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About This Episode
If you’re 30 years old, you grew up using AOL Instant Messenger to build relationships.
Those are the people making business decisions today.
Dan is an Analyst at TOPO, a research and advisory firm that helps companies adopt the patterns and plays to achieve drive revenue and grow faster.
Lead Forms are not immediate, they’re not interactive, and they don’t necessarily connect you to the right person right away. But chat might have big potential in the near future to affect more than just the early stage of inbound.
Dan breaks down the reasons Chat has tremendous potential for your business and answers some of the objections to why companies don’t invest in it.
The 2 Factors that Give Chat Tremendous Potential
Chat windows have been around a long time. That is to say, chat is not new. But it’s becoming a much bigger topic of conversations lately, and Dan breaks down 2 reasons:
The immediacy of it
It’s the opposite of a cold call. A buyer can go to a website and with a company, asking only the questions they want to ask. They have immediate access to a human being, and then they can immediately exit the conversation on their terms. This makes it better than any kind of lead form. No need to fill out a form and wait for someone to call you back.
Additionally, because of the routing technology, you can get the support from the person who has the maximum interest in answering those questions.
The human dynamic
Think about where a lot of your conversations at work are happening today. Dan brought up the program his company uses to have a lot of its conversations: Slack.
Something that Slack is doing is conditioning us to have really important conversations and collect information over chat.
Today, chat is a comfortable channel. One reason for that is that the 30-year-olds today making business decisions grew up using AOL Instant Messenger to build relationships.
The familiarity and immediacy, coupled with routing potential are why chat is having a limelight moment in sales right now.
Many Chats Use Bots. Aren’t Bots Off-Putting?
Dan compares bots to an interactive lead form. Bots can be very intelligent and especially helpful for really high volume inbound leads.
Bots enable you to route people to the appropriate area, while still getting the user experience of immediacy with the chat tool.
If you’re a customer and you have issues, you’re going to need to submit information. Bots can be very helpful in processing all the traffic while providing another someone can engage your company.
One strategy that Dan recommends to prevent chat windows from being closed the moment they open is to only use them on high-intent pages.
Is Chat Optional If You Already Invest In Sales Engagement Tech?
Ultimately, Dan believes chat and sales engagement should be under the same umbrella. Reps need a tool to execute and manage all the channels.
Additionally, because of the notion that the rep should be executing their tasks from the same pane of glass, it’s only logical for chat and sales engagement to merge.
Dan believes this is in the near future, that it’s inevitable because of how much it benefits the end user.
Not only is it likely to replace lead forms, but that sales reps will engage in chat with their prospects later in the sales cycle.
This is already happening via phone. If you’re not constantly engaged in SMS discussion with your prospect throughout a sales cycle, the probability of that deal coming in is much lower.
Dan believes that in the near future it will be common for someone deep in a sales cycle to say, “reach out to joe over chat; those are good questions. Let’s chat him into this meeting right now.”
It will be the immediacy of that channel that allows it to have a role in a later stage sales cycle.
Chat is Only Going to Get a Lot Smarter
While on the topic of the near future of chat, Dan also made some exciting predictions about whats a little further away.
We’re going to be able to have natural language processing tools that are inside our conversational intelligence.
By studying our messaging, the ai will be able to automate the content that we use to follow up.
For example, the ai is listening to the conversation and when it hears the key takeaways from the chat it can auto-produce a deck of the top three takeaways.
With natural language processing, it could even take the voice of the rep and do the follow-up.
To connect with Dan you can find him on LinkedIn or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also if you go to topohq.com you can use the chat window to talk with Dan’s team about the patterns and plays that will help drive remarkable revenue growth for your company.
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