Behind every 6sense tool and feature are teams of experts dedicated to pushing the boundaries of technology to help our customers achieve their goals.
Right now, generative AI is one of the most talked-about technologies in the world. AI-powered language models are transforming how we write, edit, research, and manage tasks. The potential productivity boosts are astounding. And we’re bringing those productivity boosts to B2B revenue teams.
In January 2022, 6sense acquired a great AI-driven company called Saleswhale and committed to further developing its game-changing capabilities. Now called 6sense Conversational Email, the AI email writing tool leverages generative AI to to help marketers craft relevant, on-brand email campaigns that help qualify buyers and convert engagement into sales meetings.
Conversational Email generates results like more engagement, bookings, and revenue. And it wouldn’t exist without the efforts of two B2B leaders who joined 6sense when we acquired Saleswhale and its brilliant team.
Meet Gabe and Marcel
Gabriel Lim (34), Director of Product Management for Conversational Email, was born and lives in Singapore. He co-founded Saleswhale.
Marcel Tan (26), Associate Product Manager for Conversational Email, is based in San Francisco. Marcel, also born in Singapore, has been with 6sense for almost a year — though his history with Conversational Email goes back to 2020, when he was a Saleswhale intern.
We interviewed them about the history of Conversational Email as well as its near future, and learned more about the duo as product developers and managers — and talented, creative minds.
Nonlinear Paths to the Tech Industry
Marcel, though currently a product manager for technology, studied political science at UC Berkeley. When asked about this less-than-predictable career choice, Marcel explained that in Singapore, there’s pressure to fall into a set track and pursue a career the follows your major.
Studying at Berkley, however, showed him that it was possible to go “off the rails” and do just fine. Among his peers were other entrepreneurs, or data scientists pursuing acting careers. “It taught me there’s no one right way to do things,” he said.
Building apps with his friends, just for the fun of it, sparked his career interest in tech: “That’s what drove me,” he said. “I wanted to be on the frontier of things, building new things that can hopefully change an industry.”
Gabriel likewise hails from a less traditional background.
“For me, I didn’t go to college,” Gabriel explained, and likewise brought up the Singaporean cultural pressure to stay on the rails. He attended prestigious schools, but “towards the end, I was like, ‘Huh, I don’t really know what I’m going to do with my life.’”
Gabriel was going to attend law school. Instead, he took a gap year to figure things out. In that one year, he taught himself how to program and started a software consulting agency. That was during the iPhone and mobile boom. By year’s end, he was making more money than a junior lawyer.
The Origins of Conversational Email
A few years later, Gabriel’s software career send him into the tech start-up world and the launch of Saleswhale, the solution that became 6sense’s Conversation Email. According to Gabriel, Conversational Email was born out of curiosity.
It started with him playing with deep learning, using a framework that could go through and tag emails that required action. It scanned his inbox and searched for keywords. When it found a message that seemed important that he had yet to reply to, it would ask if he would like it to craft a reply for him.
“That’s how lazy I was,” Gabriel said, laughing. “But the tool morphed and grew when we realized there could be a sales or marketing use case for that.”
The Excitement of Seeing Real Impact for Customers
We asked Gabriel what customer feedback he’s received that’s stood out the most.
He said that at Breakthrough, 6sense’s annual user conference, he heard a lot of great things: “Customers told us they were closing millions of dollars in pipeline within months — or sometimes days — of deploying Conversational Email. A lot of software promises it can do this or that, but Conversational Email delivers on its promise in actual revenue,” he said.
Why Join 6sense? Culture.
We asked Gabriel what was behind his decision to sell Saleswhale to 6sense. There were many factors, like the technology being the right fit. Ultimately, it came down to one thing: 6sense’s culture.
Gabriel met 6sense co-founder and CTO Viral Bajaria in 2021. After a few conversations, “I just got this very strong feeling that we are on the same page,” Gabriel said. “Viral is straightforward, he’s transparent, he cares a lot for his team, and it shows.”
An important part of the decision-making process for Gabriel was asking himself: Would this be a good home for the team? Would this be a place that my people would enjoy being at? The answer was, and remains, a resounding yes.
More Than Just Product Developers
Creativity and innovation require time away from the computer screen, and Marcel and Gabriel enjoy hobbies and passions outside of work that help them recharge and gain new perspectives.
Gabriel shared that he is a new father, and that “something changes when you become a parent. You suddenly think a lot and care a lot about the future.” For Gabriel, this became a passion for climate science and climate change. “I probably know more about renewable energies and net negative carbon emissions technologies than is reasonable,” he said.
When Marcel isn’t doing product management, he’s a writer, an athlete, and a musician. He’s been working on fantasy and sci-fi TV pilot scripts and submitting them to various competitions. Marcel is also a long-distance runner, and plays the drums, the flute, and the ukulele.
Advice for Future Innovators: Just Jump In
When asked for advice they’d give people interested in developing new tools and tech, Marcel shared this:
“The best way to learn something is to go through it experientially.” That applies to learning how to program, developing an app, or new hobbies. Marcel started playing the drums by joining a band and learning as he went.
For those wanting to start their own company or their own startup one day, Gabriel had similar advice: “Just do it. Don’t over-intellectualize it. Trust that you’ll figure things out as you go.”
Gabriel continued: “Be very careful about who you decide to start with. I was very lucky that I started Saleswhale with my co-founder Ethan Le, who’s still here today as our director of engineering. Honestly, there were a couple of dark times, and if I had the wrong co-founder, the chances are good that either the startup wouldn’t have made it or I probably would’ve given up.”
Excitement About the Future of AI
AI is the hottest topic in tech, and we asked Gabriel and Marcel about their interest in AI beyond its applications for generative AI and composing B2B emails.
Marcel, the sci-fi fan, shared his interest in artificial general intelligence (AGI), which is AI that functions similarly to humans. He thinks it’s not too far off given the current trajectory.
According to Marcel, there are those that theorize that if AI technology keeps advancing at its current speed, there’s a good chance that everybody currently below retirement age may be able to live forever. It is likely that AGI and its successor ASI — artificial superior intelligence — will be able to uncover the answers that lead to reversing the aging process, he said.
Gabriel’s interest in AI is in technology that might also help humans live forever. A company called AlphaFold, developed by DeepMind, predicts the structure of proteins. They are able to make predictions in minutes that used to take years of work, which has major implications for drug discovery, for genetic mutations, and for gene editing.
6sense’s advancements in AI-powered applications won’t lead to that sort of innovation. But perhaps another innovator who follows Gabriel and Marcel’s advice to just jump in and build something will develop the technology that does.