Awais Khan, Vice President Operations at Superhuman – Mastering AI in Marketing and Sales: Navigating Industry Challenges and Opportunities with Superhuman AI’s Innovative Strategies, Industry Insights, and Future-Forward Approaches

Awais Khan, the Vice President of Operations at Superhuman AI, brings a unique blend of technical expertise and a background in marketing and sales to his role. As the first employee at Superhuman, Khan was drawn to AI by the enthusiasm surrounding ChatGPT’s rise in late 2022. This passion led him to focus his content on AI, which eventually shaped his career. In his role, Khan has navigated significant challenges, particularly in forming partnerships within the AI industry. By targeting startups with low-cost advertising initially and eventually attracting enterprise companies with valuable content, he has successfully grown Superhuman AI’s reach. Khan believes in the early potential of AI to boost productivity and efficiency but emphasizes the importance of having skilled employees to leverage these tools effectively. His insights highlight the evolving role of AI in marketing and sales and the need for businesses to remain adaptive and forward-thinking to stay ahead of industry trends.

Can you share the journey that led you to become the VP of Operations at Superhuman AI, and how your background in marketing and sales influenced your approach to AI and automation?

I was employee number 1 at Superhuman. The idea was that our CEO is more of a creative type whereas I thrive more on the technical/repetitive side of things so I decided I would handle Operations. My interest in AI was quite unrelated to my 9 – 5 day job. I remember when ChatGPT had blown up in late 2022 and people had responded very positively to it. That’s when I just started nerding out on it and started posting about it a few months later. Seeing people’s enthusiasm towards AI made me want to make it the focus of my content. 

What have been the most significant challenges you’ve faced in forming partnerships within the AI industry, and how have you successfully navigated them?

I like to segment our partners into 2 types: Enterprise companies and early-stage startups. It was quite easy getting early-stage startups in the door. Our newsletter, Superhuman AI, was charging very low CPCs (cost-per-click) to advertise in the Superhuman AI newsletter at the beginning. A lot of these early-stage startups who had smaller budgets were seeing great results with us and that made renewals easy. We didn’t have an outbound sales function at the beginning, which made it quite hard to target larger companies so that was one of our most significant challenges. However, once our newsletter grew to 500,000+ readers, we grabbed the attention of enterprise companies, sometimes even without doing outbound. As long as you produce great content and provide value to readers, marketers in enterprise companies are bound to notice you and want to work with you eventually. 

In your opinion, what are the key factors businesses should consider when integrating AI and automation into their operations to maximize efficiency and productivity?

I believe we’re still quite early in the AI revolution and are not quite at the point where AI can simply replace your employees. Make sure you are hiring the best people who are already great in their functions before prioritizing AI over everything else. We use ChatGPT and Midjourney for writing our newsletter but if we didn’t have some of the best content writers/producers in the industry, they wouldn’t have an eye for when ChatGPT is producing great results or terrible results. AI should be a tool to boost your best employees so they can prioritize higher-value tasks. 

How do you envision the role of AI evolving in marketing and sales over the next five years, and what should companies do to stay ahead of the curve?

It’s hard to say. The pace of progress is so intense and our expectations have been surpassed so many times. To stay ahead of the curve, listen to your employees when they say they want to integrate AI into their work. So often, my colleagues at Superhuman AI have requested the use of a certain AI tool that I hadn’t even heard of but we integrated and it produced great results. Currently, we’re experimenting with AI in Sales and it’s producing great results. Be open-minded and grateful for employees who are constantly thinking of these improvements. 

Can you provide an example of a successful AI implementation at Superhuman AI that significantly impacted business outcomes? What were the key takeaways?

Our favourite tool by far appears to be Midjourney. Our Content Team is great at prompting and the quality of images that we produce in our newsletter is something that is greatly loved by our audience and sets our brand apart. The key takeaway is that Midjourney is at the disposal of so many newsletters out there but it’s really about your ability to use the AI. 

How do you balance your responsibilities at Superhuman AI with your role as a content creator on LinkedIn, and how do these two roles complement each other?

It’s not too hard. I switch between creating some of my content and then having someone on my Content Team help produce the content if I’m ever too busy. The two roles are intertwined with each other. Great content leads to great engagement, which leads to subscriptions to our newsletter. Organic subscribers are much more engaged than subscribers who come through paid channels. 

What trends do you currently see in AI and automation that excite you the most, and why do you believe they will be game-changers for businesses?

In the sales industry, there are some emerging tools that can read the communication and emotional signals of prospects and tell you what’s working and what’s not in order to improve lead conversion. It takes a lot of experimenting and AB testing in Sales to figure out what’s working and what’s not so an empathetic AI like this would be a huge resource-saver. 

From your experience, what are the common misconceptions businesses have about AI and automation, and how can they overcome these misunderstandings?

That AI implementation is expensive and costly. We are fast approaching a point in time where it will be far more costly to not have implemented AI. 

How do you approach the financial aspects of AI projects to ensure they deliver a strong ROI for Superhuman AI and its partners?

For us, AI has been a cost saver. Until very recently, we had nobody with a dedicated career in Design. So many of the designs/images for the newsletter and our social media content were produced using AI. When it comes to our partners, however, we are quite risk averse as we want to ensure the best service – delivery. This is why we have a dedicated team for the Partnership experience, whether that’s sales or copywriting. 

What advice would you give to young professionals who aspire to work in the intersection of AI, marketing, and sales, based on your career experiences and industry insights?

If you’re fresh to marketing or sales, be sure you understand people really well before using AI – our jobs are about human psychology. AI might help you to go from being a terrible Content Writer to an average Content Writer but it won’t help you go from being an average Content Writer to a great Content Writer. 

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