CROSales LeadersSales Needs Artificial Intelligence: Why I Joined AvisoBy Michael LockI have spent the better part of 30 years selling technology. I have been a rep, a sales manager and a sales executive. I have sold for big companies and small companies. I have started something from scratch and grown it to $1B in Annual Recurring Revenue.I started with IBM in a hardware dominated world and watched the industry transform to a software dominated world. I lived through mainframes and mini computers. I lived through client server, ASPs and the cloud world. I lived through the mobile revolution and the social software revolution. And now, a new era is upon us – the world of artificial intelligence and machine learning. This era will harness the power of mobile and the cloud, and has the potential to deliver incredible benefits.In November of this year, I met the Aviso management and investor team and they showed me technology that I have been craving my entire professional life.Aviso had built a massive database of their customer’s sales data and written algorithms which predicted which deals would close in the quarter!!! And they showed me customer data sets where the algorithm was incredibly accurate.As Steve Jobs has said, when technology works right, it’s like magic, and for a life-long sales executive this was more than magic to me. I spent years in my previous roles perfecting systems to predict which deals would close and which would not. I spent many, many long nights in the office on pipeline review calls, inspecting deals and scrubbing data. Now, I was looking at a tool that not only offered AI-driven forecasting, but deep visibility into business performance. To access that data in my previous role, I had several CRM screens up in front of me, along with a spreadsheet, a sales ops side kick, and a supply of sharp pencils.Could a computer algorithm really do a lot of this work for us?While I was marvelling at this technology, the team showed me another algorithm. This one predicted how much business would come in from deals not yet in the pipeline! What?! How could it predict deals that did not yet exist? But by carefully examining large amounts of historical information, the algorithm was uncannily accurate in predicting “run rate” business.What if AI could tell us early in the quarter which areas are doing well and which areas are doing poorly?If it could, we could operate the business by finally looking through the front windshield, rather than looking in the rearview mirror. We could move with much greater speed, seize opportunities faster and address problems areas in real time.So, the decision to join Aviso was easy. The company’s core competence is machine learning and artificial intelligence – the most important computing trend of our lifetimes. And the company has tremendous domain expertise around sales data, an area where I have a lot of passion and more years of experience than I care to admit.Those of you who know me or have worked with me, know I believe the forecast and pipeline review process is critical. As a first order, the forecast process provides the numbers for your boss, peers and investors who want to know how the month, quarter and year are going to finish. This forecast process is also crucial in developing a culture of excellence, execution and accountability that a world class sales organization must have. And most importantly the forecast process provides a real time view into how your business is performing.At Aviso, our mission is to accelerate our customer’s growth through the use of artificial intelligence enabled applications. We have about 30 companies using our cutting edge technology and we’re just getting started!Ping me at email@example.com if you want to know more.