Today we have selected Ashley Wilson, Ph.D., to take her interview. She is Sr. Product Manager of Aktify.
First of all, how are you and your team doing in these COVID-19 times?
With COVID-19 and its effects on businesses worldwide, automation has become a necessity to compete instead of a luxury. Aktify was started a little over a year before the pandemic. Although the event has had unfortunate effects worldwide, Aktify has grown by helping other companies get through it. Regardless of the size of a sales team, companies can still handle and close any amount of leads that come into their funnel with our product.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded or joined this company?
It probably sounds a little strange, but I have spent most of my academic career studying neuroscience. I joined Aktify for the opportunity to apply what I’ve learned about behavior and research to understanding how companies interact with their customers through conversation. I joined about a year ago when the company was only about 10 people and am so happy to see us grow so fast.
I was (and still am!) excited for the opportunity to use powerful AI technology to make the sales interaction a more positive experience for the user and more efficient for the business.
How does your company innovate?
It’s all about hiring innovative talent. Since the beginning, we knew Aktify would only be as good as the people we hire. We can easily find people willing to follow a process, but we need futuristic-minded people working on a product that we plan to change the future with. Natural language processing, the core technology behind conversational AI, is a rapidly advancing scientific field.
We’ve added several experts to our team so that we can remain leaders in this complicated technology.
How the Coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
As mentioned earlier, our business has helped other companies excel during the pandemic. In turn, this means the demand for our product has grown rapidly across the United States.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Building a high-growth business, it’s filled with difficult decisions. We have struggled to keep up with demand for our product, and with limited resources, we have had to decide where to allocate our time and efforts as we continue to obtain the resources needed. When running a lean technology organization, we’ve learned that it’s important to have impactful experts on your team.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Communication. Communication. Communication. Everyone has had to adjust to some hybrid remote and in-person work. We aren’t doing anything fancy (just using slack and video calls like everyone else), but we’re focusing on making sure our cross-functional teams have the right tools and opportunities to communicate as we’re building.
Whether writing clear documentation or making sure you can talk with industry experts, we’re comfortable giving and taking feedback from our teammates.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Our primary competition is sales leaders who are reluctant to innovate. Our product is new to 95% of the people we talk to and is changing the game for so many customers, so we are developing ways to adapt our product as pain-free as possible. As we increase revenue for our clients, their competitors will have to either keep up by working with us or get left behind.
Your final thoughts
My advice to leaders of other companies comes from watching the leaders at Aktify. Focus on innovation and building something great, and the right people will find a way to get there. The pandemic has led us to figure out new ways to do our jobs, communicate, and move our business forward. As a leader, focusing on enabling your team members to improve themselves will result in happier, more productive customers.
This, in turn, almost always will result in revenue but is seldomly the focus of leaders at most companies out there.
- Spokesperson: Ashley Wilson
- Company: Aktify
- Website link: https://aktify.com/