February 1st, 2019 | by

We’ve all used chatbots.

Sometimes they look like a pretty young receptionist named Kim, sometimes they look like robots … but sometimes chat is a different animal altogether.

Sometimes, that chat is a real, live sales professional, reaching out because they know what you’ve clicked on, when you clicked, how much you’ve read – and that the time is right to reach out.

Most people still think of chatbots as a mildly annoying pop-up that asks a general question, often used as a search function. And on a lot of websites, they still are.

But when newcomers like Tellwise – which is one of DiscoverOrg’s sales engagement technology partners – tie chat to email, a dialer, presentation capabilities, analytics, and AI – plus integration with the CRM – well, “chatbot” doesn’t really cover it anymore. This is now “sales enablement chat,” and it’s powerful.

Welcome to the next generation of sales enablement chat.

As the Director of Customer Marketing here at DiscoverOrg, I’m always looking for ways to help our customers learn how to leverage new and different sales enablement tools into their workflow. And, like many of you out there, I’ve noticed that chatbot software – in all of its old and new forms – is becoming a popular tool for sales and marketing teams.

To understand chat, and how it is specifically used in sales enablement activities, I sat down with Billy Peterson, Account Development Manager at Tellwise, to explore use cases, best practices, and what demand-gen teams can expect from the channel to put them ahead of the competition.

The history of chatbots – from Futureism.com

Claire: What should users expect from a sales enablement chat tool?

Billy: Setting expectations is important.

If you’re doing a cold email outreach, you could expect 1-3% percent of people to actually click through your content, right? But if you’re doing outreach to your existing customer base, and you’re sharing content, you can expect a much higher engagement rate.

So let’s talk about the cold example.

Let’s start with some simple math: Send out 100 emails and 3 people click through and view your content on the landing page you’ve set up. We see a 33% success rate of starting a chat when initiated within 30 seconds.
So, in this example, you’d end up having some real engagement with 1:100 people.

Claire: What shouldn’t you expect?

Billy: First and foremost, SDRs cannot expect the prospect to initiate the chat. The seller should treat this as a hard and fast rule.

Second? Keep in mind that chat functions put the power in the prospect’s hands, not the seller’s.

Think of it this way: The prospect has had to make several decisions indicating interest in order to get to the content where your chat function is available. If they’re reading long enough for you to initiate the chat, then they’ve already found something of value.

As a seller, when you initiate the chat, say something like, “Hey Carlos, thanks for taking a look at my content – I’m available if you have any questions right now.”

And you’ve flipped the opportunity, so that the prospect can now ask you questions to further qualify your product as a valuable solution. If you’re qualified in their minds, setting meetings become much easier.

Claire: So, sales enablement chat has taken cold one-to-one communication and flipped it: Instead of just interrupting someone, you’re actually there when they need you.

Billy: Exactly. But, the expectations have to be set based on how warm or cold their leads are and you can’t expect everybody to chat.

Learn more about the DiscoverOrg-Tellwise chat function!


Claire: What’s the coolest thing about sales enablement chat?

Billy: For reps, it warms up the conversation on cold emails. If you were to compare it to a cold call, it’s basically a like an inbound lead follow-up activity.

For prospects, it’s going to give them the ability to qualify you in a non-committal or a non-formal way.

For example, most reps end up calling their prospect and then asking a bunch of questions to try to qualify them and see if they’re a good fit. Chat on the other hand allows for a truly two-way conversation.

Read it: 8 Ways to Use BASHO Emails in Cold Email Outreach 

Claire: How does this kind of chat compare to a normal web chat?

A website chat, if you’ve got a really good one, might be able to tell you the location of the visitor, IP address, and company. Or if they’re a repeat visitor, you may already have some information on them, right? Their company at minimum.

Another way of looking at web chats is that they are just another active popup. (Of course, Tellwise goes beyond that.)

Claire: Does this type of interaction feel intrusive or off-putting for prospects?

Billy: Think about the order and priority of the activities the prospect went through to get to a place where chat was possible: In the case of Tellwise, they saw your email, they opened that email, they read it, and then they clicked your link.

At this point, they at least know your name, the company you work for and what you’re about. So, they’re basically saying, “Yeah, I’m interested. I want learn more.”

With a regular website chatbot, they might have stumbled across it, and then all of a sudden, “Bam!” you’re getting chatted. We’ve all had that experience by now.

The difference is that with sales enablement chat, both parties knowing who they are and what they’re doing.

Claire: Can you give me an example of a win from a customer who used chat well?

Billy: We had a new customer, Frank, who was really excited to use the tool.

Frank’s company picked a couple of their dream accounts to reach out to in order to leverage the email functionality and to track link clicks and attachments. Frank reached out to 15 people and simply asked, “Can you point me to the person who’s responsible for…” But he sent it to everybody except the person he wanted to talk to.

Two people clicked the link in the email and viewed his PDF, and he was able to initiate a chat with one of them. In that chat session, the contact told him who he needed to reach out to.

For the next step, Frank followed up his first email campaign to non-decision makers with an email, containing the same content he shared with the first group, to the decision maker he was referred to.

Because Frank was using Tellwise, he was able to see when the prospect opened the email and clicked the link. At that point, he immediately called the decision-makers direct phone line. The prospect answered and Frank booked a meeting.

That was his first taste of TellWise, which shows the power of email campaigning, real time feed, ability to chat, and ability to call.

Learn more about the DiscoverOrg-Tellwise chat function!

Claire: Do you think that if Frank wasn’t using chat, would he have gotten the referrals that he wanted?

Billy: They might have forwarded it to the decision-maker. But Frank’s play was to be very non-intrusive, using the tools available to capitalize on the “in the moment and on the spot” opportunities.

For example, Frank’s chat went a little something like this:

“Hey Sally, I know you’re not responsible for this, but it would be really great if you could introduce me to the person who is.”

And she gave him the name of the person with just a couple of quick back and forth chats, which then allowed him to mention the referral in his email and helped overall engagement with the decision-maker.

This type of play is actually highlighted in a book called, “Predictable Revenue” by Aaron Ross, where one of his best practices is asking for a top-down referral.

Claire: What are some “Don’ts” when using Chats?

1. Don’t tell them they’re being tracked, or tell them what you think their intention is. “I know that you’re looking at my content right now and I’m pretty sure that means you want to buy my product.” … don’t say that!

2. Putting pricing in a chat is also a no-no. Instead, send them to a public pricing page or push for a meeting to get more info about their needs.

3. Don’t stop your prospecting at chat. If they don’t respond to the chat immediately, go ahead and call them.

Claire: What about negotiating over a chat?

Billy: Well, it depends. If it’s an existing account, it’s someone you know, and the content they’re viewing is a quote, then it would make sense to chat about it in that circumstance.

But otherwise, it’s best to get on the phone to negotiate.

Claire: What are some good tips for using sales enablement chat?

1. Keep your chat style more formal than a text, but more informal than an email. Somewhere in between. A balanced formality that speaks with context, but with as much brevity as possible. Think of it like a like a tweet – it has context, but it’s super brief.

2. Initiate the chat within thirty seconds – or twenty seconds – ten seconds – basically as fast as you can! You’ve got to think that if they’re watching a minute video, they’re gone in a minute. If they’re reading a half a page document, they’re gone in ten seconds.

3. Prepare chat snippets so that when you are in a time crunch to connect, you’ve already got a great and brief introduction, response, or question at the ready.

Chats like Tellwise are just one way to connect in a more meaningful way with your prospects. It’s helpful, inobtrusive, and let’s you deliver exactly the information and context your prospects need – when they need it.

Learn more about the DiscoverOrg-Tellwise chat function!


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Claire McEachern
About the author

Claire McEachern

Claire has 15+ years of creative communications, digital marketing, account and project management expertise in both the B2B and B2C environments. She has a passion for merging technical and creative skills in order to create narratives that educate, entertain, and call-to-action audiences on both the prospect and customer sides of the house. She has a B.S. in Sociology from James Madison University and an M.S. in Sustainable Design from Philadelphia University.