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Leads are the most divisive currency in any sales organization.

Salespeople always want more leads, and they blame the marketing team when those leads aren’t good enough. The marketing team blames the salespeople for not being able to close the leads they’re given. It’s the oldest story in the book.

Today, customer messaging platform Intercom is launching Live Chat for Sales, a new solution that makes it easier than ever to generate new leads. Thanks to a bot, these leads come pre-qualified, which helps reduce friction between the marketing and sales teams.

“Companies put a lot of effort into getting people to their websites and apps, but put very little into qualifying those prospects,” Darragh Curran, VP of engineering at Intercom, told me in an interview at SaaStock in Dublin. “Intercom’s philosophy of human communication comes into play here. Instead of a robotic flow, Live Chat for Sales is designed to keep the conversation human even when we’re using a bot to help qualify the visitor.”

The new solution includes 15 features specifically built for sales teams. Among these is a new lead qualification skill for Intercom’s bot, called Operator. Operator automatically qualifies leads that come in via your website or mobile apps — 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Operator asks a small set of initial questions that help qualify the website visitor or app user, making it easy for a salesperson to keep the conversation going once they’re available.

And Operator’s new skills don’t require any real setup. You simply select the data items you want collected and it applies those parameters to every visitor and user. Conversations can be routed through to the right person or department using automation rules.

Live Chat for Sales also includes Salesforce integration. Sales teams can automatically create leads and incorporate Salesforce data, bringing information from customer records into Intercom’s platform. It also integrates with Clearbit, pulling in company size, revenue, funding, and other industry data.

“It’s important that conversations aren’t treated like super-automated funnels,” Curran said. “Not all leads are equal, and you want to respond to potential customers differently based on where they came from, what pages they visited, what answers they give, and how they qualify themselves. We can help determine the value of a lead using Clearbit data, which helps to pre-determine whether the visitor is from our target market.”

Importantly, managers can see how many leads teams are creating through live chat via the reporting tool. Marketers can analyze which messages are the most effective when creating leads, and you can measure how many are qualified.

Intercom’s new solution fits well into a world where consumers have become used to using messaging apps to interact with brands.

“We’ve always considered the broad holistic view of customer communication, and the value of all of those channels being connected,” Curran said. “The messaging app trend is clear. There will be a new generation of customer-focused companies that need to service the needs of a messaging app-driven audience.”

Live Chat for Sales is available to all Intercom customers from today.

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