The Pavilion Podcast
The Pavilion Podcast

Episode · 1 year 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 the Pavilion podcast. I'm your host Brandon Bar and you are listening to Is this a good time? The show where I put Pavilion members on the hot seat 15 minutes. We hear their incredible stories, Tuesdays and Thursdays. The show 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 at Omni Labs and we talked about selling robots, pretty cool stuff. This episode was brought to you by inside Square advanced revenue analytics and forecasting for today's B two B organizations. Your revenue team wakes up every day with questions inside square it gives you the data driven answers in real time. Get 350 out of the box reports and dashboards. Self service. 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 from the D. C. Area, which was so great to have you on the phone. So great to be here. Awesome. Well look, I'll meet no...

...filler. We jump right in and just start with the question. So tell us a little bit about your current role and then also how you got here. Yeah, of course. So as you mentioned, I lead a sales team at Omni Labs. We are a Silicon Valley based robotics start up even though I work from remotely from Washington D. C. And have been for almost the past three years now. So what we do is we build human centric robots for a variety of different applications ranging from you know big large companies like Volkswagen to working with like hospitals or health systems like Mount Sinai that actually used about 30 of our robots throughout the the pandemic. You know different use cases from patient access to patient experience. And then we also work with like a dozen NFL teams. So the 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 can control from anywhere in the world. And that of course leads itself into a lot of different applications. So we started off as a Btc company transitioned into B two B and since Covid of course have seen a huge spike in demand and uh an increase in like more enterprise wide use cases but then also 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 a custom like you know, I don't know, robot bills for different, completely different use cases than let's say like communication right? That seems like a pretty I mean everyone's kind of seen something which would be like the thing that rolls up to on wheels and says hi you know whatever but but you know what are some of the more custom use cases who comes to you with a crazy idea and says I want a robot for this? I mean in my industry and food there is like a robot that flips burgers right like yeah that's a great question. And again I think that has been the biggest...

...strength of our company. So there is definitely a labs part of omni labs we actually three D. Print all of these robots in California which outside of being cool of course gives us an opportunity and an edge over any competitive solutions out there. So we do things a little bit differently Where for a really long time like building a modular robot or a platform was very important to us. Our founding teams vision was really creating a hardware company or a robotics company that operated very much like a software company and you can keep iterating of course you know 3D printing or additive manufacturing gives us an opportunity to do that very easily over any traditional manufacturing injection molding methods. But there were a lot of people from the very beginning who kept coming to us with like different news cases. So as you as you rightly pointed out you have the one on one communication. But outside of that if somebody wanted to use it as a...

...concierge robot Where you would get greeted right out of an elevator and get pointed in the right direction. Our robot would be able to do that because the technology is fairly similar across those two use cases, but the last 10 or 20% is something that we can tweak. So who comes to us with these ideas are you know, one of our largest clients is all nippon airways. They are the largest airline in Japan and believe it or not, they actually came to us pre coated with this idea. I mean they're you know, an airline company and they believe that in the future people won't travel as much. I think they were coming at it from like a carbon footprint perspective. And the idea was teleportation like virtual tourism and being able to like use telepresence and components of air. And we are to have people like maybe you know go to a remote fishing village in Switzerland and they wanted to uh we'll talk about a hedge to their current core business like 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 that Don't travel and, and and probably still want to know what's happening around the world. So you know, we of course work, work with industrial designers, take that that idea and build upon it. So we built a 50, 50 prototypes for them for the custom robot and then went out there built close to about 1000 robots over the next few years. And one of those robots was actually used by a Japanese university for graduation and this robot went completely viral was featured on Buzzfeed and the Travel Noah show. So yeah, it's been an exciting year and a half for us. I love it. Well congrats on all the success and uh, you know, I always think about both hard luck and hard work and luck and uh, is getting you to where you've been or where you are any particular stories of either you know, hard work or 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 you wanna call it. Um, while there is no way around hard work, I genuinely believe that luck does play an important factor, especially I think in my case with the people that I met throughout my lifetime. You know, I'm uh an immigrant from Mumbai from India who came here when I was 19 and had a very different, you know, plan for my life, but had to adjust of course after coming here and, and make some shifts. But the people that I met through chance encounters, which I really think is luck really shaped the course of my life and you know, like the, the biggest turning point for me personally was being part of the Washington post, you know, we, I worked for for a, for a small startup under the post umbrella, very exciting time and just meeting local business owners day in and day...

...out. You know, really changed my perception of life and successful good, Everybody works hard. But then it kind of made me realize that there are certain other things that play into being successful, hard work alone actually can't like help you get there and 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 surround yourself 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. I like that perspective. I like all those other words because I think people are averse to the word lock, but you know, if you said it is destiny, then everyone's like, yes, this was my desk. Well, guess what? That's kind of the same 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 worked hard and you know, the entire credit goes to them or you know, like the work that they put in. So I definitely come from a little bit of that Eastern mindset 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 rich parents as well. But that's just my own, the chip on my own shoulders or whatever. So you know, certainly tons of sales experience. I mean doing what you 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 to know 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 little bit 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 cutting edge technology in the hardware space, you have to realize that you're also dealing with that life cycle technology, life cycle adoption. Right? So there is like, you know, the product market fit or in some cases where your product may be nice to have but may not be as...

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

...you know if you if you look them up there isn't really a lot that pops up so you know stay up to date with industry trends, sharing relevant insight on how your product can really bring value, not getting too caught up with how you're selling a cool robot but talking about you know what sort of a solution is this providing, how is this you know like solving their pain point and then preparation. I'm a big believer in preparation and personalization. You know, don't don't send candy emails, don't follow follow up and check in like you know make the investment learn about the people that you're working with because we are human beings at the end of the day and I think more so after the pandemic where people want to feel that connection, I think that's really important and invest in tools. I mean there's so many tools out there, you know like you sales acceleration platforms like outreach and sales loft that help you do this at scale. So yeah, that would be my recommendation. Love it, love it. And um and you brought up kind of, you know, folks being active on linkedin, who do you appreciate,...

...who's active on linkedin, who you want to give a shout out to and you appreciate kind of the content they put out. Yeah, so actually recently read the sales acceleration formula and like, just loved the book, our team adopts the frame this framework for for hiring and the author is actually the former chief revenue officer of for hotspot. His name is Mark robert and I recently started following him. I just absolutely love his posts, He shares these like great tidbits in a very digestible format on social media, so if you are part of the revenue team or you know, even if you are interested remotely in like sales, marketing, customer success, I would highly recommend you follow. Cool, love it any up 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 putting out there. Yeah, of course. Um so there is a slag based community very much like Pavilion uh called Ladies get paid...

...and it actually offers a ton of grade insights for women, you know, if you're looking to negotiate a salary or just looking to get like financial advice or just like connect with someone, I really needed a creative outlet because I was working a lot during the pandemic and I decided to start an Etsy store for social distancing details and actually found a graphic designer who helped me Really take that idea to execution in 10 days. So you know like I would I would highly recommend it for for 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 mean it's amazing to have women helping other women when the path is already so hard to give advice on things like salary negotiation or just even you know starting a business. My wife actually started a business as well during the pandemic selling her own art, her own fine art. So um I'll certainly be telling her about that group. That's...

...amazing. Alright cool. Well look all these other questions for everyone else. And the question for me of course is give us a secret restaurant or it doesn't have to be a secret but give us a place that you love that maybe not everybody knows about and we should go to. Oh not everyone knows about. Well it doesn't mean it doesn't need to be nothing about but like you live in D. C. Tons of people that don't when they go to D. C. Where should they go. Yeah I would highly recommend this place that I went to recently. It's called. So baba it is a modern Israeli restaurant D. 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 an innovative branch, I would highly recommend Sabata and what are we ordering? When were that? I was just a meditative. Well they always say mediterranean but it was really an Israeli place. It just had the most delicious breakfast. Israeli breakfast,...

...it was just incredible. What are we ordering when we're there? Okay I hope I don't turn people away by saying this but they had the most delicious broccoli eggplants, just like a ton of vegetables. Again if you're craving something a little bit different I would highly highly recommend if anybody has turned away by probably you can be turned away by this whole pod because we are broccoli on the Brandon martin Pavilion podcast. Right on awesome. Well so great to have you on. Thank you so much for being there and really looking forward. Absolutely well thank you for having me. All right, that's our show. Thank you so much for listening. If you love the show please rate and review in the apple podcasts or Spotify have sent it to some friends, make sure to smash that subscribe button, 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 and inspection, an advanced goal management for your entire team. Everything you need to take back control of the...

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

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