SalesTechStar

SalesTech Star Interview with Andre Black, VP of Product at Allego

Tell us about your role at Allego, the team you lead and the technology you work with.

I am VP of Product at Allego, which means I work closely with the Engineering team and oversee the strategic direction, roadmap and multi-channel user experience for Allego’s modern Sales learning and readiness platform.

A key component of my role is to collaborate with Allego’s executive leadership on all matters related to our core offering and capturing the mindshare of forward-thinking companies in our target markets, including Hightech, Financial Services, Life Sciences, and more.

Allego’s modern Sales learning and readiness platform ensures that reps have the skills and timely knowledge to make the most of each selling situation. Instead of traditional onboarding and Sales training marathons – which are rapidly outdated and quickly forgotten – Sales Enablement and training teams use Allego to deliver the fresh, bite-sized learning that reps need to close deals in today’s dynamic business environment.

What inspired you to start at Allego?

If a person is very lucky, they might get just 1 or 2 chances over the course of their career to reassemble their “dream team” of former colleagues and work on a project that really excites them. Just before Allego was officially Founded, I was invited to do exactly that with the best technologists that I’ve encountered to date.

I joined the founding class of Allego to work alongside them, and to help build a track record of success that would eventually help to attract the rest of our team back into the fold.

I was also very excited at the opportunity to continue to learn and grow in my career in larger market spaces, and in new technology spaces. I love that the vision for Allego started with an approach that was daring and almost unheard of in enterprise software. We were building the platform, “mobile-first,” quite literally.

We were creating a slick iOS app on a scalable cloud infrastructure before even starting to build a web application, and without any baggage or constraints that would have come from trying to support legacy platforms. That really let us open up our vision and focus fanatically on appealing to the unique needs of modern sales professionals.

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Tell us how Sales teams leverage Allego’s modern Sales learning and readiness platform?

Allego has helped companies across multiple industries reduce onboarding costs, accelerate ramp time, and increase win rates through improved content absorption and message consistency. While traditional Sales training rarely changes rep behavior and performance, Allego reinvents the learning process with cutting-edge technology and brain science. Content is personalized for individual sellers as well as their selling situations and mastered through reinforcement, on-the-job coaching, and peer collaboration.

With Allego, Sales managers enjoy greater visibility and reach to spot gaps before they hamper results, as well as develop skills across their team. Salespeople get easy access to best practices, key content and winning stories right from the field to improve customer conversations and win more deals.

At the same time, Trainers and Sales Enablement Professionals see better rep engagement, improved long-term knowledge retention and positive impact on reps’ conversations with customers.

What makes Allego click with modern Sales teams?

In today’s dynamic Sales environment, B2B Sales reps need to know more than ever before about the nuances of their solution’s offerings, their prospects’ companies, and industries, and the ins and outs of the market they work in. Allego clicks with modern Sales teams because it ensures reps have the skills and timely knowledge needed to make the most of each selling situation.

It is both fast and mobile, and it is designed with consumer app ease-of-use. If you can use Netflix, you can use Allego. The Allego platform is also scalable and flexible to support enterprise growth and change, and it is a complete end-to-end solution because it supports all modes of Sales learning in a single platform.

How is it different from other Sales Technology platforms?

Allego was designed from the ground up to align with observations about how Salespeople want to learn and how Sales managers need to coach. Instead of forcing teams to conform to traditional formal teaching and assessment models, the software would conform to the needs of sales professionals.

For example, where most platforms in our space would say that the challenge is to deliver training from a team of instructors to a Sales force, Allego instead focused on the challenge of connecting sellers with their peers to share their experiences and best practices. We put real-life experience at the top of the priority list for what Sales professionals crave most.

We also worked painstakingly to make sure that the apps would feel lightening fast for the most important activities. We wanted it to feel as thoughtful and familiar as a rep’s favorite mobile apps from their personal lives. We think that details like that have made a significant difference.

We hear a lot about the exciting opportunities in modern Sales learning and readiness technology. No one talks about the challenges and risks. What challenges do you deal with at Allego? How did you overcome these challenges?

The biggest technical challenge we faced when developing Allego was finding a solution for moving, replicating, and sharing huge volumes of video around in a mobile, highly distributed environment.

To make the user’s experience seamless, Allego has 6 patents that address everything from video compression to multiple tiers of predictive caching throughout the entire stack. Our technology takes a 3-minute video that is roughly ½ giga-byte and compresses it by more than 90%. In addition to video, the Allego platform can compress and easily share other content files, including PowerPoints, documents, and pictures.

Additionally, Allego easily scales using global CDN and leverages the robustness of the cloud to optimize storage. Files are intelligently cached, and with its small local footprint, the platform can be used both online and offline. It is highly secure and has features built-in that address compliance and archive requirements in highly regulated industries.

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Which industries and markets have been the fastest and most agile to adopt your technologies?

Allego has seen success across organizations in the Hightech, Financial services, and Life Science markets. With Allego, Hightech Sales teams accelerate onboarding and ensure consistent Sales messaging while reducing costs and the amount of time reps spend out of the field. In the Financial Services industry, Asset Managers, Retail Banks, Wealth Managers, and other firms get expert insight and management coaching out to the field faster and more effectively. Allego also helps Medical devices firms, Pharmaceutical makers, and other companies in Life Sciences accelerate Product launches and certifications to ensure effective and compliant Sales conversations.

Beyond these core customer markets, Allego also helps manufacturers, energy providers, media firms, telcos, and other firms empower their sales teams by combining training, practice, coaching, and knowledge sharing into one app.

How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a Sales Technology Leader?

Allego has been applying AI and other forms of Machine Learning and Analytics in our solution for several years. We’ve used logical frameworks to evaluate each new business area as a candidate for this type of technology.

We’ve also allied ourselves with OEM technology partners that lead the industry. And lastly, we’ve assembled a team that includes many technologists that have applied these technologies to other larger-scale business cases, like those in Relationship Marketing and interactive Online Marketing.

The result is that Allego uses a pragmatic approach to applying the technology only where it can be most valuable – for example augmenting or automating activities that humans could not do at a large enough scale. We also use it only where it would introduce the lowest amount of risk based on the still-evolving capabilities of the underlying technologies.

Does Allego leverage AI to improve the performance of its modern learning and readiness platform? If yes, how so?

Allego utilizes AI in a number of locations to help with Personalization, Optimization, and Accessibility of Sales learning and readiness. We have powerful AI solutions driving our fun digital flashcard practice experience, Flash Drills.

Basically, and AI personal trainer helps to customize the sequencing and timing that each learner experiences while they drill to compete and to solidify lessons in their long term memory. We also have AI solutions driving Content Recommendations so that Sales professionals can discover select, relevant pieces of content at just the right times without feeling overwhelmed.

Lastly, we also use AI for some foundation-level capabilities like speech-to-text transcription, which is applied to our Video and Audio content. We’ve invested quite a lot in these areas in just the last few years.

What kind of skills do you look for when hiring new members of your team at Allego?

Excellence, experience, and passion are traits that I see in all of my team members every day. I’ve never seen such a collaborative and transparent atmosphere, and I hope that we can hang on to that as we continue to grow.

We’re hiring in almost all areas of the company, and we’d love to see more candidates that want to grow something special – both a great product and an amazing fulfilling team.

Can you share some advice for other technology professionals in the Sales software industry?

For many people, cool technology helps to keep our work fun and challenging. But, I’d advise you to keep your focus on people. If you aren’t obsessed with your end-users and enjoying the experience with your team, you’re missing out on what makes this effort worth it. Make someone’s life better with everything that you do.

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Thank You, Andre, for answering all our questions. We hope to see you again, soon.

allego logoAllego’s modern Sales learning and readiness platform ensures that reps have the skills and timely knowledge to make the most of each selling situation. Instead of traditional onboarding and Sales training marathons–which are rapidly outdated and quickly forgotten–Sales Enablement and training teams use Allego to deliver the fresh, bite-sized learning that reps need to close deals in today’s dynamic business environment.

Content is personalized for individual sellers as well as their selling situations and mastered through reinforcement, on-the-job coaching, and peer collaboration. More than 200,000 professionals use Allego to onboard faster, deliver consistent messaging, rapidly adopt best practices, coach and practice more frequently, and collaborate more effectively.

Andre Black is Allego’s VP of Product. He has over 17 years of experience in software as an innovation consultant, product manager, and user experience designer. Prior to Allego, Andre built the UX Innovation practice for Medullan, Inc. as Chief Creative Officer.

He led numerous product strategy, consumer engagement, and mobile UI design projects for clients including Aetna, Humana, Verizon, and BCBSA. Prior to Medullan, Andre spent 8 years at Unica in UX, GUI development, and product vision roles, ultimately as Director of Product Management for Unica’s $150M Enterprise Interactive Marketing Suite.

Early in his career, as an Electrical Engineering undergraduate at Cornell University, Andre co-founded Jump.com, a VC-backed web app that won “Best of Show” at Internet Showcase ’99 before being acquired by Microsoft.