Sonny Aulakh of Gyaan: How AI Is Disrupting Our Industry, and What We Can Do About It

An Interview With Cynthia Corsetti

AI regulation is constantly evolving. At, we stay ahead by closely monitoring regulatory changes and ensuring our practices comply with the latest standards.

Artificial Intelligence is no longer the future; it is the present. It’s reshaping landscapes, altering industries, and transforming the way we live and work. With its rapid advancement, AI is causing disruption — for better or worse — in every field imaginable. While it promises efficiency and growth, it also brings challenges and uncertainties that professionals and businesses must navigate. What can one do to pivot if AI is disrupting their industry? As part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Sonny Aulakh.

Sonny Aulakh, CEO and Founder of Gyaan, leverages his two decades of experience at companies like Cisco, EMC, and Dell, where he led global teams of 450 enterprise salespeople, to address inefficiencies in B2B sales execution. He identified a significant gap in the sales tech landscape, where tools were not designed for the customer journey in the modern world, where “Closed Won” is at best a midpoint stage. What truly matters for long-term customer satisfaction, retention, and expansion is the onboarding process and realizing time value. Most tools focus on the SQL to Close Won phase, then get handed over to Customer Success with no loop closing intelligence from the pre-Closed Won phase, leading to lower NPS, longer value realization, and delayed onboarding. It’s like a team playing a sport like soccer and the offense has no idea what the defense is doing. Gyaan is different, designed with the entire Customer Journey Map in one modern platform, enabling sales and customer success teams to work seamlessly in one intelligent workspace. By consolidating tools and streamlining processes, Gyaan empowers sales teams to close bigger deals faster, overcoming complex sales cycles. Under Sonny’s leadership, Gyaan delivers the tools modern sales teams truly deserve.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive into our discussion our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

I started my career as an engineer, driven by a passion for working with customers to solve their problems. This passion naturally led me to the role of Sales Engineer in various Silicon Valley tech companies. I began my journey at young startups like Rainfinity and IronPort, which were later acquired by larger corporations such as EMC and Cisco. This experience allowed me to grow in my Sales Engineering career and lead global teams.

After a decade into my career, I decided to enhance my skills further by pursuing an MBA from the University of California, Davis, with a focus on Entrepreneurship and Marketing. Post-MBA, I was fortunate to work in sales leadership and marketing roles for several successful Silicon Valley companies like EMC and Dell.

As the sales tech world started to evolve with lots of tools, I noticed a common issue: the Sales Tech landscape was filled with disjointed tools that failed to address a core issue — the sales side of the company was disjointed from the post-sales, “Customer Success” side and this was leading to a lot of CSAT issues and poor customer onboarding, expansion, and retention. This realization became the foundation for my journey to create a more cohesive and efficient sales tech solution.

At present, the CRM is still the “single source of truth” of customer data. We believe that in the future, the CRM will sit alongside customer conversations and other unstructured data sources as one of many “sources of truth”. It will take a backseat to the aggregation layer of Gyaan that sits on top of various “sources of truth”. This is of particular importance and one of the key differences between Gyaan and other vendors in this space.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Gyaan as a company is a fairly young startup company that has achieved great success in a short amount of time. The biggest asset that makes our company stand out is the amazing people who have been the core foundational block of Gyaan. I met some of the founding team a few years ago when we were all working different jobs. While the idea of Gyaan was brewing internally, I started to flirt with the idea of starting a company that could address the gap we have in the Customer Journey from pre-sales to post-sales customer success. After testing the idea with some trusted leaders in the industry, I decided to pursue my passion and launch Gyaan. Our timing was interesting in the sense that we were able to build the architecture from the ground up with a lot of the latest technology advancements we have seen in the AI/ML and Data Science fields. This has been something that has helped the company stand out from the legacy vendors. Coupling that with the decades of experience, the founding team brings is what makes the company ultimately stand out.

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

The ability to dance with uncertainty

In the dynamic world of business, change is constant, and uncertainty is inevitable. I learned to embrace this uncertainty rather than resist it. Instead of trying to control every aspect of the team I was leading or the overall business through rigid planning and processes, I remained flexible and adaptable. When unexpected challenges arose, I stayed curious and observant, quickly adjusting our strategies to capitalize on new opportunities. This ability to “dance with uncertainty” allowed me to navigate turbulent times in my career and startup. One notable example was during my time at IronPort when we were acquired by Cisco. The transition period was filled with uncertainties, but staying resilient helped me lead my team through the change, ensuring we maintained productivity and morale during the integration.


As a leader, I recognized the importance of building strong connections and trust with my team. I made a conscious effort to be approachable, open, and vulnerable. This created an environment of openness where employees felt comfortable sharing ideas and concerns without fear of judgment. I would often share personal stories and experiences, which helped my team relate to me as a human being, not just a boss. This relatability fostered loyalty and creativity within the teams I led. My advice has always been to “just be yourself”. All of us are unique in our own ways and that’s what makes a team so powerful. This adaptability was particularly evident when I decided to pursue an MBA mid-career, adjusting to the demands of academia while applying new knowledge to my professional life.

Customer-Centric Mindset:

My passion for solving customer problems has been a driving force throughout my career. As a Sales Engineer, I worked closely with customers to understand their needs and provide tailored solutions. This customer-centric approach continued when I founded Gyaan. By focusing on what customers truly need and designing solutions around their journey, we have been able to create a platform that addresses real pain points in the sales tech landscape.

Let’s now move to the main point of our discussion about AI. Can you explain how AI is disrupting your industry? Is this disruption hurting or helping your bottom line?

I’m a big believer that AI is poised to have a transformative impact on society and the economy that could potentially surpass the Industrial Revolution in magnitude. We are only just getting started. AI is profoundly transforming the sales tech industry by automating routine tasks, providing deeper insights, and enhancing decision-making processes. This disruption is largely beneficial to a company’s bottom line, as it enables Go-to-Market teams to deliver more value to our customers.

The quickest adoption of AI in the sales tech landscape has been similar to other adjacent markets where AI is helping sales teams by automating repetitive tasks such as data entry, lead scoring, and follow-up scheduling. This automation frees up time for sales professionals to focus on building relationships and closing deals. For example, at Gyaan, our AI-driven platform analyzes customer interactions to provide personalized recommendations, improving engagement and increasing conversion rates.

Additionally, AI provides deeper insights through predictive analytics. By analyzing historical data, AI can forecast sales trends, identify potential upsell opportunities, and suggest the best actions to take. This level of insight helps sales teams make informed decisions quickly, leading to higher efficiency and better outcomes. In the past, most tools acted as “data capture” platforms with minimal actionable insights. This is going to change with AI.

Far from hurting our bottom line, AI integration has been a significant driver of growth when you speak to most organizations. If organizations take a comprehensive approach to adopting AI in their workflows, it not only enhances customer satisfaction and retention but also drives our business forward by differentiating you from others in a competitive market.

Which specific AI technology has had the most significant impact on your industry?

LLMs have taken the world by storm and it’s no surprise they are getting the bulk of the attention in the AI space. At Gyaan, our viewpoint is that combining LLMs with Knowledge Graphs and traditional Machine Learning models is going to be a groundbreaking approach poised to redefine customer engagement and sales strategy norms. This pioneering approach paves the way for unparalleled personalization and efficiency, solving a widespread challenge numerous organizations encounter: the battle against fragmented datasets that result from the implementation of isolated point solutions. Such fragmentation impedes the sales team’s capacity to harness its collective intelligence, resulting in inefficiencies and overlooked opportunities. The synergy of LLMs and ML models with knowledge graphs presents a formidable solution to these challenges

Can you share a pivotal moment when you recognized the profound impact AI would have on your sector?

One pivotal moment that underscored the profound impact of AI on our sector occurred when the engineering team showcased the integration of knowledge graphs with AI technologies, such as LLMs and ML models, to address fragmented datasets in B2B sales. By using AI to analyze and synthesize data from diverse sources, we dramatically improved our sales forecasting and personalization of customer interactions. The precision and efficiency that AI brought to our processes was eye-opening. It wasn’t just about automating tasks; it was about transforming our strategic approach and enabling more informed decision-making at every level. This experience made it clear that AI was not just an operational tool but a fundamental driver of innovation and competitive advantage in our industry.

How are you preparing your workforce for the integration of AI, and what skills do you believe will be most valuable in an AI-enhanced future?

To prepare our workforce for AI integration, we focus on education, training, and adaptability. Key steps include:

  • Training Programs: Extensive courses on AI fundamentals and applications in sales tech.
  • Continuous Learning: Access to online courses, workshops, and seminars on AI advancements.
  • Hands-On Experience: Integrating AI tools into daily workflows for practical experience.
  • Collaboration: Encouraging innovation and experimentation with AI solutions.
  • Skill Development: Emphasizing data literacy, analytical thinking, adaptability, and collaboration.

These initiatives equip our team with essential skills to leverage AI effectively, ensuring they thrive in an AI-enhanced future. However, the biggest improvement we have made is to make sure our engineering team has access to a number of sales experts, or what we call Gyaan Advisors. These are individuals who have a ton of expertise in the B2B enterprise sales domain. Making sure the engineers at Gyaan have easy access to our ICP helps them build much more efficiently.

What are the biggest challenges in upskilling your workforce for an AI-centric future?

At Gyaan, the biggest challenges in upskilling our workforce for an AI-centric future include:

Skill Gaps:

Bridging the gap between current skills and those needed for AI requires significant training and development, particularly in data literacy and advanced analytics.

Resource Allocation:

Balancing the investment of time, money, and resources into comprehensive training programs while maintaining our ongoing business operations.

Finding Deep Experts:

Recruiting and retaining deep experts in machine learning and data science is challenging due to the high demand and competition for these specialized skills.

Keeping Pace with Innovation:

Continuously updating our training programs to stay current with rapid advancements in AI technology, ensuring our workforce remains adept with the latest tools and techniques. The AI landscape is evolving at a very rapid pace.

Addressing these challenges is crucial for Gyaan to successfully integrate AI and maximize its potential within our organization

What ethical considerations does AI introduce into your industry, and how are you tackling these concerns?

AI introduces several ethical considerations into the sales tech industry, and at Gyaan, we are proactively addressing these concerns:

Data Privacy and Security:

AI relies heavily on data, raising concerns about how this data is collected, stored, and used. At Gyaan, we ensure strict compliance with data protection regulations such as GDPR and CCPA. We implement robust encryption and access controls to safeguard customer data and maintain transparency about our data practices.

Bias and Fairness:

AI algorithms can inadvertently perpetuate biases present in the training data, leading to unfair outcomes. To tackle this, we regularly audit our AI models for bias and implement measures to ensure fairness. We use diverse datasets and apply bias mitigation techniques to create more equitable AI systems.

Transparency and Explainability:

AI decision-making processes can often be opaque, leading to a lack of trust among users. Gyaan is committed to making our AI systems transparent and explainable. We provide clear documentation and tools that allow users to understand how AI-driven decisions are made, ensuring accountability and building trust.

Ethical Use of AI:

Ensuring that AI is used ethically in sales practices is a priority. We establish guidelines and best practices for using AI responsibly, avoiding manipulative tactics, and maintaining a customer-centric approach that respects individual rights and autonomy.

By addressing these ethical considerations proactively, Gyaan is committed to leveraging AI in a manner that is responsible, fair, and beneficial for all stakeholders.

What are your “Five Things You Need To Do, If AI Is Disrupting Your Industry”?

1. Embrace Continuous Learning and Upskilling

In the rapidly evolving AI landscape, continuous learning is vital. At, we prioritize upskilling our team to stay ahead of industry changes and harness the full potential of AI. For example, we implemented a continuous learning program for our employees, offering courses and workshops on the latest AI technologies. This initiative not only kept our team at the cutting edge but also enabled them to contribute innovative ideas, driving our growth and success. There are lots of free AI courses available online being delivered by some of the leading enterprises.

2. Invest in AI Integration

At, we view AI as an enhancer of human capabilities rather than a replacement. We invest in integrating AI tools into our existing systems to boost efficiency and innovation. We integrated AI-powered analytics into our platform, which significantly improved our clients’ ability to gain actionable insights from their data. This integration reduced the time needed for data analysis and allowed our clients to make more informed decisions quickly.

3. Prioritize Ethical AI Practices

Maintaining ethical standards in AI development and deployment is crucial. At, we are committed to ensuring that our AI systems are transparent and unbiased and respect user privacy. We developed a robust framework for ethical AI, including regular audits and reviews by an ethics committee. This ensured our AI models were free from bias and protected user data, building trust with our clients and setting us apart in the market.

4. Cultivate a Culture of Innovation

Innovation is at the heart of We foster a culture that encourages creative thinking and collaboration, driving us to continually improve and adapt. We established an innovation lab where our team can experiment with new AI technologies and methodologies. This lab has been the birthplace of several breakthrough features in our platform, such as predictive analytics tools that have greatly enhanced our clients’ business strategies.

5. Monitor and Adapt to Regulatory Changes

AI regulation is constantly evolving. At, we stay ahead by closely monitoring regulatory changes and ensuring our practices comply with the latest standards.


When new data privacy regulations were introduced, we quickly adapted our systems to comply with these changes. We set up a dedicated compliance team to ensure our AI solutions adhered to all legal requirements, avoiding potential pitfalls and maintaining our reputation for reliability and trustworthiness.

What are the most common misconceptions about AI within your industry, and how do you address them?

The most common one I hear is that misconceptions in sales tech include fear of human replacement, oversimplified implementation expectations, assumptions of infallibility, and human-like reasoning. We counter these by emphasizing AI’s role in augmenting human abilities through transparent education initiatives, sharing realistic use cases, stressing responsible development practices, and managing expectations around AI’s current capabilities versus limitations. Our goal is pragmatic AI adoption focused on human-AI collaborative intelligence.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

One of my favorite life lesson quotes is from Marcus Aurelius: “To live a good life: We have the potential for it. If we can learn to be indifferent to what makes no difference.”

This quote resonates deeply with me because it encapsulates the idea of focusing our energy on what truly matters while letting go of the trivial things that often consume us unnecessarily. It’s a reminder to cultivate wisdom, perspective, and equanimity in the face of life’s inevitable ups and downs.

I vividly recall a period in my life when this quote became extremely relevant. I was going through a challenging time professionally, feeling overwhelmed by workplace politics, petty conflicts, and the constant pressure to prove myself. I found myself getting caught up in draining negativity and losing sight of what really mattered.

Then, I stumbled upon this quote by Marcus Aurelius, and it was like a wake-up call. I realized that so much of what I had been agonizing over didn’t truly make a difference in the grand scheme of things. I was expending precious energy on trivial matters that would likely be forgotten in a few years or even months.

This quote inspired me to step back, reevaluate my priorities, and focus on what truly aligned with my values and long-term goals. I learned to let go of the things I couldn’t control and to be “indifferent” to the distractions and dramas that were holding me back.

By applying this wisdom, I was able to regain a sense of inner peace and clarity. I became more productive, more present in my relationships, and more fulfilled in my work. The quote served as a constant reminder to stay grounded, to not sweat the small stuff, and to invest my energy in what genuinely mattered to me.

It’s a life lesson that has stayed with me ever since, helping me navigate various challenges and transitions with greater resilience and perspective. Whenever I find myself getting caught up in the trivial or the temporary, I return to this quote as a centering force, reminding me to stay focused on living a good life, one that aligns with my deepest values and aspirations.

Off-topic, but I’m curious. As someone steering the ship, what thoughts or concerns often keep you awake at night? How do those thoughts influence your daily

decision-making process?

As someone leading Gyaan, several thoughts and concerns often keep me awake at night:

Customer Satisfaction:

Ensuring that our customers are consistently satisfied with our products and services is a primary concern. I constantly think about how we can better understand and meet their needs, which influences our focus on continuous improvement and innovation.

Market Competition:

The rapid pace of technological advancement and the competitive landscape in the sales tech industry are always on my mind. Staying ahead requires strategic planning, investment in R&D, and a keen eye on industry trends, which shape our long-term vision and daily operational decisions.

Team Well-Being and Development:

We have a diverse and remote team. The well-being and development of our team are crucial. I worry about maintaining a positive work culture, providing growth opportunities, and ensuring work-life balance for our employees. This concern drives policies and initiatives aimed at employee engagement and professional development.

These concerns influence my daily decision-making by instilling a sense of urgency and responsibility. Balancing these aspects ensures that Gyaan not only thrives but also creates a positive impact on our customers, employees, and the industry.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

If I could start a global movement, it would be to prioritize the ethical development and governance of artificial intelligence. This movement would bring together leaders across sectors to establish clear ethical guidelines, invest in impact research, promote AI literacy, ensure diversity and accountability, and instill human flourishing as AI’s guiding principle. By aligning incentives between industry, government, and society, we could steer AI’s disruptive potential to help solve humanity’s greatest challenges while expanding our potential.

How can our readers further follow you online?

I suggest everyone following me on LinkedIn:

Thank you for the time you spent sharing these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

About the Interviewer: Cynthia Corsetti is an esteemed executive coach with over two decades in corporate leadership and 11 years in executive coaching. Author of the upcoming book, “Dark Drivers,” she guides high-performing professionals and Fortune 500 firms to recognize and manage underlying influences affecting their leadership. Beyond individual coaching, Cynthia offers a 6-month executive transition program and partners with organizations to nurture the next wave of leadership excellence.