In the previous blog, I discussed at a general level, five considerations relevant when/how to direct salespeople online. This time, I will go deeper into the first level: Sales strategy.
Sales strategy defines the top level of what and to whom chat agents sell. It defines the stage of a purchase process during which the chat is activated. Also, it offers guidelines for sales persons operating the chat. The sales strategy has a strong link to goals,metrics, the allocation of resources as well as post-chat processes guiding how the chat agents work. More specifically, a chat sales strategy reflects for e.g. the choices made related to the visibility and proactive features of the chat.
With the sales strategy, you need to set the targets and define your goals for chat sales. Chat can be harnessed to boost sales within selected product categories or to support marketing actions. The wider the range of the company's products and services are, the more effort should be put into determining and maintaining focus. By focusing on the few most important goals, even a small chat team can achieve excellent results.
By focusing on the few most important goals, even a small chat team can achieve excellent results.
If you want to promote the sales of products and services on a large scale, I encourage you to form chat sales teams based on areas of expertise. You can, for example, create different chat teams for B2B and B2C offerings. On the other hand, a car dealership could have one team collecting sales leads while another team is booking a car servicing.
An essential part of the sales strategy is the decision of what kind of visitors or potential customers sales agents are approaching. For example, an online store chat agent can provide assistance and expertise to the customer visiting the website for the first time. Another option is to focus on reinforcing customers' purchasing decisions and up-selling to visitors with a shopping cart value of more than 100€. By collaborating the chat efforts to the purchase value or even sales margins, you can allocate your resources more efficiently and increase profitability.
By collaborating the chat efforts to the purchase value or even sales margins, you can allocate your resources more efficiently and increase profitability.
When planning which visitors to target with chat you can take advantage of tools such as marketing automation and lead scoring. Chat can be utilized to close the deal when a visitor arrives at the website through marketing campaign e-mail. Sales calls can be agreed via chat discussions with visitors identified as warm leads. You can also use purchase personalities to tailor your chat sales strategy. And you can also link chat with your content marketing if you start the discussion by referring to the content of a blog post.
Part of the strategy planning is to decide the timing and content of a proactive chat message. This message should catch the target group's attention and start the conversation. If the chat greets all visitors immediately upon their arrival to the company's front page, it might be challenging to limit chat only to targeted audience. On the front page, you can target the chat by setting up proactive messages based on traffic sources (Google, social media sites, etc.).
If shoppers are very price conscious, it may be a good idea to activate the chat as soon as visitors see the price of the products they're looking for.
If you want to focus on boosting sales in certain product categories, potential customers should be approached only when they are browsing through the relevant product pages. Alternatively, the chat can be activated in the later stage of the purchase process to assure the hesitant buyer that, for example, the selected flight tickets are a really good deal. If shoppers are very price conscious, it may be a good idea to activate the chat as soon as visitors see the price of the products they're looking for. This way, visitors can be gently nudged towards making a purchase decision and stopping price comparison.
The sales strategy defines sales tactics; what kind of actions salespeople take to move forwards and close deals. The chat agent can guide the customer through the entire online purchase pipeline, by doing this, the visitor's interest will have increased to the extent that they will end up purchasing a product.
As we all know, there are cases which unfortunately include some well-known pitfalls in the purchasing process. Should these cases arise, it’s important that this information is shared with the salespeople so that they know how to tackle them. On websites with no purchasing option available, closing and confirming the sales can be done using other channels. Orders can be placed directly in the chat as long as the security and the ability to confirm the customer's identity are at a sufficient level.
Sales strategy also determines how and when sales leads collected by chat agents are handled.
Sales strategy also determines how and when sales leads collected by chat agents are handled. Meaning that you can collect leads and do the follow-up (a call or e-mail) later on, or then you can redirect the conversation immediately, to a specialist who can continue the discussion with the customer. To make sure things run smoothly, you need to agree on how far chat teams validate the sales leads before they send them forward for further action. When you coordinate follow-up actions, remember that speed is of the essence! Customers expect their needs to be met immediately, and chatting is all about real-time communication.
Do not get locked into one method!
I strongly believe that a successful and effective sales chat is built on top of a well-prepared strategy. In addition to the previously mentioned points, a good sales strategy includes the ability to innovate new and effective chat tactics, the courage to invent and experiment with alternative ways of operating, and the willingness to challenge and develop chat activities. What works now does not necessary work anymore six months from today!