Munich Startup: Who are you and what do you do? Please introduce yourselves!
Bao Solutions: We are Patrick Strunkmann-Meister (43) and Benedikt Reschberger (32). We help sales organizations find the “perfect” sales conversation for every situation.
We met in the garage of a mutual friend where Benedikt was playing the drums. The idea for the software emerged from a consulting project that Patrick was responsible for. In the project, we worked together with psychologists to develop a systematic methodology for the sales process.
Patrick got his degree in business administration at the University of Bayreuth and ESC Bordeaux. He wrote his doctoral thesis on international key account management and has many years of experience in sales and management. Benedikt studied media informatics with a focus on artificial intelligence and data science. He gathered initial experience with startups at InnoActive, where he worked on a cloud platform in the field of virtual reality.
“What do top performers do better than everyone else?”
Munich Startup: What problem does your startup solve?
Bao Solutions: We solve two major problems in sales:
Problem 1: In many companies, teams in internal sales are far from reaching their full potential. They seldom think about which strategies are most successful. Everybody does their own thing, no systematic analysis is carried out. As a result, some employees make one hit after the next while others are constantly turned down by customers.
But what do the top performers actually do better than everyone else?
Bao Solutions answers just that: We open the “black box” of sales. Sales organizations can identify best practices and ensure the use of these best practices with real-time support. By automatically documenting conversations, structured data is created that can be systematically analyzed. This allows organizations to learn continuously, for example about crucial objections that regularly put their success at risk.
Problem 2: In conversations with potential customers, salespeople have to put themselves in their conversation partner’s shoes, understand sets of problems, overcome objections and also document the whole thing at the same time. And then of course they should also make a sale! A clearly structured conversation and efficient documentation reduce the mental load on employees so they can focus on what’s really important: listening, responding to their conversation partner – and making a sale!
That makes Bao Solutions a product suitable for anyone wanting to make their sales process more transparent and structured and to continuously improve themselves by using the insights that are generated.
“Conversation intelligence is still in its infancy in Europe”
Munich Startup: But that’s nothing out of the box!
Bao Solutions: It actually is. Conversation intelligence is still in its infancy, especially in Europe. The US market is a bit further along, but US companies take a different approach: Their platforms record all conversations and generate a large amount of unstructured data, and then they try to identify patterns in that data.
The prevailing data protection regulations in the EU, however, make it difficult to take such an approach. Unstructured data also complicates systematic learning. At Bao Solutions, we work with an expert-based approach and generate structured data from conversations. This not only allows for a steep learning curve, but also complies with data protection laws.
Munich Startup: Was there a point when you nearly failed?
Bao Solutions: After an investment was called off on short notice, things got very tight. Not everyone in the team at that point was able to deal with the pressure that resulted. But we were able to rely on other investors who supported us.
Bao Solutions is growing steadily
Munich Startup: How is business going?
Bao Solutions: Business is going well, our remote sales product works well in the current situation. We’ve gained three or four new customers almost every month this year, which means we now have 40 licensed customers under contract. But we’ve also been impacted by corona, since we had been preparing a financing round in March and companies are very reserved about implementing innovations in uncertain times.
Munich Startup: What do you think about Munich as a startup location?
Bao Solutions: The city is expensive – and that is a burden most particularly in the early stages without any financing. To balance it out, you have a host of competent supporters, business angels and experts.
Munich Startup: Get up early in the morning or pull all-nighters?
Bao Solutions: There’s a decisive rift in the company, we’re split 50:50. Our CEO, Patrick, is without a doubt an “early bird.”