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Introducing Convex AI Email
Bringing Generative AI to Commercial Services
At Convex, our mission is to be the most important partner to commercial services businesses – and we believe the advances in generative AI will allow us to progress on this mission in magical new ways. We’re excited to share one part of how we are already delivering on that in our product with our new Convex AI Email to turbocharge their productivity.
Huge advances are made every year in technology, but some things never change:
- The humble email hasn’t gone anywhere. Email, next to the phone call and site visit remains one of the top ways commercial services sellers reach prospects.
- Research is time consuming. The data is out there: on the property, the account, the prospect. Convex already brings it all into one place. But cross referencing everything still takes mental energy.
- Sellers are sales professionals, not English majors. A good email is concise but relevant; personalized but not over the top; communicates an ask but is professional; and is definitely typo free.
- Copy-paste is terrible. Using templates saves time but are obvious to everyone and only hurt your company’s brand with how irrelevant they seem.
- Sales is a numbers game. Even if you get that one email perfect, you’ve got 100 more behind it. You need to be able to move quickly to get through your targets.
Convex can help
Convex is perfectly positioned to help here. Convex has spent years investing deeply in our Convex Data Lake: a first of its kind knowledge graph of properties, their occupants, the contacts associated with them, permitted work history at the site, and our customers’ install bases (private to them) among other assets.
Combining our proprietary data lake with the latest advances in Generative AI, Convex is able to approach this problem with a novel solution: looking across all the data needed to craft a strong email and drafting it, instantly.
What’s different about Convex AI Email?
There is amazing innovation right now in the generative AI space, especially around email. Most of these offer great rephrasing features that help users “formalize” or “shorten” emails.
The problem we didn’t see anyone else solving—and knew that no one else could—was the “cold start” problem. You can’t “formalize” a blank page. You need to nail the initial outreach and you need the data on that property, company, person, and your business to do that.
We realized only Convex could ever do this and we wanted to help.
What was hard in building this feature?
Generative AI presented unique (but fun!) challenges for our engineers to build a feature on top of. A few challenges we faced included:
- AI “hallucinating” on behalf of our customers: AI is an earnest helper; it will always take its best shot at providing a draft. It unfortunately can fabricate details to get there at times. In early versions, the AI would completely make up our users’ line of business to seem relevant. The best antidote we found to this was asking our users to provide more information on how they position their business. Users are now asked for this information before the AI generates their first email 💡
- Getting the AI “prompt” just right: Generative AI models are effectively a black box; you can’t see exactly why one question gets a great answer and another doesn’t. In asking the AI to generate high quality email drafts, we were struck by how much minor instruction changes could result in huge quality changes in the draft. We experimented with many different versions to get the quality where we felt it was just right: not too long, not too short, not too formal, not too casual, reasonably authentic. Along the way, we also discovered that some of our staff were far better at coaxing the right results, whom we dubbed the “prompt whisperers.” 🙂
- Getting the AI to draft the email quickly: Each time the AI drafts an email, it needs to consider a lot of data points to produce the best draft. Convex provides a wide range of data points, including property and contact information, and AI models like ChatGPT’s consider over a trillion parameters in producing a draft. We had to spend time tailoring the data and what we ask the AI for to get this fast enough. Our current drafts still take a few seconds, but we think this still beats the hours it saves our users ⏱️.
To ensure that emails are tailored to our customers, users can configure Convex AI Email with information about themselves and their company. This ensures that the emails we draft on their behalf have the proper context to establish a warm introduction. Convex serves a wide range of commercial services businesses and this added context allows us to serve HVAC vs Fire & Life Safety vs other companies equally well.
The best is yet to come
At Convex, what excites us most is that AI-based capabilities get better with high quality data and human feedback. The Convex Data Lake has already joined together the best company, property, and people data in the industry for Atlas users. Combined with examples of the most effective emails sent from our Engage Email product that is now powered by generative AI, Convex is in a unique position to continue our leadership in helping commercial services sales reps be more productive in targeting new prospects.