Venture Capitalist at Theory

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2 minute read / Mar 26, 2024 /

Selling AI : Category Creation of a Different Flavor

Selling software will evolve to selling agents, AI that acts on behalf of users.

The efficiencies for rote work are too massive to ignore for many uses. As the technology rapidly evolves, so too will the sales strategies.

Sellers & the startups they represent will need to re-imagine roles. In a sense, selling AI agents is analogous to category creation.

About a decade ago, Nick Mehta & the Gainsight team created the customer success category. In 2014, I remember joining a panel at the Gainsight annual conference Pulse, then in its second year.

The conference didn’t highlight Gainsight’s software.

Instead, the speakers & the content equipped customer success leaders with the statistics & stories to convince their peers & managers that customer success needed to exist at their companies. Once budget had been allocated, Gainsight became the de facto software to implement the discipline.

Gainsight’s category creation set the standard for many future categories ; Monte Carlo in data observability is another.

Just as these companies dreamt new ways of working & evangelized the future, AI agent startups must do the same for their buyers.

Working with AI will metamorphose day-to-day workflows, just as much as a new software category.

But technology & efficiency aren’t robust enough propositions alone to close a transaction.

The fear of losing a job to AI is enough to stonewall its purchase. “AI is Coming for Your Job” is a pervasive & petrifying meme. Buyers facing a threat to their livelihood will block the sale - a halting act of self-preservation.

To mitigate this, sellers must help the buyer envision a future with less rote work, greater impact on an organization, & a radically different path-to-promotion than any pitch in the last twenty years.

The companies who master this skill will be the early leaders of the next era of SaaS.

Read More:

To Be or Not To Be an Agent