St. Louis-based Balto Software, is an AI technology that is truly changing sales.
The Balto technology makes sales reps better listeners, clearer communicators, and more empathetic, skilled salespeople – which ultimately helps drive revenue in sales, service, and collection organizations.
Marc Bernstein, co-founder and CEO of Balto Software, recounted to SPN the story behind the company.
“I was an account executive at TopOPPS, a company that helps sales teams keep track of sales opportunities. I worked there with Chris Kontes before we started Balto Software. It was my job to close, mostly by phone.
I’d hear a buyer object and then thumb through a pile of paper scripts for the right response, trying without very much success to track and redirect the conversation––while also jotting notes––and mostly wishing I had refilled my coffee before the call. The whole system was pretty miserable, but because I was treading in the thick of it, it felt like hustle rather than what it was – a terrible way to operate overall, and an even worse way to sell.
I had phenomenal sales coaching from Jim Eberlin, TopOPP’s Founder and CEO, who managed and mentored our sales team. In our coaching sessions, we would walk through the closing methodology and “workflow”. Inevitably, it all went out the window during a call when I would forget everything Jim had coached me on and utterly fail to implement the strategy we discussed. I would know I blew it the second I hung up the phone, despite having just been trained.”
Bernstein went on to describe how the plan to build a better system unfolded.
“The hard reality is that there’s a pretty vast expanse between being excellently trained and qualified, and actually executing, which is the hard part. Making the leap from one side to the other is ‘sales life-or-death.’ I needed not only the bridge but also various scenic lookout points along the way.
One day, Chris sees me on a call furiously typing in boxes. He said, ‘Marc, that’s ridiculous – you need speech analytics to pick up the verbal cues and search your response.’
I went home that night and roughed some stuff out. It happened that Davidson Girard, now Balto’s Founder & CTO, was in St. Louis on travel and dropped by. I casually discussed Chris’s idea with him, not expecting anything from it. By the end of the day, I was absolutely shocked to see he had built a prototype with speech tools and flow chart responses. We looked at it and agreed – ‘We actually have something.’ That kicked off six months of work on a business and marketing plan, until we went full time with it. We started in July 2016, and by January 2017 we went live and walked across the street to T-REX where we’re headquartered now.”
When asked about the team and culture at Balto Software, Bernstein described an environment that instills and fosters success through careful selection of talent.
“Less than two years ago it was Chris, Davidson, and me in 180 sq. feet. Now we are a 15-person team with ten times the size of space we started with. We hire the best and brightest engineers, sales reps, and all-around all-stars to join our company. Building a really phenomenal team here in St. Louis is probably Balto’s number one priority.”
How about the numbers?
“Our customers consistently tell us that Balto is increasing their revenues between 15% and 25% percent by understanding the conversation as it’s happening. We have data that shows how a rep can close a call, on average, in half the time using Balto. Instead of reps talking in circles with a prospect, our tech directs them to the correct path of questions to use to stay focused on the customer and get to a winning yes far more quickly.”
Bernstein referenced another important metric of note.
“Balto is an absolute transformation in a company’s ability to remain compliant with federal regulations on phone calls. An example is a debt collector who must follow a set of predefined rules and provide certain information. Our software addresses this, resulting in near-perfect compliance for our customers.”
Balto Software has more than doubled its customer count, increased active daily users by more than six times, and has grown to nearly 20 employees since October 2018.
Bernstein added that Balto Software has been fortunate to work with investors from all across the country. That list is the following:
Stage Venture Partners, Los Angeles
OCA Ventures, Chicago
Harbor Street Ventures, Chicago
Sandalphon Ventures, Chicago
TIA Ventures, New York
Venture for America Seed Fund, New York
SaaS Ventures, Washington, DC
Miles Lasser, Founder and Former CEO of Hire 1 Education
Bill Murphy, CTO of the Blackstone Group
Visit https://baltosoftware.com/ to learn more about this company.