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“We got a $300,000 opportunity this week from live chat on our site.”

I’m filled with pride as I hear our VP of sales make this statement. I worked hard for six months to get the sales team invested in live chat as a sales channel and I’m finally seeing the results.

It wasn’t easy, though. For many weeks, I sat in meetings or sent detailed reports trying to explain that while we had dozens of leads coming in through live chat, they weren’t being followed up on. I sadly watched the leads’ value diminish the longer they sat in the database.

But now that the sales team members were committed, live chat was proving to be a lucrative channel. I had members of the sales team asking me every week to add them as agents. They wanted in. They wanted in, because the most valuable leads are those that are on your website.

People visiting your website are there looking for something. If you can provide them with the answer they are seeking, you are going to win their favor. That’s where live chat comes in. The ability to connect directly with your visitor, at the moment they have questions about your product is an incredible driver of marketing-qualified leads and sales.

However, you only get out of live chat, what you put in: It’s difficult to realize the kind of results above without joint investment from your marketing and sales organizations. So, how do you get everyone involved? Below are the steps to getting leadership, sales, and marketing, on the live chat train.

1) Get People On Board With Live Chat

Identify an Owner and Then Determine the Benefits

You need a live chat champion. The champion will most likely live in the marketing team. Once this person is identified, it’s critical that they set expectations with leadership, the marketing team, and the sales team regarding what live chat will accomplish.

It depends on the stage and structure of your business, but there is a likely a gap that live chat will fill. Define your initial expectations for the benefits that chat will provide. Here are a few suggestions.

  • Improved understanding of site effectiveness
  • Better insight on site visitors
  • Increased site conversion rate
  • Increased # of leads
  • Increased # of MQLs
  • More sales opportunities

Choose one of these improvements as a goal and make it your focus for the roll out and testing of live chat. Then, set a specific amount of time and an approach to your test. At the end of that period, measure your results.

Test It Out

Get started with a trial. Most live chat providers have a trial and SnapEngage offers a 15-Day Free Trial. It’s incredibly easy to setup. The setup typically just requires adding a snippet of code to your website. Once you’re up and running, you can start to validate the improvements you’ve defined almost instantly.

As you conduct your test, there are a few ways to know if live chat is working:

  • You are chatting daily with your site visitors and chat volume is increasing
  • The bounce rate on the pages where chat is installed is decreasing
  • Marketing is driving conversions from visitor to lead through live chat
  • You learned something from your chat conversations about your market or how to improve your website
  • Your sales team closed a deal with a lead that came through live chat
  • The chat agents are consistently using the tool

Illustrate the Benefits

After you have conducted your test, report your findings and the improvements you experienced to the sales and marketing team. Then, project those improvements out over a longer period of time to provide a full picture of what the future with live chat might look like.

As I mentioned, people who use live chat as an acquisition and conversion channel often find it to be one of the most successful drivers of leads in regards to volume and quality. We’ve seen that clients who use chat, experience a 10-20% increase in conversion from visitor to lead. If you experience an increase in your site conversion rate of 10%, show the impact of that over time.

Here’s an example:

Without Live Chat

With Live Chat

Site Visitors/Mo