If you want to close deals faster and improve the customer buying journey, Live Chat can be an excellent tool for your sales team. Find out why!
Sales funnels are at the core of business strategies nowadays, whether your company sells B2C products or sells software, equipment, or services in the B2B market. Having the right sales channels will help you guide leads and prospects through the conversion process.
Companies of all sizes have tried hard to fasten the sales cycle and shorten the path that leads customers to get to know a brand to buy from it.
That’s understandable, considering that just a slight tweak in the sales funnel can positively affect a company’s bottom line.
Think about it: the less time a customer spends in your sales funnel, the more return on investment (ROI) he or she generated for you!
But how can you shorten the sales cycle without rushing your customers? Well, Live Chat can be a great way to engage with qualified prospects at the right time and with the right messages, helping to guide them faster towards the purchase.
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Live Chat combines the convenience and real-time experience expected by empowered audiences while also serving as a gatekeeper for your sales team. After all, not every customer on your website is mature enough to convert or start a conversation with sales reps.
In this blog post, we will explore how Live Chat can shorten the sales cycle and the importance of doing so. Read on to find more about the advantages of Live Chat in the sales funnel.
What is the sales cycle?
The sales cycle is the process that comprehends all the touchpoints between your company and potential customers, from the very first contact until the deal is closed.
The sales funnel describes the steps needed to create awareness around your brand, make your prospects considerate buying from you, and then convert. This process can be described through AIDA’s acronym (awareness, interest, desire, action).
The sales Funnel also includes your entire team’s effort to create and maintain interest in your products, engage potential customers, answer their doubts, and finally sell to them.
How can Live Chat shorten the sales cycle?
Reducing the Sales Cycle is about helping customers find the information they need at any time and help them understand your product before you sell to them. Live Chat empowers the customer and relies on conversational commerce, which can help warm up your leads until they are ready to buy.
According to CrazyEgg, 38% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company if they offer Live Chat. Besides, Forrester noted a 10% increase in the average order value when reviewing the sales from customers who used Live Chat before making a purchase, compared with those who did not use it.
A few ways Live Chat can help you shorten the Sales Cycle:
Faster feedback to marketing
Let’s say you have a two-month sales cycle time. That means it will take a lot more time for the marketing team to understand which marketing tactics worked or not for a given group of customers that converted in that period.
Live Chat gives you the possibility to get quicker feedback (in real-time) and then reinforce the marketing strategies that led to better results so far.
Efficiency for B2B Sales Teams
Live Chat is particularly great for B2B companies that wish to streamline their prospection activities since it works as a gatekeeper to filter qualified leads.
In the traditional sales model, the sales cycle is a back and forth process: the customer discovers the website and fills out contact forms. A sales representative then reaches out via e-mail or phone call without fully understanding the customer’s needs.
What if sales reps could make a more assertive approach towards prospects? Live Chat can undermine inefficiencies by helping your company start a personalized conversation with the customer.
A real-time chat combines the engagement level and immediacy of a phone call while still allowing your sales reps to manage more than one conversation at once.
That way, you can understand initial questions and objections in real-time before even having a more in-depth conversation with a client. Live Chat can replace some boring contact and assessment forms since initial client diagnosis can be made directly through the Chat, shortening the Sales Cycle.
Better conversion rates in e-commerce
When it comes to e-commerce, it might sound tempting to assume that your visitors will browse your website on their own, find exactly what they want, be satisfied with the information provided, and then go straight to the checkout process. However, that’s not necessarily how it happens.
More often than not, customers will have doubts about products, payment methods, pricing, and shipping, sometimes leaving your website to search for other options and then eventually come back to make the purchase.
Incorporating proactive Live Chat in e-commerce websites creates a real-time space for customers to ask questions and find complementary information. Altogether, it can help reduce friction in the buying journey and move your customer quicker through the sales funnel.
Reduce Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC)
Once a prospect is engaging via Live Chat, there is no need to put them through the pipelines of your funnel. Live Chat can help you skip them straight to the conversion stage.
Of course, there must be a good strategy behind the conversational flow. It can still be an effective way to reduce costs with social selling and other intrusive marketing channels, allowing you to skip a few steps usually necessary until the purchase.
Live Chat might seem like just a simple resource, but it can be a powerful tool to engage customers and reduce Customer Acquisition costs through the funnel.
Fasten upselling and cross-selling processes
Shortening the sales cycle is not about being pushy or rushing the customer to close a deal. In that sense, Live chat can help you build trust and provide customers with helpful information for their unique needs – resulting in a shorter and more efficient sales cycle.
Beyond optimizing the Sales Cycle for one service or another, Live Chat is useful to perform cross-selling and upselling strategies. With a proactive approach, your sales agents can offer complementary products related to customers’ interests and products they were initially looking for.
As a result, companies that use Live Chat tend to increase average order value and faster ROI in shorter periods.
Let’s say you run a media company, and a customer wants to sign up for a live conference you’re organizing. When he goes to the checkout page to pay for his badge, you could use Live Chat to send a personalized message recommending an essential content subscription with a discount. That logic applies to any industry and niche.
How are brands using Live Chat throughout the sales cycle?
Are you still skeptical about how much Live Chat can help shorten the sales cycle? A study by AMA found that live chat can be used effectively throughout the entire customer journey.
The study shows that:
- 29% of companies are using Live Chat for marketing awareness
- 32% of companies are using Live Chat for early-stage sales development
- 39% of companies are using Live Chat for the post-sales customer support
8 steps to use Live Chat to reduce the sales cycle and close more deals
As great as it is, Live Chat won’t just magically shorten your Sales Cycle from the moment you implement it. Your team should have a well-thought sales strategy that uses Live Chat as a key touchpoint with the customer, considering many variables.
Here are a few steps to make the best out of Live Chat for your sales cycle.
- Understand how long is your sales cycle
The basic step is to understand how long your company’s average sales cycle is. That might seem like an obvious recommendation, but many salespeople have never stopped to think about it.
It is important to consider different customer segments and products and then establish parameters of what your team considers a short or long sales cycle. From there, you can set up a strategy for improvements.
- Make sure your Live Chat is mobile-friendly
Live Chat is usually built for websites and with desktop navigation in mind. However, you should make sure your Live Chat is also easy to access through mobile devices, to offer your buyers a great customer experience.
Customers who are ready to buy want to be able to buy quickly from mobile devices, and the same expectation exists when it comes to getting help or information through Live Chat.
- Bring different content formats to Live Chat
Many people think of corporate and e-commerce Live Chat as a text-only channel, when in fact, many Live Chat tools offer you the chance to incorporate video chat, voice chat, and formats like maps, forms, and spreadsheets embedded into conversations.
When you have different resources within the chat, it’s easier to target personalized messages and answer doubts from visitors, which ultimately can help them make purchase decisions faster.
- Rout customers to the right sales or support agents
There is no use adopting Live Chat to optimize your sales cycle if you’re routing customers to the wrong department or sales representative. Agents should be well-trained and equipped to handle specifics about products and services your offering, payment, and onboarding processes, pricing, etc.
That is something you should be careful about, especially if your company deals with extensive portfolios and many business units.
- Plan different steps of the conversation
If you truly want to use Live Chat to close deals faster, it’s important to have a well-mapped conversation flow for each stage of the customer journey (awareness, consideration, conversion) and each of your buyer personas. Consider the most frequent doubts and stages for each stage in the journey and customer segments that you would like to reach.
What kinds of materials and information they would want to have access to? What is the best language for each buyer persona? Having those aspects in mind, you can better train sales agents and be prepared to guide customers to the next stage.
- Don’t keep Live Chat data in silos
This one is crucial. Live Chat might be an excellent starting point with a potential customer, but you need to make sure data generated from chat sessions are integrated into other sales management platforms.
Live Chat allows you to gather valuable information about the customer profile and his pain points, so it’s thoughtful to have Live Chat software integrated into Customer Relationship Management Platforms (CRM) and Customer Data Platforms (CDP), just so your sales and marketing team can understand the full picture about a customer and set the best strategy to follow up with them.
- Use Live Chat triggers to encourage customers to take action
There are many triggers you can use to send proactive messages in Live Chat and help customers move through the sales funnel faster. you can send messages about coupons, events, discounts, free items, and sensitive offers that are related to their profile.
- Have clear next steps
At last, it’s not enough just to show you have a great value proposition via Live Chat. To truly shorten the Sales Cycle, your team needs to take advantage of Live Chat to indicate CLEAR next steps for the customer.
Does he need a second round of conversation with sales agents? Does he need to complete an assessment? Does he need to proceed to the checkout page? Make sure you use Call to Actions (CTAs) and the right language to guide him through the next steps.
Are you interested in the potential of Live Chat to optimize your Sales Cycle? Maybe your company already uses Live Chat in Customer Support, or perhaps it’s still figuring out how to incorporate it in its website.
Either way, you can experiment with Live Chat little by little and then adjust it to your Sales operation.
Arena has one of the most complete Live Chat solutions on the market, with many features to help you personalize your sales approach.
Request your free trial today and see how Live Chat can optimize your sales funnel like never before.