All right. Hello, and welcome to another expert inside interview. My name is John Golden from sales pop online sales magazine and Pipeliner CRM. Joining me from San Diego. And today I'm delighted to be joined by Richard White. Who is right now in Denver Via San Francisco. How you doing, Richard?
Yeah, I'm doing great.
Yeah, and Richard's the founder and CEO of fathom, and, and Fathom is an app, presume that allows you to record and highlight in real time use Zoom meetings, so you can write notes later, or share clips from your calls with colleagues. Okay, so and what we're going to talk about today is exactly this is how to help remote sales teams work more efficiently. So, so when we get started, what was the original idea? What Where did you have the inspiration for the Fathom.
It actually came from, you know, problems. I had been on a bunch of zoom calls myself, right, I think I, beginning of last year, I was on like, 300 Zoom calls. In the first like, six weeks of the year, we're doing a big, big push from my last company. And you know, I don't know about you, but like, when I try to talk to someone, so they have to, like stop to like, type up my notes, I like just stop talking. And my brain does not can't do both at the same time. And so we found that that part's pretty stressful. But probably even more problematically, it's like, even, I think I take pretty good notes, like I would like take my notes, I clean them up afterwards, I put a lot of effort into them. And even I would go back two weeks later, and be like, I don't remember the important nuance of this, right? Like, oh, you know, they're not gonna buy this objection. But what did they actually say again, and my team had the same problem. And so I combine that with previously, I ran our sales team at user voice my last company. And I know that that like, the number one thing I like struggled with, with our with our remote sales team was getting them to write good notes. Right, some reps wrote really good notes, some reps wrote, yeah, wasn't a transcript. There were too many notes. Some wrote, like, you know, random words. But even the best notes that I got from my team still left me asking the same question that I've asked myself, which is, gosh, you know, okay, I kind of get what's happening, but what did they actually say? Like, how did they object? Right? What what did they say about our competitor? What was their concern about pricing? What was that technical question? And so, you know, Fathom really started to solve all those problems. Because now that we're all on Zoom doing it, we should just go to record this call and take those snippets of the call and get into the right people help us remember, you know, and that way we can just focus on having a conversation and not trying to be, you know, court reporters, stenographers at the same time as we are salespeople.
Yeah, no, absolutely. And I mean, it's the challenge of face to face or on a virtual is good note taking. It's a skill that, you know, some people have, and some people either struggle with, but to your point is, not being not being able to really record things at the point of impact, you know, when it's happening, and the nuances is definitely, definitely a major, a major drawback. And I think coupled with that, is a lot of salespeople having to move on to zoom in the first place to already not that, you know, it's already not great for them, particularly if they prefer to be a better face to face. And second off, to be honest, some people have even struggled with putting the cameras on.
Right. Yeah, you know, I think there's been kind of call recording different software's for a while, and some of them really expensive, but I think, you know, to their thing to try and do is one make it easily accessible for everyone with a free product. But two, as you put it easy to say like, it's also about knowing what are the parts of this call that are important and noteworthy. And what's really interesting is now that we have a system like our the way the app works, you just click a button or app when you hear something noteworthy, and like our simple kind of flag that part of the call. So you can jump back to it because no one wants to rewatch an entire call. Right? That's the wrong thing. Like, from a coaching perspective, if I just want to go back and review my call, I don't want to rewatch a 30 minute call I had, right. And we actually found only 15% of calls get flagged as being noteworthy, which makes sense why we don't want to re watch it, right. So it's not. So it's partially like these tools are kind of being a real time meeting assistant for us, but it has to be able to get us to the right portions of the call and not make us do a bunch more work.
Yeah, no, absolutely. And I think that is a, that has been a big, big, big challenge, as people have gone to sell, sell remotely or virtually. And using Zoom is just getting a whole smooth cadence together for how to operate, how to operate it. Because I think, I think at the beginning, a lot of people were just kind of, okay, I can't do it this way. I'll jump on Zoom, and I'll just do it the other way instead of saying, Okay, this is a different medium, and I have to treat it a little bit differently.
Right. Yeah, I think we've all we've all learned a lot in the last 18 months here, right? Like, you know, we've all got better cameras, better lighting, better microphones, you know, we're we're all kind of junior podcasters at this point.
I think I do you found this as well. But I think as things have gone on, depress prospective customers on the inside, they're expecting a lot more from a Zoom meeting than maybe they were two years ago.
Yeah, I also think there's like a, you know, we sort of we started to solve this problem for a rep, we also found that your prospect has the same problem, right? Yeah, this was happening before COVID, where, you know, they're trying to take notes to, they're trying to understand, and usually report back to some decision maker that not gonna get on the call with you what they heard what was interesting. And so I think everyone's trying to figure out how to get more out of these meetings. And so yeah, we can have less of them.
So just so explain, explain the app a little bit more about and how it's easy to integrate this into the natural flow of the meeting that you're having.
Sure, yeah. So like I said, it's a free app, you kind of download it, or you there's a zoom apps kind of plug inside of your zoom. And so when you start the call Fathom starts recording, and it runs the recording and transcribing the call in real time. And all you have to do is when you hear something, you know, if I hear a piece of product feedback, or if I hear objection, and we generally ask you to tell us like your sales methodology, so we can kind of like, customize the set of tags for you. But you kind of change from keeping your hands on the keyboard and typing notes to just clicking wherever you're hearing something that's important. And then what's really cool is after the call, we give you instant access to your entire tire call recording. Even zoom itself often takes like 30 minutes to give you the call recording. And we find, you know, if I'm going to try to replace note taking with this, I need to be able to immediately get access to it after the call, right? So I want to do my post call follow up, I want to get it my CRM, stuff like that. So if it's you instantly after the call is over, you can jump back to those moments. You know, maybe I had a couple objections and you know, a couple action items, I can meet you back those moments. And then I can write out my notes, right. So I wanted to take some short notes like I can jump back that part of the call, oh yeah, I could see the transcript, I remember the section, this is really talked about this, it's you gotta read up your notes. And then we'll actually do all the data, the rest of the data entry for you, we will automatically create the meeting in your CRM, we'll put it in the call summary, we'll put in the links to clips. So if your boss is looking at this opportunity, they can jump in and see oh, okay, well, Rich said, the objective on price. Let me go watch that 30 seconds, don't judge me on price. So we'll get it to your to do manager, we'll get it to your slack, we'll get it to your CRM. And so that's their thing we're trying to do is, you know, take out a lot of the legwork of getting these things all in the right places. I feel like after every, you know, every like, hour of meetings we're in seems to generate an hour of like, follow up tasks, right, I gotta go ask my se about this technical question, I guess set up the action items, put a word in the CRM. And so that's the other half the equation we're trying to do is just get reps focused on the things that are like unique, as humans are just having the conversation asking the right questions, you know, not all of the administrivia that that tends to go around with it.
Yeah, don't worry, I totally agree. And we're big believers in that. That's why we, we introduced our automation, or automation workflow engine, I think, this year last year, I don't remember which but, but to your point was to automate, get rid of all the routine and roast tasks thing, the low value things and let people focus on where they can create value, which is, which is in the selling process. And to your point, if you're on Zoom, and you're trying to either take notes, you know, tap your notes on your keyboard or write them down. It's just it's a constant. It's a disjointed, it's a disjointed experience.
Yeah, like it. We're just bad at multitasking. Right? We're not we're, you know, we're great at having conversations. We're bad at like, you know, switching gears between writers and talkers.
Yeah. And then obviously, as you said, I mean, as a as a coaching tool, then this is, this would be quite important, because that's the other part, I think, where a lot of sales leaders and managers are struggling right now in how do I cope? How do I manage and coach virtual teams? Because it's different than the way I used to do it?
Right. And I think, you know, some of this is we're trying to some this is make it easy for, yeah, no one wants to, you know, I don't want to go back and watch hours of my team's content all the time for that every week, right? So I need to be able to find a, what were the critical moments that call go watch that and give targeted feedback. We're also trying to automate some of the coaching things, right, you know, certain platforms have spearheaded metrics, like you know, monologuing for too long, or what share of talk time. And the problem with a lot of platforms that give you those metrics is they don't give you those metrics until after the call is over. So you know, I've talked to a lot of reps. They're like, I find this interesting, but it feels like a report card that I get at the end of the call. And so we've actually built it into the system. So like, if I start talking for more than 90 seconds, notice I'm kind of doing a lot here. It gives you a warning. It's saying like, Oh, you're on a monologue and just FYI, like, maybe she paused to ask a question, and every five minutes To tell you like how you're doing talk time wise. So we're thinking about more and more how can we, anything we can do with automation to make it so that the rep has a lot of support in real time to run the best call that they can run.
Yeah. And when you get to that stage of where you're, you're being able to give that intelligent feedback in real time, you know, automated intelligent feedback is you're starting to create, I mean, you're starting to actually make the virtual meeting and the virtual experience, probably from both sides better than perhaps even the face to face one. Because it's more focused. It's you've got the tools helping you. I mean, you could be in a face to face meeting, right. And you could be, you could be monologuing for without even noticing. Yeah, often that happens with nerves, right? You know, people just talk talk talk.
Yep. Yeah, I've actually, I now push people away from in person meetings. I was like, Can we do a zoom, I don't have to, you know, grab a coffee with you later. But I've learned recently that I now kind of like, I've developed this like addiction, right to like, if I meet with you, in person, I tend to drop all the action items on the floor, because I'm just not used to having to keep that in my head anymore.
Yeah, no, and it's a great, it's a great point. And I think, again, anything I think that allows you to focus more on the high value activities is a very good thing. What are some of the other what are some of the other as you've been going through this? What are some of the other issues or problems you've seen, you know, coming up, or challenges that people have had with virtual selling?
Um, you know, I think a lot of this also is just kind of game of telephone type stuff, right? Where, you know, we used to have a Salesforce, I can immediately kind of hear things happening. And I don't have that right. And so one of the things we added dressing for was like, how do we, in real time, maybe ship you certain like, moments from calls while they're happening? So I can kind of re get that kind of ambient real time ness of hearing what my team is saying. I think also, you know, how do I influence folks in other parts of the organization? Right, like, let's say, I'm in sales, how do I convince products that, you know, they should, that I'm hearing this problem, or I'm hearing this competitor, come up, or, etc, etc, right? My, my last company, we sold to product managers, we sold them, feedback software, like track where the top features coming up. And I remember, one of the surveys we put out was like, who in the org Do you trust the most to give you good feedback, customer success, customer support, sales, marketing, and, you know, it was push people pretty close together, but sales was way down at the bottom of the list, right? It was very skeptical of like the feedback from the from sales team. But now you have a thing where it's like, great, you know, I'm not gonna explain to you what the customer wanted. Here's a 32nd clip of this customer feedback, let it speak for itself. And, you know, as someone who's sold products, or product managers for 10 years, that that hack works really well on VMs, right? Like, there's something about seeing a user for struggle, or say, like, I really need this thing that that gets totally lost in translation, when I said, ship them three bullet points of here's what I'm hearing a lot of. And so I think, really enabling teams, like whole companies from engineering and product marketing, to have a singular kind of view of the frontline. Like everyone wants that view of what happens customer calls, again, no one's gonna watch three hours of your sales calls every week. Right. And so getting the right clips, the right people, I think is, is huge in terms of just making sure we're all seeing from the same song sheet. Right?
Yeah, no, 100%. And I think there's a there's another couple of things in there, having been on both sides, on product development side, and on the sales marketing side. I do, I do also laugh at the brim when I was in product development and sales would come and say, oh, we need this, we need this feature or that feature. And you knew, right, well, it was the last customer, they are the last prospect they had spoken to had asked for something, and they didn't have it. And they felt that that's how they lost the deal. So what's the next thing go over the product development have done? But it turns out that number one that probably they didn't need the didn't need it and nobody else needs it. So that's why you have that constant kind of conflict. So anything that can really represent the customer and inform product development in a way like this, I think is a major step forward and should reduce some of that skepticism.
Well, further is nearly here about we have the same problem. my last company, right. The only reason i i hear about the squeakiest wheel I hear about we lost this big deal, just one feature we never heard of before. I don't hear about the things where we won the deal. But if it came up on 20 different calls, because the cost of the amount of work it takes for the salesperson to go package that up and take the product is high, right oh, I've got to really care to go to like, on top of all this other work, I have to post call. I'm gonna go take the time to ship the speed back over to product development, right? We have to be able to like lower the friction there to be able to make it so that we get like a holistic view of what what we're seeing on the front end.
Yeah, and obviously the other integrated advantages is of having, you know, product development or other people listen to the actual voice of the customers, right. It's, it's like secondhand, I think that's always incredibly important. Because, again, it's great, but not everybody has the time to sit it on sales calls, either. So, you know, people from marketing or from product development. So again, any anything that can, that can shortcut that, and give them kind of a nice package of what they need to listen to is a good thing.
And where this is actually maybe even more impactful is in you know, like, technical, like technical resources, right, like, and you know, SC or something like that where, you know, product, you know, need to get the seat back and do something a bit, you know, in the next 12 months, or a year or something. But, you know, if I've got a call or demo call or intro call, and there's some technical question that came up that I know the answer to, well, now I gotta go spin up this big process to find the right person, whatnot. And, you know, I tend to the solution that is, okay, we have a technical call, and we take some technical resources, we put them on the call for 30 minutes now, don't clear whether we needed 30 minutes or an hour, that person so now we're actually what's really cool is we've done this a few people were like real time I can be on a call with customer. Oh, tech question only answered that, you know, what I'm gonna get you answered that I click a button fathom, within about 20 seconds, there's a clip of that question in the Slack channel that my esses are monitoring, and then they can start connecting answer they jump on the call, and talking about kind of like, surprising your customers, right with delighting them of like, Oh, hi, I'm Tim, I just saw your question. And the answer, is this right? Like it? Yeah. That kind of, you know, real time collaboration with other folks on your team, I think is something that's for the folks are doing is just like, really powerful ways to surprise customers and sales process, right?
Yeah, absolutely. And I think more and more going forward that people are going to embrace not not the concept of Team selling as it used to be where you, but teams selling as in different parts of the organization support helping support sales. And as you said, I mean even doing that in real time, it's fantastic as everybody the customer prime slash prospect benefits, say a person benefits, the esses benefit, if it's a product person, the market, whatever everybody benefits from that extra connection to the customer.
Yeah. And the customers they have you can you can do this, if you can get me answer just quickly, while I'm on intro call with you. Gosh, I feel pretty good about like, signing up with your your service going forward. Right? Like, you just you guys are pretty on it.
Exactly, exactly. You build that build that level of trust. So what is what is the what is the future hold you think for the virtual meeting space and for products like yourselves?
I mean, I think that, you know, I think we are already trending in the direction of, you know, virtual meetings being the dominant kind of sales modality. But I think, you know, like a lot of things COVID Kind of like brought the future forward a couple years, right. And so, you know, I think a lot of folks, I've talked to you that used to do nothing, but in person meetings, were forced to do remote meetings and found, okay, there is a learning curve, there is kind of a digestion period. But once we got over it, you know, it's 90% is good, or maybe it's just as good. But certainly, once you factor in it off to put you on a plane, and I'm going to put you up hotel... It's net positive, right. So I certainly think it's here to stay. And, you know, we see it, there's a pretty robust ecosystem of apps like ourselves, showing up now to try to make those meetings even better than what you can do in person. And I think also, you know, the texts gonna get there, right, like, so we're kind of doing, you know, AI assistants, right. So the, the AI is getting real time recording and transcribing the key thing we do get, like when you click the button, and say, This is a tech question, or this a piece of product feedback, we look at that call and figure out okay, when did John start talking when it John, stop talking? Great. That's probably, yeah, that that's the clip. That's the tech question we should ship off. But if you Yeah, not too far down the line here, we'll be able to just automatically say, sounds like John is asking a tech question. It sounds like John just gave you an action, right? And start doing that automatically. There's a number of systems that try to do that today. But their accuracy is just not quite there. It's probably 85%. Correct. But when it comes to things like action items, like, I don't trust any systems 85% Correct. It's something it's like, kind of the job, right? So but I think it's going to get there. Or at least we'll do it in stages where it'll, you know, it'll get nine out of 10. And you'll still pay attention for the ones or twos, but you'll have much more by leanback experience and the system will kind of take over and you know, long term, I think there's even opportunities where we can surface things that you don't notice, right, like, I'm busy demoing, ran busy. I'm in the screenshare and busy demoing, I mainly see my screen. Yeah, the face of the person talking to you is the app besides my thumb in the corner of my screen. Well, the software can look at that and give you an alert of like, you know, Rich's tuning out right like his face tracking like everything saying like, I'm not sure you know, like it same way. I'm worried about monologues maybe warning you that like you're losing them. Right. And so I think there's a lot of interesting fun things we could do there. Again, to help us have more, more accurate, like more productive calls, right? Which is good for everyone?
No, no 100%. And I really think that that's where that's where, you know, technology can can really help is in areas like that. I think there's been some over promising and by some people spend a lot of that. Yeah. And you know, there was the whole, you know, people like, oh, AI is gonna do everything, well, it's not really going to do everything. But But I think the whole point is here, when you have complementary, when you're when you're really having technology that complements what the what the best human elements of the experience are. I think that's the Holy Grail.
Yeah. And that's where we started from, because we looked at a lot of stuff and said, you know, a lot of check is in here, isn't there yet, right? Like, for example, we want to do a lot around tone analysis, right, not just send an analysis of what was said, but how it was said, or that's so critical. I mean, back when I was on a sales team, that's what I always listened for, when I'd watch, I did watch a clip or was on a call. And some customer said, why they're, you know, their objection or pricing concern, the way they said that is as important as what they said. But there's just no good data out there to really do that analysis today. In fact, the only, like data set we could find, to do I could have to train an AI agent on telling like, you know, is someone excited or positive or concerned was based upon the like, TV sitcom Friends. So you can imagine what happens when you try to take data based on the over the top, you know, TV sitcom, and apply it to a business meeting? Just doesn't work, right? We don't, it does not make me blush, but someone's really over the top in their in their business conversation. It's not gonna work. But, you know, I so I think there has been a lot about promising I think, a lot of the apps now yourselves, we came back more like, what can we do, that the tech can do today? And I think we're a few years away from the really cool stuff being able to happen.
Yeah, no, I totally agree. And I think coming back to, what can you do to support and really, you know, help allow the salesperson to really focus on the high value on the relationship on the things that humans and that Well, right now humans are the only ones
right, that we're good at?
Yeah, that we're good at? Yeah. What is it? This has been fantastic, Richard, before we go, all of Richard's information is going to be below this video anyway. But before we go, please do tell people a little bit more about yourself and fathom.
Yeah, if you want to check out Fathom, again, we're a free app, but definitely go sign up, fattened up video slash pod, baby, but 80,000 people on the waitlist right now. But if you go through that link, you will skip to the front of that line and shouldn't get way splits at all. Yeah, my background is is you know, I'm originally an engineer turned designer turn, you know, jack of all trades. But I'm you can find me on LinkedIn. I'm on Twitter, but mainly on LinkedIn. So if anyone you know, wants to talk about any of these topics more, feel free to reach out to me and ping me there.
Yeah, that's fantastic. Thanks again, Richard. And thank you all for watching and listening. And I'll see you all again real soon. Thank you.