Harnessing AI for Remote Sales Success: Insights from Zinnia's CEO Lauren Goodell - ep. 086

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39 minutes

In the latest episode of the Remotely One podcast, co-hosts Rick Haney and Kaleem Clarkson welcome the incredible Lauren Goodell, founder and CEO of Zinnia, an AI-powered sales preparation tool. Lauren's journey is fascinating, from her Nebraska roots, with a marketing degree from the University of Nebraska, to her current residence in Charlotte, and all the achievements in between.

Lauren has had an ever-changing professional journey with significant roles in major tech companies: After over five years as a Strategic Engagement Manager at Microsoft, she transitioned to Salesforce, where she developed a deep understanding of remote work and sales, recognizing the importance of human connections in sales processes. While Microsoft is a stable environment where employees often stay for many years, focusing on long-term growth, Salesforce, in contrast, has a younger, more dynamic culture where innovation and rapid changes are the norm.

Since her early days at both Microsoft and Salesforce, she has appreciated the flexibility and the opportunity to work with talented people from across the country. This prepared her well for the shift to remote work during the pandemic! Now, her new venture, Zinnia, leverages AI to synthesize vast amounts of personal and professional data, creating holistic profiles to help salespeople connect with clients on a personal level.

So, how does Zinnia work? The tool gathers and summarizes information from various online sources, such as LinkedIn, company websites, and social media. This provides sales professionals with conversation starters and relevant insights, facilitating quick rapport building, which is crucial in sales where personal connections can significantly influence buying decisions. Zinnia aims to make these connections more seamless and efficient, saving time for salespeople by automating the information-gathering process.

Yet, the elephant in the room is still there: the common fears surrounding AI, particularly the concern that it might replace human jobs, remain strong! The role of education in alleviating these fears cannot be underestimated. Drawing a parallel to the early skepticism her parents had about online shopping, Lauren argues that AI, when used correctly, can enhance human capabilities rather than replace them. 

Diving into our classic question: Where is remote work going? It’s clear that Lauren's experience at Microsoft, where impromptu social gatherings were the norm, reinforced her belief in the importance of human connection for workplace satisfaction. Many companies now invest in in-person gatherings instead of corporate real estate, providing training and strengthening team bonds. This shift supports Lauren's view that remote and hybrid work is here to stay, but maintaining connections in a remote environment is essential!

You can find Lauren and her amazing Zinnia online; connect through the links below! Treat yourself to a wonderful episode and gain her valuable perspectives on the evolution of remote work, the importance of social connections in the workplace, and the role of co-working spaces in urban revitalization. Thank you, Lauren, you are a great guide for companies navigating the challenges and opportunities of a remote-first world!

Learn more about Lauren: