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Virtual Agents, AI and Sales. With Diego Ventura [Episode 593]

Diego Ventura, CEO at noHold, Inc., joins me on this episode.


  • Diego says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps today is getting introductions to the right people (decision-makers). It is hard to do with email.
  • Diego explains the sales process noHold uses, and future directions they may take.
  • Before noHold, Diego’s first company was STEFRA, which made software for video cameras. To support customers, they wrote a virtual assistant. They wanted to offer the VA to others. Diego raised $15 million in VC to start noHold.
  • Diego explains how a virtual agent or assistant differs from a knowledge base. A virtual assistant helps the user get to the most specific solution as quickly as possible within the framework of a dialog rather than a search.
  • The agent uses inference engine AI to access hierarchical categories of content about product installation and setup, use, compatibility, price, and warranty service. The agent asks questions that lead to the correct content.
  • Diego compares the inference engine to navigating a chess board from edge to edge. The path is not scripted but is followed by questions and inferences.
  • NoHold is partnering with companies like Google and Amazon to accomplish voice recognition and speech synthesis with natural language processing (NLP).
  • Diego points out potential applications for online sales. Besides speech technology, it requires NLP-to-SQL (Structured Query Language) technology. This may be ready on some sites for 2017 Christmas shopping!
  • Diego mentions two current noHold projects: a customer-facing application (the Sales Advisor), and an agent-facing application. Diego covers the details of the Sales Advisor and gives examples.
  • Diego discusses levels of AI in virtual assistants. He gives examples of chatbots built from user documents, including executive orders from four U.S. presidents.
  • Diego address the future of AI in sales and its impact. It is an excellent tool to augment sales capabilities. Diego gives an example for the enterprise, the Marketing Advisor, for augmented selling in groups of 500 SDRs.
  • AI guides transactional selling. AI can also guide B2B sales by previewing points to be covered in an upcoming call. Diego notes that noHold has a tab in Salesforce to guide reps. NoHold plans to enable smartwatches with AI.