How The Routefusion Sales Team Leverages AI With Colton Seal
An increasing number of companies leverages AI in one way or another, but very few do it to the extent that Routefusion does. Routefusion is a company that uses the concept of “neobanking” to process cross-border payments. Chad Burmeister lets us into how this company’s sales team uses the latest technology by bringing in the chief himself, Colton Seal. In this insightful exchange of ideas, Colton talks about the entrepreneurial mindset and connecting with customers. He further discusses how AI has become a significant part in any business venture. As far as Colton and Routefusion ares concerned, AI is an incredible tool that could help achieve sales goals. Join in to learn why they think so.
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How The Routefusion Sales Team Leverages AI With Colton Seal
I am with an interesting guest. He is with Routefusion. He founded the company back in 2015, 2016. They've got a couple of dozen clients that are using technology for cross-border payments. I learned the term neobanks. Those are the kinds of banks that don't have a brick-and-mortar. We are going to drill into how Colton's company leverages AI, how the sales team leverages AI, get to know Colton, get to know Routefusion. Colton, welcome.
I am glad to be on. Thanks for having me.
This is exciting. We rarely meet someone who leverages all of the latest technology. When we were talking about your use of sequencing technology, email and everything else, I'm always excited to drill into that. For our audience to get to know you, I would like to ask this question first. What was your passion when you were younger, you are 6, 7, 8 years old? I like to help people connect the dots of how did you get to here, from what you did when you were younger?
When I was younger, I was thinking about this, I was a big adventurer, an explorer. My friends and I in the neighborhood, a very common thing that we would do is, "Let's go explore a new part of the neighborhood. Let's go somewhere that we haven't gone before yet. Let's go discover something." We would push the limits as to how far we were able to go past our house without our moms coming, running after us and getting mad at us. We spent a lot of time in the creeks, cutting through side yards, finding interesting things throughout the neighborhood. You don't know what a passion is when you are 6 or 7 but that is something that we frequently did all the time that popped into my brain.
We talked about your skiing in Colorado and want to bring your daughter into that part of the conversation. That's pretty neat. How do you think about exploring? How does that tie into the kind of work you do? I assume when you grew up, you didn't say, "I'm going to build a company called Routefusion that does cross-border payments."
That explorer mindset, adventure mindset, always wanting to see what's out there on the new horizon, probably ties back into wanting to understand something that maybe you don't fully understand yet. It brings in a level of curiosity. As an entrepreneur, I feel like everyone has to have this curiosity or in general, a natural desire to explore and go into the unknown. That's what an entrepreneur and being a founder is. It probably shaped a lot that ties back into us founding Routefusion, going through iterations and not fully understanding everything that we were doing. Knowing that it was around the horizon, that we would come to a new understanding of our market, how to go after it, how to service our customers. It probably does a full circle there. There's probably a ton of analogies that you could draw.
I remember meeting a guy on my last helicopter ski trip to Canada in February 2020 right before everything locked down. There were 48 CEOs, one of which is a multibillionaire. There's us little $1 million and $2 million a year. That's the minimum baseline to attend. There's the $5.6 billionaire. There wasn't a huge difference between the mindset of a million and the $5.6 billion guy. He said, "I went into a pharma company. I had no idea what pharma even was. I started doing the work. Over a small number of years, I became the CEO. I figured it out." I think of the exploration. That's what I like to do. I have another show that I run called Living A Better Story. It talks about aligning your talents with the marketplace. Once you get into that zone, in that lane, it becomes fun. It sounds like you are in the lane you are meant to be in.
Use AI to your advantage. Don't be scared of it.
Let's talk about AI, artificial intelligence is sometimes an overused term. People think of it as, "I'm a little scared. Is it going to disrupt my whole team? Do I have to fire everybody? Are the computers going to take over?" Everyone I have talked to on this show is like, "No. It causes you to be able to hire more people to grow faster. Does it change the jobs of the folks? Maybe a little bit, maybe a lot but it's all to help you grow faster, not run the show with fewer people." Talk to me a little bit about how your sales team uses artificial intelligence or automation. I think I can lump that in the same bucket.
We use AI and automation in a bunch of different ways, some intentional, some unintentional. The first one that comes to mind is the CRM that we use. In general, it sorts through all of the emails that we are sending and talking to customers. It gives us feedback over the likelihood of a deal closing based on sentiment back and forth in an email, which is interesting. It does automatic reminders like, "By the way, you are talking to twenty different customers. You should put a touchpoint on these five in the next couple of days. If you haven't, we will continue to remind you."
It goes as far as to say, "I need to remind or I need to send this touchpoint email, text message, phone call," or whatever it is. It will even go as far as to give you a prompt of what needs to be said, which is helpful. Not every time will our team use the prompt that it gives. That is good. Maybe I will tack on a little bit more. It saves me a couple of minutes, five minutes to add it up throughout 1, 2 weeks or 1 quarter. That's a lot of time saved. Potentially, that time goes into more deals closed or prospects talk to. That's probably the first way that we use AI.
I don't think I have run into the CRM. I don't think my CRM does that thing. Is it called Jarvis? What's the name of it?
It's called a Spiro.
It reminds me of this Garmin watch that I’ve got. I let my son borrow it for a few months. I’ve got it back and reprogrammed it. It comes out and it says, "Congratulations, you hit your step goal of 3,150." I'm like, "I didn't set a step goal." I remember, it slowly moves you up. It knows not to come out and say, "Let's start Chad at 10,000," based on all the algorithms, probably weight, height, when was my last work. It starts at a baseline, monitors me and starts telling me when and how to move. I was at a keynote speech one time. This woman, Pam, did a speech. She talked about who wears the pants in the AI family. Is it the AI or is it the person? She said, "Be careful because if you turn too much over to the AI, you still want a human set of eyes on it." That's like you said. You don't always follow the advice but it's probably good advice most of the time.
That's a good segue into the second way that we use it in the company through our email sequencing campaign. We use a sequencing tool. We use a few but the one that I particularly liked is called Reply.io. What's nice about Reply is it also uses based on all the data and everyone that is sending emails. They can generally pull together all the data to figure out the level of optimism versus the balance of negativity or questioning and these types of characteristics. As you type out your first sequence email, they will let you know based on analyzing the sentiment of the email on all these five different categories, whether the likelihood of someone opening this email or replying to this email, which is brilliant. I love that. You try and get in those green to red. You want to be in the green. In AI, there's this thing called GPT-3. GPT-3 is one of the most advanced AI.
If I was into AI and smart, I could give you the rundown of what it is but, in a nutshell, it can take text and it can rewrite it into another form or say you give it ten words that are random words, it will form a narrative around those ten words. It comes out and it's quite human-readable. That's amazing. They integrated GPT-3 into their sequencing. As you write the email, you can say, "Give me another version of this email." GPT-3 comes in and it completely recreates a different email. You can do it 10, 20, 30 times. You can start seeing how AI would have written this email. From that, as a human, you could piece together the pieces that you like. That's one way. I love that. It's cool. It's good. It doesn't come out perfect. It's still very AI kind of words. Sometimes they will throw together a sentence or they will create an analogy that you are like, "That's brilliant. I never thought of it like that." You will add it in. It's awesome.
I had one gentleman on the show that does this for marketing with content. That's funny. You can even use the AI to say, "What should I write about? Help me write it." His point was you still need someone to piece together the parts, whether you are doing marketing content or an email like you are talking about. There's another company out there that will look at the personality of the person. It will read their LinkedIn. It's called the BANKCODE. It's called Codebreaker Technologies. They are starting to do APIs in different technologies. Now, it's very manual. If I'm looking at you on LinkedIn, I could figure out what your Codebreaker technology is and B as a Blueprint, A is Action, N is Nurture, K is Knowledge. Depending on the order of those, you would want to read an email differently. Imagine, Rev 2.0 of this GPT-3 that you are talking about says, "Depending on the person, I'm going to change it to bullets if I'm going to Chad. I'm going to send it as a paragraph if I'm going to Colton."
The cool thing about GPT-3 is you could build that tech. It's a suite of API. You could do that. There will be a company, I'm sure, that does that. Maybe it already exists, we just don't know about it. That's brilliant. I'm looking into this.
When I googled it, OpenAI.com, GPT-3 powers the next generation of apps. Three hundred apps are using that in the conversation text completion and other features. That's amazing.
It's pretty cool. With this Codebreaker thing, I'm loving that.
It's very neat. It's $59 a month and it will run within seconds.
Predicted buying behavior in less than 90 seconds. I love that.
Everyone has to have curiosity and have the natural desire to explore and go into the unknown.
Let me see if I can run yours in the background here. This is always fun.
Let's see. I'm curious what it's going to say.
While that's running, the other interesting tech that I ran across is there's a company called Vendisys. They have been doing emailing companies for years. What they discovered is that if you personalize the first sentence, your lift of replies is way bigger. In my early days at ScaleX, we had a partnership with a company called Nova.ai. It did the personalization. They became acquired. I still don't know who acquired them. It has not been announced. That technology quietly walked out the side door. Vendisys has a tool called Ego Booster. It looks at you and it writes the first sentence. Think of a Reply.io message that goes out that says, "Congrats. I saw you were on The AI for Sales show." It's all automated and embeds. When you can open with that ego booster kind of a message, the reply rates go way up.
The brilliance of that is it works at scale. I didn't have to go out. I have seen these companies out of the Philippines. They will go in and they will craft the first email message or the first one-liner for you to add into your thing because they have done actual research on your lead list. That works but it's a little expensive. It's a hit or miss but this is interesting because then, all of a sudden, you could have your list and you could plug that into your sequencing. You don't do much work on your outbound.
You want to look at it before it goes. One of the ones on the early days of this, years ago said, "Congrats. We saw your CEO in the news." The AI was smart enough to see the CEO in the news. It wasn't smart enough to see that the person had passed away. You probably don't want to send a congratulatory note to a founder. What did we do? We went to the back end and we said, "If there are any words like a funeral or those kinds of things, don't ever send that." It takes a person looking at it before. Once you get to a 99% confidence level, then you can automate personalization at scale.
There's one company we worked with called Rainmaker. They had five people in the Philippines doing all this. They were paying on average $5 per sentence. We came in and said, "What if you could pay $0.25 to $0.50? Sign me up." They shipped us 10,000 leads and we said, "We will append up to twelve personalization sentences per lead." We didn't charge per personalization sentence. We just said, "Pay us $0.50 for all twelve." Some had 2, 0 and 12. When that product went away, they were like, "Chad, they keep calling me about once every year. When is it coming back?" It's back.
Your code according to the BANKCODE reading of your LinkedIn is NABK. You are quite similar to my CRO, who was the former CRO of Miller Heiman for eight years. He had a team of hundreds of people. He's nurture first. You care about people. Here's what it specifically says. You dislike inauthentic or fake people. You enjoy training, motivating and coaching others. You need interaction with people, groups and teams. You seek deeper meaning beyond material possessions. That's that four. There are another eight. I'm telling you. It reminds me of the Bible when they talk about speaking in tongues. That's what this allows you to do. That's how she invented this. She was a salesperson that was not successful. She said, "What is it? Why are some people, good that I can communicate with and others I don't match?" She realized that by doing it this way. Not everyone can match their personality to the buyer but what can you do? You can match a personality to a buyer’s personality and you could start to segment your customer base.
I was going to say to your sales team that I love that.
We are not geo anymore. We could live in New Zealand and cover California.
You can start segmenting prospects to like, "This buyer fits more along with your personality."
Think of a customer success team like, "I don't want to be aligned with a salesperson. I already bought it. Why are you giving me another salesperson?" There's a different buyer that would be like, "I want to work with a salesperson."
I have it pulled up right here. After this, I'm going to walk across our other office, where our CRO is at and chat with him about it.
Does your product use artificial intelligence when you are helping your customers?
We do wish. Do wish is the keyword there. It's being worked on actively. We route money to find the best exchange rate or the fastest speed of delivery. I wish we could say it was this cool AI predictability thing that happens. It's just a classic algorithm that we wrote that analyzes the data set and then makes a decision based on the data set. In a lot of ways, it's not thinking for itself. We don't need to train a model or do anything like that but we do work with vendors that leverage AI. Specifically, we will be working with some new vendors in the KYC and AML space so that we can make sure our customers aren't bad people that we are sending money to.
They have some AI models that they work into the mix. It's like this Codebreaker thing. They will take a look at everything. They will look at them and say, "This is a low risk for fraud. This is a higher risk for fraud. Maybe you don't want to do business with this person or send money to this person." They will incorporate some AI. I do think as we get bigger, maybe there will be some AI in our backend. I could see us with a chatbot widget or a help desk thing. I could see us doing it there but for financial services, I would say you probably don't want AI necessarily touching your money yet. It's 99.9% accurate in what it does. When you are moving millions and potentially billions of dollars a day, if that 0.1% adds up, that could be a bad thing.
Not fully understanding everything that we were doing is okay but with the entrepreneurial mindset of leveraging sales and increasing profit, we could learn.
I met with someone on the show. She's the Founder of a company called BotCo.ai. It's 100% managed by a bot. I said, "Does it ever escalate to a human? Can you stump the bot?" She's worked with mainly Massage Envy and those kinds of places but also financial. She said that they hide any of the PHI kind of information, financial healthcare, those kinds of things. What surprised her and certainly surprised me was some companies say, "Our humans are so amazing. We would never switch to this." She convinces them, "Why don't we run from 7:00 at night until 3:00 in the morning? We will completely automate it. Let's see what happens." The results are 2X in conversion rate. This is exactly like the Foot Locker story. Humans go in and they mess stuff up.
We bring our own baggage to the conversation. The buyer was there for a reason. They were there to say, "I have a question. Do you accept this kind of insurance if you are a chiropractor, yes or no?" They go, "Here's how we do it." You hang up and you go to the next place. The Foot Locker story was when they figured out that if they don't sell you shoes as the very first sale, the very first sale is, "Let's come in. We need to measure your foot to make sure that we can fit exactly the right shoe to your foot." They went wide and length. Do you remember those things you put your foot on? Their sales went up by 187% within a week because they took all these sales reps out. "Let me show you the cool new Nike Air Jordan." "That's not why I'm here. I'm here to play football, not basketball." That's the power of AI.
Specifically, on the chats and the help desk thing, AI shines. I don't know. We used to have a little chatbot widget but it wasn't optimized. There are a lot there. I know a lot of banks are moving towards it. It's very efficient.
There's a company that you made me think about, a guy that used to work for me at Webex years ago. He's the CEO and Founder of SheerID. They are out of Oregon. Their main use case is if someone comes in and says they are with the military or a student and they want that 40% off the Dell computer, they verify it. I have to believe that they probably have good guy, bad guy verification like you are looking at also. They've got a huge dataset they might want to run up against also. The last question for you is where do you think everything is going? We have talked about a lot of different areas that people may not have even thought of. A few years from now, what's changed in the world of AI for sales?
I can tell you what my goal is. Maybe AI and people that are building these companies are seeing these same things. My goal for my sales team is I want them to do less. I tell them all the time, "I don't even want you talking to the customer. I want you sending out your cross MSAs in their side." For us to do that, there is a level of sophistication that has to happen. Not only throughout the sales process, marketing messaging and materials on our website but also, there's probably a level of technology that doesn't exist yet to get to that goal. In my opinion, sales and AI are some of the most beautiful pairings that exist. The more companies that are like Reply.io or BotCo.ai that began to exist, train these models and can come in, you don't want it to replace a salesperson but you want it to make your sales people's lives easier.
That's what I mean by I don't want them doing anything. I want their lives to be as least amount of complication that they possibly can be in a sales process. They can't bring their baggage into a deal and accidentally messes it up. They can also be there for that human intervention when somebody needs to speak face-to-face when they need to fly out to see a client, shake a hand, take them out to dinner. I want them to do that type of sales. I don't want them to be bogged down with day-to-day grinding emails. If you are a sales guy, you will get it. That's the sales grind.
Dr. Joël Le Bon was with the University of Houston, running the number one sales school in the country. He moved to the East Coast in Baltimore. He's a professor at the only MBA for sales. He wrote the foreword of the book and the end of the book. He read it twice. He's probably the only person on Earth that read it twice. At the beginning of the book, he said, "In sales, time kills deals. In AI for sales, AI kills time." It shrinks downtime. For me to go research, for me to understand you as a person, I can go into my BANKCODE, click a button, I know how to communicate more properly with you. If I'm sending you an email, I can go to Crystal Knows, I can write a better email. All of this AI is coming to the forefront.
What he did is he drew up a list of about 57 different sales tasks. He said, "This is what AI can do. This is what it can't do." He checks the boxes. "It can do this." The one-piece that it can influence but has a harder time impacting is building trust. If I tell you I'm going to send you an email and I do but it's the bot that did it as me, that follow-up starts to build trust. Even trust can be influenced and impacted by artificial intelligence. A phone conversation and a Zoom meeting, that's the part. If you can spend a lot of your time, if you are a seller in this world, get good at connecting with your audience, understanding who they are as a person, it's still a people to people business.
Use AI to your advantage. Don't be scared of it.
This has been fun. I appreciate you joining the show, Colton. It's an interesting conversation. Colton Seal is the CEO of Routefusion. If you are having to move money around the world, you are dealing with foreign exchange rates, those kinds of things and you are wondering, "I wonder if Bitcoin plays in all of this," Colton's company can help you figure it out, whether you are a neobank. Check out Routefusion.com. Colton, if people want to get ahold of you, how would they get in touch with you?
Hit me up on LinkedIn. Find me on LinkedIn and connect with me. I'm surprisingly pretty active there from a reach-out perspective.
Everybody, thanks for joining the show. We will see you at the next one.
- Living A Better Story
- Codebreaker Technologies
- LinkedIn – Colton Seal
About Colton Seal
Building Routefusion one payment at a time...
Routefusion's API enables neo-banks, payroll providers, platforms, and marketplaces to begin offering cross-border payments to their customers in as quickly as 2 days. Routefusion's easy on-boarding allows you to immediately connect with multiple banking, FX, and local payout partners around the globe, ensuring that all of your requirements are met. No more sales processes, no more NDA's signed, and no more miserable developer docs to sort through. We are a one-stop-shop for all of your international payment needs.