The Ultimate Drift Starter Guide for Sales Teams

Updated 2 months ago ​by Matt Bilotti

Let's talk about the elephant in the room- it's always tough to learn how to use a new product. Especially when you need to get your entire team up and running ASAP to meet your sales goals.

As a Customer Success Manager at Drift, I've worked very closely with a number of Sales teams, making sure they crush those goals. After understanding these teams, their workflows, and commonly asked questions, I've created the ultimate guide to getting your team started with Drift.

Let's start with the basics.

Conversation Overview

This is what a conversation will look like from a customer's POV.

Keep in mind that our routing bot is turned on in that video. The bot acts as the initial contact when conversations are started. The customer's chat experience on sites without this feature turned on will look more like this:

On the rep's side, this is what the conversation will look like:

On the left, you'll see that all new conversations come through in life time. When someone "unknown" starts a conversation, they'll be shown as a "Site Visitor." Once they enter their email address, we'll enrich the data on the customer to give you a more robust understanding of who they are. 

On the right (if you click on the attribute card icon), you'll see a slideout that houses all of this customer information. That's my enriched profile over there 😊 

You can ask for someone's email address at any point in the conversation (even outside of the email form!) and it will update in their profile. You can also edit which attributes are shown on the right from any customer's profile.

Conversation Status

Changing the conversation status is the primary way to organize your chats. Ideally, you would keep all new, active conversations in their "Open" state.

Any chats that require follow-up or are incomplete for some reason should be in "Pending."

"Closed" status speaks for itself. Whenever a conversation is over, change the status to "Closed" and it'll go into the closed queue. A conversation won't ever be entirely deleted, it'll remain in the customer's profile timeline. If they continue the conversation, it'll reopen and come through the "Open" queue.

 Choose a status directly from the conversation view:

And you can toggle between different conversation queues really easily:

If you're using the Salesforce integration, a conversation is only logged when you close it. Make sure to close 'em out when you're done! 

Set Your Status

Rep status is important to understand as a team, in order to organize who's responsible for new chats coming in, etc. 

To change your status, click on your avatar in the bottom left:

On-Call: Use this when you're actively taking chats. When you're on-call, conversations will be assigned to you. If there's one person on-call, they'll receive all chats. If there are multiple people on-call, they'll receive chats in a round-robin.

Available: Use this when you're not actively taking chats, but would like to receive notifications. You won't be assigned to conversations automatically.

Do Not Disturb: Use this when you'd like to override your notification settings. When you're On-Call and Available, notifications will follow the rules you've place in your settings. When in Do Not Disturb, you're essentially "snoozing" any notifications.

Food for thought: Here at Drift, we have something called "chat duty". During "chat duty", one person is On-Call and is responsible for all incoming chats. However, you might want to have all reps online at the same time to fairly divide new leads among the team.

Conversation Assignment

When a conversation comes in and no one is On-Call, the conversation will go unassigned. These conversations will exist either in the "Open" or "Unassigned" queue.

You'll see an anonymous figure in the place where an rep's avatar should be. You can either reply to an unassigned conversation to automatically assign yourself, or manually assign another rep:

If someone is On-Call, new conversations will be assigned to that person. These conversations can be found in the "Open" or "Assigned to X" queue. (The default filter will show conversations assigned to you, but you can create a custom filter to see conversations assigned to other reps).

Operating Out of Your Queue 

As you can see above, there are several different conversation queues. All new conversations can always be found in "Open."


  • If there's one person On-Call, operate out of the "Open" queue.
  • If there's more than one person On-Call, operate out of the "Assigned to Me" queues. This will keep reps from stepping on each others' toes.
  • If no one has been On-Call for a period of time (ex. overnight), then always check the "Unassigned" queue and make sure every conversation has an assigned rep. No lead left behind!


You can set your notification settings here. These settings are at a rep level, so each person can adjust them to their liking.

You can be notified in 3 ways: Email, Browser, and Mobile.

Recommendations: Only set notifications for conversations assigned to you. If there's always someone monitoring incoming chats in the app, there's no need to be notified whenever any new conversation is started.

Email Fallback

Email fallback is a feature that allows for conversations to be continued, even if a customer leaves the page.

If someone doesn't read your message for 15+ minutes, you'll see this message in the conversation (only visible to you):

The customer will receive an email that has the chat transcript included, like this:

The customer can then either respond via email to continue the conversation (it'll continue in the same thread) or they can click on a link that will take them back to the website page.


Tagging is just another way of organizing conversations. We use it for a variety of different reasons, including marking new leads, feature requests, bug reports, follow-up required, etc. It's really up to you to create a system that works best for the team.

Here's what it looks like when you choose a conversation tag:

The beauty of tagging is that you can filter based on them. For example, if I wanted to view all conversations with a "follow-up required" tag, I can filter and then work through the list on its own.

Here's what it looks like to select a custom filter with tags:

Saved Replies

These are great to use as a quick way to answer common customer questions. If you click on the + sign in the conversation view, you'll see the option to enter a saved reply. You can add one really easily and manage all of your saved replies here.  

Check it out:

Internal Notes

Internal notes are a great way to communicate the state of a conversation with your team, or just a way to make a note for yourself later. 

For example, if I have a customer who wants more information on pricing and we decide to take it offline, I can make a note that we have a call. Or, if someone wants to follow-up with a customer, notes are helpful to know the last action taken on someone's account. 

This is an example of what it looks like when you're entering an internal note:

Customer Profiles

A customer's profile is a complete timeline of any event that has happened via Drift (and some native integrations).

They look something like this:

You'll notice that you can send a message directly to someone via their profile, or you can "follow" them. What this means is that you can be notified whenever a customer is on your site. So if you have a big customer who you're working with, this is a great way to reach out to them via Drift, at the moment they're most engaged.

See that "Edit" link next to the "About" section? That's where you can pick and choose which attributes you want showing in the Conversation view. 

Drift Profiles

Drift Profiles are like a digital business card. It gives customers a direct channel to reach you. They allow customers to chat with you directly, schedule meetings, etc. You can set them up here and they'll look something like this once they're live:

Visit my actual Drift Profile here! 

Drift Scheduling

Want to get more leads without really having to do... anything? Well, now you can easily provide someone with a link to your Drift Profile and they can book a meeting with you directly on your calendar.

They can choose a day and  time and you'll both get an invite. Set it up here!

Live View

Live View is a tool that allows you to see a live feed of identified customers, as they're on your site. This is another way to proactively message leads or customers while they're most engaged and high intent.

You can view what page an identified customer is on and tailor a unique message to them at the optimal point of contact.

Mobile Apps

Close deals from your Uber! We have native apps for both iOS and Android. You can download them here.

So that's a good place to stop for onboarding on an rep level. As an admin, there are a few things that are good to know.

Inviting New Team Members

You can manage your team and invite them to your Drift account here. Once they receive the invite email, they can go through the signup steps on their own.

Customizing Drift

You can customize any aspect about your Drift widget by going here. You can set your hours and availability, manage the online/offline messages, set your colors, etc. all from here. 

Have fun!


Setting up integrations is the best way to build Drift into your existing workflow. Here, you can setup your Salesforce integration, knowledgebase integration, or use Zapier to build almost any other integration you might need.

Different Types of Bots

Routing Bot: The routing bot is meant to help get incoming conversations to the right place. Our most basic form of the bot. It'll pop in and ask someone for the department the customer is looking for, as well as their email address.

Knowledgebase Bot: If you integrate your knowledgebse with Drift, your bot can answer customer questions based on keywords they throw your way. It's a great way to save reps' time and still provides customers with the information they need.

Bot Replies: Bot replies exist in campaign form. They're meant to proactively target and reach out to leads, qualifying them for a sale. You can create your own script for the bot to follow. Think of it as an automated sales rep!

Announcements vs. Bot Replies

Although the Bot Replies appear in campaign form, they're much different than our traditional announcement campaigns, which are meant to engage and/or educate customers in a less "script-y" way. We personally use them for product announcements, onboarding, etc. You can have it start a chat, lead a customer to a different URL, or just plain old tell them about a new feature, etc. Here's some more information on the announcements vs. Bot Replies.

That about ties it up! Hope this helped- feel free to reach out to me (or any of us) with questions on getting this setup. Happy to have you here!

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