PODCAST

AIMinds #019 | Bowen Moody, CEO & Co-founder of Wonderway

AIMinds #019 | Bowen Moody, CEO & Co-founder of Wonderway
Demetrios Brinkmann
AIMinds #019 | Bowen Moody, CEO & Co-founder of Wonderway AIMinds #019 | Bowen Moody, CEO & Co-founder of Wonderway 
Episode Description
Bowen Moody, Co-founder and CEO of Wonderway, discusses his entrepreneurial journey, starting with a challenging personal life shift that led him to leave a stifling project management role to innovate in the edtech space. The episode details the evolution of Wonderway, which began with face-to-face corporate training solutions and pivoted to leverage AI-driven tools focusing on sales training.
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About this episode

“What we do right now is we don't replace the role of the manager. I think the manager should still be having the conversations with the reps, helping them improve, but we do save them the time on sitting down and scoring those calls… the main value we're adding here is scoring the call, saving the managers time, and helping to identify the main strength and weaknesses for each person that that manager can then work on with their sales rep.”

— Bowen Moody on Wonderway

Bowen Moody is the Co-Founder and CEO of Wonderway, a sales enablement and AI coach platform. He’s the host of a podcast called AI Sales Revolution, where sales experts share best practices on how to use AI in sales, and he also writes a weekly newsletter with the same name as the podcast. Apart from that, he’s been a speaker and panelist alongside some of the biggest names in the industry.

Listen to the episode on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Podcast addicts, Castbox. You can also watch this episode on YouTube.

This AI Minds podcast episode is a game-changer for anyone involved in sales, training, or looking to harness the power of AI to transform business operations. Demetrios sat down with Bowen Moody, who shares his journey from experiencing personal challenges to revolutionizing corporate learning and sales training through innovative AI technologies. Let’s learn how Wonderway is setting new standards in sales training technology.

Here are some highlights from this great episode:

  1. The Genesis of Wonderway: Learn about Bowen's shift from a "soul-sucking" job to launching a company focused on making education both accessible and profitable.

  2. Breaking New Ground with AI in Sales Training: Wonderway isn’t just another training tool, it’s a sophisticated AI-driven platform that ensures sales training leads to measurable improvements in performance. Bowen discusses their latest breakthrough product – an AI Sales Coach that evaluates sales calls in real-time to deliver actionable feedback directly to reps and management teams.

  3. The Impact of Deep Integration: By tapping into CRM systems and utilizing cutting-edge tools like Deepgram for advanced call analysis, Wonderway's solutions offer unprecedented insights into sales effectiveness, directly correlating training efforts with revenue increases.

  4. Future of Sales Training: Bowen shares his vision for sales training, emphasizing minimal disruption with maximum performance output. It's about understanding what changes in behavior occur as a direct result of training inputs.

Fun Fact: Originally, Wonderway focused on self-directed learning paths for employees but pivoted to sales training after realizing the greater demand and clearer measurable impact in this area.

Show Notes:

00:00 Pivoted to sales training, measuring revenue impact.
04:04 Challenges with CRM data led to AI sales coach.
07:47 Prioritize practical learning methods for sales success.
10:30 Clear revenue impact, how to price product.
15:23 Using AI to track and improve behavior.
17:40 Customizable sales process scoring for growing companies.
21:41 AI saves manager time, aids personalized coaching.

More Quotes from Bowen:

“I decided I wanted to start a company and I was trying to find the right balance between doing something that was good for people, where I could also make some money off. So I wanted to build something successful as well and fall really hard about it, and came to the conclusion that edtech was the area that I was most excited about.”

— Bowen Moody

“For me personally, I just really enjoy speaking to people every day about, you know, what are their goals? What do they want to learn on? What do they want to learn and how are they getting better? Like, it's all about their personal development, setting goals for themselves. What they're not happy with today and where they want to go. And that's just super rewarding.”

— Bowen Moody

“Most training products out there, they're doing quizzes and page views and things like that, but we were really looking at what is the actual impact on the revenue in the organization. And this worked out much better for us. So we've now been working on this for about five years, raise the seed round, build the business up.”

— Bowen Moody

Transcript:

Demetrios:

Welcome to the AI Minds podcast. This is a podcast where we explore the companies of tomorrow built AI first, I am your host, Demetrios. And in this episode, it is brought to you by guess who? Deepgram, the number one speech to text and text to speech API on the Internet today. Trusted by the world's top conversational AI leaders, startups, and enterprises like Spotify, Twilio, NASA, and good old Citibank. In this episode, we're joined by Bowen, the CEO and co founder of Wonderway. How you doing, Bowen?

Bowen Moody:

Great. Thanks for having me.

Demetrios:

So you have a fascinating story that I want to get into. You started off your journey in Oz, born there, you moved to Europe, but you also did something that I think is a little atypical for a lot of the people that we talk to on this show. And you were educated with a business background, you were being a PM, and it was a little bit of, from what I understand, a soul sucking job. And in 2016, you had a moment where you said, I can't do this anymore. I've got to change something. Tell me about that moment.

Bowen Moody:

Yeah, I think in 2016, I went through a bit of a midlife crisis. I think I was only 27 at the time. So maybe an early midlife crisis.

Demetrios:

Mustaches didn't work, motorcycles didn't work.

Bowen Moody:

Yeah, a few things happen. I mean, as you said, I was having a bad time at my job, also went through a horrible breakup, moved over to the other side of the world for a girl that didn't work out. And I was, yeah, trying to figure out what to do with myself. I found myself on the other side of the world trying to figure out what to do and, yeah, but my sort of founding story started sitting in my bedroom with a pen and a paper, sitting down, trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. And I decided I wanted to start a company. And I was trying to find the right balance between doing something that was good for people, where I could also make some money off. So I wanted to build something successful as well and fall really hard about it, and came to the conclusion that edtech was the area that I was most excited about. And, yeah, literally just starting there.

Bowen Moody:

Then I just forged a path. So started educating myself on the topic, found a co founder who is interested in the same space, and we're iterating a lot about different ideas, and landed on this idea around helping employees to build self directed learning paths using the budgets that companies were offering them for learning. So the company did all right. We raised an initial pre seed round and we got our first paying customers on board. But we found that we weren't able to scale the company because we couldn't really prove the impact that the training was having. And it was um, really fell in this like nice to have category. It was really more seen as a perk for the, for the employees. Um, so when we realized the business wasn't working out, we were trying to figure out, we're still very determined to stay in edtech and corporate learning and we're trying to figure out what the biggest problem was in this space.

Bowen Moody:

So speaking to our existing customers and others, um, and everyone was pointing at the sales teams. So um, everybody said that that was kind of the, the biggest need for training and learning. Um, so we pivoted, um, started a new company, um, but with the same team focusing on building sales training products with a key sort of vision to prove the impact to the training. So solving the problem we had in the last company, the whole idea was that we hook into CRM systems like Salesforce or HubSpot and we use that data to measure the impact or identify gaps the reps have and then measure the impact the training is having on their conversion rates and revenue. Most training products out there, they're doing quizzes and page views and things like that, but we were really looking at what is the actual impact on the revenue in the organization. Yeah. And this worked out much better for us. So we've now been working on this for about five years, raise the seed round, build the business up.

Bowen Moody:

But I think we still ran into one key challenge with this product in that the CRM data is still quite limited in what you can do with it. It's still quite high level. Um, and a lot of our customers were asking us if we could unlock insights out of the sales calls that reps were having because this is really the, you know, they know that there's a lot of interesting information sitting on the sales calls. Some of the most valuable data is there, um, but they don't, nobody has time to listen to the sales calls to, to score them and, and capture that. So people were asking us for this, um, they're using tools like gong on chorus, like other conversation intelligence tools, but it wasn't giving them what they needed. Um, and yeah, when we saw chat GPT come onto the scene, large language models get released, um, you know, especially when it hit beginning of 2023, we finally saw a way to do this. Um, so the key idea we, around this time we launched our second product, an AI sales coach, um, that basically sits on sales calls and auto scores. The calls to see, you know, what are the main strengths of weaknesses, the sales reps following the right process.

Bowen Moody:

What are the main strengths of weaknesses? Um, gives them. Gives sales reps instant feedback after the calls, and then also aggregates the data across all the calls for the management team so they can see, you know, what are the key insights that are happening across the calls. What are the main strengths and weaknesses for reps and across their entire team that they need to work on? So, yeah, that's in a nutshell, my story and kind of how that fits into the company, the two products we built and the company, the company vision.

Demetrios:

What attracts you to the education space?

Bowen Moody:

So, as I said, it's really about, um, being able to help people. Like, I think something that I've found now, I've been doing stuff since 2016, 2017. Um, so I've been doing it for seven or eight years now. And it's really hard. Like, it's. It's really tough. Especially, you know, the last couple of years. Going through COVID ups and downs there, um, going through this tech recession over the last few years, there's some really tough times.

Bowen Moody:

And it's just so important that you, like, do you love to do what you. What you love what you're doing, um, to get you through those tough times? Like, for me personally, um, I just really enjoy speaking to people every day about, you know, what are their goals? What do they want to learn on? What do they want to learn and how are they getting better? Like, it's all about their personal development, you know, setting goals for themselves, where they. What they're not happy with today and where they want to go. And that's just super rewarding. Like, even when things are tough, having those conversations all the time is good. Like, for me personally, like, nothing against anyone that's working in the space, but I think I'd find it very difficult to build, like, a fintech product where you're talking to people about money every day. It's just not something that is personally very engaging for me. But talking about people's goals and aspirations and how we can help them is super rewarding.

Demetrios:

And so now with this sales copilot and the ability to plug into the CRM, I think one thing that you said that stood out to me is that you're really trying to make it tangible. You're trying to have it very clear as to what someone can do to generate more revenue for the company. Can you break that down a little? Bit more. And why that is like your key metric.

Bowen Moody:

Yeah. I mean, I think it comes back to, as I said then, most training products out there, they're measuring the impact of the training based on page views and quiz scores, right. But there's absolutely no correlation there with what impact that's having on people's performance. Um, afterwards. In fact, like, we see, I've seen a lot of training products out there where the key metric is, um, you know, time spent on training, whereas in corporate learning, that's probably the worst metric you can have. I think that, yeah, the least amount of training you can do for the maximum amount of performance is like the best thing. You don't want to take people away from their jobs. Right.

Bowen Moody:

You want them to. To jump in there, learn what they need, and then get out and put it into practice and get, get the result fast. Um, so I just think that a lot of the, the whole mentality that a lot of these training products have is wrong. And, and to be honest, not just the products, like, it's also the L and D leaders, enablement leaders. Like, we speak to customers all the time, and they were pushing us to put these sorts of things into the product, like tracking page views, tracking time on page. And we were saying, well, we don't care about that. And, and you shouldn't either. Like, what you should be looking at is, you know, are people getting better and are they closing more deals and are they making more money? That's ultimately how every salesperson is measured, and ultimately how the head of sales and the leadership team is measured as well.

Bowen Moody:

So if you're not focused on revenue, then you're misaligned with the goals of the sales team? In my opinion, yeah.

Demetrios:

Have you been able to do any studies on how much more revenue people are closing or how much better people are because of this?

Bowen Moody:

Yeah, of course. I mean, that's the number one metric we're reporting back. So we look at it in three main metrics. So for onboarding, we're looking at reduction in ramp time. So the time it takes a sales rep from the day they joined to close their first deal or hit their quota. For the upscaling, we're looking at increasing conversion rates. And for the coach, we're looking at increasing conversion rates, but we're also looking at adherence to a playbook or process as an early indicator to that. So for all of these, we've got case studies, like we've reduced ramp time by 60%.

Bowen Moody:

For some companies, we've increased conversion rates by 40%. For teams. So, yeah, it's having a massive impact. And again, I think having this focus, like, aligning ourselves with the main metrics that matter for the sales teams has helped us in sales because it allows us to elevate the conversation. Like, if we're stuck with, with a, with a L and D person who's focused on quiz scores and page views, you know, we're probably speaking to the wrong person who's not gonna be the buyer anyway. Like, being able to focus the conversation on the main metrics gets us to the right person, who's usually the budget holder, and also allows us to have the right conversations at renewal so we can actually show them. Like, hey, since you started using Wonderway, here's how much more money you've made as a result. Like, here's the results.

Bowen Moody:

Like, and then that renewal conversation for the next year is also easier. So I think thats something weve been traditionally quite good at, is starting with smaller deals and then proving ourselves over the first couple of months or a year and then using that to then close a bigger deal in the second year, which is great for SaaS. The net revenue retention is something that looks really good for investors when youre expanding clients.

Demetrios:

One thing that I do love about this idea is how closely tied you are to revenue and how easy it is to prove value, because there's a lot of tools out there that are abstractly trying to say that they're saving you money or they're making you money. With this, it feels like it's very clear. Look, I got your sales team. Anytime you bring someone on, we can cut the onboarding time in half, which means they're closing deals much faster, and that's bringing you more money. Or the people that you already have on the team, they're closing more deals, which is bringing you more money. So when you thought about a pricing strategy on this, I can see how on one hand, it would be easy just to do, like, a seat based pricing with, like, SaaS, but then on the other hand, it's like there's actual value happening here. So are you thinking about, like a percentage of take of that value, taking a percentage of that value, or is it? So I guess the question is, how are you pricing this product?

Bowen Moody:

Yeah, yeah, it's a good question. So, I mean, we've thought a lot about this. In the end, we do do seat based pricing. Um, the main reason being there's kind of two reasons. First of all, we're still competing against traditional training products, so I think there's like a ceiling to what we can charge here, especially for new customers, because we're still stuck in, like, in like a mental framework, a mental model of, like, what a training product should cost. And I think, you know, we do charge more than, than any of the other, like, learning management systems on the market, but I don't think we can charge ten times more. Cause I think people kind of balk at that. So I think we're kind of stuck there.

Bowen Moody:

The other thing that we've found is that, like, we've looked at doing like, revenue shares or something with customers, but it is still quite risky. Cause at the end of the day, we can build the training, we can help them build the training programs, we can set the metrics, we can do all that, but it still comes down to them whether they're going to follow the training programs. And I think that's quite a big risk with, you know, for any, I guess, you know, for any companies that you can set the right goals for people, you can set up the right training program, but do they then follow through on it and make sure. And not all of our customers do. And I think that's also a big risk for us. So we have done it with some customers, like, had, um, goals over the first three to six months where we've pushed higher prices and. And, like, looked at Rev share. But I think it is.

Bowen Moody:

It is inherently risky to do this, um, across all of the customer base. So. Yeah, but it's a good question. It's something that we think about a lot, actually, is how can we? Because I think it's nice. It's aligning everyone together, but then I don't think you can do it. For every customer you sign, you need to find the right ones who are committed to following through as well.

Demetrios:

It's also dangerous if you're trying to do it on a rev share model. The product of the customer that you're selling to actually has to be good, and the sales from that customer actually have to happen. So you can get yourself into hot water by selling to a team who doesn't sell. And there's too many open questions and things that you cannot control. Right. So I can understand going against that, it almost feels like, yeah, maybe just to get in, you have one pricing, and then once you're in and people are seeing value, then you say, okay, now we're going to do it off of a rope share type. Yeah, because you have, I imagine you have the numbers, like, hey, here's your average sale price. And so if we can help you do x amount more of those.

Demetrios:

That means that we're helping you make y dollars. And so we charge 10% of those y dollars or whatever it may be, then it's a very clear mathematical equation. But I also understand that right now, it's also like you're looking at the positioning and is it a training tool, is it a sales copilot, is it something that the sales team is buying or the learning team is buying, and you find yourself in, like, playing with all of those variables?

Bowen Moody:

Yeah, I think something that's worth also mentioning here. I talked about how we evolved, and we had the training product, and some of the gaps here led us to the coach. Another, like, key thing that we learned from the first product we built was that what we're doing, we're still doing content based training. So, like, we would use the CRM data to identify a gap that a rep had. We'd recommend a training from our catalog, and then we would look at the conversion rates and revenue, like, a few weeks later to see if there was a difference. But what we were finding is there's a lot of, like, variation in the data, especially over the last couple of years, where the economy's been all out of whack. So we kind of went like, training happen and then results happen, but we couldn't necessarily draw the concrete line from. From training to revenue.

Bowen Moody:

And that's what the coach can do now as well. So I think it's filling that missing gap of, like, training happens. And now what we can actually see is, do the sales reps change their behavior on the calls? So do they actually act differently? Do we see that they're speaking about the product in a different way or they're handling negotiations in a different way? And then what impact does that have on. On the revenue? So I think that was always the missing piece. And something that we've been struggling with, and I think all training products struggle with is that just because someone passes the training, and even if they can pass a quiz or assessment or role play, do they actually change their behavior when they're in front of a customer? And that's been the missing piece of the puzzle, and that's what's now possible. Right, is the only way of figuring that out before was to literally have a sales trainer or a coach or an enablement person sitting down or reviewing calls one by one and scoring them manually. But now with large language models, you can have them do this for you. So they can literally basically fill the role of the coach or at least this administrative part of scoring the calls and seeing how people are behaving on the calls.

Bowen Moody:

So that's just been like a major breakthrough that wasn't possible a year and a half ago.

Demetrios:

Walk me through what the product actually looks like. And if I have my sales team and I want them to level up, I want to start selling more. What do I do? I work with you to create the training course to show my sales team the specific type of sales that I want them to be doing. Or is there already a standard package given? And then there's also a copilot that joins their calls to see if they're going through it.

Bowen Moody:

So it's two different products. We have the lms, like, training product, and then we have the coach. Our vision is to combine them together, but right now they're separate. And yeah, let's maybe, let's talk more about the coach, because I think that's more relevant as well for like, this AI discussion. And that's why we're using deep gram as well. Um, so the idea behind the product is that, um, the coach will, like, the coach will join the calls with the sales reps. Um, so basically we'll, we'll record the call that the sales rep is having with the customers. We'll transcribe it using Deepgram, and then we'll analyze the text to score it and give feedback to the, to the sales rep.

Bowen Moody:

Um, so the way that it works is that we have in terms of like the, the main setup process is, um, seeing how we score the calls. So, um, we have like a bunch of templates off the shelf around all the major sales methodologies, like spin selling, sparse bands, medic. I don't know if you know any of these, these, like, these sales methodologies. So you can use those templates off the shelf, but pretty much all of our customers, um, customize it for their own sales process. So they have a slightly different, um, playbook that they apply to, like they call calls versus the discovery calls versus demos negotiations. And they can customize, like, what are the metrics that, what are the metrics or the steps that they want to score those calls on and that the coach will basically listen into the calls and score them against those criteria. So, um, I think where it's especially helpful is like, um, working with companies who maybe just raised a series A or series B. They've hired a bunch of people in the team and they have a clear sales process.

Bowen Moody:

They want the reps to follow. And it's about making sure everyone is sort of performing up to a certain standard. So if you've got a new joiner who has just joined the team and you have a playbook you want them to follow, then trying to get them as quickly as possible up to that, maybe. I think for a lot of our customers, they're not necessarily trying to expect everyone to be at ten out of ten, but they want everyone to be following a process that can get them to seven or eight out of ten consistently. And there's nothing quite like having that, like instant feedback after every call to refine. I mean, again before, the only way to do this would be the managers maybe writing along on the calls, maybe they're listening to one call a week, but person at best. Whereas now we're able to do it for every single call the rep is taking. So they can like iterate on those calls and get better every time.

Bowen Moody:

So that's probably where we've seen the most success is with these bigger companies, bigger sales teams, clear processes. But if you're also a startup who's just starting out in sales, maybe you're a technical founder who's getting sales for the first time. If you don't have that process in place, you can also use the product using the templates we have off the shelf. And I think that will already help you to, if you want to align yourself around a certain methodology, um, I think it'll give you great feedback straight away. But yeah, the most value is for the enterprise clients who have that, who customize it for their own playbox.

Demetrios:

Yeah, I know a lot of sales consultants and coaches that do the same thing. And really what they're doing is at the end of the day, listening to calls, giving feedback. And in a way this feels like something that could help them a ton because they can put their methodology into wonderway and that sales coach, they can see at a glance what the score is. They can probably go to the relevant snippets and then listen to those and then give concrete feedback directly on that snippet. And it doesn't need to be. Okay, I've got a sales team of ten people. I'm trying to listen to 10-20 hours of calls a week at two X and then give my overview of it and try and give that feedback that's just not sustainable.

Bowen Moody:

The reality is nobody does it right. Like, I think every sales leader knows that they should be. I had the same when I was leading with my sales team. I told them I was going to listen to a call a week and I probably was doing one a month at best. I mean, especially if you take that example, you're a sales manager with ten reps. They're doing probably somewhere between ten to 20 calls each. That's 100 to 200 calls a week. And you're one person.

Bowen Moody:

It's not possible. Like, you can't. You can't physically do it, you know? And again, I think it's. I think listening to the calls is just. It's something that's important, but it's not urgent. So it's always one of the things, like, you know, it's always the thing that gets pushed in a manager's diary, right? Like, they. They know they want to spend a day, a week listening to calls and giving feedback, but, you know, there's something on fire and. And there's a slot blocked in the calendar.

Bowen Moody:

It's always the first thing to go. So I think, like, you know, what we do right now is we don't replace the role of the manager. I think the manager should still be having the conversations with the reps, helping them improve, but we do save them the time on sitting down and scoring those calls. I think eventually, maybe AI gets good enough that it can, you know, start to provide much more personalized coaching. But right now, I think, you know, the main value we're adding here is scoring the call, saving the managers time, and helping to identify the main strength and weaknesses for each person that that manager can then work on with their, their sales rep. Um, so it's not replacing the role of the manager, but it should be saving them, you know, tons of time every week and, you know, doing these. Doing these important but, but not urgent tasks. I think that's what AI is the best thing for, actually, is, is doing people dirty work for them, is doing the dirty work that they can't get around to.

Bowen Moody:

That's perfect. That's the stuff that you want to outsource to AI now.

Demetrios:

Exactly. So, Bowen, where can people learn more and figure out how to level up their sales team?

Bowen Moody:

Yeah, so jump on our website, wonderway io, or you can catch me on LinkedIn. So just my name, Bowen Moody at LinkedIn. And feel free to dm me. And yeah, happy to chat about this. As I said, love talking to people about this every day, so please reach out if you're interested.

Demetrios:

Excellent. I appreciate this.