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June 18, 2024


Clay achieves 10x growth by reinventing data enrichment and sales outreach with OpenAI.

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Successful go-to-market (GTM) teams need comprehensive, high-quality data, but the process of gathering, validating, and enriching this data is typically fragmented across many tools. This bottleneck slows the pace of sales outreach. Clay(opens in a new window) helps GTM teams scale their outreach by centralizing lead information and enabling personalized messaging.

Clay integrated with GPT-4 to create Claygent, an AI agent that can research anything. Claygent visits websites to find and summarize relevant information, replicating how sales development researchers operate, but much faster and cheaper. With Claygent, a single person can handle the work of an entire team.

The company has achieved 10x year-over-year growth for each of the past two years, with over 100 thousand users including major customers like Intercom, Verkada and Notion.

Building Claygent: An AI-powered sales research tool using GPT-4

GTM teams often struggle with fragmented data and manual tasks that slow down their outreach efforts. As Kareem Amin, co-founder and CEO of Clay, explains, "All tools before LLMs tried to automate what Sales Development Representatives (SDRs) or Business Development Representatives (BDRs) were doing in terms of research but they would get stuck. Data providers could provide a maximum of 100 data points per company. Engineers were building scrapers but that was finicky and time-consuming.”

Clay recognized that the key to empowering these teams was to aggregate data from multiple sources and automate time-consuming research tasks. They chose to integrate GPT-4 because it had the best language model on the market and its API documentation had plenty of examples showing tool calling in action.

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Optimizing Claygent for efficiency and reliability

Clay built Claygent, an AI web scraper that uses GPT-4 to understand and extract highly specific information from websites. To make Claygent as efficient as possible, Clay optimizes the number of tokens passed to GPT-4 and chooses the appropriate model for each use case. 

When scraping a website, it would be inefficient to send the whole site to GPT-4. Instead, Claygent asks GPT-4 which section of the website is most likely to contain the desired information. For example, GPT-4 might indicate that SOC-2 compliance information is generally found in the footer. Claygent can then specifically scrape the footer instead of the whole website. 

Claygent also uses a binary search approach, where it takes part of a website, checks if the required data is there, and if not, moves to another part. This approach progressively narrows the search space until the required information is found. 

Clay selects the most appropriate AI model for each product task to optimize cost. For instance, their AI Formula Generator tool, which allows non-technical users to transform data using plain English instructions and examples, runs on cheaper, smaller versions of models. Clay then reserves the speed and intelligence of GPT-4 Turbo for other, more complicated tasks.

To ensure the reliability of Claygent’s data, Clay combines information from multiple data providers and uses different models to cross-verify it. By comparing the scraped results with information scraped from other sources, Claygent can assess the trustworthiness and consistency of insights generated by their product. 

From campaign ideas to outreach in minutes: Clay's success with GPT-4

Clay's integration of GPT-4 has led to strong growth and customer success. The company grew revenue 10x for each of the past two years,  and grew by 2.5x in the first five months of 2024 alone.

The widespread adoption of Claygent has been a significant driver of this growth. Of Clay’s customers, 30% use Claygent daily, generating an impressive 500,000 research and outreach tasks per day. The impact is undeniable — teams of one or two can achieve results that previously required dozens of engineers.

Clay has seen an entire ecosystem of users, known as Claygencies, or “Clay agencies,” spring up around its product. These customers - often founded by former SDRs - have discovered that they can build comprehensive GTM agencies using Clay, providing services like data enrichment, lifecycle campaigns, search engine optimization (SEO), and more, all from within the Clay platform. With Clay, a team of just one or two people can perform the tasks typically handled by a full agency, significantly enhancing productivity and capacity for human achievement.

Inspiring a new era of AI-driven businesses with Clay

In the future, Clay plans to fine-tune their AI agent for specific verticals, such as finding local fitness gyms, doctors, or nurses. They want Claygent to handle complex requests like “find me all companies that have hired 10 engineers in the last month.” Beyond that, Clay is exploring ways to use signals and triggers to make Claygent more proactive, like detecting when a customer visits a website and generating personalized outreach messages or alerting sales teams to potential opportunities in real time.