Editor's Note: The following is a guest blog post by our integration partner amoCRM.
Things ever so rarely go exactly according to plan. Lead generation, communication, sales - these are never-ending problems without a permanent solution. That’s because customers are becoming smarter, pickier and distracted by the abundance of offers all around them. To drive sales, you’ve got to find a way right to their hearts and minds.
Good thing you don’t have to look far: there is a way to grab their attention, and it’s called conversational business. This strategy revolves around messengers, chatbots and voice assistants as a means to provide top-notch service.
Selling with messengers and chatbots is so big and exciting that it inspired us at amoCRM to pivot our entire product towards messengers. We even wrote a freely available book called "Delivered" that’s all about employing Messenger-Based Sales in your business and to make a killer return on investment.
So what is a Messenger-Based Sales strategy and how do you use it? Let’s start with the basics.
What is Messenger-Based Sales?
Messenger-Based Sales is a strategy that capitalizes on the world’s fastest-growing communication channel for lead generation, lead acquisition and sales. With the abundance of users on popular messenger platforms, the customer reach is immense. Here are more details to what Messenger-based sales is, though - if you’d like to know more.
It’s hard to describe everything that is happening with messengers for business right now. Messengers are used for more than just chatting. For example, one of the most popular messengers, WeChat, allows users to chat, pay taxes, present proof of identity, shop in the app itself and much more. Other messengers already follow suit, given it’s a tremendous success on the market.
But what other qualities make MBS stand out, precisely?
Pros and cons of MBS for business
Any communication channel has its strengths and weaknesses, and messengers are no exception.
Pro: messengers are fast, convenient and free
Messengers let users get service almost immediately. With the younger generations dodging phone calls and skipping emails, messengers are becoming more and more crucial as a communication channel for business purposes. Not to mention that messengers have a less formal tone - with stickers and emojis as yet another way of expression. As an added benefit, you don’t need to pay to use messengers - all of them are free by default.
Pro: messages are delivered straight to the user’s smartphone screen
A messenger notification arrives right to the front of their smartphone screen. At the same time, it’s less intrusive than calling and has no risk of being flagged as spam, unlike emails. That means the message you send carries the same weight and visibility as a message the prospect may receive from friends or family. Some messengers have vastly better message open rates and conversion, compared to emails and calls.
Pro: uniform usefulness for sales, marketing, and support
Messengers can carry the conversation throughout your entire pipeline - from marketing to sales and ending in support. You can even make payments right in the chat’s interface. Not to mention the increased capacity - a representative can only answer one phone call, slowly answer a couple of emails or they can quickly reply to almost a dozen chats.
Con: no cold outreach
Lack of ability to initiate the contact may seem like a con for a business, but it’s an immense pro for the prospect. Cold calling is rapidly losing effectiveness, with less than 1% of received calls resulting in a later call or meeting. Email is faring better than cold calls, but even if your audience is subscribed to your mailing list, the open rate is still low, and only 2.4% of people click links within emails, according to MailChimp.
Global average email open rates in 2018
Because Messengers have strict privacy rules, no business can spam prospects with offers. The prospect has to come to you first - write to your Facebook page, open your Telegram link, etc. The challenge is to attract the customer to open that link and have them subscribe to your channel. Once they do - they’re all yours. Your leads are pre-qualified and opted-in once they reach out to you over messengers, making them easier to contact and push further down the sales pipeline. They are interested in communicating in you, after all - you just need to follow-up.
Con: character limits and messenger platform restrictions
Within an email body, you can stuff in a whole lot. Within a messenger chat message - not so much. Chat messages are dictated by the dimensions of the most common platform used for messaging - the smartphone screen. Your messages will have to be relatively short, filled with high-impact copy and a call to action.
Other challenges may appear in updated use policies that every messenger platform introduce separately.
Con: messengers are not widely used for business yet
Messenger-based sales are at the beginning of their way as a sales channel. Messengers have been used for marketing for a while now, though. Major messenger platforms like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and WeChat already have business accounts made specifically for companies, to separate the regular user base from the businesses. But only time will tell what new features and regulations the business accounts will involve.
And thus, selling with messengers is something you should get acquainted with as soon as possible - if you are sure your customers use messengers at all.
How to move to a conversational business?
The conversational business takes into its arsenal more than just messenger-based sales. This philosophy involves swapping long messages with short ones, adapting to modern customer’s rapidly shifting focus and attention span. You will need to adapt your communication style to be a bit less formal, make it shorter and offer more value in each message.
Now, as a business, what do you need to do make it work? A few things, all of them super simple.
See if your customers use messengers
There is no point in adapting your business to conversational strategy if your customers don’t use them at all. Start with a good look at your customers and the communication channels they use. You could be in the industry where emails or phone is the only possible way to go, for whatever reason. Geographical area, mobile network prices - take it all account.
Integrate a messenger platform and test it
Integrating a new communication channel might be a little intimidating, but it’s far easier than it seems.
Start with choosing a messenger platform you know for granted your customers use. Depending on your geographical area, either Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp or WeChat are likely to be your choice. If you are uncertain - it might be a good idea to carefully survey your existing customer base and learn if they would be open to using messengers.
Set up a channel and wait for the magic to happen.
Inform your customers that you have a new channel available
Run a newsletter, mentioned through word-of-mouth, make some noise! It’s a good way to make some waves and get your first batch of customers to communicate over this new channel.
Gather feedback, structure, improve
As with anything, you should always be on the lookout for improvements to your workflows. Messengers are highly versatile - use it to your advantage! There are tons of features you can look into - net promoter score (to get customer feedback seamlessly), answer templates, AI chatbots, and more.
Ways to use amoCRM
Our unified inbox solution is great at making business with messenger-based sales. We have everything you need in order to connect messengers, track conversations, build chatbots and more.
Use messengers with your sales strategy
Connecting a messenger platform takes just a few seconds. Once it's connected, all the incoming messages are shown in the lead card - you won’t have to go anywhere else.
A well-rounded messenger-based sales strategy relies on streamlined workflows to increase efficiency - and so should you. Even a quality of life improvement like response templates will make a difference for your team - as pre-written messages will pop up when you need them.
Response template in action - popping up during message entry
Complete your efforts with net promoter score in order to gauge the effectiveness of your representatives. Your customers will be able to leave feedback on a scale from 1 to 10. This way you can determine the weak spots in your communication and fix them.
Create a chatbot in the visual interface
The best part of messenger-based sales lies in automation with chatbots. However, chatbots are seen as difficult to create because they require coding skills. That is not the case with amoCRM, where a visual chatbot builder is available (no code needed!).
Visual chatbot builder in action
With it, you can create a chatbot step by step. String it to other features of the system (like creating notes, tasks and so on) and put it on your website or messenger channel.
This is a fantastic (and entertaining) way of advancing your conversational business strategy forward.
Integrate amoCRM with PieSync
Top it all off with an integration via PieSync, through which you can connect your favorite services to amoCRM.
PieSync is capable of connecting amoCRM with a myriad of different apps with 2-way sync. It’s a tremendous boost to productivity, as connecting all your services together eliminates manual data entry.
Get on the same wave with your customers. Honest and straightforward communication will forge trust. And messengers are where it’s at now.
Lots of sales to you, and thanks for reading!