Quantifying Intangible Sales Factors Using AI with Rob Käll [Episode 744]

Rob Käll, CEO of Cien, Inc., joins me on this episode.


  • Cien, Inc. is headquartered in Miami, Florida. Cien means 100 in Spanish. The name refers to reaching 100% of quota. Cien offers AI for SaaS businesses that are scaling.
  • Rob tells of working in SaaS and not seeing revenue scale with the sales team’s growth. In 2016, Rob and a business partner addressed the problem of scaling sales revenue by starting Cien.
  • Cien is a web app. A prospect can get a Hidden Revenue Assessment to start the conversation. Hidden revenue refers to reps who are not making quota.
  • AI identifies the root causes of that hidden revenue by analyzing a prospect company’s anonymized sales data. Then the prospect can sign up to start using the Cien AI product. The tool is designed for sales leaders.
  • Most sales coaching today is not structured or measured. AI can help leaders and coaches address the problems using a value chain. Rob explains ‘value chain’ and how to measure ‘inferred work ethic’ instead of activity metrics.
  • Rob talks about evaluating communication skills and engagement ability. Cien AI allows for individual characteristics. You can’t clone sales stars but you can improve reps’ skills in using effective sales tools.
  • The reason most sales reps do not hit quota is that they are failing in one or two core attributes. Sales managers are also causing by stacking the deck against some reps. AI demystifies sales.
  • Rob explains the procedures Cien AI uses to analyze sales data and provide solutions to problems. Cien accesses CRM data, emails, and phone calls. The more data is seen, the better the assessment will be.
  • AI analyzes the time reps are spending on various activities. It also analyzes if sales leaders have been distributing leads unevenly. Rob explains how Cien implements the process for their clients.
  • The more time reps spend talking with their prospects about the prospect’s core problems and needs, the more engagement and selling opportunities they will have.
  • Rob talks about scoring opportunities by value. What about the value delivered to the prospect? That can be inferred from the opportunities that do not close versus the sales that close.
  • Cien AI uses natural language processing to parse conversations and find if appropriate questions were asked at the right time. Then engagement ability can be measured. Andy wants to measure what really matters.