Interview With Tom Castley, VP of Sales for Outreach UK

  • Outreach is the number one sales engagement platform and uses machine learning to guide interactions.
  • Outreach has received $239 million in funding from investors including Lone Pine, Meritech, Spark, DFJ Growth, Sapphire, Trinity, Floodgate, Mayfield, and Microsoft.
  • The company is headquartered in Seattle, Washington with offices in California and Florida, and announced the launch of its London offices in February.


Tom Castley, VP of Sales for Outreach UK,  heads the London office and has 20 years of experience supporting sales organisations in Europe’s tech space. Here, Tom discusses Outreach, its growth and use of machine learning technologies.

Outreach logo

What is Outreach, and how did it come about?


We are a platform that effectively helps customer-facing people reach more people more often and more effectively. Through the platform, salespeople communicate via multiple channels, email LinkedIn or via the telephone, against a structure that we know that works for our customers. There’s a system of action that sits on top of users’ CRN platform like Salesforce or Microsoft Dynamics.

Outreach wasn’t the first idea that our founders came up with. They were building another company that was struggling, and they needed to drive some business. Just the three of them needed to act as twenty people. Outreach was born as a solution. On meeting those business prospects, they found that they were more interested in how they’d got to meet them. At that moment, they pivoted, and that’s how Outreach was founded. 



How does Outreach use AI and machine learning?


Here’s a mantra for you: ‘Frequencies times competencies, equal results’, and no truer word is spoken in sales. If you do more of the right things, the frequencies, more often and then you can do them well, with competence, you will ultimately drive pipeline and revenue for your business. The machine learning that we have inside Outreach allows us to see the response to actions. So when one of our customers sends an email to somebody, the outreach platform captures the response. We’re unique in that we also understand the sentiment of that reaction. Was it positive? Did it progress the conversation closer toward doing business? Our machine learning is constantly looking at the organisations’ communications, and the responses inform the competencies so that we can do better and convert more. In our customers, we typically see a 20% increase in productivity as a result of using machine learning in Outreach. 



Outreach reached unicorn status last year, what would you attribute this success to?


For any company to achieve unicorn status, it has to have been ratified and seen valuable by its customers. I was a customer of Outreach before, so I saw the profound benefit it had on my business. Outreach is helping its organisations communicate and do business more effectively. A testament to that is our customer Deliveroo, recognised as the fastest growing software company in Deloitte’s Fast 50 in the UK last year. In that list, seven of the top ten are outreach customers, and that’s what’s driving our success. Outreach itself was recognised as the fourth fastest-growing software company in Deloitte’s Fast 500 in the US. Two days ago, G2, the peer-to-peer review site for business software, voted Outreach the number one product in sales. All of that recognition and success of our customers is driving that growth and the unicorn status.



Outreach has been expanding in Europe, what success has the London office seen?


We haven’t physically been here in London for very long. We arrived very quietly back in October last year, and officially announced our launch in February. The reason for that is we were adamant that, unlike a lot of US companies opening operations in Europe, we weren’t going to open just a sales office; we wanted to open a new region. There was a need to build out our professional services, customer success and support operations here locally and to have them ready for when we announce. We now have over a hundred customers just in London, and a lot of them are startups. One hundred and seventeen of those would be defined as technology SNB startups. Some have only the founders using the application and others, like Signal AI and Deliveroo, are far bigger.


What’s next for Outreach?


 I’m intrigued to see how we can help organisations who are going to have to pivot in as we come out the other side of this virus. They are going to need to be more than the people they are and do more with what they’ve already got. I’m hopeful that Outreach can help organisations bounce-back quickly, and we can help get the economy on its feet. Outreach is particularly appropriate in the stay-at-home economy. With your salespeople at home, you can’t always see if they’re performing the right frequencies in the right order. It also becomes difficult to coach around those competencies and determine if what they’re doing is working. Outreach is uniquely positioned to give exposure to those frequencies, providing feedback to leaders as to what is and isn’t working. This helps them provide coaching and mentoring to their staff so that they can succeed. The opportunity now is both growing in that market but also pivoting to help organisations bounce-back when we come out the other side of coronavirus.


What is the Outreach Unleash conference?


Unleash traditionally was a live conference run out of San Diego. It is the largest conference of its type, focussing on the sales engagement space, and in its fourth year. In the period of two weeks, we’ve turned it around to being a virtual conference. On the first week of May, there will be a series of live presentations by industry practitioners with keynotes from Manny, our CEO and Anna, our COO and the CMO of Tableau is also presenting. At last count, we’ve got 6,000 already registered attendees. We’re excited about the potential to share good practice and continue educating around the benefits of sales engagement. 


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