We are living in the “Age of the Consumer” where a company’s success is engineered by creative ideas and ways to connect with their customers.
It’s all about improving conversion rates, customer retention, and lowering churn rate. The goal looks completely clear, but how should all of this be achieved?
Well, the writing is on the wall now with the emergence of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies like chatbots that look to disrupt industries everywhere. Especially for B2B businesses, these advanced bots have breathed new life into sales proposals. In fact, chatbots are so popular among B2B companies that 58% of them already use chatbots on their website.
A little primer about the sales pipeline and the sales funnel.
- Sales pipeline: The sales pipeline is a visual image of sales opportunities and where they’re in the buying process. The sales pipeline also shows you the number of deals and their worth.
- Sales funnel: A sales funnel is a visual depiction of the journey from your prospect’s first point of contact with you to the completion of your purchase. The sales funnel is connected directly to the customer journey stages, which are divided into three parts: top, middle, and bottom.
For both, the sales process begins with lead generation, where potential buyers are recognized who may have an interest in the product. After that, leads are rated based on how likely they are to convert. The sales department then converts these opportunities (hot leads) into sales through suitable offerings of their product or services.
In this blog, I will look at how chatbots can be used to supercharge your B2B sales pipeline and eliminate any friction along the way to drive better customer value and establish a loyal customer base.
1. Personalized welcome messages to support sales prospecting
The most important act of the B2B play is the opening, and that’s why welcome messages assume an added importance. It is essential to engage users and establish the right tone from the get-go. It helps unify the brand voice and sets the right expectations for the customer. Delivering this voice via a chatbot lends it a personality that humanizes the entire customer experience and aligns the bot more closely with your brand.
In order to make consumers aware that they’re talking to a bot, several brands even prefer to give their chatbot a name. Take Bloomy, the chatbot of Boomerang Solutions, for example. By the act of addressing itself, the bot sets a stage where it offers them the ability, to be honest with customers while at the same time promoting a friendly tone.
While designing customized welcome messages, it’s best to take a cue from Bloomy and craft messages that are persuasive, set the right expectations, and ask questions.
Just because the welcome message is automated doesn’t mean it should sound so. Stitch together your bot’s personality piece by piece and refer back to the brand tone to ensure that users get engaged with the message.
Set the right expectations
Next, let consumers know that they’re talking to a bot so that they understand the possible conversational limits. But also let them know how and when they can get in touch with a live agent.
When you’ve engaged your audience and hooked them onto your offering, ask them questions that will maintain the conversation and keep it going.
2. Weed out bad leads
Conversion from marketing to sales (or from sales to purchasing) can be a matter of patience, chance, or charm – but eligible leads are the best bet for a high conversion rate. Concentrating on qualified leads ensures that less time is spent on unqualified leads.
Chatbots are smart enough to respond to leads and filter them according to importance and potential. Chatbots can also field requests and answer a lot of queries simultaneously about your company during the inquiry process and also assign a lead score to potential buyers based on your lead scoring system.
After this, chatbots can then hand over eligible leads to sales reps once the lead has demonstrated that they will go further down the funnel. This will ensure that less-qualified leads are kept in the company of the chatbot until their stance is much more established, and they are ready to move ahead in the buying process.
3. Real-time and 24/7 customer support
Customers visiting your website will always appreciate speed and performance when it comes to answering their questions. Did you know that 82% of consumers rate an “immediate” response as important or very important when they have a marketing or sales question?
A chatbot helps companies automate communicating with consumers so that they are perennially accessible to them. According to IBM, up to 80% of routine customer service questions can be answered by a chatbot.
B2B businesses can train their chatbots to field customer requests about their products or offerings and provide instant solutions to them around-the-clock. This contributes to a seamless experience for the user since they can get quick answers to common questions at any time, without having to queue in line for a live agent.
These bots can also be integrated with live chat widgets to escalate the customer’s queries to the sales team. This ensures a steady supply of leads and guarantees the health of your sales pipeline. When set up correctly, these bots provide a response that aligns with your brand voice. Any mistakes they make can be easily detected and rectified to ensure that the bot does not repeat them in the future.
4. Provide custom offers
The best part about employing chatbots is that you can use them for several purposes to gauge the consumer’s expectations and state of mind. They can be used to run pre-chat surveys and polls to gather the context of the customer’s needs and come up with personalized offers to keep customers from bouncing from the website.
A pre-chat survey requires the consumer to provide some basic information (name, email, phone number) so that you can automatically provide the most appropriate material. Once you have activated the pre-chat survey option on your web page, your website guests will need to fill in some simple information before they can communicate with the chatbot. This can help you easily understand their demands and route the chat session to an agent and equip them with this newly acquired knowledge to promote the best offer that helps them convert.
Take fitness brand Verve Health’s chatbot, Ziggy, as an example. Ziggy regularly communicates with its patrons and acts as a personal trainer to them, giving them fitness advice and workout schedules.
Ziggy asks users about their medical conditions, history of injuries, health issues, and other relevant information. Then when users ask Ziggy for a workout schedule, it provides custom recommendations on which exercises they should go for so that it is the most productive for them. This is a great example of customization that is not only helpful but also significantly improves the user’s experience.
5. Communicate in a customer’s native language
Did you know that 74% of customers are more likely to purchase a product or a service from a company that provides sales help in their native language? Considering this and the fact that 72% of app users do not speak English, businesses miss out on a host of potential sales by not using multilingual chatbots.
In today’s digital world, where you can just as easily buy a product from halfway around the world as you can a sandwich from the deli downstairs, you can’t really work under the premise that only one region’s customers will engage with you. This is where multilingual chatbots come in handy.
The introduction of multilingual chatbots allows for smoother communications in multiple languages, thereby expanding your target audience. As a result, it leads to a drastic rise in incoming leads and increases interaction and conversion. This also significantly enhances your competitive advantage by providing more customized customer service to overseas customers as well.
A brilliant example of how multilingual bots can take your business to new heights by boosting the user experience is that of Dr. Lal PathLabs, an international diagnostic and related healthcare tests service provider. Offering primary support in Hindi, the chatbot uses a blend of the native language and English to make the support answers more conversational and colloquial. With a multilingual bot framework, this chatbot can carry out vernacular entity detection without causing a bot break.
As a result of its highly developed capabilities, this conversational bot has been so good at handling user queries that it has raised the organization’s traffic handling capabilities in excess of 400k. Additionally, it has seen a general increase of 25% more users chatting to get report status, while 97% of people reported having a positive and satisfactory interaction with the bot.
6. Promote self service by integrating a knowledgebase
One of the several great things about chatbots is that they allow the customer to support themselves. Today, 67% of customers say that they would prefer to find answers to their queries themselves before talking to a customer service representative. If you have self-service resources on your website, you can integrate them with your chatbot to direct the user to interact with that content.
Self-service is so popular that 91% of customers would use an online knowledgebase if it were available and tailored to their needs. In this light, integrating a knowledgebase with your chatbot will help you identify the most commonly asked questions and help the user get information directly from the chatbot. Not only does this make information centralized, but it also lends to the customer experience of the buyer and helps them make their way ever so slightly down the sales funnel.
To chat or not to chat
While looking for ways to optimize your sales pipeline, there are many useful tools at your fingertips. Considering that 96% of companies believe that chatbots are here to stay, it is better to start investing in them to engage prospects, guide them through the funnel, generate meaningful leads, and provide relevant information.
Jumping on the proverbial bandwagon will not only help you save time and money but also open doors to new opportunities.
Guest author: Dhruv Mehta is a Digital Marketing Professional who works at Acquire and provides solutions in the digital era. In his free time, he loves to write on tech and marketing. He is a frequent contributor to Tweak Your Biz. Connect with him on Twitter or LinkedIn.