Saleswhale Blog   |   4 Min Read

How do Sales Engagement Tools differ from Saleswhale AI assistants?

07 September 2020 by Gabriel Lim

There are basically 3 ways you can use sales engagement tools, like Outreach and SalesLoft today.

1. Human sales reps operate it manually to reach out to targeted outbound leads

2. Human sales reps operate it manually to reach out to inbound leads

3. You set up an automation via API or Zapier to automatically reach out to inbound leads

Let's look at each one of them.

1. Human sales reps operate it manually to reach out to targeted outbound leads

The first use case is where sales engagement tools really excel. Outbound prospecting is about personalization and relevance. An AI would not be able to match the thoughtfulness that a human sales rep can put into outbound prospecting. 

If you are looking to do outbound prospecting, hiring SDRs / sales reps, and augmenting them with sales engagement tools makes a ton of sense. I wouldn't use an AI assistant for this purpose.

2. Human sales reps operate it manually to reach out to inbound leads

This is where sales engagement tools struggle a little. And this is where segmentation and traditional lead scoring/ prioritization becomes paramount.

Inbound leads comes in all shapes and sizes, from different lead sources.

You wouldn't handle an ideal customer profile (ICP) hot inbound lead "Request for a Demo" form-fill... the same way as you would handle an eBook download or a webinar sign-up.

The ideal strategy is to have your human sales reps handle all hot inbound leads, and also cherry-pick the top percentile of highly engaged ICP inbound leads to work on thoughtfully with their sales engagement tools.

Unfortunately, most marketing teams today either:

(a) Expect their sales teams to work on every single inbound lead with the same high level of thoughtfulness, which leads to leads slipping through the cracks; or

(b) Allow their sales teams to thoughtlessly load up thousands of leads into their sales engagement tools.. and mass blast them with canned 12-email sequences, which leads to high unsubscribe rates, damaging your brand - and depleting your ability to get your audience's future attention.

The latter point is especially insidious when SDR teams have high quotas to hit, and they see sales appointment setting as a pure numbers game.

Screen Shot 2020-09-07 at 5.27.29 PMWe have seen marketing teams have their lists decimated through indiscriminate sales engagement spamming by their sales/SDR teams. With unsubscribe rates as high as 10% per email sequence cadence by their sales teams. Imagine that. Losing 10% of your hard-won leads with each sales engagement cadence by your sales team.

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3. You set up an automation via API or Zapier to automatically reach out to inbound leads

This is where sales engagement tools are not fit for purpose, many only having a rudimentary API and workflow, and where AI assistants like Saleswhale would shine.

You want to have the ability to have personalized two-way email conversations with your leads, set up sophisticated rules for different segments of leads easily, and deploy different Conversational Plays for each.

This is where Saleswhale's AI comes into play.

Here are some example of different segments of leads our customers use Saleswhale on:

  • New inbound leads that have not been worked by the SDR team in the last 48 hours

  • Dormant leads with no sales activity for more than 6 months

  • Post-webinar followups with leads that have not been reached out to, or responded to a sales rep

  • Leads that downloaded a particular eBook, which has been correlated to high propensity

  • Closed-lost opportunities due to "No decision" that are aged more than 9 months old

  • Leads that tripped an MQL score, but have not been contacted by the sales team over the last 7 days

  • Leads who rebuffed the sales team with "not now" rejection reasons, and have not been contacted in the last 4 months

Each of the above segment can be easily configured, and engaged with different messaging, content offers, and call to actions. 

The overarching idea is to leave no (expensive) marketing lead behind, and make sure that every lead stays in motion.

Also, the trick is to do it in a thoughtful, and tasteful manner, that does not recklessly drive up your unsubscribe rates or increase your pool of "Do Not Contact" leads.

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Saleswhale was able to help companies like Unit4 generate over 324 net-new sales opportunities, worth almost tens of millions of dollars of pipeline - by increasing their lead engagement 10X with this philosophy.

The three benefits of Saleswhale over a sales engagement tool

1. Rapidly nurture, qualify and convert leads at scale using two-way email conversations powered by Natural Language Processing & AI 

2. Marketing regains control and can automate workflows, re-engage leads, run closed-loop experiments and fine-tune messaging and segmentation based on best practices 

3. The ability to operationalize marketing content to accelerate middle of the funnel leads -- use white papers, eBooks in your Conversation Plays

sales automation versus AI assistants

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Gabriel Lim

Co-founder & CEO at Saleswhale

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