Digital Transformation Exchange: Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence: The New Deal Maker

Local startup Saleswhale shared its automated sales assistant at a recent Digital Transformation Exchange session, showcasing how artificial intelligence can accelerate the sales process and closing a deal along the way!

The average B2B sales professional today spends over two-thirds of their time on non-sales related tasks. Updating CRM systems, filing reports and other administrative matters do not contribute to a company’s top-line revenue but have been accepted as a necessary evil. This is now changing with the rise of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).

While global giants like Amazon have been making headlines for deploying AI in both front and backend operations, a Singapore-based startup has been quietly developing an automated sales assistant to relieve B2B sales professionals of laborious, repetitive tasks. Founded in late 2015, Saleswhale made a splash in April this year when it raised US$1.2 million in seed funding.

“Saleswhale was built to solve a problem we faced in our previous startup. Our sales reps were spending too much time following up with and qualifying inbound or stale leads. Almost 35% of leads fell through the cracks, while others were followed up once or twice then abandoned in favour of hotter, fresher leads. This was a huge waste of perfectly good leads and it was affecting our sales efficiency,” said co-founder Gabriel Lim.

“As engineers, we figured there had to be a better way to do this, so we built an AI sales assistant that is relentless, never drops the ball and is 100% accountable,” he said.

The Saleswhale solution is intelligent enough to engage leads via email, following up persistently if no response is received and interpreting the reply if a response is received. Once a lead has been nurtured to the desired point in the sales process, the AI assistant hands it seamless to the team. It also automatically syncs sales activities with CRM and reporting systems so sales professionals are no longer bogged down by tedious, automatable tasks.

“Sales is, and will always be, a people business. We’re applying technology in a way that allows sales people to do what they do best,” added Gabriel.

He shared this with a group of corporations and SMEs at a recent Digital Transformation Exchange (DTE) session that focused on Sales & CRM technologies. Organised by the Action Community for Entrepreneurship (ACE), DTE is a series of knowledge-sharing events designed to help startups connect with corporates and SMEs and highlight the various innovations and technologies that are created by them. . Each session, which carries a thematic sectorial focus, allows the participating startups to share about upcoming trends, opportunities and challenges in their areas of expertise.

“DTE is an opportunity for startups to get exposure to companies and people in your industry. I personally found it very useful to hear from other participants and network with the attendees,” said Gabriel, who also revealed that Saleswhale was able to close a deal with one of the attendees just a week after the event. This is in addition to a prospect list of 14 companies that their sales team has been following up with.

“My advice is to make it a point to arrive earlier and leave later, so you have time to have as many meaningful conversations as possible,” he said.

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