Leveraging AI To Qualify Leads With Robert Henderson of JumpCrew
Artificial Intelligence has helped companies a lot in turning prospects into qualified leads. Qualified leads are the foundation for a continuous sales improvement in any business venture. Robert Henderson, CEO of JumpCrew, shares with us the significance of understanding how to build a connection with people using AI. Furthermore, he discusses aspects of what drove sales and how we can identify the importance of CRM platforms. In this episode, Robert Henderson emphasizes the importance of transparency and how one can build a strong organization.
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Leveraging AI To Qualify Leads With Robert Henderson of JumpCrew
I’ve got a cool guest. This is something that I have been wondering when it’s going to come about and it’s here. It’s called Full Funnel. This is what I have been thinking of as sales as a service and what a cool technology. These guys have been around for years and this product launched years ago. We are talking about customers, including companies like Twitter, a part of Google and some pretty big companies. Bosch, I heard, was one of your clients as well. Congratulations. I’m excited to have you on the show and talk about where you are seeing AI play a role in what you are doing for clients and where AI is headed in the sales motion. Robert, thanks for joining the call.
Thanks for having me. I'm happy to be here.
Robert, which state are you located in? Where are you at?
We are everywhere but our headquarter is here in Nashville, Tennessee. Most of our team or a good percentage of our team is here at the moment but we have a large remote team all over the country.
You are the CEO. Did you found the business as well?
There is a lot of data that can move the meter for many companies.
Yes, I’m the Cofounder. Me and my Cofounder, David, worked alongside each other in another company called LocalVox where he was the CEO and I was the head of revenue. I’ve got some good working experience there, helping businesses use content to build awareness and drive leads and ultimately decided to do it all over again together. Here we are at JumpCrew.
For my audience to get to know who you are and how you ended up where you are, I always like to ask the question, when you were younger like even 6, 7, 8, 10 years old, what was your passion, if you can remember back that far? What did you like to do when you woke up in the morning?
Anyone that knows me knows that I can hardly remember what I had for breakfast. I’m not sure if I can remember back to six but I will say, as long as I can remember, I have always admired entrepreneurs. I have always admired that grit spirit and the American way of going out there and staking a claim and doing something new, exciting, maybe different, a little bit contrarian.
Did it run in the family or did you see someone that was an entrepreneur that you admired? I wonder how that started.
It certainly ran in the family. My family immigrated from South America, from Peru. In most immigrant families, everybody in the family is an entrepreneur. You can find somebody that does everything, whether it’s a clothing store, a landscaping company or whatever else. Everybody that I knew, my family and everybody else included, were entrepreneurs. I was always in and around it. It’s interesting. The advice that entrepreneurs give you is always like, “Don’t be an entrepreneur.” It’s a hard way of doing things. That’s always the advice that I’ve got for my friends and family who were entrepreneurs but I enjoy the idea of creating new products, new services, new teams, whatever the case might be. The building is inspiring and being around builders is inspiring so I enjoy it.
We have friends who have a Peruvian restaurant in Tucson and she certainly has the entrepreneurial spirit and her husband is a border patrolman. He also gets pulled into the entrepreneurial way on the weekends when they are running the family restaurant. Thanks for getting to know you. I appreciate that. Thinking about AI in the sales motion, a lot of companies are starting to dip their toe in the water on the use of artificial intelligence. I assume that you are probably using it in many areas. Can you share a little bit about some of the concepts and where do you use AI in the sales motion for your customers?
I don’t know how long ago but it used to be that salespersonship was what drove sales. It was probably 85% to 90% of our communications with our customers were what they heard from us, sitting down and having coffee, beer or whatever and we have these one-on-one relationships. That’s the way that information was communicated. Now, especially in a B2B setting, that’s far less true. I would say 70% to 80% of the sale is done in the research motion and probably 20% to 25% is done in that actual voice conversation that occurs when most people have done their research by the time they’ve gotten there. We believe that that research perspective and how we drive leads down the funnel are important. Using AI and big data to understand how to qualify your leads in such a massive web called the World Wide Web is an important part of the process.
Using at the very top of the funnel, the awareness area of, “What’s my TAM? What are all my potential customers? How can I communicate with them online without being a human having to do that? How can I chat with them to qualify them?” To figure out, whether or not a voice should be talking to them without using a human to do that is also important. From JumpCrew’s perspective, we believe in mixing that art and science. A lot of the world has gone with art for the last many years. We are excited to get the science part down. We believe that over time and it’s starting to happen now, the science part will drive the transaction. The art part of having that conversation will always be similarly as important but less of the funnel than it is now.
I remember I have heard for several years, 67% of the buyer’s journey is done before they ever get there. I have to believe that that’s even creeping up. When I buy a car or whatever I’m buying these days, I know exactly what I need to know before I ever talked to a person. I noticed I caught myself saying salesmen because I read The Greatest Salesman in the World. What’s interesting is that I’m saying salesforce, it’s a very broad mix of men and women in sales.
It turns out in some of the studies that I have seen, women outperform men in some areas, like sometimes talking on the telephone. Conversion rates can be a little higher in certain cases. It’s interesting. Have you thought about matching the right seller to the right buyer at the right time based on personality or those kinds of advanced AI-powered features or are we not quite there yet as a society?
Using AI and big data to understand how to qualify your leads online is an important part of the sales process.
I don’t know that we are quite there as far as being that specific but there are a lot of data that can move the meter for many companies. It’s intuitive. You said, “If I’m going out and buying a car, I know exactly what car I want to buy.” That’s true for most people. When we as business leaders look at, let’s say, a CRM, Salesforce versus HubSpot versus a Pipedrive, we have done the research. We know, which one we are leaning towards. We just need somebody to clarify a few things for us is what it boils down to. Understanding how to build that connection using data once the right content is out on the web that they can actually have the opportunity to build that research. I think it’s the sort of data that we use a lot.
For example, I go to pick out a CRM. I fill out a form on HubSpot, Pipedrive and Salesforce, whoever gets to that form the fastest has the highest likelihood of getting my business because the features and benefits of all three platforms are so similar that it’s about me delivering the information to you when you want it and how you want it. When you want it is while you are in front of your computer and how you want it is for me to call you because you filled out a form.
Harvard did this study of over 300,000 sales contacts and it shows that you are 400% more likely to convert on a deal if you get to the form filler within five minutes of the time that they fill a form. That’s very specific. If you get there in seven minutes, you are not as likely to close the deal with the person that got there in two minutes. Using that information is important for us. I can’t tell you how many organizations send out their email newsletter at 3:00 in the afternoon on a Friday. People aren’t reading email at 3:00 in the afternoon on a Friday. Your metrics are going to be bad but if you look at Tuesdays and Wednesdays, it’s going to be a lot better. It’s similar to conversion rates. What time do people pick up their phones? We know what time people pick up their phones in certain industries because we have followed them and tracked that data. I take those things that we have spent a lot of time and effort tracking. As far as matching personalities to industries, I don’t think we’ve gotten quite that granular yet but I’m sure it’s coming.
I have been part of The American Association of Inside Sales Professionals for many years. I go every year to their conference. 2020 and 2021 have been more of a virtual event. They always do the study and InsideSales.com is now XANT. They did a study for the last several years. They would look at all the exhibitors and all the attendees and they would do a study on. If they go to the website, fill out a form, what’s the response time? Even the vendors that are on the floor that are presenting that are supposed to be like the best of the best, 24-hour response to a web lead in most cases, way more than half probably 80% and then they don’t persist. The forms go off into la-la land and sit there. I thought that once they started exposing that to the marketplace that these companies would say, “I better do that, too.” It turns out they don’t buy the masses. I knew it was inevitable that a company like yours would come in and say, “If you can’t do it yourself internally, we know how to do it externally.”
It’s so funny that you say that, Chad. One of my good friends, a CEO whose name I will not mention, a career sales leader, was the victim of one of those reports. He said when they emailed him the results, he was saying, “I can’t believe this. I spent my entire career telling people to get their forms quickly,” and so on. He told me he was 36 hours on average. They filled it out like ten times or something. It’s tough. I do have a piece of advice that I always give people for this one, which is transparency. If you can be transparent throughout the organization on what it is, like what it is that we are tracking internally and how we are performing against what we are tracking, it helps the team rally around like, “Let’s do better. Let’s make it one minute.” I have had the same experience that you have chatted about. Most organizations know that it’s the right thing to do but don’t have the willpower to actually get it done.
We had one of the forms. There are five reports. There’s a single solopreneur lead form, 2 to 5 salespeople, 5 to 10 and so forth. 4 of the 5 forms were working. It goes into our email tool and it responds within 30 seconds. I keep seeing this one certain form and I go into Salesforce. I go, “It never auto-sent the reply to that person. What happened?” It’s because it was missing one column. The Salesforce ID was missing. You don’t have the marketing ops, sales ops and revenue ops. Even if you do, there are a lot of moving parts these days and the science is a lot harder to deliver than the art.
I’m so glad that you said that and not me. There are still companies that you talk to and they will say, “We are going to hire twenty salespeople, give them a phone and set them up on Salesforce. It’s going to be great.” In my experience, it’s not so great. The results end up not being great because it is about those things that you mentioned. It’s about having that funnel set up to where information is talking to each other and it’s feeding back actionable insights to the operators, the engineers of the process. The way that I think about it is now the sales function has changed to more of engineering of the process function, where you are putting people in the right sequences, understanding your most likely customer. You are understanding questions that are slightly different use cases from the way that your product would normally work so that you could see if it fits in the right place.
I believe and I’m sure as you do that in the next 10 or 15 years, that part of the sales process, the voice process that still exists, is going to probably be 5% or 7% versus the 25% or 30% that it is now. The good news for salespeople is that there will always be a very high demand. I know that as soon as somebody like me starts saying that like, “It’s moving in a direction where it will be more automated," salespeople get nervous. The reality is the sales function’s level of expertise will need to be raised over the years and what will happen is that while we will be doing fewer voice conversations, those voice conversations will be more intricate and nuanced. The cookie-cutter stuff that will all be available, in my opinion, on the web and through artificial intelligence will be the stuff that can be held in a library. The more nuanced, actionable custom thing is where we will need to train Salesforce to think through that stuff a little bit more in my opinion.
Dr. Joël Le Bon, who used to be with the University of Houston and now he’s at one of those MBA programs on the East Coast at a pretty major school. I should know it off the top of my head. He wrote the beginning and the conclusion of the AI for Sales book. He read the book twice, all 21 chapters. He summarized that salespeople should focus on areas where building trust is important. AI can focus on some of the more menial tasks, like you said, finding the data and aligning the right content to the right person at the right time.
There’s no way that a person could actually handle all of those kinds of transactions but I want a human to be at the point of a Zoom meeting. They should spend more time and learn how to be more empathetic and have deeper, meaningful conversations because building trust becomes one of the most important pieces of the sales function. Let’s talk really quickly about the future of AI 1, 2 or 5 years from now. You talked a little bit about how that human interaction point might be 5% to 7% instead of the current 25% to 30%. What’s the experience change as a B2B buyer? What changes out there with AI for sales?
There will always be a high demand for salespeople because the sales function’s level of expertise will need to be raised over the years.
I’m excited about voice. I think that up until now, “Click one, click two for billing, click three.” It’s pretty clunky. All of us hate it. You feel like clicking hang up as soon as you start hearing it. The next generation of that is going to be exciting. It’s going to move faster than most people think it will. There are already good examples of it out there in the wild. That, for me, is exciting. To bring it back to being a sales leader and being a salesperson at heart, I always think about what that means for salespeople. I have never heard a salesperson or I have heard very few salespeople say, “I want to prospect and make 100 phone calls to people who don’t want to talk to me. That’s what I want to do with my day.”
That’s a great way to learn but that’s not what most people want to do once they become more proficient at selling. There’s the opportunity for voice AI to help us do a lot more of the qualifying. In the next 5 to 7 years, that’s what we are going to find. A lot more qualifying will happen through voice and over time, we will have that as the gatekeepers and again, to your point, focus a lot more on our actual relationship skills and less on the prospecting side.
I went to the first Amazon voice conference in New Jersey years ago. I remember asking the question, “At what point do these chatbots have voiceover laid on top?” They said, “It’s already possible. As long as you can program in the bot piece, we can layer the voice on top.” I think that’s profound and exactly right. I don’t use my phone anymore. It has dust on my desk. My cell phone, that’s part of life. If I’m going to talk to somebody, I’m going to hit the go button on my Zoom or my RingCentral and talk via VOIP on the computer because I’m used to doing it all day anyway. That’s going to happen where you are used to talking to people. Why not just click a button and interact with the voice chat? You are dead on.
This has been an amazing conversation. Robert, congrats on the success that you have had at JumpCrew. It’s a cool company name. I love that. Nashville is an amazing place. If you haven’t been to the street there, we know of a singer that’s out there, a friend of the family that performs in Nashville quite a lot. He’s in the country music business like a lot of folks are in Nashville. Great place, great company. Thank you for sharing so much now with our audience. I appreciate you joining and make it an amazing day. Thank you, everybody, for joining the AI For Sales show, Robert Henderson, Cofounder and CEO of JumpCrew.
Thank you so much for having me, Chad. I enjoyed chatting.
Thank you, sir.
- The Greatest Salesman in the World
- AI for Sales
About Robert Henderson
Servant Leader. Data Cruncher. Strategist.
JumpCrew is a professional technology-enabled marketing and sales organization. We partner with our clients to build awareness, drive leads, and increase revenue. Our lead generation and inside sales teams are an integrated part of our clients' sales processes.
Our focus on acquisition marketing and sales execution enables our partners to grow faster and exceed revenue goals. JumpCrew's turn-key solutions allow our partners more time to focus their resources on their products and services.