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Otter.ai - a transcription tool - is changing how S-Docs for Salesforce thinks about sales and product development

Derek du Preez Profile picture for user ddpreez May 16, 2024
Summary:
S-Docs is natively built on the Salesforce platform and provides document generation and e-signature services. It is now integrating Otter.ai transcription software as part of its sales and product development functions.

Hands type on keyboard overlaid with finance charts - Image by Nattanan Kanchanaprat from Pixabay
(Image by Nattanan Kanchanaprat from Pixabay)

Lots of vendors in the enterprise software Market are currently touting their AI capabilities, with claims of a future where AI will be able to fix all of the world’s problems, including everything from healthcare to climate change. Whether those claims materialize over the next few decades remains to be seen; but sometimes the simpler, more useful real world examples of AI get overlooked. There’s plenty of opportunity, with efficiencies to be gained, from artificial intelligence tools that are available now and require very little heavy lifting to get up and running. 

One such example is this can be seen at S-Docs, a document automation vendor built natively on the Salesforce platform, which is using Otter.ai, an AI transcription service, to fundamentally change how it thinks about its sales process and its product development. The team at S-Docs is integrating Otter.ai into its digital collaboration tools, which is enabled during sales calls, and transcribes the conversation automatically. This is helping sales reps cut through varying dialects, but is also taking out a chunk of administrative work in the post-call process, whilst prompting them to take action more quickly. In addition to this, the product development team at S-Docs is now also analyzing the content from these sales calls, transcribed in Otter, and incorporating the findings into its product feedback loop. 

S-Docs stumbled across Otter.ai after its CTO, Anand Narasimhan, saw that someone he was connected with on LinkedIn was an investor in the transcription vendor. He started experimenting with the tool on his own, but quickly saw that it might have value to the business more broadly: 

My background is enterprise and I spent fifteen years at Salesforce, delivering and implementing Salesforce at large enterprises. I’ve seen the problem of transcription software - there was never a natural connection because you have Zoom, Google, and Teams being the leaders - and none of the CRM platforms had transcription that was integrated. So I had some background, I was curious and started to kick the tires with it. 

Narasimhan started using Otter.ai on team calls, during sprint reviews and sprint demo calls, where he found that the transcription accuracy was very high and the follow up recommendations/summarizations were useful. At that point he asked his colleague, Keith Bossier, VP of sales at S-Docs, what he thought of the company’s existing provider, Gong, which Bossier said wasn’t proving particularly effective. 

At that point, the sales team started using it, followed by customer success teams, and there is a push for Otter.ai to be rolled out enterprise wide. 

Bossier found that Otter was providing a number of benefits in its early use: 

What I saw, as a sales leader, was that we weren’t getting a lot of value out of Gong, just from a management level. So I asked my team and they weren’t getting a tonne of value out of it either. It wasn’t providing them many additional benefits to their work day. 

One of the things my team mentioned, about Otter, was that they talk to people around the world, there’s lots of different dialects, we operated globally, and Otter was able to cut through that and actually transcribe things in a way that made sense for them. They were actually able to pull up the conversation in real time, while they were listening to people, and be able to pick up on things, which allowed them to be more present in the conversation. I think it made the prospect or client feel more valued. 

Then at the end of the calls, one of the things they got out of it, which they weren’t getting before, was these catch-all summaries, where Otter was able to provide highlighted bullet points and key takeaways from the meeting. And then the ability to even draft a follow up email, with the top three points from the meeting. They were able to have a much quicker follow up, without having to think about what it is that they were going to have to type. 

For the sales team in particular, the administrative burden has been reduced significantly since Otter.ai was introduced: 

I think as a sales person, one of the things that you have that slows you down is that you know you’ve got so many things going on and you don’t want to think about actually drafting up something that’s grammatically going to be on target, where it’s going to capture all the things we talked about, and it’s going to be consistent from a brand perspective. 

They get overly concerned about all that and then push it off a bit, and next thing you know the follow up is two or three days later, instead of the same day. Otter was able to help with that right away. 

Taking it further

Given the success in sales, S-Docs is now looking at how it can expand the benefits of Otter.ai across its business. For example, Bossier is using the transcripts from sales calls as an on-boarding tool, whereby the information in the calls is now used for educating newcomers on the S-Docs business: 

They're able to go in and actually go through calls and understand how things happen, from a learning and education perspective. One of the things I'm trying to focus on now is, how do we actually put that into a library of content that we can use in onboarding a new rep, to tell them to go and read up on different scenarios.

Equally, Narasimhan is considering how the content captured in these calls can be incorporated as part of the product development loop, but also is working with Otter.ai to perhaps introduce automated action items that are integrated into the S-Docs platform: 

I use it a lot for customer research, being on the product side, when I talk to prospects, I make sure I hear what vendors they’re mentioning that are competition, what are some gaps that they are perceiving with the product, or the domain…so it helps with product research.

One of the things I’ve been talking about with the Otter team is that the write back to Salesforce is great if you create a task and all that. But being an automation and operations efficiency platform, we want to take that a step further. 

What Otter does really well is take unstructured voice, to structured actions. What if we could leapfrog that and take action? Being in the document space, say you’re on a sales call, the customer says they like the product and they ask for a code for 1,000 user…¦that is a very defined action that I can take out of a Zoom call, feed it into Salesforce, automate it all the way to where it actually generates the code, and right after the call is done, it pops up in Salesforce or Slack and says ‘hey, the code is ready, do you want to send it?’. 

We’re hoping that’s part of the partnership we can build with Otter. 

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