Customer story

Tradeshift increases sales opportunities by 32% with proactive live chat

with Adam Cleveland, Senior Director
and Kate Swanberg, Product Manager
33 min
Average response time
Increase in sales opportunities
Founded in 2010, Tradeshift is the world’s largest business commerce platform that connects buyers and sellers. It offers solutions from procure to pay to supplier engagement, as well as other financial services.
San Francisco, CA

Tradeshift began with a simple mission: make it easier for businesses around the world to connect, collaborate, and pay each other online. Fast-forward a few years and the business commerce platform now connects more than 1.5 million companies in 190 countries and processes more than $500B in yearly transaction value. To keep up with rising demand for their services, Tradeshift uses Intercom to accelerate the sales funnel and identify more opportunities, faster with proactive website live chat.

Only a few months after joining the company, Adam Cleveland, Senior Director of Global Sales Development and Productivity, worked with the marketing team to figure out a way to enhance lead qualification. “We are a fast-growing company and have a lot of traffic coming to our website,” says Adam. “But with more traffic on our website, our sales and marketing teams didn’t have an efficient way to manage and qualify the increasing number of leads coming through our contact form.” For Tradeshift, this had a direct impact on the length of the sales process. By the time Adam joined, it took the sales team an average of 21 days to qualify a lead and identify an opportunity. Concerned that the continued growth would exacerbate the situation, Adam set his sights on improving the efficiency of lead flow through the sales funnel, especially the hand-off of leads from marketing to sales. He enlisted the help of Kate Swanberg, Product Manager of Growth & Engagement, whose experience in customer engagement and marketing automation would help guide the project.

Tradeshift's headquarters in San Francisco
Tradeshift's headquarters in San Francisco

Faster, better leads

Working together, the two began evaluating the entire sales funnel to pinpoint how to ensure that the right prospect was matched with the right sales rep at the right time. One component that could always be further optimized was the website contact form. “From the sales perspective, the contact form is inherently limited because you can't qualify a lead with just demographic information,” explains Kate. “Our SDRs (Sales Development Representatives) would spend a lot of time following up with leads, only to find out fairly quickly that there wasn’t always a great use case.” Because the contact form naturally lacks a method to allow for immediate communication between website visitors and the sales team, the speed at which SDRs could reach out to qualify a lead could only improve so much. The need for a more immediate form of communication was clear.

Adam and Kate decided to add live chat to Tradeshift’s marketing website. This would give leads an alternative to the contact form and to start a conversation with an SDR at their own convenience. When Kate and Adam evaluated live chat solutions, Intercom’s personal messaging experience, custom workflows, and automation stood out. Kate was already familiar with Intercom, having used the platform for in-app engagement, so adding Intercom for live chat was an easy choice.

“We're generating great leads, and with live chat, our sales team is able to make sure that prospects get the proper and fast attention, at exactly the right moment.”
Kate Swanberg
Growth Product Manager

Intercom’s live chat solution lets Tradeshift’s SDRs efficiently deal with the volume of inbound leads, even as it fluctuates. The messenger experience is a modern and natural way to communicate, and lets SDRs engage with and qualify leads faster than following up on information captured on the contact form. Conversations aren’t limited to a single session or ‘ticket’. Leads can simply return to Tradeshift’s website and open the conversation if they have a follow up question. For the SDRs, previous conversations and lead details are easily accessible, so they have all the context they need to help move prospects through the decision funnel. Once a lead is qualified, the team uses tags and custom attributes to keep track of key details, eventually migrating the lead over to Salesforce CRM system. Since adding Intercom, website live chat has helped to qualify a greater volume of leads than before, and converting a higher rate of leads into paying customers.

Before Intercom, the average time for SDRs to qualify a lead and reach a stage one sales opportunity was 21 days including four touch points, such as marketing emails, webinars, and website visits. “With Intercom,” Adam proudly explains, “the time it took to surface real project opportunities and receive RFPs decreased from 21 days to 3 days. We’re able to identify and engage leads faster than ever before.”

Initiating the conversation, automatically

In addition to managing leads more efficiently, Tradeshift was able to increase the likelihood a visitor initiates contact by adding proactive visitor auto messages. Visitor auto messages allow Tradeshift to send targeted messages based on visitor behavior to start conversations with promising leads. These customized messages welcome new visitors and ask whether they need help from sales, support, or another team. The conversation is then automatically assigned to the appropriate team based on the visitor’s response ensuring visitors receive a prompt reply from the right person and eliminating the need to manually assign conversations.

Tradeshift’s visitor auto message
The Intercom Messenger for live chat on Tradeshift’s marketing website

“By adding the visitor auto message, we saw a substantial increase in visitors who request sales help and, as a result, more stage one opportunities,” Kate explains. “It’s a really pleasant, helpful interaction that gets the conversation going.” The proactive visitor auto message far exceeded the team’s expectations. Between greater visitor engagement with the Intercom Messenger, and reduced drop-off from faster lead qualification, Tradeshift has seen a 32% increase in qualified sales opportunities since adding live chat to their website. “Apart from moving faster and creating more opportunities, Intercom allows us to have a real human conversation. There’s a deeper concept. So often in B2B and SaaS, there isn’t a person involved, so it’s not personable, Intercom changes that.”

Explore products used: Messages, Inbox

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