Breaking into the Canadian startup ecosystem – How to break into the tech scene in Toronto, Canada 

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Authors:

Erik Torenberg twitter.com/eriktorenberg

Daryna Kulya [DK] twitter.com/darynakulya

Mohammed Asaduallah twitter.com/heymosef

Paul Krajewski twitter.com/pkralle

Kamil Rextin [KR] twitter.com/kamilrextin

Mustefa Jo’shen twitter.com/mustefaj

1. Toronto Tech Scene FAQs

Q: What word best describes Toronto’s tech/startup scene?

[DK] Breakthrough. With so many great companies in the city, a lot of support networks for entrepreneurs and, hopefully, more funding for local companies, feels like Toronto is about to have its breakthrough moment.

[KR] Diversity & Openness. Both in terms of backgrounds, gender, ethnicity & cultures but also the type of companies from marketplaces to financial technology, commerce, marketing technology to many more. There’s no ‘right’ kind of founder or company, they come in all shapes & sizes. The TO community is open, welcoming and embracing to anyone who wants to get involved.

Q: How does someone break into Toronto’s tech/startup scene?

[DK] Depends what you’d mean by “breaking in”. If it’s just about finding a job at a startup, section 4 with a list of some startups that are hiring could be a good place to start. However, if you’d like to get involved in the community, meet future co-founders and make friends, I’d have a different answer.

I believe that creating value for others is the best way to “break into” any industry, including tech. Based on your skills and talents, find a way to help someone with what they are working on. Don’t ask for anything in return. Repeat. Keep doing it until people start reaching out to you for help (this means you’re creating value). Same people will be much more willing to help you after you’ve helped them.

Volunteer at an event, design / redesign someone’s logo, build something people in the community want / need, step up to host a meetup, write and publish a thorough product review, connect two people who should know each other, find an answer to the question someone has, do research nobody volunteered for.

Don’t forget to share your story. If you have a compelling story, strangers will go out of their way to help you. Thanks to Ruben Harris for sharing this important point in his post.

[KR] Don’t ask for permission. You own the community as much as anyone else. As long as you aren’t rude or an a**h**** you will be welcome and embraced. Get involved by going to meetups, asking people out for coffee, writing about your experiences and being active on Twitter & relevant Facebook Groups.

2. Where should I meet Toronto’s Tech Community?

Meetups

UXResearch|TO — meetup.com/UXResearchTO/

TORONTO TECH: Wearable, IoT, Big Data, 3D, Energy, AI, Robot

(UXD / UX) User Experience Design Toronto — meetup.com/uxtoronto/

Product Hunt Toronto — producthunttoronto.com For all of you makers, hunters and early adopters.

ProductTO — meetup.com/productto/ (Product Manager? You should be coming here)

Tech Toronto — techtoronto.org/ (Meet and learn from Toronto’s tech founders)

BotTO — meetup.com/Bot-TO/ (Get your bot on)

#DesignTO — meetup.com/DesignTO (Toronto’s monthly Design Meetup)

DevTO — devto.ca/

Girl Geeks Toronto — http://girlgeekstoronto.com/

HackerNest — hntoronto.hackernest.com/

LEAN Coffee Toronto — meetup.com/leancoffeeto/

MaRS Entrepreneurship 101 — Canada’s largest live & online entrepreneurship course — marsdd.com/entrepreneurship-101/

Startup Grind — meetup.com/Startup-Grind-Toronto/

Subscribe to the feed from startupdigest.com/digests/toronto from your own Google calendar to automatically see it filled with a good portion of events in the city

Continue reading “Breaking into the Canadian startup ecosystem – How to break into the tech scene in Toronto, Canada ”

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Job opening – Manager, Sales Enablement – HUB International (Chicago, IL)

Manager, Sales Enablement
HUB International (Chicago, IL)
Date published: 2-Feb-2018

The Manager, Sales Enablement plays a vital role in the growth and development of our sales culture. The Manager, Sales Enablement reports to the Assistant Vice President, Sales Enablement and assists Corporate and Regional HUBs in achieving their goals. This individual will be working out of our corporate headquarters in Chicago to deliver ongoing sales initiatives to HUB region locations.

Seeking an individual who enjoys working in an entrepreneurial environment—someone who enjoys bringing forth and implementing new ideas and solutions. At HUB International, we are a decentralized firm that prides itself on our unique culture and doing what’s right for our employees and clients. This role is for someone who thrives in a self-starting setting with a drive for creative deliverables—content, design, videos, training and more. An ideal candidate can take a project and run with it while adding in their own innovative solutions and ideas.

The Manager, Sales Enablement will work closely with the Sales Enablement Leadership Team and the regional Strategic Resource Management Team (SRMs) to ensure that major initiatives are clearly communicated, well understood and executed. This role will work to establish relationships with the SRMs, and will identify and leverage best practices in sales enablement through leadership.

Responsibilities
Sales Enablement, SRMs, Event Planning & Training
• Advise Sales Enablement team of trends, issues, and conditions that impact effective execution of the sales enablement role;
• Collaborate with team to brainstorm new products, enhancements and processes;
• Assist in planning annual SRM conference and other training/orientation sessions throughout the year;
• Train regional SRMs on sales and marketing tools/resources that are critical to sales enablement;

+ Lead in-person and webinar hosted training sessions for SRMs and office locations
+ Work with local regions to assist in providing materials to improve onboarding of new Producers and acquired locations to enhance their joining HUB;
+ General problem solver and navigator for employees looking for HUB resources.

Content Creation and Management

+ Mange content and pages of our intranet and content management system (HUB Today – SAVO);

Continue reading “Job opening – Manager, Sales Enablement – HUB International (Chicago, IL)”

Sales Enablement tools powered by Machine Learning and AI Artificial intelligence

After almost a decade of Sales Enablement vendors having to optimize their experiences for mobile, now almost every new vendor seems to have a Machine Learning (ML) or Artificial Intelligence (AI) story to tell.

Here my list of Sales Enablement tools powered by – or at least integrating – ML / AI (obviously most uses of the term Artificial Intelligence are talking about Machine Learning). Last updated January 28, 2018:

Bigtincan Hub Bigtincan “AI-powered sales enablement platform”. The so called SalesAI “leverages machine learning-based algorithms, combining pattern matching, deep usage analytics & predictive modeling to improve sales & service productivity in four key areas: content recommendations, learning from successful peers, meeting preparation & dynamic document creation”. The sales enablement platform for sales enablement teams, field service professionals, sales reps and sales & marketing executives “tracks and measures actions of every user, including analyzing client engagement, to gain the insight necessary to provide real-time recommendations to optimize success. From there, the platform can dynamically push the best, most relevant content & sales tools directly to users anywhere, anytime & on any device.” Source: siia.net

Bit.ai bit.ai @Bit_docs “Smart Document Collaboration for Teams! Your complete document ecosystem. Create, Manage, Track all from one simple to use platform.” Collaboration tool that empowers sales teams to make marketing & sales materials while collaborating in a common workplace. Sales teams create, customize, collaborate & share sales proposals, sales decks, & client facing material. Receive notifications whenever a client or prospect views your sales proposal. Get engagement metrics e.g. how much time they spent on your smart document, how far they scrolled (scroll ratio) and how often they returned to the documents you shared. This data is extremely useful as you can instantly receive feedback on your proposal & make changes to improve the sales collateral you & your team create. Add a lead capture form while sharing a document. In order for your recipients to access the shared documents, they are required to fill out their name, company, email &/or phone number. Salespeople can also password protect their documents or even add an expiration date after which, the documents can’t be accessed. San Francisco, CA

Chorus.ai chorus.ai @chorus_ai “platform for VPs of sales” automatically records, transcribes & analyze meetings in real-time. Helps sales people & employees by providing them critical insights regarding their sales call & meetings. It basically “eavesdrops” on your calls & extracts insights from audio. This helps to see how your meetings went, why deals were won or lost & how you can further improve the buyer experience. Information collected is also useful in training new hires on best practices. “Today’s customers expect continuity throughout the entire buyer’s journey. Ensure seamless handoff across your organization through a complete & searchable call transcript library.” San Francisco, CA

Conversica conversica.com @MyConversica automate email conversations with all your leads to qualify them for Sales. AI software for marketing & sales, fosters real conversations to discover your most qualified sales opportunities. AI-powered sales assistant; uses human-like, two-way email conversations to automatically engage and qualify leads, freeing up Sales to close more business. Foster City, CA

Coveo coveo.com @coveo combines “unified search”, analytics & Machine Learning (ML) to deliver relevant information & recommendations across every business interaction. Transforms businesses by improving customer engagement & upskilling employees by providing the best information, every time, everywhere. AI-powered Search for every Salesforce community & app. Immediate access to all the content, wherever it resides. Québec, Canada

DOOLY www.dooly.ai angel.co/dooly @doolystated Combination of machine learning, natural language processing, & speech analytics as an ear on calls, notes, emails, & other data sources to connect information in the moment & help teams be more productive, close more deals, & find new ways to delight customers. “You’re chasing someone across departments, trying to find that white paper your coworker remembers coming across many moons ago so that you can send it to a prospect.” Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to chase information around, but had that information at your fingertips? Because Dooly is a participant on the call, it already knows that the prospect would benefit from a technology white paper, & because it’s connected to everything else, it knows where to find it. Vancouver, BC, Canada

Einstein (salesforce.com) learns from all your data to deliver predictions & recommendations based on your unique business processes. Coach sales reps with “Sales Cloud Einstein”. Assist service agents with “Service Cloud Einstein”. Guide marketers with “Marketing Cloud Einstein”: Create more predictive marketing journeys. Deliver the right content, to the right audience, on the right channel, at the exact right time with AI right where you work.

Highspot highspot.com sales engagement platform providing visibility & insight across the sales cycle. End-to-end platform that closes the loop between marketing, sales & the customer providing real-time alerts & predictive analytics on all your business content. Increase seller effectiveness, improve sales management visibility to best practices, & deliver insights to marketing to produce content that drives engagement & revenue. Optimize how your marketing & sales teams use content to effectively engage customers & drive revenue. “Content Genomics” analyzes numerous signals for each piece of content, such as text, color, size, aspect ratio, & graphics. It applies Machine Learning (ML) to determine a genetic code for the content, identifying slides & pages that are related even though they are in separate documents & have been modified. This information is then used to provide an accurate analysis of all the content used by the sales team, measuring usage & performance across the sales cycle. Content Genomics powers many features, including advanced analytics, semantic search, intelligent recommendations & content scoring. Seattle, WA. Source: butleranalytics.com

xiQ xiqinc.com @xiqai Personalized Account Based-Marketing (ABM), Content Marketing. Curated Insights Empowering B2B Teams to Sell Smarter and Faster. Combines Artificial Intelligence with Human Intelligence to equip sales & marketing teams with curated insights to personalize customer engagement, generate better quality leads and win more deals. Filters information from millions of sources into relevant, beautifully packaged and highly shareable content to make customer engagement faster, smarter & easier than ever before. Silicon Valley

2017 was an interesting year for Sales Enablement

2017 was an interesting year for Sales Enablement!

    • For the first time ever someone or something tried to hack this Sales Enablement blog (got the two-factor authentication message on my phone; not triggered by me). Maybe a rite of passage?
    • I was interviewed for a book [on Sales Enablement] for the first time. Yes, look out for a book covering the history of Sales Enablement, going to print in 2018.
    • My friend and Sales Enablement leader Iris Chan organized and hosted her fourth meeting of the Sydney Australia chapter of the SALES ENABLEMENT SOCIETY @_sesociety.
    • My global vendor list and spread sheet grew to 173.
    • After almost a decade of vendors having to optimize their experiences for mobile, now almost every new vendor seems to have a Machine Learning (ML) or Artificial Intelligence (AI) story to tell.
    • To succeed in large enterprises a Sales Enablement solution has to integrate with or sit on top of the giants like Salesforce.com (CRM, Salesforce One app, Einstein AI, etc), Oracle Eloqua, Microsoft SharePoint and alike.
    • My Sales Enablement market deathwatch grew to 24 and consolidation in this space continued; Eg. after Sant and Kadient had already merged into Qvidian, Qvidian is now owned by Upland Software, Inc.
    • After the focus on enabling your b2b sales people, the focus needs to become enabling your buyer. Start 2018 with mapping out your B2B product’s or service’s ‘buying journey’ and enable buyers digitally every step of the way / on any channel.
    • The number of LinkedIn users with Sales Enablement in their job titles grew to 5,610.

Sales Enablement on the Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic 2017 Martech 5000


As I’m continuing to update my list of Sales Enablement vendors, I always find it interesting to see Sales Enablement on the annual “Marketing Technology Landscape” by Scott Brinker/ChiefMartec.com:

Full graphic: The Marketing Technology Landscape 2017
Image Credit: Scott Brinker/ChiefMartec.com

For Scott Brinker/ChiefMartec.com Sales Enablement is part of the category “Sales Automation, Enablement & Intelligence” and you can copy & paste all vendors with websites from their published Google sheet.

My own Sales Enablement vendor lists:

Updated definition of Sales and Partner Enablement

semantic web or web 3.0 and sales enablementI have collected a number of different definitions on the “About” section, but finally took the time to add a bit. Let me know what you think:

Sales Enablement & Partner Enablement

can be defined as:

“Delivering the right knowledge (= information provided in context) that is verifiably the most up-to-date and takes into account what a customer has already bought and in which sales step they are now

in the right format (video, audio, text, Chat Bot / AI assistant, calculator / tool, sheet, slides, etc)

and with the right questions to ask to the right person (internal/external with contact details) or Chat Bot / AI assistant,

at the right time (appropriate to sales step, pipeline, reminders, etc)

and in the right place (mobile-first, location aware, appropriate for region and regional availability of offering/solution)

in local currency (correct pricing for the given place)

on any device

in the right language (content & user interface)

with industry-vertical & geography appropriate case studies (customer success stories)

and aware of what can be combined as a solution

necessary to move a specific b2b sales conversation forward

for anyone touching accounts (salespeople / partners / channels).”

A decade of tracking the Sales Enablement market and trends

Iris ChanAs my friend & Sales Enablement leader Iris Chan is announcing 2017’s 1st [and 2nd overall] meeting of the Sydney Australia chapter of the SALES ENABLEMENT SOCIETY @_sesociety, I’m reflecting on my journey in this space.

2017 actually marks the 10 year anniversary of me tracking the Sales Enablement market.

I started to research the market players in 2007 and started to blog here on February 25, 2009.

Paul KrajewskiOver time many vendors merged, changed owners or went out of business and new ones keep on popping up. My count is 181.

I published a…

I actually just added a vendor today:

CantoCanto canto.com @canto Digital Sales Enablement: Digital asset management empowers your sales team by improving efficiency & creating new business opportunities. A DAM system makes your valuable media files available where you need them, any time. Sales reps never need to worry if they’re carrying all the relevant documents & presentations when meeting clients — all important sales collateral are accessible from their mobile device, laptop/tablet with fast, meta data-driven search & preview capabilities. Content is always up-to-date & ready to use. Social DAM features make digital collaboration easier & faster than ever. Build .ppt decks from pre-approved slides that are guaranteed to have the latest version. With Cumulus & DAM you can do that & more. Germany & San Francisco, USA

Despite all this, I’m getting something very similar to the following email every 2 months – like clockwork…

“I came across your blog while researching the Sales Enablement space for a company with a sales enablement tool in beta. Would you be open to a quick chat and explore the opportunity of working together for the short term? I’m sure we could use your expertise to understand the sales enablement market and user needs better. Thanks.”

…and I always respond with something like this:

“An integration with salesforce.com is what you will see at the top of the list. If you target startups, then a Slack integration would be a quick win. There are so many vendors & solutions out there from lightweight to enterprise grade, from freemium to million dollar deployments, etc…

I have seen more than 18 vendors enter this market and shut down already [without being purchased]. Many more had to sell or partner to survive. It is a very crowded market, because so many companies & sales experts used to have no tool for their sales people (or too many), then built one for their own use, and are trying to sell it to external customers now.

At this point, I would really warn anyone who wants to enter this market: You can burn a lot of money & never get profitable: The moment you have a customer, they will ask for so many changes & features that you will keep building something that either already exists (but they don’t want to combine many tools & ask you to build one that can do everything) or you will build something that only works for them and no other customer.

There have been sales enablement solutions that became too sophisticated and you needed to train their users. There have been sales enablement solutions that were really lightweight small widgets shown in PowerPoint to add slides into auto-generated presentations, but still did not successfully compete in this market place.

It is a tricky one with more and more 800-pound gorillas!”