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More than just conversations: the next frontier of live chat for sales

Senior Product Marketing Manager, Intercom

Daniel Harris

@danielharri5

Main illustration: Stephanie Singleton

Sales has changed. Messaging and live chat are the new medium for initial sales conversations, not the phone calls or forms of old.

Here at Intercom, we’ve seen this shift happening first-hand. Since we launched our live chat for sales product, the people reaching out to us to learn more are sales decision-makers. They’re VPs of sales, sales directors and CROs.

Here’s what they tell us they’re looking for in their messaging tools and the questions that really matter to them.

  • How many leads can we capture?
  • How many meetings will we book?
  • How many sales opportunities can we generate?

Can you sense an underlying theme? What matters to salespeople today are actions, not conversations. They come to us looking for a messaging tool that will have a demonstrable impact on their business, not just another communications channel.

We see the demand for action clearly in our data: 1 in 7 conversations in the Intercom Messenger links out to forms, meeting scheduling services, surveys, video conferencing tools, articles and other similar resources.

With that in mind, we’ve redesigned our Messenger so that it’s easier than ever before for customers to take action in the messenger. Here’s a few ways salespeople have been using our live chat tool to drive action, revenue and results for their business.

Live chat lets you book meetings with your best leads automatically

Time kills sales deals. Whether it’s the time it takes for you to follow-up with a good lead, or the time it can take to schedule a meeting.

“2PM tomorrow sound good?”

“No good I’m afraid – how about 1PM on Friday.”

“Nope. I’m booked then. Tuesday OK?”

Pretty absurd, right?

With our Google Calendar Meetings app, your visitors can automatically book a demo with you right inside the Intercom messenger. Avoid the annoying email back-and-forth, and let people choose from the times both of you are actually available.

Google Calendar Meetings App

Now comes the tricky part: how can you make sure that the meetings you’ve booked are with the right kind of customers, the people who are truly interested in buying rather than those just kicking the tyres? Our bot Operator does this for you automatically.

It asks questions to qualify your leads so your sales teams don’t have to, which means better quality meetings, more revenue for your business and a more efficient sales team. Even when all of your salespeople are snug in their beds, Operator can continue to run on your website 24/7 and ask all of the same qualifying questions your sales team would ask.

operator bot qualification

That’s the case for Salesloft, where Intercom now drives 40% of their sales demos, an 8x improvement over their previous live chat tool.

Move leads through your funnel with demos, content and video calls

Sales today is all about being helpful and building trust, not about being pushy or trying to close a deal as soon as possible. That means live chat needs to allow people to buy things the way they want to buy them, and businesses need to provide them with the actions that will help them get there.

For example, let’s say a visitor lands on your website and starts a conversation. They’re interested in your product, but aren’t yet in a position to buy. Some may need convincing about the value of your product. Others may need a demo or some targeted content. Thankfully, we’ve built ways to help you do all of that in our messenger.

Book demos with the Get a Demo App

Book demos with the Get a Demo App

The Get a Demo app lets leads request a demo right inside the messenger, which means your sales team can spend valuable time working demos and less time playing phone or email tag to schedule those demos. Visitor->Chat->Demo can all be arranged automatically in a matter of minutes to dramatically speed up your sales cycle.

Instantly move from chat to discovery call or product demo with video, voice and screen share apps

Chat is a great way to scale sales conversations on your website and identify valuable leads – but once you know you’re chatting with a valuable lead, getting them on a discovery call or giving them a product demo is typically the next step towards converting them to a customer. With our Google Meet App you can instantly move from chat to a video call without leaving the messenger. Additionally, you can start a voice call with our Aircall app, or simply screen share with our Daily.co and Upscope apps to give a quick product demo.

Start video calls with the Google Meet App

Subscribe visitors to your newsletter with Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor

Not everyone who lands on your website has their credit card out, ready to buy. Does that mean you ignore them? Hell no. The best sales teams take these cold leads and keeps them warm with a series of messages tailored to their interests.

If you use Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor, you can invite your website visitors to subscribe to your newsletter straight from Messenger home.

Subscribe visitors to your newsletter with Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor

This gives you a new way to capture your visitors’ details, grow your subscriber list and nurture more leads into customers.

Convert trials with payments in the messenger

Free trials are great for giving people an easy way to try out your product. But as a salesperson, there’s a massive gap between getting names and getting dollars. On average, some of the best SaaS businesses see a free-to-paid conversion rate of 25%, but in all probability, it’s less than 10% for the majority.

That’s because today’s B2B sales cycle is complex for the buyer and the seller and the more hoops you make your prospects jump through during the sales process, the greater the odds of losing them. It’s essential that any salesperson today makes the transition from free to paid as smooth as possible.

With the Stripe Subscriptions app, converting trial users into paying ones takes all of 30 seconds. Let’s say one of your hottest prospects is coming to the end of their free trial. Now, your sales team can convert them into a paying customer with the click of one button in the Messenger.

Give your prospects a smooth ride and they’re more likely to go the distance. Here’s what Dave Carlson, CEO of Shopventory, had to say.

The Stripe Subscriptions app in Intercom’s Messenger is huge win for our sales team. The app has reduced friction for our customers and helped our sales team dramatically increase conversions. Instead of sending our customers a list of instructions to upgrade in the product, we simply send the app right inside the messenger and customers can confirm the upgrade right there and then.

Convert free trials with the Stripe Subscriptions App

Convert free trials with the Stripe Subscriptions App


Live chat for sales teams is here to stay, but we need to to adapt it to what salespeople need: shorter sales cycles, better quality leads and more conversions. With our messenger apps, we’re helping sales teams drive real action, giving them conversions as well as conversations, for their businesses. Want to give it a try? Head this way.


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