Led by a dedicated team of specialists, Contiq uses AI learning to streamline enterprise and B2B sales. They have signature customers like Deloitte and VMware, and have been backed by Jason Calacanis and XG Ventures among others.
Interview Date: 19th March 2020
We spoke with the co-founder and CEO of Contiq, Arun Lal. Lal has a robust background in product marketing and management. He spent four years at VMware, helping to launch the business and grow it to a billion dollars in four quarters. Prior to that, he worked at Microsoft for nine years where he launched Office 365 Business, and he was also part of the founding team for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, the second-largest CRM software in the world.
Rethinking the enterprise sales experience
Now, Lal has set his sights on an AI-powered buyer intelligence platform that dynamically recommends the most effective content for deals, enables data-driven personalization, and provides a highly tailored customer engagement experience within native sales tools. He seeks to reimagine B2B sales and marketing so that B2B sellers are able to instantly find the most influential sales material they need and access rich buyer intelligence in a single platform.
“Product marketers spend a lot of time creating sales enablement content like presentation decks, ROI calculators, and case studies for salespeople. I myself used to produce a lot of sales material for B2B sellers to influence their customers, but there were two problems: I had no idea who was using my content or how effective it was. I also found that sellers struggled to locate the right information at the right time to influence leads,” Lal explains. “Contiq originated from the need to gain insights into how effective sales content is and to have a structured way to capture feedback and use it to optimize sales material”.
Creating a Hyper-Personalized Buyer’s Journey
“The amount of information that sellers and buyers have access to is growing exponentially and, as a result, it’s hard to determine what information the buyer is really interested in and what sellers should present. This is exactly what Contiq does,” says Lal. “Firstly, it enables B2B sellers to quickly discover the right information. Secondly, it helps to automatically price the sale and determine the sales material to present. Thirdly, it tracks buyer engagement with sales material on a microsite or PowerPoint deck to capture rich insights.”
What about the challenges you face?
“It took us a couple of years to land the value,” says Lal. “Our technology is fairly complex and building the right product requires a lot of interaction with our customers, figuring out exactly where the value lies and creating that value. We have deep integrations with Microsoft Office and G Suite, and our AI machine learning platform requires fast data ingestion. In addition to that, we need to be able to use that data to develop learning models and score sales elements like decks and deals.”
Gaining a Complete Overview of Buyer Behavior
In an arena with multiple players, Contiq focuses on differentiation in the form of functionality. “Our design point is the B2B seller and they generally operate either in Outlook, Gmail, PowerPoint, or G Slides. Our system does not interrupt their existing processes or require them to use a completely different platform. We bring value with deep integration into their native sales tools, with a unified end to end view of buyer intelligence. This constant learning empowers B2B sellers to keep optimizing all content and engagement for optimal results until the deal is closed,” adds Lal.
Strong Adoption and Traction
Why did you choose equity crowdfunding? And what do you see as the current opportunity for investors?
“We wanted to engage with and learn from our investors, and we wanted to strengthen brand awareness, so we decided to go on an equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedinvest. Although more than 80% of the investments we received in the current round are from accredited and professional investors, we strongly welcome anyone to join us.”
“We were able to create substantial traction up till now. Some of the signature customers already using Contiq include large consulting and system integration companies like VMware, Deloitte, and Tech Mahindra. We also have professional investors backing us, including angel investor and entrepreneur Jason Calacanis, co-founder of Mobileiron Ajay Mishra, as well as investors like DNX Capital, XG Ventures, and 205 Capital,” says Lal.
Our target market is all the B2B sellers using Microsoft Office and G Suite and there are 32 million B2B sellers out there.
“But more immediately, we’re targeting six million B2B sellers in large companies in the high tech consulting, healthcare, and finance verticals. Because our subscription-based business model charges $250 dollars per user per year, we can reach $100 million in ARR by acquiring only 6% of the six million. We see a lot of growth ahead and wish to invite everyone to take part in our journey and invest in Contiq.”