Saleswhale is an intelligent bot that manages and coaches B2B salespeople to help them get more qualified appointments and demos. The bot, called Orca, monitors sales activities and provides real-time feedback on common prospecting mistakes and suggestions to improve. We sat down with the founders to talk about what they’re working on.
What YC Likes About Saleswhale:
"Building a great sales team, processes and quality control is necessary for many companies, but it's a grind. Saleswhale is coming to their rescue."
-Adora Cheung, Partner at Y Combinator
YC : How does Saleswhale work?
Gabriel: A salesperson adds the leads they plan on contacting to our platform and then they set up a sequence of emails to send out. In order for these emails to do well, the salesperson has to do a variety of things to make sure they get opened. They have to personalize it with a good subject title, find interesting news on each lead, and even differentiate the tone they use–how you talk to a CEO is very different than how you talk to a VP of Sales.
After they’ve crafted these emails, Saleswhale analyzes the content of the emails and annotates the parts that need to be tweaked in order to increase the open rates.
Venus: It’s even simpler for the managers. They get a visual of their entire sales team’s performance with actionable data. If a sales rep is coded yellow, the sales manager can go in and see their past prospecting emails to see what went wrong. For example, the manager might see that the last ten emails were not personalized so they can work one-on-one with the sales rep to improve their tactics.
YC : Where did the idea for Saleswhale come from?
Gabriel: I used to manage a sales team in Singapore and spent the majority of my time coaching sales reps on best practices for email marketing. Coaching them meant going through their emails to look at their subject lines, their prospects, and their email templates. And I had a big team, which meant I often spent the whole day doing this. I started talking to other sales managers and realized that this was a huge pain point.
Venus: What ends up happening with a lot of companies is that they replace their sales team multiple times a year. Most sales reps start on a three month probationary period to see how they perform. But most managers don’t have the time to properly train all the new reps so they underperform and end up leaving. Or, if the managers do invest time, sales reps often end up transferring jobs or getting promoted and leaving the team. Before we started working with one of our clients, they had replaced their entire sales team three times over six months. This is pretty common so managers become jaded over time.
YC : How have sales managers responded since they implemented Saleswhale?
Gabriel: They love it. They can hand off all their sales onboarding and coaching to us. Sales managers can now focus on delivering one-on-one coaching with the sales reps that need it the most while we help manage the rest of the team. And when a sales rep needs help, they have an assistant to turn to rather than having to bother their sales manager. We’re really a tool that enables both parties to do their best work.
YC : What are some of the most common mistakes you seen with email marketing?
Gabriel: We work with enterprise companies, which means most of the emails are being sent to C-level executives or VPs. If you want a reply from these people, your email can’t be too long or feel markety. If it is, it’s going to be thrown in the trash or marked as spam.
A lot of sales rep don’t do their research to customize these emails to make them relevant to each individual. People want to feel like emails are personally addressed to them, not the masses, and a good way to do that is to look at what is happening with that person or their company. Maybe they were recently promoted or their company just landed a huge deal. Including these things makes a big difference.
YC : Why hasn’t anyone built this product yet?
Ethan: Current products focus on automation of these outbound emails but there aren’t any that try to coach people. With email, every single touchpoint is captured digitally so it’s easy for us to pinpoint areas of improvement. Automation has been happening across many sectors but it hasn’t touched sales until recently. With advancements in machine learning and natural language processing, we’re able to make more accurate predictions than before.
YC : What’s the long-term vision for Saleswhale?
Gabriel: We want to be able to fully automate the coaching, training, and management of sales teams. We want to be enable sales managers to focus more on high-level things like building interpersonal relationships with employees and clients rather than focusing all their energy on training and managing their sales team.