I met up with Gabriel Lim the CEO of Saleswhale to learn more about his AI Sales Software. I originally heard about Saleswhale when working with one of our Tech clients on training the sales team to deal with leads once they are pre-qualified by his software. I was so impressed by what they were doing, I thought it would be worth sharing his innovative solution with other companies out there facing similar issues: more leads than they can handle. Enjoy the interview.

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What Exactly Do Your AI Sales Assistants do?

Fundamentally what Saleswhale wants to do, the problem we want to solve is to create sales and marketing alignment.

As a marketer, you’re generating so many leads. Which is a great problem to have. The issue is that when you hand over these leads irresponsibly to your salespeople, without qualifying them, without sifting through first, it creates a burden on the salespeople. They have to reach out to maybe a hundred of these leads and of this hundred maybe eighty are not in the buying cycle right now. Eighty are not really qualified, they may be students, they may be researchers.

So basically what Saleswhale does, is that we provide an assistant for every sales rep that says, “Hey let us take the first crack at this bunch of leads. Let us do the first outreach to these leads. Like, “Thanks for meeting us at the event, we hope you enjoyed yourself at the booth. Hey, can I send you more information about what we do?” And you engage easily in this genuine back-and-forth conversation.

How Does Artificial Intelligence Contribute to this Back-and-Forth Conversation?

We have this entire engine built. Basically, it’s a combination of humans and automation. Basically what we call human-assisted A.I. When a response comes in, it gets broken down into many different tasks and it gets routed through a team of operators that we have worked around the clock, around the world, basically doing very micro-task activities like what’s the intent and sentiment of the email, positive or negative to highlight and annotate. 

As in, what are the classifications of these emails, is it a request for more information? Are they not interested?

Sort of broad areas and topics. So once all of these are done by our humans, we called them human operators, then all these come back to give a composite picture. Like what is this email all about? And then we select the right responses that we cleverly personalise using snippets and merge tags to make it look very personal and then the response goes out to the prospect.

Because we’re dealing with prospects. Accuracy is really important. I mean if you’ve dealt with a chatbot, the worst thing that can happen is it saying “I’m sorry, I don’t understand what you’re saying.” We can’t do that here so accuracy is really important.

So with this level, with human operators, we are able to maintain a very high level of accuracy. But even then, from time to time, there are certain responses that we may not feel comfortable enough to reply to. When that happens, we do not attempt to reply at all.  These get dropped into what we call ‘human review buckets’. The Marketing Administrator receives an email from the A.I. assistant that says “Hey, I’m stuck! I need help” so they log in and they reply on behalf of the AI assistant and over time you cluster these responses.  Then we build up additional conversation notes. 

Case Study With SOCO and Saleswhale Client

Tom: We worked with a tech company a few months ago to work with their team because they were getting around 40,000 inbound inquiries every month. 

And it was nice, but if you don’t have the infrastructure to respond to these people quickly, and qualify them effectively and then hand them over to an SDR or an account rep to go, “Great! Now let’s set up a discovery call or a demo” or something like that, they just sit and you’ll lose them all, right? So, that’s where they started to engage you guys because I remember I was chatting with them because they were like, “Yep! We’re gonna start with Saleswhale to respond to these people fast.” But then they engaged us to handle once they’ve been handed over to the SDR and to get clear about what that qualification criterion is. As in how do we know when a lead can be passed on to a human sales rep? And then what’s some of the scripting that those reps can use to actually do a discovery call, learn a little bit more and then take it to the next level?”

What Kind of Companies Need Saleswhale?

The ideal profile for us would be any customer that has a well-running marketing engine that is generating more leads than they have sales capacity to adequately reach out to and qualify in a very systematic fashion. They can range from startups with 60 to 100 employees, all the way to Fortune 500 companies. We have customers in technology verticals, AI, education, automotive and hospitality. 

We are working with companies they are just generating about 40 to 80 leads a week.

 If you have a small sales team to respond to that, that can be very overwhelming. Especially if those reps are multi-level reps in the sense that they also may be doing some outbound as well.

You generate these leads and the majority goes dormant. With Saleswhale we have this automated workflow where we can reengage these dormant leads. As in, put them in the re-engagement campaign, then every 90 days, every 120 days, we touch base with them. 

Checking in with them to see how things are doing. Thank you reaching out a few months ago. I just wanna touch base and see how things are looking right now.

How Well Does Saleswhale Play with CRM Programs?

Right now we have a tremendous integration with Salesforce. You click it, and it sets up all your fields, the workflow and then you can customise your integration on Saleswhale. For all other CRMs, we have an open API so basically we can work with 3rd party providers or your internal engineering team and build this into your CRM with our API.

ROI of Saleswhale

A global education provider with thousands of employees worldwide, I think within the first three months of using Saleswhale, they saw a one thousand four hundred percent ROI with the software.

And this is not an anomaly, across all our customers, we see very similar kinds of ROI. We are working with one of the leading automotive dealers in the region. The last campaign that we ran for them, we actually helped them sold 71 cars. 

How Much Does Saleswhale Cost?

We go by annual licenses and you can run unlimited campaigns. You can have as many campaign as you want. The pricing differs but in general it’s roughly in the ballpark of $20,000 a year and upwards. 

Cost Comparison Between AI Sales Assistants and BDRs

If you think about it, the cost of a BDR in San Francisco is probably around eighty thousand dollars a year. And how much work can a single BDR do? what’s the coverage? How many AEs can be served? How many leads can they reach out to? For less than a quarter of the cost of a fully-loaded BDR companies can implement Saleswhale.

Thoughts on AI Replacing Salespeople

For some of those folks out there that are, afraid of Artificial Intelligence (AI), they’re afraid of technology or they get on this thing like it’s going to take away our jobs, what do you say to that? 

The way we think about it is that what Saleswhale is doing, it’s the kind of work that humans do not want to do anyways and people do not necessarily enjoy doing.

Do you want to sit in front of the computer all day long, sending the eighth follow-up email to this inbound lead that just reached out three months ago? It’s mind-numbing work? One thing that we realised is that instead of putting BDRs or SDRs out of a job, we are able to help them focus on the stuff that that only humans can do well: The human connection.

Text edited and adapted for readability

Author Profile

Tom Abbott
Tom Abbott is the author of 'The SOHO Solution' and 'Social Selling' and the creator of the online sales training platform SOCO Academy. Sales leaders engage Tom for his proven solutions to building high performance sales teams that exceed targets and for motivational keynotes that energise their audiences.

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