Every day more and more potential customers are engaging with companies that utilise chatbots. This means they are becoming the norm and expected, which already removes one barrier to resistance in the lead nurturing process.
Not only are they widely adopted in B2C relationships like hotels for example, but they can also speed up closure rates in B2B marketing conversations.
The problem in the short term is that people are trying to be far too clever with chatbots than they actually need be. The aim is to get your prospect or website/landing page visitor to buy or converse with a real person as soon as possible or otherwise convert, not engage in a long drawn out conversation.
Have you forgotten the art of sales over inbound marketing already?
I was recently speaking with a prospect who was considering a chatbot or multiple chatbots within their marketing toolkit. I quickly interjected that the chatbot is actually a combination of three very important requirements:
- Inbound Lead Nurturing
- Sales pre-qualification
Looking at a chatbot as a simple chatbot provides no real qualification as to what use the tool may be, it actually talks itself out of adopting. However, if you look at the chatbot as a tool for marketing and sales lead generation and qualification then you are onto a winner.
The chatbot is a facilitator in a digital platform that has a sole ambition to be relevant, direct and easy to engage with, to get your prospects into qualified leads. It has the capacity to close a sale if you, of course, know how to “talk” your prospect into it.
In my previous article, the art of conversational marketing, I cover this in more depth, so please, go ahead and check that out.
In this case, when I discuss with my clients how to close leads with chatbots, we always discuss the chatbots we use at Bias Digital, and I simply tell them this.
Our chatbot brings us more qualified leads than our inbound marketing does and it closes the cycle down to minutes. Within 3 minutes of a prospect engaging with the bot, we get a clear understanding of what our lead wants, where they want to be contacted and if they like, they can book their own appointment in our meeting calendar.
We have obtained their consent to be contacted (solving GDPR), allowed them to tell us what they need help with within reason and also qualified that they have a real issue that needs solving allowing our sales team to follow up immediately and effectively.
Of course, as we refine our own strategy, we can then pass on the benefits of that experience to our clients and we already have pathways to doing this and will be testing these over the coming months ( I will tie the data back to this post once we have collated it).
But this is our intention.
Like most campaigns of a standard inbound nature, the ambition is to tie the content and landing page to a suitable section of the funnel and then get your prospects into a lead nurturing campaign via email.
Well, that is old hat and times are changing!
Yes lead nurturing still takes place, but wouldn’t you want an asset that enables a rapid progression through the funnel at a pace that allows the prospect to believe that they are in control, when in fact it is your company that is?
Your chatbot allows your website visitor to believe they are in control, they relax and they give you the information you need to close that sale or at least to allow your salespeople to start a conversation to a warm receptive lead, openly seeking your product or service.
Again, I implore you to understand that this is a tool that should be used in your marketing stack, it should not be focused on as a one for all solution to solving all problems. It will, however, play an intrinsic role in shortening the lead nurturing process to immediate serving exactly what the client wants.
Remember the age-old saying goes “strike whilst the iron is hot”!
If your company isn’t focused on immediacy, conversational marketing, chatbot qualified leads in support of your inbound marketing campaigns then you are already lagging well behind and need to catch up.
Currently, the Bias Bot Bot is at about 80% conversion, some people, unfortunately, see it like a robot and forget that real people have to read the engagement between the said website visitor and the bot. Some of the language used is really quite distasteful, but that again is always going to happen as we can answer questions, we cannot prepare for human behaviour, we simply hope for maturity and good manners.
So how do you utilise the chatbots? The answer is simple, segmentation and relevancy.
- Always try and build separate chatbot playbooks for the content and services that you discuss on your company blog. For example, if you are an agency that sells both web design and marketing services and distribute content on your blog for each, then have two chatbot playbooks. One for each service. If you offer more content then add a playbook for that, such as consulting or social media.
- Don’t hide your chatbot behind a human face. It’s a robot with pre-programmed responses to questions that you want to answer in order to manoeuvre your prospect through your funnel. Embrace that situation and you will soon find that your prospects are completely fine with it too!
- Get to the point. Nobody, but nobody needs a chatbot with 75 questions. Feel free to use an inbound approach to your conversational marketing strategy and move prospects between chatbot conversations if the need presents itself. However, do not be fooled into thinking that you need to be overly clever to get a prospect to open up straight away. It will happen more often than not.
- If you are smart, you can get both the email address and a telephone number within the one conversation, as long as you don’t try to get that at the same time and the reason is relevant. Start with something like, “can we grab your email in case we are disconnected” and then if you get a positive outcome from your playbook, ask the new prospect if you can get their number in order to call them. Sounds crazy right? but again, when someone is ready to buy, you need to strike whilst the iron is hot.
Now that I have given you my tips on how to close leads with chatbots, perhaps you can start to envisage how a chatbot and a conversational marketing playbook can amplify your reach and in turn speed up sales conversations and ultimately conversions.
Should you want to discuss the use of chatbots, one of the team will be happy to do so, simply speak to the chatbot on the page below.