Due to the coronavirus, most offline retail in China has been shut down for weeks, making it difficult for sales associates to reach potential customers. Even more than usual, sales associates in China must use online means to communicate with customers and acquire leads, and they are most likely using WeChat as their main tool.
But using WeChat for client communications can cause problems, because WeChat is designed for communicating with friends and family, not for work. Some of the problems include:
- Difficulty acquiring and managing leads - Company does not want to assign new leads to sales associates using personal WeChat accounts as that is giving away ownership or the lead, not convenient to find cold leads and resurface them
- Lack of transparency - for leads, adding a sales associate’s personal WeChat can seem a bit unprofessional. Does this person really work for the company? Is the information they are giving me true? For managers, there is a lack of transparency into how many leads the associate has, the types and amounts of conversations they are having, and the sales they are driving
- Hard to control brand messaging - Hard to ensure associates are sharing the correct information at the right time to the right leads
- Incomplete view of the customer - Sales associates may have to go to computer or switch apps to access their company’s CRM system or view data about the consumer’s interactions with the brand’s WeChat properties, their previous customer service conversations, purchase history, etc.
What's more, these problems are amplified when people are working from home giving managers even less insight into their sales associate’s daily activities.
But all these problems can be solved using WeChat Work, let’s see how:
Challenge 1: Difficulty Acquiring and Managing Leads
The first challenge is the need to increase online lead generation. If sales associates are using their personal WeChat accounts, the company is unlikely to want to display the associates’ QR codes and encourage leads to add them, because this would essentially mean the company is giving up ownership of these leads.
But with Wechat Work, the company owns all of the associate’s WeChat Work contacts and can reassign them to another associate if that associate leaves the company, making it safe for leads to directly contact associates.
This means the company can include associates’ WeChat Work QR codes on the Official Account, ads, offline campaigns, in live streams, on packaging, etc. And even if they don’t want to promote individual associates’ accounts, managers are also able to easily assign and distribute incoming leads to sales associates on WeChat Work.
WeChat Work is not only beneficial for acquiring new leads, but also for conveniently revisiting old leads. WeChat Work allows companies like ChatLabs to build mini programs that are integrated into WeChat Work, just like the ChatLabs Sales CRM mini program.
With the ChatLabs Sales mini program, sales associates can open and access their companies CRM platform right within WeChat Work. On the contacts page they can see open leads, and clearly view which stage of the customer life cycle the lead is in, allowing them to quickly filter through old leads, look into their profiles, identify opportunities, and immediately start a 1-to-1 conversation with that lead.
Challenge 2: Lack of Transparency
When it comes to lack of transparency, there are two types: one is for customers/leads and the other is for managers.
Transparency for Customers/Leads:
When a sales associate uses his or her personal WeChat account to add a customer, it can seem a bit unprofessional. Who is this person? Are they really a sales associate for this company? Can I trust that they are giving me the right information and the products I buy through them are real?
But when a sales associate uses WeChat Work to connect with a client, this problem is easily avoided. Before adding the associate, the consumer can see the associate’s profile with verified information such as their name, company name, email, etc. making the consumer feel that the associate is safe and trustworthy.
Transparency for Managers:
When sales associates use WeChat Work for professional communications, the other person lacking transparency is his or her manager. How many new leads is the associate contacting every day? Are these leads engaged? Are they sharing correct and timely information with these leads? And, of course, this issue is exacerbated with many sales associates still working from home.
But there are several ways that WeChat Work can help alleviate this problem.
The first is performance stats. Managers can see clear charts with key stats such as how many active clients an associate has, how many new clients they have added that day or week, how many chats they have had, the reply rate, etc. What’s great is that this information is automatically gathered so associates don’t need to waste their time logging info.
The second way WeChat Work can solve the transparency problem is chat archiving. WeChat Work allows for 3 days worth of chat archiving, and if you would like more, you can use a platform like ChatLabs to archive all of your associates’ chat histories. This feature is particularly useful for highly regulated industries such as financial services.
With chat archiving, managers can use advanced search terms such as staff name, customer name, date range, and keyword to review all conversations between associates and clients (excluding video and voice calls). The chat archives can also be downloaded and with ChatLabs the chat archiving feature can be integrated with Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
The third way WeChat Work can create transparency is the ability to track sales conversions through WeChat mini program stores. Sales associates can share the company’s WeChat mini- program shop with their personal parameter to a lead and the manager will be able to clearly see when someone makes a purchase through that link and the sale can be directly attributed to the associate.
Challenge 3: Hard to Control Brand Messaging
The next challenge with associates using WeChat for clienteling it that it is hard for managers to control brand messaging. Maintaining consistent messaging is especially important during this sensitive time period – for example anything your company is doing to show support, any announcements about logistics, sales, changes in staff working hours, announcing when your offline stores are reopening, etc.
To make this easy, WeChat work has what's called an enterprise group message. Your company’s marketing team can create approved, well-formatted contents and then managers can assign this content to client-facing staff who will receive a notification. After they check the list of clients, they can send a 1-to-1 message to everyone on the list with one click.
This is a great way to get your broadcast articles in front of your clients as the open rates on broadcast articles directly shared with clients are 3-5x higher than regular broadcast article open rates. As of the last couple months, managers now have the ability to assign WeChat Moments posts as well.
And using WeChat Work it is also easy to share product information and the most up-to-date company documents and forms with customers through WeChat Work’s file sharing system called WeDrive.
Challenge 4: Incomplete View Of The Customer
The last issue with using a personal WeChat account for sales is that sales associates don’t have visibility into all of the customer or lead’s information. If their company uses a CRM, they may have to switch to another app or access the CRM on their computer, which is not always fast or convenient. Without a full picture of the client, it is harder for the associate to find and capture sales opportunities.
With the ChatLabs Sales WeChat Work mini program, associates have access to 360 view of client anytime, anywhere, right within WeChat Work. What’s more, by tracking that client’s WeChat ID, the mini program can integrate data from all of your brand’s WeChat properties, giving us their social media footprint and letting the associate know which articles the lead has been reading, their customer service conversations, product preferences, purchase history, etc.
Associates can also add notes to the clients profile which will be visible to other sales associates and employees, allowing them to easily pass on leads. And of course all of this information can be integrated with Salesforce.
To learn more about these and other features of WeChat Work, check out the replay of our recent webinar: Using WeChat Work for Remote Team Management and Clienteling.