Sales funnels are at the heart of every company’s sales process today. Whether you sell a physical product, service, or software as a service (SaaS), your funnel describes the exact steps required to generate awareness and convert it into action, to borrow the lingo from the popular AIDA (awareness, interest, desire, action) marketing model.
Although that may be common knowledge by now, the idea of optimizing your sales funnel is still very relevant to even the largest businesses today. After all, just slightly tweaking your funnel can have a profound effect on your bottom line. Think of spending time on perfecting the funnel steps as a leveraged investment: a small input can lead to a truly disproportionate outcome.
So what’s the most effective way to improve your funnel right now? The answer lies in funnel compression and live chat for sales.
Funnel Compression: The Key Step To Improving Your Funnel
In general, there are two distinct approaches to increasing your funnel results.
- Lead Generation
Since your website conversions are usually a small percentage of the number of people who are on your website (usually an average of 1.5-2%), you could increase your conversions by simply increasing the number of people on your website - this is the idea of adding volume to the top of your funnel. The problem with this is that it’s difficult and expensive to bring more traffic to your website.
- Funnel Compression
If the middle and bottom of your funnel is not properly streamlined, it doesn’t matter how many leads you throw at the top — most of them will get lost in the process further down. That’s why paying more attention to compressing your funnel is crucial - this is the idea that the steps between the top (entry) of the funnel and bottom (conversion) of the funnel are reduced to be as simple and efficient as possible.
Out of the two approaches to increasing your funnel results, it makes sense to start with the second step of compressing your funnel, as optimizing that allows you to pursue strategies after-the-fact in increasing traffic for reliable scale. This is especially true during COVID-19 where getting the most out of your current resources and website is critical to performance.
So, how do we compress the sales funnel? One of the best ways to do this is through incorporating live chat for sales on your website.
How live chat for sales benefits your customers
The traditional way for potential customers to reach your SDRs (sales development representatives) involves discovering your website, assessing the fit based on the general information provided, finding and filling out a contact form, and waiting to be contacted via email or a phone call.
This process creates a few striking inefficiencies. Instead of getting specific answers to their unique problems, your website visitors have to deduce them on their own from your marketing copy. Moreover, this way your SDRs miss the opportunity to contact a lead in real-time at their most inquisitive state.
The same is true for ecommerce websites which focus on sales. Companies assume that visitors will navigate the website on their own, find what they want, be completely satisfied with all the information, and then click through to the checkout process.
Incorporating live chat for sales actually solves these issues by creating a channel for real-time connection to your sales team, which saves time for the visitor but also lowers the friction of getting prospects to find information on their own, ask important questions, and be qualified for the next step in your funnel as soon as possible.
From our experience, when customers engage in live sales for chat, about 65% of them have one-off questions which can’t be answered by bots or FAQ while the other 35% simply want to be reassured that the product/service will solve their problem.
Why live chat for sales is better for your company
While the benefits of live chat for sales are clear when it comes to your visitors, how does it benefit your company in particular?
As mentioned above, getting a real-time channel of communication shortens the funnel and results in higher conversion rates. Even if the visitor doesn’t seek out live chat for sales, your SDRs can proactively reach out through chat (called a chat invitation) using the same logic that retail store assistants use when they approach customers — most of the time, it presents a helpful nudge towards fulfilling an action or finding critical information (the problem is, most chat invitations are sent out at random rather than deliberately at certain visitors - more on this later).
From a technical perspective, live chat for sales is simply a much more efficient process. A real-time chat combines the engagement level and immediacy of a phone call while still allowing your SDRs to manage more than one conversation at once. It also saves time by letting you solve someone’s problems faster and disqualify leads sooner into the process.
However, there’s a big problem that live chat for sales creates: what if you get too many low-quality leads contacting you through a sales chat and overwhelming your SDR team with tire-kickers?
The most effective solution here so far has been to introduce a chat bot marketing funnel to shield your staff from spending their days answering the most common questions. In fact, lots of companies already use a chat bot marketing funnel today through tools like LivePerson, Intercom, Salesforce, Drift, and more.
While a chat bot marketing funnel is great for fielding general support questions, they are not as sophisticated when it comes to converting visitors into customers — something which live sales agents excel at.
So how do you know when to engage a visitor with a live representative or qualify and engage them with a chatbot? After all, losing a high-quality lead just because they didn’t bother engaging with your bot is certainly not the outcome you want to see.
Optimizing live chat for sales and funnel compression with AI
Enter Lift AI. Leveraging over 15 years of sales data across various industries, including more than one billion website visits and 14 million live sales engagements, Lift AI applies its proprietary Machine Scoring model to instantly qualify your visitors for you in real-time. This AI model is so advanced that it’s able to assign accurate scores even to anonymous visitors, who don’t exist in your CRM database and haven’t performed any predetermined actions.
In the end, using Lift AI lets you drastically shorten your sales funnel and increase its efficiency at the same time. Essentially, you can connect promising buyers to your most effective conversion channels faster than ever (instantly). Your SDRs will become much more efficient with their time by introducing themselves to high-quality leads at the right moment while everyone else will have the option of going through a chat bot marketing funnel on their own. This will result in more conversions and more sales team productivity. That’s what we call a win-win.
Request your free 30-day Lift AI trial today — no credit card required — and see how Machine Scoring through chat can optimize your sales funnel like never before.