A great leader often possesses the ability to see beyond the foreseeable future. Dr. Cindy Gordon, Founder & CEO of SalesChoice, a SaaS company, is one such leader. She did her research thesis on Smart Card Technology over twenty years ahead of its introduction in North America. Her entire career has been seeing what is possible with technology and helping businesses and the community take advantage of new possibilities for securing a competitive edge. Cindy has truly stayed ahead of the market adoption curve.
Life Before SalesChoice
Cindy’s career began with teaching English and drama at the age of 21, before she moved to the Information Technology domain during her Masters. She founded an IT strategy firm, called InfoTech Consultants, before joining Trigon Systems Group, a consulting firm founded by Futurist IT Guru, Don Tapscott. In this role, she was primarily leading strategy innovation projects bringing business, process, people and technology into alignment. She then moved to Citicorp as a VP to run IT Client Services and later joined Nortel Networks as Head of Global IT Strategy and Architecture. It was followed by 8 years in diverse roles at Xerox, where she finished her career as a Senior Director and General Manager running an outsourcing LOB. She also started her doctoral studies during this tenure, and completed her dissertation on Collaboration Commerce and Social Networks, advancing the field of Innovation Ecosystem research, and validating the value of collaboration and depth of social ties in optimizing top line revenue growth. Subsequently she wrote the first book on Collaboration Commerce, with the Founder of WebEx, Subrah Iyar.
Cindy joined Accenture as a Partner, running the North-Eastern Strategy and Change Transformation practice. After three years of extensive travel, she saw the dynamics of the internet market’s growth and excitement. She convinced three experienced VC’s that they needed her. After spending three years with them, she founded Helix Commerce International Inc, a strategy and technology innovation firm that specialized in innovation, collaboration commerce and social media, working with brands like CIBC, Davis and Henderson, IBM, LG Electronics, Microsoft and TD Bank in designing and building out large-scale innovation transformation programs. Over the course of her career, Cindy has written 14 books and is working on 15 one.
Beginning of a New Dawn
Cindy’s holistic experience helped her to start SalesChoice Inc. when she saw that 30-60% of sales professionals in the middle tier failed to achieve their sales plan while 30% of sales professionals suffered from attention deficit disorder. She felt that the use of AI or Machine Learning could help sales professionals to focus on doing the right things. So, she spoke to Dr. Yannick Lallement, Chief Data Scientist, SalesChoice, Jim Cloughley, and Michael Weinberger, CTO of SalesChoice, to explore the “Fit” of artificial intelligence to crack this problem. They thought it could, and wrote a patent on AI methods, which could guide sales professionals to focus on sales opportunities rather than chasing duds. After robust research validated in brands like Accenture and Intel and large Telco’s, they have now learned their AI proprietary ALGO can predict the future with up to 95% of accuracy to solve prioritization issues, predict forecasts more accurately and alter future outcomes, with actionable insights.
A Unique Organization with Unique Products
SalesChoice Inc. *(SC) specializes in Cognitive Sciences and Artificial Intelligence and helps organizations advance the growth of sales top line revenue and improve sales productivity by 20-30% using augmented intelligence. Today, the company has four products: Predictive Analytics, Perspective Analytics, Propensity to Purchase and Data Science as a Service (DSaaS), where they are tackling early Predictive Churn Solutions. SalesChoice is a certified ISV partner of SalesForce but has an open API, which can easily integrate to other CRM platforms too. Additionally, SC helps to improve sales forecasting accuracy by 20-50%, and also gives insights on customer’s intention to purchase from sourcing diverse signals, inside or outside the CRM. The company also helps its clients solve data science challenges using AI/ML and advanced data science methods. Cindy comments, “Our advanced AI and augmented intelligence methods can release trillions of $ into the global economy by enabling customers to focus on the right opportunities or identify the best fit to sell to. A real strength of SalesChoice is our predictive sales forecasting accuracy. The challenge is we are in an emerging market, where sales professionals are learning to trust advanced AI driven data sciences to guide them. This is the First Augmented Intelligence Sales Generation in the history of mankind.”
Strong Foundation of Great Values
As a CEO, integrity and transparency in all actions, and appreciating diversity are critical success factors. “The most pressing challenges I face as a CEO daily is our agility due to rapid demands and being obsessed with customer success. Capitalization is also a challenge, pioneering in AI, as many VC’s are unfamiliar with these approaches. So finding the right VC is key to our growth strategy to further capitalize the company, now that we know we have a proven ALGO that is uncannily accurate,” says Cindy.
The key to being a successful CEO, as per Cindy, is stepping back, reflecting and learning. She is a big believer in fact-based leadership and continuous improvement, learning from her deep skills in Quality & 6 Sigma developed at Xerox. During her leadership in SalesChoice, she has seen instances where customers decided not to proceed with a software installation, even when the AI facts demonstrated value. She adds that some decisions are out of a CEO’s control but one must graciously accept a customer’s decision and be genuinely thankful for the customer experience; perhaps why creating a learning culture is always top of Cindy’s mindset.
Cindy’s Advice to Young Entrepreneurs
Be agile, reflect daily, have many mentors, trust your gut, don’t overthink, make mistakes and learn from them, make decisions based on facts, learn as much as you can, listen to your team, be a value-centered leader and practice mindfulness. A family is your anchor; hold them close always. Without trusted friends and family standing for your success, one is not always as grounded in making value-based decisions. Stay healthy as a healthy mind must have a strong body to handle the demands of entrepreneurship. Life is not a marathon; it’s a journey.
The Future Roadmap
The field SalesChoice is in is Big Data, Cognitive Sciences and Augmented Intelligence. There are very few companies doing what they do, few of which have been acquired lately. Cindy has a big vision and will need more capital and the right talent to keep climbing at the speed the company is learning.