For our latest AI specialist interview on our blog, we’ve welcomed Adam Honig, CEO of Spiro.AI.
Tell us about the business you represent, what is its vision & goals?
Spiro.AI is an AI-driven sales platform for companies who make, move or sell a physical product. Our vision is to kill CRM for the supply chain by providing the world’s smartest one-stop platform for manufacturers to see every interaction with customers.
Of course, the first question I get after saying that is “what do you mean by killing CRM?” The fact is, CRM is one of the most hated technologies because it never evolved. It’s like handing a salesperson a rotary phone when a smartphone is also available.
Our platform helps customers quickly and easily see everything related to customers, from prospecting through fulfilment. Our AI Assistant organizes their day, prioritizing calls and follow-ups.
In short, our technology works for the end users instead of requiring the users to work for it. And our AI sends real-time alerts to help business leaders and salespeople work effectively versus reactively.
Can you share a little bit about yourself and how you got into the field of artificial intelligence?
I graduated college with a philosophy degree and my first job was at a consulting firm. After a short time in sales, I began consulting for companies to help make their sales teams more effective. I went on to start two consulting firms - one that went public and one that was acquired.
Shortly after I sold my second company, I went to go see the movie “Her” where Joaquin Phoenix, in the future, downloads a new version of his phone software, which is played by the voice of Scarlett Johansson. In the movie, Johansson is a computerized bot that gives the main character advice and helps him navigate the world more intelligently. Then it clicked. I thought to myself: salespeople don’t need CRM, they need Scarlett Johansson telling them what to do - Artificial Intelligence!
Determined to make life better for salespeople, my co-founders and I got really excited at the idea of solving this problem of companies spending millions of dollars on CRM projects that were doomed. We built a broad platform from the ground up on AI, committed to the mission of killing CRM and Proactive Relationship Management was born.
What do your day-to-day responsibilities look like at your organisation?
I’m an early bird, and typically start my day with the gym and then a large cup of coffee before meeting with the product team (many are based in Europe). Then I tend to connect with members of my management team to go over each department’s goals and where we can weigh in. I try to schedule regular lunches with employees to stay connected with them, and tend to spend my afternoon helping the sales team, conducting an interview for our podcast, “Make it. Move it. Sell it.”, and experimenting with new product features and capabilities (I love to experiment with AI, and I tend to incorporate my sense of humour into automated updates to the team in various Slack channels).
I also view myself as the “voice of the customer,” and have really enjoyed getting back on the road once a month to visit customers and hear directly from them about what’s working, and frankly what needs more work. If I’m not on the road, I’m on zoom calls with as many customers as possible. I also maintain regular communication with our investors and take an active role in recruiting.
Can you share some of the proudest achievements you've experienced in your career?
There are two that come to mind, both from my time with Spiro.AI. First, we were worried about losing customers going into the Covid pandemic because our customers were on the front lines of the supply chain issues, and we primarily sold to salespeople, who were furloughed those first several months. But, we actually grew in 2020 because our customers saw real value from our platform, and recognized that we were a critical partner in helping them navigate a challenging time. I meet with a lot of our customers, and there’s a huge sense of pride when they tell me about how Spiro’s platform is making life easier for them.
And two, I’m immensely proud of the company culture we’ve built at Spiro. Certainly, there’s always work to do, but we don’t look like a typical tech startup. For example, half of our employees are women, including our top salesperson. Our customers always tell me how dedicated our team is, and our employees live and breathe our values, and truly care about each other as individuals. Our AI is really cool, but Spiro’s employees are our biggest competitive advantage, and that’s really hard to replicate or force.
Which industries and processes do you see the greatest opportunities for applying artificial intelligence?
Companies in the supply chain - including manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and logistics companies - have spent the last 20 years investing in automating the factory floors, but neglected modernizing their business operations. They have salespeople who have worked with them their entire careers, managing their sales in a spreadsheet and keeping their Rolodex in their heads. Imagine driving a $150 million company out of a spreadsheet!
What are the most significant changes you expect to see in business due to AI?
There are some horror stories of robots putting people out of work, and that’s certainly proven itself to be true in some instances, but I actually believe AI will make business people more valuable and more effective. As companies embrace AI-driven technologies to automate mundane tasks, like data entry, they can focus their resources on providing context and taking AI-driven insights to the next level.
What is your experience with using AI-backed data analysis or log management tools? What do you think is the benefit of using a log management tool that has machine learning capabilities for an organisation?
I think this is a great example of where AI and machine learning can benefit a company - there are very few things less exciting than looking through long log files for exceptions or patterns, so AI and ML can do that drudgery and then humans can provide the context and make decisions from it.