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How to Incorporate Live Chat Into Your Inbound Sales Process

By Daniel MurphyJul 13, 2017

inbound sales live chatThere is a trend toward sales reps utilizing chat as a new channel for lead qualification. But if you throw it onto your B2B website and let your sales team loose, you may turn off prospects and damage the bottom line. That’s why Kuno asked Daniel Murphy of Onshape to share some of his experience implementing live chat into an inbound sales process.

Your sales team is psyched about adding live chat to the website because they’ll have a new channel where they can sell. Your management team loves that it might increase lead generation and improve qualifying leads. And you are more than willing to give it a try. Basically everyone is over the moon about this idea, but now you have to figure out how to implement live chat into your inbound sales process.

I’m here to help.

My company recently added live chat into our sales team’s workflow. We’re still in the early days, but we’ve already learned a lot. Here’s how you want to do it.

Don’t interrupt existing sales process with this shiny new toy

First, you need to know that trying to do too much, too quickly will cause a disruption with sales. It is easy to see a high volume of live chat conversations and consider instantly adding your entire sales team to prospect on live chat. I think that would be a great mistake.

Before you hand the reins of a powerful communication tool over to your reps, consider starting with just a couple members of your sales team. How about adding just your business development reps (BDRs)? You want to test specific variables and get initial feedback from only a few voices. Which segment of your audience uses chat? What’s the daily volume of conversations? What do your site visitors ask on live chat?

Live chat is exciting, but it could easily become a distraction that prevents your sales team from meeting their monthly quota. Don’t let it. You also can automate chat and segment who you’re talking to with live chat tools like HubSpot’s Messages feature, Drift and Intercom.

Have your sales team chat with already-qualified leads, not anonymous visitors

If you decide to introduce live chat to a couple of sales reps, don’t let them work anonymous visitors in an attempt to qualify new leads. You might not realize it’s possible to segment live chat conversations, but it is.

Tools like Drift and Intercom integrate with CRM and marketing automation products. My company uses Drift, which integrates with HubSpot, so we pipe a lead’s score into Drift and segment our conversations by MQLs. This way we know most of the people we’re talking to on our site, without having to ask for their name and email. By having our sales team communicate with only MQLs, we’re only serving them the hot leads that are worthy of their time.

Also, why have sales reps qualify anonymous visitors when you can have a chat bot do it? Drift has LeadBot, which marketers can program to ask questions and collect answers from anonymous visitors. As those answer come in, Drift builds a contact profile and creates a new contact in your CRM or marketing automation software.

Marketing should run experiments, while sales conducts conversations

At my company, the marketing team is running experiments, like posing different questions to visitors, building LeadBots and adjusting where live chat appears on our website. We have performance data for our conversations, ignored messages, average time to respond to a visitor and other actions.

All of that testing and analyzing is the marketing team’s responsibility. None of our sales reps, managers or sales ops team is spending time on that process. Sales should think of live chat as a new channel to test the same pitch they do on the phone. Don’t reinvent the pitch because then you won’t be able to fairly compare live chat against phone or email.

Our marketing team also is working anonymous visitors and answering technical questions about our product. We serve as BDRs for live chat. It keeps the sales team focused on closing deals and gives the marketing team some exposure to commonly asked questions, objection handling and a playground to test new marketing messaging.

How to measure success with live chat

Does your sales team run reports that look like this? 

sales report

Because phone calls are so telling of sales activity and performance, sales operations usually has a chart like this for management.

But you’re not ready for something like this with live chat. You most likely won’t have enough conversations for it to be revealing of sales performance.

Instead, here are a couple areas to analyze:

  1. What percentage of visitors who are prompted use live chat?
  2. What’s the average response time by your sales team? If slow, how do you get your sales team to respond faster?
  3. What questions can you ask your MQLs to get them to respond to messages? What types of segmentation can you do with your visitors to get more personalized?
  4. What influence does live chat have on deals? Are hot prospects using live chat as an alternative to phone conversations? Can a sales rep close someone on live chat?

Qualitative data is important, too. If you’re managing the implementation process of live chat, sit down with your sales reps and get feedback. Do they like it? Are they having the right types of conversations? What concerns do they have?

B2B companies across the globe are jumping on the live chat bandwagon. This trend might become a major focus on marketing and sales teams of the future, so it’s time to try it for your company.7-Steps-Improve-Your-HubSpot-ROI

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Daniel Murphy
The Author

Daniel Murphy

Daniel Murphy is a startup marketer currently helping grow Onshape, which is building next-generation CAD software. Daniel writes about startup marketing for his blog, A Startup Marketer.
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