Home CompaniesB2B For Zinnia, it’s time for sales teams to get their hands on AI tools

For Zinnia, it’s time for sales teams to get their hands on AI tools

by Maija Ehlinger

Last summer when we first met Zinnia, one of the latest startups coming out of Atlanta Ventures Studio, founder Lauren Marturano told us about her vision for what team building and offsite experiences should look like in our post-pandemic world. 

But like many startups, the venture has grown and evolved quickly over the last ten months. 

Now armed with a new round of funding, Zinnia is sprouting up something new in the sales space. Specifically, the platform is helping organizations create “engaging and profitable sales experiences” using AI. 

The goal is to streamline the setup process for client dinners, networking happy hours, sales kickoff meetings, leadership retreats…or just about any event that helps sales professionals and sales teams do business.

The move into the sales world feels like natural expansion for a team that got its start curating corporate offsite experiences. 

As a founder, the most important thing you can do is be flexible and listen to the market. Our clients told us time and time again that they loved using Zinnia for their offsites, but they needed even more help with their client-facing sales events,” Marturano said. “After spending many years planning relationship building experiences with clients, I know firsthand the time it takes to book a private room at a restaurant in an unfamiliar city, or a field marketing event for prospects at a conference.”

Zinnia users are able to book events in a matter of clicks and get access to AI-powered summaries on the event attendees to ensure they are prepped ahead of time. 


AI & Sales Relationships 

Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a buzzword around the startup space for years, and it has certainly caught the public’s attention with the rise of ChatGPT, Bard, and other conversational and generative AI tools. 

Those platforms have also changed how sales teams do business, Marturano added. 

“Today, buyers have more access than ever to product details, reviews, pricing, and competitors before ever talking to a seller. This means that sellers have less of an opportunity to do proper discovery with a client at the earliest stage of a buying cycle,” she told Hypepotamus. 

The team behind Zinnia believes AI can help sales professionals find common ground. 

Zinnia’s AI “enables sellers to have in-depth information about their prospect’s background, interests, company incentives, and propensity to buy before ever reading an Annual Report or doing a discovery call,” Marturano added. “For Zinnia, [using AI] means being able to make and understand connections between individuals that simply wouldn’t have been possible before Semantic Search. At Zinnia we believe that humans have more in common than not, and it’s just about finding common ground. You know when you leave a conversation with someone going “wow, we had so much to talk about – they also hiked the Inca Trail, or they also worked at Microsoft when I did”? AI is allowing Zinnia to find these deeper connection points for sellers that we otherwise may have missed.” 

Growing Zinnia

Joining Marturano in building Zinnia now is Flora Muglia (Director of Sales and Customer Happiness and ex-Microsoft), Max Irvine (Tech Lead and former software developer at BitPay), and Hilton Thompson (Head of Events and former Head of Marketing & Events at Atlanta Tech Village). 

Zinnia also has a new crop of investors to help the startup grow in this next AI-driven chapter. The team announced today it landed a $765k venture round from Atlanta Ventures, Atlanta-based Gray Ventures, North Carolina-based CreativeCo Capital, and a group of strategic angel investors.


Featured photo provided by Zinnia. From left to right: Hilton Thompson, Lauren Marturano, Max Irvine, and Flora Muglia


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