Using Sales AI to Qualify and Engage Leads with Gabriel Lim

In this Selling in Asia Podcast episode, Tom sits down with Gabriel Lim, one of the co-founders and CEO of Saleswhale. Join their discussion as they mull over how Artificial Intelligence-powered Virtual Sales Assistants can help sales teams qualify and engage leads like never before.

Who doesn’t want more inbound leads and inquiries than you can handle? While this sounds like a dream come true to some people, believe it or not, this is actually a problem that some companies have. 

Introducing Saleswhale

For example, one company we worked with a few months ago was getting thousands of inbound inquiries every month! However, it was impractical, and they couldn’t respond to these inquiries quickly or qualify them well.

They started working with Saleswhale for their Artificial Intelligence (AI) Sales Assistants to help them become more responsive and connect with these potential customers. 

Then, they engaged us to help with the scripting and how to move that conversation forward once they got passed to real people. But that initial response was critical, so they brought in Saleswhale. 

Also read: 3 Ways To Use Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Sales Training

What Exactly Do Saleswhale AI Sales Assistants do?

Fundamentally, what Saleswhale wants to do is create a sales and marketing alignment.

As a marketer, you’re generating so many leads that you hand over these leads irresponsibly to your salespeople without qualifying them. It creates a burden on the salespeople. They have to reach out to maybe a hundred of these leads; of this hundred, perhaps eighty are not in the buying cycle right now. Eighty are not really qualified; they may be students, or they may be researchers.

Therefore, what Saleswhale does is that we provide an assistant for every sales rep who says, “Hey, let us take the first crack at this bunch of leads. Let us do the first outreach to these leads.”

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. It gets routed through a team of operators we have worked with around the clock, around the world, basically doing very micro-task activities like what the intent and sentiment of the email, positive or negative, to highlight and annotate. 

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 call them human operators, and then all these come back to give a composite picture. What is this email all about? Then, we select the right responses that we cleverly personalize 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 can 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 reply on behalf of the AI assistant. 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 got around 40,000 inbound inquiries monthly. 

And it was nice, but if you don’t have the infrastructure to respond to these people quickly, 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 them once they’ve been handed over to the SDR and to clarify the qualification criterion. 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 with a well-running marketing engine that is generating more leads than they have the 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 that are just generating about 40 to 80 leads a week.

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

You generate these leads, and the majority goes dormant. With Saleswhale, we have this automated workflow to reengage inactive leads. Put them in the re-engagement campaign, and then every 90 days, every 120 days, we touch base with them. Check-in with them to see how things are going.

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 and the workflow, and then you can customize 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.

This is not an anomaly; we see similar ROI across all our customers. We are working with one of the leading automotive dealers in the region. In the last campaign, we ran for them, we helped them sell 71 cars. 

How Much Does Saleswhale Cost?

We go by annual licenses, and you can run unlimited campaigns. You can have as many campaigns as you want. The pricing differs but is roughly $20,000 a year and generally upwards.

Cost Comparison Between AI Sales Assistants and BDRs

If you think about it, a BDR in San Francisco costs 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? Companies can implement Saleswhale for less than a quarter of the cost of a fully loaded BDR.

Thoughts on AI Replacing Salespeople

Some of those who are afraid of artificial intelligence (AI) are afraid of technology, or they think it will take away their jobs. What do you say to that? 

We think that what Saleswhale is doing is the kind of work that humans do not want to do anyway 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? We realized that instead of putting BDRs or SDRs out of a job, we could help them focus on the stuff that only humans can do well: The human connection.

More About SOCO/

SOCO/ is an expert-led, award-winning sales training company. We’ve spent decades working with some of the most innovative and forward-thinking companies across Asia and the world.

Have SOCO train your team in the top sales skills needed to take on 2021 through either Virtual Instructor-Led Training through video conferencing software or letting your team learn new skills in their spare time using our popular e-learning platform – SOCO Academy.

More About SalesWhale

Saleswhale is a company that creates tangible results from marketing campaigns. We are a sales automation tool that scales your conversational marketing abilities with an AI Assistant. The AI Assistant acts as your personal BDR/SDR with real qualifying conversations with your leads. Founded in 2016 by Gabriel Lim, Venus Wong, and Ethan Le. Headquartered in both Washington, DC and Singapore.

Deal Management and Lead Qualification Training

Stop wasting time on leads that won’t convert while learning how to manage the deal process of ones that will.

With SOCO’s cutting-edge lead qualification training, your team will learn how to identify and prioritize prospects who are more likely to buy while at the same time learning how to use the MEDDIC or MEDDPICC approach to manage stakeholders and the buying process. They’ll also gain a deep understanding of the customer’s pain points, priorities and decision-making criteria, ensuring every interaction resonates deeply with potential buyers.

Equip your team with the skills they need to assess, prioritize, and effectively engage with leads. By mastering the art of lead qualification, your team will streamline the sales process, boost productivity, and ultimately drive greater revenue.

Don’t let valuable opportunities slip through the cracks. Invest in your team’s success with SOCO’s sales qualification training.

MEDDIC Sales Training, Lead Qualification Training
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