooms.
Solomon, who has worked in the startup industry for decades, says he was motivated to start Salesroom because “video is the future, and we’re going to constantly communicate more and more over video means.” Gartner estimated that by 2024, only 25% of enterprise meetings will take place in person.
But it’s hard to replicate an in-person emotional connection over video, and “sales is very gut feeling, very emotional and very driven by people’s opinions,” Solomon says. He didn’t see any other sales-specific video conferencing platforms in the industry, which prompted him to build Salesroom.
Salesroom comes into the market amid a video conferencing industry that took off at the start of the pandemic — daily meeting participants on Zoom, for example, jumped from 10 million at the end of 2019 to 300 million in April 2020. The industry is currently dominated by mainstream platforms Zoom, Google Meet and Microsoft Teams, which Solomon sees as the startup’s competitors. These video conferencing giants do not use AI analysis to facilitate calls in the way Salesroom does, nor do they focus on sales professionals, although smaller AI-focused sales assistants like Sybill do exist.
Salesroom currently uses a tiered pricing system — with free, $49 per month and contract-specific levels depending on the number of features a customer wants to access. The startup made its platform available to customers six months ago and currently has around 30 active customers, although it declined to provide information about revenue.
As AI-powered technology becomes more mainstream, though, many have criticized engagement and emotion analysis in video calls as an invasion of privacy. In 2020, Zoom had removed its attendee attention tracking feature as part of a “commitment to security and privacy.” Last month, privacy rights advocates penned a letter to Zoom CEO Eric Yuan urging the company to stop experimenting with emotion recognition technology.
In response to these concerns, Solomon says that “privacy is very important when building trust between sellers and buyers, so we take it very seriously to protect our users.” In Salesroom, participants can decide what is recorded and can turn off the platform’s machine learning features at will.
Salesroom’s algorithms currently only analyze a meeting’s audio, although the company is testing facial expression detection “from a self-coaching perspective” that happens after a meeting occurs and not in real time.
Looking ahead, Salesroom hopes to rapidly grow its customer base, continue testing features focused on personalization and add more integrations — it currently integrates with Salesforce, Gong and Slack. The expansion would mean hiring more engineers and expanding the startup’s management team.
“The majority of the sales stack has built an amazing rear view mirror for sales managers,” Solomon says. “We are building more of a front bumper camera … focusing on the relationship building between buyer and seller.”