After 125 years as an industrial company, General Electric is transforming into a digital industrial. Cate Gutowski, Vice President-Commercial & digitalTHREAD at GE Digital, tells CXOTalk about digital transformation for global salesforce and how working with Tact.ai on the GE Digital Assistant has enabled sellers to use IT to think, act, and work in a digital way.

“What we’ve loved about the GE Digital Assistant product that we built together is that it enables a seller to capture, either through text or through voice, what we call the golden five minutes after a sales meeting. What we find is that we’re getting more data entered into the CRM system,” Gutowski says. “That excites us because, as we get more data entered into the system, we’re also seeing better data quality. Once you get better data quality, you can start to share that with your supply chain function, your product management function, and your marketing function, all these functions in the company that want to help sellers win, but they just quite honestly don’t have good enough data.”

Gutowski leads GE’s effort to transform how global sales force utilizes technology to drive customer success across all GE businesses. In this role, she guides teams that are innovating new technologies in artificial intelligence, machine learning and predictive analytics to drive productivity, and enhance the customer experience. She also leads GE’s global leadership through storytelling initiative, “If You Can See It, You Can Be It.”

Transcript

Michael Krigsman: So, you are a 100-year-old company. You are a 100-year-old company with $125 billion in revenue, and you decide it's time to change the company and transform how we sell. Who are you going to call? You're going to call our guest today, Cate Gutowski, who is with General Electric and thank you so much for being a guest on CxOTalk. Tell us about GE, and tell us what you do.

Cate Gutowski: So, Today, GE has ten different business units. We have 25,000 sellers in 180 countries. The job that my team and I have is to really help create a technology stack for sales. GE is in the process of transforming from a 125-year-old industrial company to a digital industrial. One of the things that we've recognized is that if we're really going to become a digital industrial, it's important that we think, act, and work in a digital way.

Michael Krigsman: What does that mean? When you say, "Think, act, and work in a digital way," give us some color as to what that means.

Cate Gutowski: What we really want to do is create a technology stack for sales that helps our sellers to be more modern, more contemporary and, most importantly, helps them to address our customers' needs.

Michael Krigsman: How do you manage the collaboration? How do you do that?

Cate Gutowski: Are we going to build, make, or buy technologies? It's cheaper, faster, and better for us to partner with a company like Tact to bring a product like the GE Digital Assistant to market and to our sales professionals than it would be to try to create it on our own.

Michael Krigsman: And How do you make those kinds of difficult investment decisions, those make versus buy decisions?

Cate Gutowski: For example Digital Assistant, which helps our sales teams to rapidly update CRM with never having to open up their computer, which they love. It would take us longer to try to do that on our own versus we can get to market faster. We can implement it and see a benefit sooner than if we were trying to do it on our own.

Michael Krigsman: Tell us, what are you doing with tact.ai?

Cate Gutowski: We partnered with them to create the GE Digital Assistant. It enables a seller to capture, either through text or through voice, what we call the golden five minutes after a sales meeting. In businesses like Digital, we're getting CRM updates on average 16 times a day versus 1 day on average. When we talked about that consumerization that our customers and our employees are really kind of demanding, Tact.ai really delivers on that. It really creates an enhanced experience for our sellers.

That excites us because, as we get more data entered into the system, we're also seeing better data quality. Once you get better data quality, you can start to share that with your supply chain function, your product management function, and your marketing function, all these functions in the company that want to help sellers win, but they just quite honestly don't have good enough data.

Michael Krigsman: Does it help motivate the salespeople?

Cate Gutowski: It is a motivator. I'll give you a great example. One of my favorite quotes is from Mack D'Maeo (?) [or is this Matt Deyo?] and from our healthcare business. He told us. He said, "Look. I love this technology because, Cate, in one day I saw more customers. I updated CRM more times — eight times in one day versus once a day on average — and I never even had to open up my laptop."

Michael Krigsman: Now, you're obviously a very, very large company, and Tact is a startup. How do you manage that relationship and work in a productive way with a smaller company?

Cate Gutowski: We love spending time with startups because we're trying to think, act, and work more like a startup ourselves.

We really valued the partnership with Tact. One of the things that's really important is that we find technologies that can be used in multiple types of business units. This is the only one that it seems everybody can agree creates

Michael Krigsman: So, you are a 100-year-old company. You are a 100-year-old company with $125 billion in revenue, and you decide it's time to change the company and transform how we sell. Who are you going to call? You're going to call our guest today, Cate Gutowski, who is with General Electric and thank you so much for being a guest on CxOTalk. Tell us about GE, and tell us what you do.

Cate Gutowski: So, Today, GE has ten different business units. We have 25,000 sellers in 180 countries. The job that my team and I have is to really help create a technology stack for sales. GE is in the process of transforming from a 125-year-old industrial company to a digital industrial. One of the things that we've recognized is that if we're really going to become a digital industrial, it's important that we think, act, and work in a digital way.

Michael Krigsman: What does that mean? When you say, "Think, act, and work in a digital way," give us some color as to what that means.

Cate Gutowski: What we really want to do is create a technology stack for sales that helps our sellers to be more modern, more contemporary and, most importantly, helps them to address our customers' needs.

Michael Krigsman: How do you manage the collaboration? How do you do that?

Cate Gutowski: Are we going to build, make, or buy technologies? It's cheaper, faster, and better for us to partner with a company like Tact to bring a product like the GE Digital Assistant to market and to our sales professionals than it would be to try to create it on our own.

Michael Krigsman: And How do you make those kinds of difficult investment decisions, those make versus buy decisions?

Cate Gutowski: For example Digital Assistant, which helps our sales teams to rapidly update CRM with never having to open up their computer, which they love. It would take us longer to try to do that on our own versus we can get to market faster. We can implement it and see a benefit sooner than if we were trying to do it on our own.

Michael Krigsman: Tell us, what are you doing with tact.ai?

Cate Gutowski: We partnered with them to create the GE Digital Assistant. It enables a seller to capture, either through text or through voice, what we call the golden five minutes after a sales meeting. In businesses like Digital, we're getting CRM updates on average 16 times a day versus 1 day on average. When we talked about that consumerization that our customers and our employees are really kind of demanding, Tact.ai really delivers on that. It really creates an enhanced experience for our sellers.

That excites us because, as we get more data entered into the system, we're also seeing better data quality. Once you get better data quality, you can start to share that with your supply chain function, your product management function, and your marketing function, all these functions in the company that want to help sellers win, but they just quite honestly don't have good enough data.

Michael Krigsman: Does it help motivate the salespeople?

Cate Gutowski: It is a motivator. I'll give you a great example. One of my favorite quotes is from Mack D'Maeo (?) [or is this Matt Deyo?] and from our healthcare business. He told us. He said, "Look. I love this technology because, Cate, in one day I saw more customers. I updated CRM more times — eight times in one day versus once a day on average — and I never even had to open up my laptop."

Michael Krigsman: Now, you're obviously a very, very large company, and Tact is a startup. How do you manage that relationship and work in a productive way with a smaller company?

Cate Gutowski: We love spending time with startups because we're trying to think, act, and work more like a startup ourselves.

We really valued the partnership with Tact. One of the things that's really important is that we find technologies that can be used in multiple types of business units. This is the only one that it seems everybody can agree creates real value.

Michael Krigsman: When you're working with a company like Tact, how do you evaluate the relationship?

Cate Gutowski: Number one, are they strategic? Do they have thought leadership that we can take advantage of? Do they have great technology? Do they have a quality mindset? I think the other piece is, can they help make GE more competitive than it is today?

Michael Krigsman: We've been speaking with Cate Gutowski, who is responsible for sales transformation at General Electric. Cate, thank you so much, and I hope you'll come back and do this again with us another time.