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April 21, 2010

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Instant Messaging as a Sales Tool | Do You Use It?

Want to close a deal in 3 minutes? Try including IM in your Sales toolkit.

The other day, we closed a deal via IM. Well, in truth, SnapLogic closed the deal with us. Take a look at the IM conversation below, between Vince Ko, at SnapLogic (a data integration partner), and Glance's VP of Sales & Marketing, Tom Scontras:

Using Instant Messaging as a sales tool: the deal closed in 3 minutes! As you can see, the deal closed in 3 minutes. And both parties were doing other tasks at the time. Is this the wave of the future? 

Granted, there are downsides to doing business via chat -- IMs can easily go wrong, especially in the hands of novices; social cues and conventions can be missed. (Sound familiar? Email wasn't accepted as a Sales tool either in the "old days". Now, you can't work without it.)

Yet IM has its advantages, and here are 5 reasons we think IM can be a powerful tool for sales professionals:

  • You get quicker answers than with email or, god forbid, voicemail. A quick one sentence question, a quick two word answer, and you’re on your way.
  • You can save a transcript and check back later. It’s a great way to keep track of what was said and discussed.
  • It’s less intrusive than a phone call. A message sent via IM sits on your taskbar until you’re ready to answer it.
  • IM lets you multi-task. Tom was building reports in Salesforce at the time of the chat.
  • It takes less time than using email or your phone – IM seems to force us to be very targeted and direct with our language, thereby getting to the point more quickly.

What do you think? Is IM in your Sales toolkit?

-- Carla Gates, Director, Marketing

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