Chorus is just the latest company to try to bring analytics and linguistic analysis to the world of sales
“We wanted to apply artificial intelligence in a way that doesn’t replace humans, but instead helps them be more effective — not just more efficient. We saw that no one had yet cracked open the black box of actual sales conversations and felt it was a challenge worth solving,” Chorus Co-Founder and CEO Roy Raanani said in a press release.
“Our learning so far from tens of thousands of conversations has been fantastic, so we’re excited for what’s ahead as we learn from more conversations and more customers.”
Chorus was co-founded by CEO Roy Raanani and Head of R&D Micha Breakstone. Raanani brings experience from Bain & Company where he focused on mobile strategy for clients. Breakstone brings to the project a PhD in Cognitive Science and years of experience in natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML).
The company explains their their product guides sales teams in what to say and not to say during sales conversations. Their technology picks up on the direction of a conversation to guide sellers to relevant questions and talking points, creating “smart transcripts” that highlight key moments during pitches that the AI and machine learning have identified as valuable in closing the sale. The platform integrates with CRM systems, with an emphasis on Salesforce. They count Cisco’s Meraki, Marketo, Qualtrics, and Talkable as clients.
Their announcement argues that sales — like TV, radio and internet advertising — should become more data driven. Their pitch is that Chorus can justify spending more time on potential leads that are further away from becoming fully realized sales.
“There is a real cost to conversations done poorly, and tremendous upside to doing them well,” the company wrote in the announcement on their blog, pointing to the need to telling interesting customer stories instead of highlighting product features or differentiating a product against competitors.
Speaking of differentiation, their business sounds remarkably similar to another Israeli startup Gong.io, which raised $6 million of its own in June. Gong claims to be able to pick out quantifiable data where experience and recognition of nuance had previously reigned, from conversations held over Zoom, GoToMeeting, and CiscoWebEx. That data then plugs into Salesforce or a competing CRM.
For their part, Chorus also records audio from WebEx, GoToMeeting, UberConference, Join.me, and Zoom.
With Gong in the picture, Chorus’s claim to be the “first to successfully combine” AI, data analytics, and NLP seems a bit reaching. However, this is certainly a nascent field with wide-ranging implications for sales, business negotiations and fundraising that leaves plenty of room for each startup to carve their own niche in.
“We see tremendous opportunity in deploying AI to improve the sales cycle,” said Emergence Capital’s co-founder, Gordon Ritter, said in a statement. “Companies spend billions of dollars optimizing everything around sales, but until Chorus, no one has been able to see into the most critical part: the actual sales conversations.”
Emergence bets their business on the future of sales as an investor in Salesforce. They also count some somewhat related startups in their portfolio like productivity app Comfy, Atlanta-based SalesLoft which aims to schedule more appointments and demos for sales teams, and the aforementioned cloud video conferencing startup Zoom.