Radical Reads

Selling in Uncertain Times

By Parasvil Patel, Partner


An excellent barometer for measuring the health of a company is the sales pipeline. Sales activity often serves as an early warning system for pending disruption and, in the wake of COVID-19, alarm bells were going off in the sales organizations of many startups.

Last week Radical hosted an expert roundtable with our portfolio companies on how to manage sales strategies in the face of uncertainty. You can read more in this week’s issue of Radical Scale: Go-to-Market Strategy for Uncertain Times. The key takeaways touched on three important themes:

Process: Constantly iterate over the course of brief go-to-market experiments with the goal of identifying winning strategies and tactics for broader implementation. To run successful experiments, keep them short, communicate regularly, and define metrics to measure success.

People: Build a culture which emphasizes the notion of ‘shared pain and shared gain’. Effective sales teams need to empathize with the challenges their customers face. In turn, sales leaders need to empathize with their team when targets are missed.

Technology: Use this as an opportunity to explore new technology platforms that increase efficiency in the go-to-market process. Leverage automation capabilities offered by sales enablement tools. Explore conversational marketing platforms to engage potential customers. Use tools that make it easy to standardize, cross reference, and enrich data.

Radical Scale is a regular feature that explores key strategies for growing early stage technology. Previous features include: Managing the Sales Pipeline in a PandemicAttracting and Recruiting AI Talent, and Secrets of Customer Success.

AI News This Week

  • Toronto Tops Tech Talent, Canada Well-Positioned Amid Pandemic, CBRE Report Finds  (BetaKit)

    Toronto has taken the top spot in the CBRE Scoring Canadian Tech Talent report ranking. The report also says Canada is positioned well for continued growth in the face of the pandemic. The city has grown its tech talent pool by 36.5% between 2014 and 2019. The tech labour force also grew to 250,000 workers, which represents 8.8% of Toronto’s workforce.

  • Xanadu announced Canada’s first quantum network designed for innovation and collaboration  (MaRS)

    Xanadu, a world leader in photonic quantum computing and a Radical portfolio company, announced the creation of the Canada Quantum Network, in partnership with MaRS and Creative Destruction Lab (CDL). The network will provide a quantum testbed for partner organizations to access and develop new kinds of applications in quantum cryptography, communications, and computation.

  • Can an Algorithm Prevent Suicide?  (New York Times)

    The Department of Veterans Affairs in the US has turned to AI to help identify vets at risk of taking their own lives. The algorithm examines 61 disparate factors associated with suicide, generating a new list of veterans at higher risk every month.

  • AI Can Run Your Work Meetings Now   (Wired)

    Meetings have become the necessary evil of the modern workplace. 2020 and the teleconferencing boom has compounded concerns that workers are suffering meeting fatigue. A new wave of startups is trying to optimize meetings and improve both the in-person and virtual challenges, from automated scheduling tools to facial recognition that measures who is paying attention.

  • Can artificial intelligence give elephants a winning edge?  (TechCrunch)

    An elephant is killed by poachers every 15 minutes. In response to the threat faced by African elephants, conservation groups and tech giants have open-sourced efforts to create advanced tracking collars that can detect the presence of humans and monitor elephant activity. Using AI models, the collars offer insights into sleeping and grazing habits and provide conservation specialists with the critical information they need to protect the elephants.

Radical Reads is edited by Leah Morris (Senior Director, Velocity Program, Radical Ventures).