Infer is a company that develops technology that allows company’s sales-tracking system to rank customer leads based on how likely they are going to purchase something. The company has raised 10 million over the last two years while working on this technology. Infer is rather simple as its software starts with basic information. For example, if a customer decides to enter their name, address and company when signing up for a product. The Infer system will then start doing research behind the person that signed up for the product.
The CEO, Vik Singh is young as he is only 28 years old, but he believes that his mathematical formulas will increase sales. Vik Singh and his 10-employee team are in the midst of improving sales by using better math.
Vik doesn’t seem to be short on confidence as he feels that this new innovation is sure to help increase sales. The problem is the fact that he is very young and there may not be that many people that believe in his new ideas. He may not be the best person to trust for sales, but he certainly has the right engineering track record. He worked with Google fine tuning search systems before moving to Microsoft. At Microsoft, he developed technology with Jim Gray, who of the greatest computer scientists of the last half century. He finished working with Microsoft and built a new Yahoo search system.
Vik Singh has worked with some of the biggest technology gurus in the world. Vik Singh says, ” The way the typical company manages data is piss-poor in comparison and there is more science at Facebook (FB) behind seeing which of your friends are getting drunk across the street from you.” This seems to be a common theme with all the new web-savvy engineers that are trying to make new rules for business applications. Vik Singh wants to treat sales deals like a puzzle. If Infer can makes their sales deal like a puzzle then it can be solved with an algorithm rather than a dinner between people who have ideas.
Infer has worked with Box and other customers to verify their research. It works with historic sales and compares outcomes with their own predictions. Singh continues to tell everyone that the experiments come out nearly perfect, but he has not released any proof of this for businesses to see. In my opinion, there are a lot of other things that factor in when dealing with sales. There needs to be more facts when trying to rely on just math to increase sales. From a management point of view, I don’t know if Vik is taking things a little too far with all these math equations, but he does have the technology background to speak for him. Then again who has time for someone that is only 28 years old and is trying to change the way selling works?
7 thoughts on “Infer: Better Math Can Produce More Sales”
If he can actually succeed in providing solid quantitative results, then this sounds like a pretty incredible concept. It would be very smart to combine mathematical reasoning with with the type of consumer-relationship building that would result from gathering so much information about customers’ purchasing habits. Whether he appears to be a bit cocky or not seems insignificant as long as he can back up his claims.
I definitely agree with you when stating “there are a lot of other things that factor in when dealing with sales”. However, I am no mathematical guru but I could only image the potential benefits for businesses if there is a consistent medium between the two. In a product producing company I feel using Infer’s research component could help product life cycles from fluctuating and provide companies a higher awareness of where their product could experience any future downturns.
I have never heard of forecasts being nearly perfect, but if this formula is that successful it would change the way businesses are run. Having a perfect estimate will lower excess inventory levels and help companies maintain sales. Since Singh has such an extensive background, company’s may try the new forecasting technique if he can give them solid proof of its success. Though it does not seem possible for a perfect forecast, Singh’s formulas may increase the success of forecasting.
I think this would be very interesting if it worked. It will change how marketers collect primary data. If this system works then forecasting could be made easier for companies. Companies would not have to wrestle between using naive, trend line, or exponential smoothing forecasts. But then again nothing is nearly perfect in this world and who has the time to sit and make all these observations.
I think it’s easy to run tests and say that these mathematical equations are working, but I’m curious to see how it will translate into the real world. There are too many variables that simply can’t be tested for that will impact sales. When proof is finally released of success in the business, then I will begin to decide if this method could revolutionize the sales industry.
I like the idea that Vik wants to treat sale deals like puzzle. You have think and make a lot of ways to complete puzzle. It is surprise that people would not buy ideas that Vik have because in 21st century, people always like new ideas, new ways, maybe there is some people accepted his new selling way.
The concept is brilliant….if it works. As other commenters have pointed out, without quantifiable sales figures, it’s tough to jump behind the concept. Forecasts are imperfect by nature and at best, it seems that Vik’s process could reduce some of the volatile nature associated with them. It seems a far leap to say that his version of data mining (I think that’s the terminology used) is so much more advanced than the hundreds (if not more) versions other companies already employ. Vik has a great concept and an impressive résumé to accompany it, but quantifiable success will really push his company over the top.