If Speed Is Your Thing, Then You Can’t Ignore Chat Anymore
In business, speed kills. It kills your competition if you can get back to the prospect faster, get them what they want faster, give them a better experience faster, answer their questions faster and get them information faster.
If speed is so important, why are so many companies still relying on the slower-than-molasses sales and marketing tactics that don’t take advantage of today’s technology?
It’s time to break down some of the old marketing and sales paradigms that are slowing your sales cycles, causing great prospects to go elsewhere and making your marketing team work harder than needed around lead generation for your sales teams.
Still not sure this is an issue? Check out this, from a HubSpot blog article:
- The average first response time of B2B companies to their leads was 42 hours
- Only 37% of companies responded to their leads within an hour
- 16% of companies responded within one to 24 hours
- 24% of companies took more than 24 hours
- 23% of the companies never responded at all
This is both a sobering statistic of businesses failing to make a priority, and also a brilliant opportunity for responsive sales teams willing to engage leads before their competition calls them back.
This research found “the odds of making a successful contact with a lead are 100 times greater when a contact attempt occurs within five minutes, compared to 30 minutes after the lead was submitted. Similarly, the odds of the lead entering the sales process, or becoming qualified, are 21 times greater when contacted within five minutes versus 30 minutes after the lead was submitted.” (Oldroyd, 2007)
There is more data about where these stats came from; check out HubSpot’s blog article on the topic here.
Let’s dig into how just a few modifications can position you to pick up the pace, blow your prospects away with your response time and close more new customers in record time.
Turbo Tip 1 – Skip The Form
The form experience is pretty lame. We’ve all been through it. Fill in the fields, give information we don’t really want to give, wait for our confirmation email, wait for another email from the company, wait for our meeting and maybe even wade through someone’s schedule to pick a meeting slot. Yawn!
Skipping this entire experience is key to accelerating revenue generation. What I described above can take a day or more. In many cases it can take a couple of days or a week before you finally speak with someone.
Chat allows visitors to talk with you instantly.
They can ask you questions. You can ask them questions. They get what they’re looking for quickly. You get information on them, including their buyer journey stage, their company and their challenges.
A hidden benefit here is that people who want information quickly are generally experiencing a shorter than normal buyer journey. They want information fast because they need it fast. They have to make a decision quickly.
Our client data shows that chat-generated leads typically run a sales cycle roughly 40% shorter than traditional form-generated leads.
Chat by design is helping prospects signal that their project is a priority, they’re moving fast and they want someone to move fast with them.
Turbo Tip 2 – Talk Directly With Sales
While the marketing-qualified leads are better, the sales-qualified leads are also better. As we noted above, prospects who are ready to talk with you are happy to chat with you.
Instead of scheduling that initial sales qualification meeting (we call it a discovery call), you can get a lot of that information via chat, right from the website, during your first chat conversation.
Chats can be routed to identified sales reps if accounts are assigned to reps in advance. Chats can be assigned to reps via a wide variety of assignment rules, including round robin, alternating, territory and custom rules like website behavior, number of employees or your ABM campaign account assignments.
Whatever rules you set up, now your reps are getting active conversations with prospects who want to speak with a rep, and your reps can proactively continue to qualify leads via chat, adding to any profile information the chat bot has already picked up.
It’s highly efficient and an excellent way to generate sales-qualified leads quickly for your sales team.
Turbo Tip 3 – Get Better Qualified Leads
Speaking of sales-qualified leads, chat has the ability to deliver a better qualified lead. If you set your bots and chat workflows up properly, then they should be asking qualifying questions to your visitors as part of the chat experience.
We recommend three sets of questions: power questions, pain questions and fit questions. We use the Pain, Power, Fit (PPF) methodology to qualify prospects. Whatever methodology you use, you can tailor your questions accordingly.
Now when reps are alerted to active chats, the also get the history of the chat and the information the prospect provided in the chat. Yes, they are the decision-maker. Yes, this is the company’s top priority right now and yes, they are looking for a company just like yours.
A prospect like this would score a very high PPF score, and the rep would know they have a potential sales opportunity that needs their highest level of attention and most responsive attention.
Even leads that might score a bit lower can still be picked up, nurtured and moved along the sales cycle by a rep who can ask the right questions, tweak the pain accordingly and provide solid advice and guidance that makes the prospect reconsider their approach or priority.
“After talking with you, I think we are ready to move forward now. Thank you for the information and advice. Let’s go to the next step with you guys.”
This is an actual quote from a prospect who reached out to us via chat. They thought they were a few months away from needing us, but after a conversation, they decided to move forward sooner.
Acceleration of the sales cycle is a major business outcome from adding chat and conversational marketing to your tactics list.
Turbo Tip 4 – Create A More Personal Experience
Marketers talk about personalization all the time, but the data supports a different reality. Check out these stats from Outgrow:
- Marketers see an average increase of 56% in sales when they use personalized experiences
- 51% of digital marketers say that personalization is their number one priority
- Only 12% of marketers are “very” or “extremely” satisfied in the level of personalization in their marketing efforts, while 38% are “moderately” satisfied
- 87% of marketers report a lift in success due to personalization' 54% experience a lift of almost 10%, while 13% experience a lift of over 30%
It appears that marketers are searching for ways to add personalization, and that personalization drives results and business outcomes.
But the consumers see a much different view. They want personalization but don’t see it in execution. Here are more stats from Outgrow:
- 77% of consumers prefer to choose, recommend or pay more for a brand that provides a personalized service or experience
- 87% of consumers surveyed say that personally relevant branded content positively influences how they feel about a brand
- Just 22% of shoppers are satisfied with the level of personalization they currently receive
- 72% of consumers say that they only engage with personalized content
- More than 30% of consumers are likely to recommend your personalized service and leave a positive review
Chat is the ultimate in personalized experiences. Yes, you have a bot component to the chat experiences, but the automated responses are designed to be personal based on the input from your visitors.
And very quickly they can be moved to the sales team, the customer service team or even the marketing team, so that a person picks up the conversation and provides a very personalized experience.
A chat I had with a prospect turned into a six-figure deal, without any competition during the sales process. The prospect went from click to chat to close, without any interest in talking to any other agencies.
That is a business outcome, that as a CEO, I’m willing to invest more in.
Turbo Tip 5 – Get Faster Answers To Questions
We’ve been talking about leads and sales opportunities, but some people on your site right now are not ready to come out of the wilderness and identify themselves to you.
They don’t want to talk to a rep. They don’t want to be called. They’re not ready to do anything but collect information and get smarter.
They don’t have to read an e-book, whitepaper, slide deck or infographic. They don’t have to attend a webinar or fill out a survey. They don’t even have to look through your website or search your blog in the hopes an answer presents itself.
They just have to ask.
It’s a similar experience to you showing up at that big-box store and wondering how you are going to find the surge protectors. Instead of wandering around the store for 15 minutes, you ask a blue-shirted concierge and they walk you to your exact product.
You’re out of the store in 10 minutes.
Now your visitors find your website and they just need a few questions answered. Instead of making them wander through your site until they find it, you can encourage them to simply ask and you can point them to the page or link they need in seconds.
This kind of experience does wonders for your brand, but it also sets your company up as a resource that understands the buyer journey, understands the needs of your prospects and has designed a wonderful visitor experience.
Are they going to come back when they’re ready to buy? You bet they are!
This experience might be the difference between talking to you and talking to your biggest competitor. Simply because you’re easy to do business with, understand their needs and were extra helpful, now the business is yours to lose.
Sometimes these little experiences are the difference between getting the big deal and losing the big deal. Prospects remember these experiences, and you never know who they’ll share these experiences with long after they’ve left your website.
Start creating these experiences now and the payoff will come sooner than you think.
Turbo Tip 6 – Ungate Content But Still Get Contact Info
There is one more side to this conversation: Gated content or ungated content? It’s a conversation going on in many marketing circles.
About half of marketers are in favor of removing the gates on everything and focusing not on marketing-qualified leads but on the number of sales-qualified leads or sales opportunities generated. By removing the gates on content you’ll never get any marketing-qualified leads, just those people who ask to speak to a sales rep or are sales-qualified leads.
The other half of marketers want all the content gated to generate as many marketing-qualified leads as possible and then nurture those leads into sales-qualified leads in a more proactive way.
Neither is 100% right, and there is probably an appropriate mix of gating and ungating that makes the most sense, but chat allows you to do something very interesting.
We call it casual gating. Drift calls it conversational content. There is an example of it on our website; take a look at it here.
Casual gating marries the educational content with chat. You then use the chat while your visitor is reading your educational content to ask more questions and eventually attempt to generate a new contact, a marketing-qualified lead or maybe even a sales-qualified lead.
Since there is no form, you’re good there. It’s progressive, meaning you get to know them slowly and they answer just a question or two as they read through your content. This allows the lead to be further qualified, and you give them the option to go fast or slow.
You don’t have to pick a side when it comes to gated or ungated. You don’t have to choose one or the other, and you don’t need to run hybrid campaigns where you have some ungated content and some gated content, which can leave the visitor feeling a bit confused.
Casual gating allows you to open up your content and still collect contact info, if and when the prospect is ready.
All of these six upgrades are going to fast-track your lead generation efforts, shorten your sales cycles and help you get the highest quality leads into the hands of your sales reps.
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