Earlier this week we hosted our first meetup for folks like us who geek out about sales automation and productivity. This was a result of realization over lunch a few weeks ago, that even though no one is talking about it, there’s actually a booming sales tech scene here in Helsinki. We have a lot of startups working in the field: Vainu, GetJenny, Leadfeeder, Lumoa, us, just to name a few. Also, on the demand side more and more companies are investing in tools and looking to hire entire teams tasked to maximize productivity of their sales people.

All in all, we had a good crowd present and a ton of interesting discussions ranging from social advertising to APIs and Salesforce plugins. Additionally, Joona Tuunanen from OIKIO and Juho Ikonen from Smartly.io talked their thoughts and shared lessons learned on sales automation.

Here’s a quick round up of the talks, see you next time!

How to automate wedding-RSVPs and much more

What does organizing a wedding and doing sales have in common? For one, you need a systematic way to manage your contacts, guests, or however you want to call your leads. If you’ve ever received a wedding invitation, chances are it said something like “send us a message to RSVP”. The result of that is both a collection of random “yeah I’ll be there” messages in email, phone and letters and one stressed out couple.

Joona figured there’s got to be a better way. Instead of asking people to just send a message, here’s a pipeline he built:

  1. He set up a website with Typeform and asked people to RSVP using it. Just with a help of a form, he had all the information in one place and in a nice, structured format.
  2. It didn’t stop there. Using Zapier to glue together different online services, whenever someone filled the RSVP form, they were automatically added to a Mailchimp list. As a nice detail, there were a few different lists depending on the information filled in the form, all this powered by Zapier.
  3. Finally, from Mailchimp it was possible to automate messaging in bulk, starting from confirming the RSVP to providing information before the wedding and sharing photos afterwards. Nice!

For sure, organizing a wedding is different from doing sales, but here the biggest lesson learned is in the mindset of continuously thinking about ways to bring structure and automate your workflows. Using basic a few building blocks it’s possible to build complex workflows with little effort and no programming at all.

You can find Joona’s slides from Slideshare.

Sales is a craft and requires human interaction, but perhaps some tasks are better suited for robots

In our second talk, Juho Ikonen shared his thoughts on division of labor between humans and robots on different stages of the sales funnel. While especially the later stages and closing deals requires a lot of human judgement, there’s a lot of opportunities upper in the funnel where the tasks tend to be more repetitive.

One of the most time-consuming tasks in the early stage of the funnel is finding new leads and doing an initial qualification. In practice this means browsing websites or LinkedIn for companies in certain verticals, revenue figures and other properties, then finding a contact person with a specific title and finally sending a cold email.

Juho’s team at has built a solution to automate this. In short, here’s what their robot (“Wilhelm”) will happily do with a click of a button:

  1. First, search companies from Clearbit’s Discovery API matching a criteria like vertical, company size and adoption of other technologies. For example, “give us e-commerce companies in with 50+ headcount that are using Facebook advertising”.
  2. Then, use another API from Clearbit, Prospector, to search for the right people those companies and figuring out ways to reach them. This could be for example director-level people in marketing or sales.
  3. Finally, check if those people are already in a CRM and if not, and notifies a human who can then act on the information.

According to Juho there are still a bunch of caveats and issues the team is working on, but the early results have been promising. Since humans of the team don’t spend time on the mundane stuff, they have more bandwidth to win deals and provide better service for the customers. It’s a win-win-win!

See you next time!

This was the first meetup we organized and based on quick feedback after the event, there clearly was demand for this kind of event. This is a topic people are interested in and want to learn more. Having good times doesn’t hurt either.

We’ll be having another event sometime early fall, stay tuned and be sure to follow our pages either in Facebook or LinkedIn.