The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 3 weeks ago

EP 138: Selling Robots w/ Ujjwala Kashkari

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

EP 138: Selling Robots w/ Ujjwala Kashkari

Part of the "Is This A Good Time?" series hosted by Brandon Barton. 

Hello everyone and welcome back to thePavilion podcast. I'm your host Brandon Bar and you are listening to Is this agood time? The show where I put Pavilion members on the hot seat 15minutes. We hear their incredible stories, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Theshow comes out so hit subscribe and don't miss expert any of our experts.That is our guest today is usually to Kashkari, she's the head of sales atOmni Labs and we talked about selling robots, pretty cool stuff. This episodewas brought to you by inside Square advanced revenue analytics andforecasting for today's B two B organizations. Your revenue team wakesup every day with questions inside square it gives you the data drivenanswers in real time. Get 350 out of the box reports and dashboards. Selfservice. No coat. All right, let's do this. Is this a good time? All right.We have with us. Usually Kashkari, she is the head of sales and Omni Labs fromthe D. C. Area, which was so great to have you on the phone. So great to behere. Awesome. Well look, I'll meet no...

...filler. We jump right in and just startwith the question. So tell us a little bit about your current role and thenalso how you got here. Yeah, of course. So as you mentioned, I lead a salesteam at Omni Labs. We are a Silicon Valley based robotics start up eventhough I work from remotely from Washington D. C. And have been foralmost the past three years now. So what we do is we build human centricrobots for a variety of different applications ranging from you know biglarge companies like Volkswagen to working with like hospitals or healthsystems like Mount Sinai that actually used about 30 of our robots throughoutthe the pandemic. You know different use cases from patient access topatient experience. And then we also work with like a dozen NFL teams. Sothe flagship offering which is the Omni robot is basically a telepresence robot.It is you can think of it as a as a...

...video call on wheels that you cancontrol from anywhere in the world. And that of course leads itself into a lotof different applications. So we started off as a Btc companytransitioned into B two B and since Covid of course have seen a huge spikein demand and uh an increase in like more enterprise wide use cases but thenalso a lot of like fun use cases like like the ones that I mentioned love it.Love it. And so outside of that is there are you creating, is there acustom like you know, I don't know, robot bills for different, completelydifferent use cases than let's say like communication right? That seems like apretty I mean everyone's kind of seen something which would be like the thingthat rolls up to on wheels and says hi you know whatever but but you know whatare some of the more custom use cases who comes to you with a crazy idea andsays I want a robot for this? I mean in my industry and food there is like arobot that flips burgers right like yeah that's a great question. And againI think that has been the biggest...

...strength of our company. So there isdefinitely a labs part of omni labs we actually three D. Print all of theserobots in California which outside of being cool of course gives us anopportunity and an edge over any competitive solutions out there. So wedo things a little bit differently Where for a really long time likebuilding a modular robot or a platform was very important to us. Our foundingteams vision was really creating a hardware company or a robotics companythat operated very much like a software company and you can keep iterating ofcourse you know 3D printing or additive manufacturing gives us an opportunityto do that very easily over any traditional manufacturing injectionmolding methods. But there were a lot of people from the very beginning whokept coming to us with like different news cases. So as you as you rightlypointed out you have the one on one communication. But outside of that ifsomebody wanted to use it as a...

...concierge robot Where you would getgreeted right out of an elevator and get pointed in the right direction. Ourrobot would be able to do that because the technology is fairly similar acrossthose two use cases, but the last 10 or 20% is something that we can tweak. Sowho comes to us with these ideas are you know, one of our largest clients isall nippon airways. They are the largest airline in Japan and believe itor not, they actually came to us pre coated with this idea. I mean they'reyou know, an airline company and they believe that in the future people won'ttravel as much. I think they were coming at it from like a carbonfootprint perspective. And the idea was teleportation like virtual tourism andbeing able to like use telepresence and components of air. And we are to havepeople like maybe you know go to a remote fishing village in Switzerlandand they wanted to uh we'll talk about a hedge to their current core businesslike Yeah, yeah, but they of course...

...being, being from the travel industry,they probably recognize that there are, there is a large group of people thatDon't travel and, and and probably still want to know what's happeningaround the world. So you know, we of course work, work with industrialdesigners, take that that idea and build upon it. So we built a 50, 50prototypes for them for the custom robot and then went out there builtclose to about 1000 robots over the next few years. And one of those robotswas actually used by a Japanese university for graduation and thisrobot went completely viral was featured on Buzzfeed and the TravelNoah show. So yeah, it's been an exciting year and a half for us. I loveit. Well congrats on all the success and uh, you know, I always think aboutboth hard luck and hard work and luck and uh, is getting you to where you'vebeen or where you are any particular stories of either you know, hard workor luck sending you in the right path...

...here. Yeah, so I'm actually a very,very big believer in Luck kiss mama, Destiny, good juju energy, whatever youwanna call it. Um, while there is no way around hard work, I genuinelybelieve that luck does play an important factor, especially I think inmy case with the people that I met throughout my lifetime. You know, I'muh an immigrant from Mumbai from India who came here when I was 19 and had avery different, you know, plan for my life, but had to adjust of course aftercoming here and, and make some shifts. But the people that I met throughchance encounters, which I really think is luck really shaped the course of mylife and you know, like the, the biggest turning point for me personallywas being part of the Washington post, you know, we, I worked for for a, for asmall startup under the post umbrella, very exciting time and just meetinglocal business owners day in and day...

...out. You know, really changed myperception of life and successful good, Everybody works hard. But then it kindof made me realize that there are certain other things that play intobeing successful, hard work alone actually can't like help you get thereand you can call it whatever you want. I think it's very cliche, you know,like people say that you are the, some of the five people you surroundyourself with, but sometimes you have to be lucky to be surrounded with the,with the right people as well. Yeah, that's right. That's what I like. Ilike that perspective. I like all those other words because I think people areaverse to the word lock, but you know, if you said it is destiny, theneveryone's like, yes, this was my desk. Well, guess what? That's kind of thesame thing. I like the way you put that. It's very, it's a very american concept,right? Like everyone believes that their successes because they workedhard and you know, the entire credit goes to them or you know, like the workthat they put in. So I definitely come from a little bit of that Easternmindset of luck and Destiny kind of...

...playing a role in your success as well.Yeah, americans seem to have a blind spot to the fact that they have richparents as well. But that's just my own, the chip on my own shoulders orwhatever. So you know, certainly tons of sales experience. I mean doing whatyou do. It's, it's such a unique perspective because it's not software,right? It's hardware. Give us a tactic that you, that you believe, you know,maybe people that are more in the hardware side of things would need toknow why I kind of dabble our company devils in both hardware and software.And so, you know, I would love to hear anything that can help us do a littlebit more in terms of hostels, hardware as a service or something. Yeah,absolutely. I think when you work for a robotics company or any sort of cuttingedge technology in the hardware space, you have to realize that you're alsodealing with that life cycle technology, life cycle adoption. Right? So there islike, you know, the product market fit or in some cases where your product maybe nice to have but may not be as...

...mission critical. So the traditionalrules of sales sometimes don't apply. And I think more than ever before, youknow, your typical buyer is extremely informed. So our team, even though wehave a very small team, we work with over 400 clients in the past year and ahalf and I can, I can assure you since the pandemic, not a single client comesto a discussion, a demo of a discovery called unprepared. So make sure thatyou're actually teaching them something, something about the industry, somethingabout how your other clients are deriving value from your product,something that they didn't like pick up from like you know looking at yourwebsite or reading some resources. And the other thing I want to say when youare again working for for a hardware company or any company for that matterI think have a strong digital presence today. It really surprises me, you knowlike we're in the process of hiring and it really surprises me how many salescandidates are inactive on Lincoln or...

...you know if you if you look them upthere isn't really a lot that pops up so you know stay up to date withindustry trends, sharing relevant insight on how your product can reallybring value, not getting too caught up with how you're selling a cool robotbut talking about you know what sort of a solution is this providing, how isthis you know like solving their pain point and then preparation. I'm a bigbeliever in preparation and personalization. You know, don't don'tsend candy emails, don't follow follow up and check in like you know make theinvestment learn about the people that you're working with because we arehuman beings at the end of the day and I think more so after the pandemicwhere people want to feel that connection, I think that's reallyimportant and invest in tools. I mean there's so many tools out there, youknow like you sales acceleration platforms like outreach and sales loftthat help you do this at scale. So yeah, that would be my recommendation. Loveit, love it. And um and you brought up kind of, you know, folks being activeon linkedin, who do you appreciate,...

...who's active on linkedin, who you wantto give a shout out to and you appreciate kind of the content they putout. Yeah, so actually recently read the sales acceleration formula and like,just loved the book, our team adopts the frame this framework for for hiringand the author is actually the former chief revenue officer of for hotspot.His name is Mark robert and I recently started following him. I justabsolutely love his posts, He shares these like great tidbits in a verydigestible format on social media, so if you are part of the revenue team oryou know, even if you are interested remotely in like sales, marketing,customer success, I would highly recommend you follow. Cool, love it anyup and comers that you want to give a shout out to folks that you're like,hey, I really appreciate them the thought leadership that they're puttingout there. Yeah, of course. Um so there is a slag based community very muchlike Pavilion uh called Ladies get paid...

...and it actually offers a ton of gradeinsights for women, you know, if you're looking to negotiate a salary or justlooking to get like financial advice or just like connect with someone, Ireally needed a creative outlet because I was working a lot during the pandemicand I decided to start an Etsy store for social distancing details andactually found a graphic designer who helped me Really take that idea toexecution in 10 days. So you know like I would I would highly recommend it forfor any woman out there to like take a look at ladies get paid. That's so cool,I love that. That's uh that's incredible. Um Certainly yeah I meanit's amazing to have women helping other women when the path is already sohard to give advice on things like salary negotiation or just even youknow starting a business. My wife actually started a business as wellduring the pandemic selling her own art, her own fine art. So um I'll certainlybe telling her about that group. That's...

...amazing. Alright cool. Well look allthese other questions for everyone else. And the question for me of course isgive us a secret restaurant or it doesn't have to be a secret but give usa place that you love that maybe not everybody knows about and we should goto. Oh not everyone knows about. Well it doesn't mean it doesn't need to benothing about but like you live in D. C. Tons of people that don't when they goto D. C. Where should they go. Yeah I would highly recommend this place thatI went to recently. It's called. So baba it is a modern Israeli restaurantD. C. Is actually big on branch. So you know if anyone of you out there in D. C.That's craving something that's not eggs and bacon and looking for aninnovative branch, I would highly recommend Sabata and what are weordering? When were that? I was just a meditative. Well they always saymediterranean but it was really an Israeli place. It just had the mostdelicious breakfast. Israeli breakfast,...

...it was just incredible. What are weordering when we're there? Okay I hope I don't turn people away by saying thisbut they had the most delicious broccoli eggplants, just like a ton ofvegetables. Again if you're craving something a little bit different Iwould highly highly recommend if anybody has turned away by probably youcan be turned away by this whole pod because we are broccoli on the Brandonmartin Pavilion podcast. Right on awesome. Well so great to have you on.Thank you so much for being there and really looking forward. Absolutely wellthank you for having me. All right, that's our show. Thank you so much forlistening. If you love the show please rate and review in the apple podcastsor Spotify have sent it to some friends, make sure to smash that subscribebutton, do it. A reminder. This episode was brought to you by Inside Square,say goodbye to spreadsheet forecasting and hello to Crm data you can trust.Inside Square delivers predictive deal scoring, unmatched visibility andinspection, an advanced goal management for your entire team. Everything youneed to take back control of the...

...revenue process. I had fun. Hope youdid too. Now go crush your numbers. Say something. Mhm.

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