Introduction

Why Read This

The Conversational Sales Handbook is used to build your conversational sales strategy.

It will answer the following questions:

  • How does conversational sales work?
  • How do I implement conversational sales?
  • How do I optimize conversational sales for my own business?

This handbook uses the Conversational Framework to inform how you engage with, understand, and recommend products and services to your buyers.

Conversational sales isn’t about you. It’s about helping your buyers. It’s a new way of thinking because it’s focused on the buyer’s goals first and your business’s goals second.

Conversational sales is the fastest way to build trust and credibility with buyers to turn them into customers. It accelerates your sales process by connecting you with buyers at the right time.

Use it to give you more sales opportunities, know who to focus on, and understand what matters to buyers to move them through their process faster with a better buying experience.

Because your job isn’t to sell. It’s to help customers buy.

Buyers want trusted advisors and the experience you give them can make or break the sale. Conversational sales will help you deliver a great buying experience. And that in turn will help you reach your number and earn promotions faster because you’re talking to buyers whose interest and attention is on you.

Conversational sales will help you:

  • Engage with buyers on their terms when their attention and intent is at its highestwhen buyers are on your website. It will help you grow pipeline by talking to potential buyers earlier in the sales cycle.
  • Understand buyers by asking questions, using signals, and other sources of data to know what they care about and why they should purchase your product. This data will give you insight into how to have contextual conversations with buyers.
  • Recommend what’s best for the buyer. Recommendations are a great way to educate the buyer, build trust, and help them buy the right thing. A recommendation could be a tip, an idea, a next step, a piece of content, or someone to connect with.

Conversational sales empowers you to chat with your buyers anywhere at any time. No matter if you’re at work, at the beach, or at the game. You’ll have better conversations and get more qualified meetings delivered directly to your calendar.

Philosophy of Conversational Selling

Today the buyer has reviewed a lot of information before they ever talk to you. They have more options than ever before and their expectations have never been higher. So what does this mean for you? Your number one job is to be friendly, personable (and human) and ask questions about what they’re looking to do.

You can no longer expect to move buyers through your own self-serving internal sales process. In fact, the only way to execute an effective sales process today is if it fits neatly into the buyer’s own discovery and information collection process.

Executing a sales process is what your job used to be. Now your job is to help people buy. You are their tour guide, recommender, and trusted advisor throughout the buying process.

You can craft even more personal conversations with the buyer when you use firmographic, demographic, technographic, and behavioral data to understand buyer intent.

Buyers don’t care about your sales process. They care about how you can fulfill their needs and desires.

Before we dive in, let’s level-set to understand the principles of Conversational Marketing & Sales. It’s useful for us to think about this in terms of a framework: The new (or customer-centric) approach vs. the old (or business-centric) approach.

Conversational marketing & sales always puts the buyer and customer first.

Being more helpful and buyer-centric will pay back ten-fold in the long run. You’ll have a much higher chance of a buyer converting if everyone at your business follows the conversational marketing & sales principles.

With conversational marketing and sales, chatbots start conversations and qualify buyers so you can have the right conversation at the right time with the right buyer and customer.

In the past, chat was typically a tool for support teams and it was siloed. You had to dedicate people to use sales chat, it was filled with noise, and you didn’t have enough people to triage everything else.

Sales folks can continue their normal prospecting activities, but now they’ll get notified when a buyer wants to engage. This can happen when the buyer is on your website, they open an email, they click on a sales sequence, or when they watch a video.

You’ve already been using real-time intent signals and with conversational sales you’ll get even more of these signals. You probably get excited when you see a buyer forwarding that email you sent to a lot of people.

You’ve been chasing someone for a long time and they finally reply or finally pick up because the timing is right. This is what you’re going to experience every day with conversational sales.

You’ll be able to engage with a buyer on their terms because marketing has designed it so only the buyers that are ready and want to have a conversation will connect with you.

Here’s another example. It’s the end of the month. You have a deal out there and someone viewed a PandaDoc proposal. You get a real time notification that the document is being viewed. And then the buyer texts you back because that’s how people communicate today.

You might be thinking that you should treat conversational sales as its own channel and hire dedicated reps for it. We don’t recommend that because you should have this be a natural part of an SDR’s and AE’s day-to-day. You need to have more buyer-centric conversations.

Here are 7 ways to have buyer-centric sales conversations.

  1. Always understand what the buyer is trying to achieve (and why) before offering a solution. This is done by asking the buyer to clarify and elaborate.
  1. Be present and use active listening. You’re trying to understand where they are in their process. Use authentic stories to convey why they should care and take the next step.
  1. Be passionate. If you’re not fired up, they’re not going to get fired up.
  1. Confirm your buyer’s questions.
  1. Be transparent with your buyers on what you’re doing and the next step.
  1. Share examples…. always, always… always…. A quick; “hey would you like to see how (blank) is working for a business like yours?”
  1. Help the buyer buy. Help them navigate the buying process. Keep them in mind and consider their position.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that buyers have a very structured and rational buying process but the truth is that humans are irrational and buying processes are messy. They want what they want, when they want it. Never trash your competitors. Doing that makes you look insecure and doesn’t help your buyer make a decision. Help your buyer make a decision by clearly communicating your positioning and strengths/weaknesses vs. your competitor.

The Buyer Introduction

Conversational marketing is about starting a conversation with a buyer. Conversational sales is about having conversations with buyers so they become a customer. The introduction between marketing and sales, traditionally called the “handoff,” is a crucial thing to get right.

A buyer doesn’t want to be handed-off. They want the experience to be as seamless and as simple as possible. They want to be introduced to the right person who can help them at that moment.

There are several ways to transition a conversation. There are three types of introductions that could take place.

  1. Bot to human
  2. Human to human
  3. Human to bot

Consistency and speed are paramount. The introduction needs to be done in a timely and personal manner and crafted by the marketer who designed the bot conversation and with input from the SDR or salesperson who’s going to have the conversation.

Think of the experience at an Apple Store. You talked to a salesperson about an Apple Watch yesterday and now you’re back to set up an appointment with the Genius Bar. They know you have an iPhone, are interested in purchasing a watch, and are having an issue with your MacBook. They understand your intent, your past conversations, and how to start another conversation with you.

You need to consider the buyer’s goal and what they’re trying to do and what the sales person needs.

What does the customer want to know and what do they need? And what does the seller need to know and understand?

Here are four things to help uncover the answer to those questions:

1) Break the ice and be engaging. Use this as an opportunity to relay your personality. Be witty, be funny, be different. At Drift, we like to think of this part as if you’re exchanging text messages with a friend. Here’s an example of something tangible that has been working for us lately:

‘Hey! Human here, human there?’ It’s a little goofy, a little weird. You’re showing personality and asking a question. Drift can help you source more relevant customer data to deliver a warmer greeting.

2) Make it about them, not you. Why? Buyers have all the power, they can walk away at any point. Every time I walk into an Apple Store, I’m greeted right away & offered help. Am I talking to a sales/customer service/product person? I have no clue, and I don’t care. They made the experience about me, not them.

3) Give before you get. Our principle: always answer the question. Why? Once you’ve addressed their question, you now have the right to ask a question to understand more about the buyer.

4) Establish next steps and share your recommendation. You’ve built rapport, learned about, and helped your prospect. Now you have a sticky qualified lead. What next? Here are a few examples:

  • Chat to Zoom: Or whatever video conference software you use. Your buyer is on your website right now, engaged, and likely at a high level of intent. Drop in your screen-share link in the chat window.
  • Book a meeting: Give them access to your or an AE’s calendar in the conversation. It’s a clean experience for your prospect. It doesn’t take them to a different landing page, keeps them within the chat window, and you can see your calendar fill up in real time.

  • Offer a resource to help solve for a problem: Maybe they aren’t ready for a meeting. Don’t twist their arm. Help them. Give them a reason to stay in touch, maybe your product team will release an update shortly. Whatever you do, ask for their email address so you have a way to keep the conversation going.

Introducing The Sales Development Representative

Marketing just started a conversation with a buyer using a bot. Now the buyer is ready and wants to chat with an SDR.

The SDRs goal is to get the buyer to the AE, aka book a meeting. The buyer is trying to understand if the product might be a fit or if they need to ask more questions and get more detailed information. It could be anything from pricing to product questions, from features to legal terms.

Training SDRs about your product and how it works is important to having effective conversations with buyers.

Think of the bot conversation as an inbound call. You need to be personable and know when to pivot to the next step.

What happens though if the SDR isn’t available to have a conversation? Say they forget and leave their status as ‘available’. First, that’s ok, you should set expectations with the buyer, plus in Drift there’s a way to route that conversation to someone who’s available. One, route to team, two could be to drop an away message, or three the buyer could book time with the rep isn’t available.

We recommend the away message because if you reroute you’re not guaranteeing someone is available.

If you drop a calendar you’re not guaranteeing the buyer is qualified to talk to the SDR. You run the risk of wasting a meeting.

You need to define the rules of engagement from a bot to an SDR. This is all about how you want to staff your SDR team.

We don’t recommend shifts because they remove ownership over the buyer experience and follow-up. This is how support teams do it, they throw people at the problem and it’s not a consistent, personal experience.

The ideal experience is your talking to one person throughout the whole process so the buyer doesn’t have to repeat themselves or feel like they’re getting passed around.

Drift built a platform to provide this ideal experience to your buyers – whether it’s via lead routing connected to your CRM, ABM accounts or Outreach integration/email sequence welcome message.

Show your personality, always answer a buyer’s questions, and don’t forget to ask a question in return. It’s on the SDR to keep the conversation going. Build rapport and establish trust by asking questions.

Example: This SDR does a great job of asking questions to keep the conversation going while providing value and building trust. By asking the right questions, the SDR is letting the buyer know that they’ll be helped in picking the right option for them.

The SDR needs to look at the bot conversation and use that context to tee up what questions you should ask. Be specific in what you’re asking. Use the Drift data and buyer data to help you have the conversation. You can use the Salesforce campaign tag to understand the context of the conversation by knowing which Drift playbook the buyer engaged with.

Company name, chatted in before, online or offline, page on website. All of these data points are available to you – so use them! Use data to establish rapport, trust, and continue the conversation. Present the buyer a response they can’t refuse.

Once you feel like you understand what the buyer is trying to accomplish, you can recommend the right next steps. Ideally it’s a meeting with an AE. Sometimes it will be further nurturing, sending content, inviting them to a webinar, etc.

Our recommendation? Start small, learn a lot, and prove conversational sales works. Make one SDR successful and then roll it out to the rest of your sales organization.

Make sure you’re setting the right expectations with buyers. Example: “I’m sending you to a member of my team, in the meantime if my team is busy helping other customers, leave your email so we can follow up.”

This way you’re clearly communicating what will happen next. And setting a time limit – the two minute rule is great for the bot to jump in and send an away message.

Expectation setting is key and can be the difference between an okay or a great next conversation.

Bots are not replacements for humans. A common job for a bot is to engage, understand intent, and then recommend a real person they should talk to. In this case we’re using outbound sales. The outbound SDR reaches out to buyers, trying to get them to engage with a bot to book a meeting or start a live chat.

Reps should see bots as helpful assistants that will qualify buyers for them and connect them with buyers who are ready to have a conversation.

Bots can cover for reps when they can’t respond. Say you’ve been outbounding someone and they show up on your site late at night and you aren’t there. What should you do? No need to worry. Your bot has your back and can take a message for when you can follow up or they can drop your calendar.

SDRs can use the Drift + Outreach integration. If someone clicks on their sequence and comes back to the site they’ll see their real face.

Learn more about how Drift and Outreach work together here.

Introducing The Account Executive

SDRs should understand what an AE looks for in a good account, what questions to ask, and include that information in the email and the meeting invite. You want to set your rep up for success.

This is an internal process that’s specific to your company. For the SDR to AE relationship, there’s often a list of target accounts that the AE feels comfortable having their SDR work for them (i.e. tier 2), where as the AE is the only person allowed to touch Tier 1 targets.

Many businesses use BANT or some variation of a sales qualification framework to determine the minimum requirements for an SDR to pass a conversation from them to an AE.

The finesse part of conversational sales is knowing your sales process and mapping it to the buyer’s journey. Marrying what you ideally want to happen to what buyers wants is the ultimate goal.

So it’s time for the call. Make sure to set expectations by including an agenda or some prep questions in the calendar invite. Setting an agenda will help you know how to best prepare for the call and the recommendations you could share. This will help you take command of the call AND get on the same page with the buyer. Because who wants to waste time?

By doing this prep ahead of the meeting, the AE has better information to come into the meeting fully prepared.

If you’re an SDR and your AE has an open opportunity and the buyer comes back with a question, we should coach SDRs to collect all questions from the buyer and make sure AEs get back to them ASAP.

This will help you add more value to the sales process and establish yourself as a consultant and not just a sales rep.

Conversational Sales for Sales Development Representatives

Being an SDR is tough. You should think of conversational sales as the better way to reach your goals as quickly as possible. It all starts with conversations. The more conversations you have, the more likely you are to hit your numbers. Most of the time as an SDR, you’re probably used to calling and sending emails to people who don’t respond. Why is that? It’s usually because the timing isn’t right. You’re not top of mind for them and you spend all of your time banging your head against the wall.

But conversational sales gives you access to the right people at the right time, when they’re on your site. What you’ll find is so many people are just a question or two away from being ready to take a meeting with you. It’s all about being there when you know they’re thinking about your product and helping them get the info they need to move forward in the buying process. They came by your site for a reason – you need to capitalize on it!

To be an effective conversational seller you need to be empathetic, a great listener, have a good level of self awareness, and be able to make smart recommendations in a moment’s notice.

Using bots to start the conversation, SDRs should engage with buyers using the following strategy:

  • Style: Fast, brief, friendly, straight up, and to the point. The most important thing to do during live chat conversations is to let them know you’re there. That’s what hooks them and gets them to stay – a real person on the other line who will respond. Conversations don’t happen in a vacuum. You should check their recent conversations to see if they’ve chatted with anyone else, where they are on your site, how many times they’ve been back, which AE/AM they’ve been working with.
  • Approach: Truly human. If you pretend you’re the best at everything and give BS answers, no one will want to move forward with you. And if you screw something up that’s okay – just apologize and own it. No one is perfect and the best reps know their true strengths and weaknesses.
  • Method: Give and get. Always add value first before asking for anything, but make sure you ask for qualifying info and the contact info you need. Quarterback resources. If you don’t know the answer right away that’s ok. But you should know who to go to so you can arrange it. Don’t treat this like a call. You don’t have to get everything at once because you’re scared they won’t get back on the phone with you. You should expect buyers to show up with a couple questions – and then go away and come back again.
  • Follow Up: These leads convert better than any others so you have to be all over them. Your chats don’t stop when the conversation is closed. You have all of the gold conversation data on exactly what they care about, so you know exactly what to follow up on and how to add value. That’s what will keep the buying process going forward and help the buyer make a decision.

Today’s buyer wants everything now. So the ideal buying experience means being able to talk to anyone at any time. for brands to pull that off, they best way to do that is to get the entire SDR team using live chat.

It will improve the buying experience for buyers who are already having conversations with your team. For new leads it should follow your normal rules, like round robin across all SDRs. This should help you cover for geographies. If that person covering that territory isn’t available, then the buyer is left in the lurch.

In the end, it’s all about starting the conversation. Here are some ways we’ve been successful doing that with our own Drift bots.

Examples of how the Drift team has conversations with buyers:

  • human here, human there?
  • Human here, how can i help (insert name)
  • what’s good in SF? Can’t wait to be back in your lovely city
  • hey hey
  • ?, what’s up (insert company name)
  • Human here, test me haha
  • Human here, typing with human fingers
  • ooo yeaaa we can do that for sure
  • That can be you ?
  • is it opposite day? you hate that you love bots
  • either i’m a mad stalker / wait…turn around / slash we have reverse IP lookup
  • ..find…humans…
  • bot or human? (if person responds ‘human’ – “Thank God! So many bots running around – it’s nice to find another human ?”) (if person responds ‘bot’, then say “10101010101010101” – and wait for the laugh)

Be real. Be yourself.

Be sure to give something, get something.

Here are some ways we do this at Drift:

  • When asked about pricing – Our Pro plan begins at $500/month, what website were you considering Drift for?
  • If you received a question about functionality – Yep! How’d you find out about us?
  • Ask about their business – That makes sense, what’s your website traffic like?
  • You were asked to provide dev docs. They said thank you. You then said: sure thing – did you want to set up a call to discuss details? May be easier than only help docs
  • You were asked how Drift is different – So we’re unlike any other chat provider in the sense that we are focused on sales and marketing. It’s in our DNA and everything about our offering is geared towards that. How are you generating leads on your site today?

Use your CRM to understand who the people are at your business they may recognize – loop those other people in (AM, AE, other SDR).

Capitalize on the NOW: Talk & qualify in chat, jump onto a Zoom (chat-to-Zoom), or figure out logical next steps to meet the buyer where they are.

Other great ways to qualify in chat:

  • Want to schedule a meeting? Would love to show you how our bot is able to book the meeting automatically for us.
  • If it’d be useful – we can take 20 mins and build a bot together and I’ll show you exactly what it’d look like on your site. Should I ask the bot to book a meeting for us?
  • Are you free to chat now?
  • I’m happy to set up a call with you to walk through our functionalities
  • I have a few ideas…want to set up a quick 15 minute call to discuss?
  • If you want, I can walk you through it and talk about the setup process?…Ok I’ll have the bot set up a meeting
  • Perhaps? I would need to know a bit more about the use case, would you be open to talking about this over Zoom?
  • We can set up a short demo, do you have time open this afternoon?
  • Sure thing, why don’t we set up a call in a couple of weeks when you’re ready?
  • Let me have the bot book a meeting
  • Happy to show you what I mean if you’d like to schedule a meeting…which the bot can schedule automatically for us ?
  • It might be easier to arrange a call and create a bot
  • Let me show you how to book a meeting

Here’s an example of how conversational sales works:

How To Follow Up

SDR’s should expect modern buyers to jump on with a question, then leave, and come back again. They should expect buyers to talk to their networks about your product too, so you should be there too by sending them a connection request / quick message on LinkedIn. You’ve got to stay all over these leads wherever they are because you know they convert so well.

Your job is to provide value and get them back chatting so you continue to develop the conversation to a point where they are ready to move to a meeting.

How To Properly Monitor Bot Conversations

How should an SDR interact with a bot? When to take over the conversation from the bot? What happens when someone gets stuck in the bot conversation?

If someone gets stuck for two minutes, an SDR can take over the conversation. The SDR will most likely never get routed into the conversation – and that’s not good. SDR team leads will go in where people get stuck and try to keep the conversation going with the buyer.

Most SDRs treat chat like a phone call. You feel like if you don’t get a meeting from that one chat, you failed. What really should happen is the best reps will try to get the most number of separate conversations in the shortest amount of time. For example, if you can have at least three conversations in a given month, you might have a higher chance of booking a meeting with that buyer or turning them into a customer that month.

That’s why bot monitoring is important. If you think about conversations with bots like a call, you start and then just hung up, you would follow-up. A phone conversation starts and then ends. Hard to remember everything that was said and quickly jump back in. That’s not the case with bots.

You can always pick back up the conversation thread at a later time. But if you treat it like one of many conversations and keep the conversation going, you could have three conversations in a month.

Provide a great website experience if the bot isn’t quite getting it, a human like YOU is needed.

Pro Tips

  • You should expect people to have a quick chat, get a couple of questions answered, and then come back for more.
  • The key is to follow up with a CTA that will get them coming back to chat with you. Most reps will follow up and ask to get on the phone when people aren’t ready for that yet. People assume that because it’s about NOW, that this is their one and only chance to book a meeting. But what it really requires is patience and persistence. Sometimes the magic is all in the follow up (email sequences i.e. Outreach, SalesNav integration). And if an SDR learns enough to qualify and pass off, why make the buyer even go through an extra phone call if it’s not needed?
  • Have sequences for each stage. Are they just starting their research? Great. You should have a long term monthly sequence that recommends high level resources for them. Are they starting to compare you to other options? You should have a weekly sequence that helps them compare you to others to make their decision and offers to connect them with technical resources on your team. Are they ready to buy or decide now? Then it’s time for the CTA to book a meeting.
  • Our most sophisticated customers have figured out that the number of separate conversations drives the likelihood to close. If you see a lead with three or more chats in a given month, they are 50% more likely to close in that month (source: Keap).

Here’s a bad example of trying to book a meeting:

Introducing Conversation Development Representatives

Enter the CDR, or Conversation Development Representative, a salesperson dedicated to starting conversations with buyers on your site with the goal of nurturing these visitors into qualified leads. Think of a CDR like a business development rep, but one who communicates with prospects primarily through conversational marketing.

They’re typically early in their career and have primarily used consumer messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

Motivations: They want to do well so they can advance in their careers and move out of the entry level.

Role+Goal: The CDR is dedicated to providing an exceptional experience for every customer. They engage B2B buyers the moment the buyer is ready. They navigate the buyer through the early discovery process. They create personalized experiences and build real relationships by providing support, responding to customers’ specific inquiries, and setting up meetings with product experts.

Behaviors and character traits to look for in conversation development reps. 

  • Empathy. The most successful CDRs meet the buyer where they are. This means no assumptions, no judgment, no pushing. The CDR connects the buyer to the information and the people they need to take the next step.
  • Shared understanding. The CDR has to understand where the buyer is coming from (and who’s involved in the decision) so they can advise the buyer on next steps.
  • Confidence and conviction. Buyers want trusted advisors. So it’s key for CDRs to be brief, patient, and listen to any objections. It’s up to the CDR to respond with confidence and outline the differences between the competitors (without being critical of them).
  • CDRs bring something to the table by being helpful. That doesn’t mean they know everything, but the best CDRs know which connections to make and pull them at the right time.
  • Buyer experience. CDRs operate on the buyer’s time. It’s all about making the experience great for the buyer. Because at the end of the day, buyers want to do business with people they like and who they think are reliable. So CDRs need to uncover pain, gain trust, add value, and deliver on a shared vision. That’s what makes for a great buyer experience. Curious: care about what they actually sell? What’s in it for them? What’s the impact?
  • Critical thinkers. CDRs are great listeners. They anticipate the next question and can spot roadblocks (and present solutions) before anyone else.

Conversational Sales for Account Executives

You know that today’s buyers have all the power because they can get information anywhere and expect a great experience from you to win their business. This doesn’t mean that you have to sit in chat all day.

Conversational selling is your fastest way to build trust with your buyer as a trusted advisor and move your opportunities forward. Think about it like this. Let’s say your champion gets out of a meeting with his economic buyer and has a couple more hurdles he needs your help with. So he comes to your site to get those answers and you’re there to get him everything he needs to move forward. The same day. Then the economic buyer has a good impression of your company AND you helped your champion look good internally. That’s what it means to deliver a winning experience.

  • Style: Trusted Advisor.
  • Approach: Conversational.
  • Method: Jump into chat when your target accounts are online.

How will your day to day as an AE intersect with Drift? 

  • Booking Meetings & Building Pipeline: 1) Meetings get automatically scheduled with ABM / VIP messages 2) Mobile App or Chrome Notifications that Target Accounts are on the website
  • Use your outbound email outreach (via Drift Gmail Chrome extensions or Outreach integration) to drive conversations in real time, and if you’re not free – the bot’s got your back and will book it for you!
  • Closing Opps: Customize messaging for deals in play that give them a direct line to connect with you – (contract or activation link out), post demo / meeting, additional Decision Makers / POCs being brought into the evaluations (make educated guesses given who you’ve been reaching out to, who else may be involved – use the SalesNav integration here)
  • Extras: Drift profile as your online business card (tradeshows, conferences etc.)

When you are free and are able to jump into chats → the same CDR/SDR best practices apply to you! You likely have even more context on a given account, various POCs, where they’re at in their evaluation – USE THAT.

Think of using Drift and live chat as basically texting with your prospects – similar language, cadence, feel, real time, helping, close line of communication, comfortability with you.

If you’re not free – use your SDR as your fallback too to follow up or jump into chats.

We talk a lot about leading with value, but what about “leaving” with value? Don’t tell the prospect this is the last of your current sequence, just deliver something of such great value that the message can’t help but linger in their inbox. Send something the prospect can’t bear to delete.

Today’s Sales Managers

Conversational sales and marketing sounds like this wild and crazy new thing – but it’s really simple. For all the features and functionality, it’s just helping you have real time conversations with good leads while they’re live on your website. It’s not a big switch because it integrates directly into your rep’s day to day.

Do you have your reps following up with inbound leads? Perfect. You can use conversational sales to get your reps talking with those leads right away without having to chase them after they leave your site.

Do you have your reps outbounding good fit accounts trying to book meetings for AEs? Awesome. You can use conversational sales to give prospects a personalized experience when they click on your outbound emails and when they arrive on your site. It’s all about giving your reps the tools they need to know exactly when your prospects show intent. Then they can start conversations with prospects in the medium they know and use every single day – real time messaging.

As a manager here are the improvements you can expect to see. Once you arm your reps with conversational sales, they’ll be more effective at booking meetings and they’ll convert leads to meetings and opps faster than they ever have before. You also won’t have to fly blind.

You’ll be able to see the conversations they’re having, the questions your prospects are asking that are determining whether they agree to get on a meeting – without having to listen to hours of calls all day. You’ll see conversation transcripts and be able to coach up your reps on how quickly they responded, what they said, the experience they gave your buyers, and drill into follow up on those leads who had a conversation with you.

  • Follow Up – You’ll want to make sure your reps are all over those leads who do have conversations because they convert a lot better than other sources.
  • Working with Sales Ops – Prioritize leads who have had conversations. Work with sales ops to get them in your CRM so that reps can follow up on better leads. Leads for which you have data about whey are about and what they’re hoping to do in that conversation. Stopping by to chat with one of your reps is an amazing measure of intent that you should capitalize on big time.
  • Staffing – This is a big one. Should this be a dedicated role or should this be part of rep’s day to day? The answer is the latter. You have to give this to your reps as part of their day to day responsibilities. Let marketing measure “chat influenced” as its own channel. Your reps will want to know when good leads are live on the site so that they can answer questions and provide value in real time.

Sales reps don’t want to spend their days emailing and calling people at times when the other person doesn’t have time to talk to them. They have to play the odds in order to hit their number.

Drift gives you the ability to:

  1. focus on the leads that have interest
  2. talk at a time that works for both parties

With these two components, you can prioritize and have a much more efficient day with better sales math (higher conversion rates throughout funnel).

How will your day to day as a Sales Manager intersect with Drift? 

  1. Coach your reps so they can put learnings into practice faster
  2. Enable with a conversational selling strategy and tools to help your reps be more efficient so they can hit or exceed their goals faster
  3. Better visibility into how your brand and your team position themselves in the market (competitive intel, brand, objections, pricing negotiations, etc.)
  4. Better forecast by being able to dig into conversations to identify the gaps and missing details of a deal. No longer need to rely on Salesforce notes from your reps or even the random calls you may have been added to.
  5. Harvest learnings for your future team: When a company goes from prospect to customer, what was that story like and how can you use that social proofing with other prospects

Especially for 3 and 4: take out as much hearsay and personal bias that blurs facts.

The best possible data is listening to a real call. You’re on the call or you’re listening to calls all day using a tool like Gong. You’re listening for keywords making sure people are answering things correctly, positioning things the right way. Managers often feel like they’re flying blind. They’re not sure what reps are doing.

Conversational sales will give you more insight into what people are saying and how they’re responding. It will give you great data for real-time coaching and you can jump right into the conversation to coach. You can’t really coach when people are just hammering the phones to try and have a conservation. You can coach now when the conversation is happening. The best time to give reps feedback is in real-time and right when or just after the conversation happens.

The reason why there’s a sales process and qualification is because we have a repeatable way. Yet the conversation is what we you have and those aren’t repeatable. We’ve fooled ourselves into thinking that conversations can be perfectly repeatable. We’re told that you have to follow checklists and process. But the buyer doesn’t want to feel like they’re going through a process or checklist.

Meet the buyer where they are and when they have questions and you immediately start adding value and building trust with that buyer.

Remember that in today’s world the sales teams who make it easier to buy win. You need to work that into your culture. Help people buy and train your reps around it. Your reps should be hungry to be responsive and give your buyers a fantastic experience and WIN business. It’s no longer effective to just hammer out a number of dials and emails. You need both quality sales activities and a focus on making it buying easier.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it. An end to end look at conversational sales. Now you have the tools, techniques and insights you need to roll out conversational selling to your own team.

Drift’s Conversational Sales Handbook sets the stage for rolling out conversational selling to your entire sales org from BDRs and SDRs to AEs so you can give your prospects a truly conversational sales experience. Tweet us @Drift to let us know how you’re putting it into practice.

Ready to get started with Drift and Conversational Selling? Sign up for a demo here.

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