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Jun 25th, 2024

Post-mortem: Mark Kosoglow on AI SDRs, rep creativity, and more [VIDEO]

Welcome to Post-mortem

We recently talked to Mark Kosoglow—Chief Revenue Officer at Catalyst and former Senior Vice President of Global Sales at Outreach—about his post on the rise of AI SDRs.

How do you stand out when every rep has AI superpowers? Read on to find out (or watch the full conversation above).

Identification: AI-powered outbound is the future

More and more generative AI companies are promising to automate tasks traditionally handled by flesh-and-blood SDRs.

“Everybody wants to figure out how to do outbound at scale for very, very little cost and make it relevant enough that it works….,” Mark said. “Well, if everybody's trying to do that, what happens if everybody does it?”

According to Mark, it might look something like this:

  • Inboxes get so packed with AI-generated messages that the channel loses all efficacy.
  • Regulatory agencies start to crack down even harder on spam (using AI themselves, of course).
  • AI-powered outbound moves to LinkedIn and the same process repeats itself.
  • Entire companies get blacklisted across email and social for abusing AI tools.
  • Buyers wise up and employ AI agents of their own to handle AI SDRs (now the entire buying cycle is human-free).
  • Traditional outbound becomes obsolete as AIs shift to telepathic communications so B2B companies can pitch buyers right inside their heads.

Sounds like science fiction, but the best satire usually holds a kernel of truth.

“What's going to happen if you wake up in the morning and instead of 70 messages you have 7,000 messages?” Mark said. “That's a conceivable future.”

The risks of spam-the-TAM strategies are real, as evidenced by Google and Yahoo’s policy changes. Those email service providers will automatically block all messages from bulk-sending organizations that have a spam complaint rate of 0.3% or higher.

As Mark put it, companies may find themselves in a situation where business-critical communications are no longer going out because “a couple of reps decided that they wanted to push the easy button and go work for three weeks in Costa Rica and put 10,000 people in the sequence in one day and email them three times a day.”

Examination: AI offers creative opportunities

The problem isn’t AI assistance—it’s companies using AI to scale spray-and-pray strategies.

“Great sellers will realize that your AI SDRs—your AI emails, your AI LinkedIn DMs, your AI phone calls—aren't working,” Mark said. “So there's a little sliver there for me to differentiate, to take a new approach.”

Translation: If most companies are using AI technology to create spam cannons, the ones that use it to double down on personalization, context, and relevance will stand out even more.

“We're headed to a place where the only thing that's not a commodity is creativity,” Mark said. “And so how do you flex and build that creative muscle so that you aren't somebody that's just sitting there messing with the AI and you're instead the person that is zigging while everybody else is zagging and benefiting from that uniqueness?”

Findings: AI winners will combine savvy and scale

Modern sales teams can’t afford to sit on the AI sidelines.

The explosive growth of AI-powered sales tools shows just how hungry organizations are for solutions that will help them scale faster and easier. The key is to also scale smarter.

If everyone is pulling from the same playbook—that is, automating AI outbound using the same publicly available, surface-level firmographics everyone else has access to—it becomes that much more important (and that much more beneficial) to stand out.

So how do you differentiate? The same way you build better AI models: by leveraging the right signals. Quality in means quality out.

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“[AI] can take in millions and millions of signals and process them in near real time,” Mark said. “Human brains can do a version of that, but right now, your brain is filtering out 10,000 other stimuli that aren't required for the task that you’re doing.”

With AI’s ability to instantly parse through every buyer action and attribute—and human beings’ ability to put those signals to work in unique ways that speak to real business challenges and goals—it’s possible to stand out at scale.

These are just some of the takeaways from our conversation with Mark Kosoglow. Check out the full conversation to get the whole story.

And stay tuned for the next edition of Post-mortem. Got a post or topic you’d like us to tackle? Let us know.

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