Chatbots are everywhere. But do you know how to use them specifically for sales? Read this step-by-step actionable guide to boost your sales with bots.
Let’s begin with the basics! A chatbot is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) software that interacts with people like a human. They can live in different places across the digital landscape such as websites, mobile devices, social media platforms, etc.
Chatbots have evolved significantly in recent times that sometimes it’s difficult to tell whether they’re human or not. And nowadays they can help you automate a number of your business processes, including sales.
These virtual customer service representatives and salespeople communicate with people via instant messaging and help initiate them into the sales process. They can answer customer questions, collect data on people’s interests and even suggest products to them.
This is crazy:
Gartner forecasted that by 2020, over 85% of customer interactions will be handled without a human! If your business is making sales online, it might be time to consider investing in a chatbot.
People want 1-on-1, personalized interactions
Nowadays, messaging apps are overtaking traditional social media in terms of engagement, downloads, and time spent by consumers. Why? Because people enjoy 1-on-1 interactions much more than they do scrolling through their feeds.
The way people communicate with businesses has been evolving at a rapid pace. For years, in-person meetings and phone calls were the dominant means of communication. Then, with the rise of the internet, a multitude of new options became available, from email to social media, to mobile apps, to filling out a form on a website and waiting for a follow-up. More recently, the rise of real-time messaging has led to a fundamental shift in how people prefer to connect with businesses.
Drift’s State of Conversational Marketing report, for example, found that people from all 195 countries are using online chat to start conversations on business websites. And that includes people who work at companies of every size, sector, and nearly every industry, as well as key
decision-makers (41% of people starting online chat conversations with businesses are executives).
What does that mean? You have to personalize your sales pitch, speak to your prospect’s needs, and highlight how you can help.
People don’t want to wait
In the on-demand, real-time world we live in, where everything seems to be just one click away, consumers expect to be able to find the information they’re looking for quickly and easily. When they can’t, they get frustrated and could end up turning to competitors. In fact, 35-50% of sales go to the vendor who replies first. If you wait just five minutes to respond to an inbound inquiry, you are 10 times more likely to lose that lead forever.
Responding slowly on a channel advertised as “live” is a contradiction in terms. Forcing customers to wait after you’ve set the expectation of immediacy is unacceptable. That’s why bots put the “live” in “live chat.”
Benefits of using chatbots for sales
1. Accelerated sales cycles
Your chatbot might automatically qualify leads when they’re live on your site, and connect you to the best ones. This way, you can ensure your sales reps don’t have to worry about answering customer support questions or getting interrupted by random site visitors who have no intention of buying. By shortening lead qualification, you save time.
If you are a small business owner, you don’t have the luxury of a large team. But now you can close the gap by using chatbots that can easily handle dozens of queries at the same time. This gives you the opportunity to scale up your sales team. Even when your business sees a massive surge of queries, your bot can handle all preliminary queries without being overwhelmed.
Since bots don’t need breaks or sleep, they can answer queries instantly, in real-time regardless of what time of the day. You don’t need your sales team to be awake round the clock. They can simply follow up with any leads that need it the next day. This means you are likely to sell more, especially to people who shop in the middle of the night or want to order from a different time zone. Wake up every day to new qualified leads in your pipeline and more booked meetings in your calendar.
4. Personalized communication
Just like a sales executive, a chatbot can remember what a customer liked/bought previously, prompt them for products/services that they may be interested in. They can also help them compare features and prices before they make a purchase. This 1-on-1, personalized communication goes a long way in creating brand loyalty, and a bot can help you scale that.
5. High engagement
Typical outreach CTR of a chatbot ranges from 15-60% and visitor interactions with bots on your website increase lead conversion by up to 36%! By outperforming social media platforms, email marketing, and ad spending, chatbots are the most powerful communication tool in your business’s arsenal.
Where to use them?
Where in the sales funnel?
From lead generation to building client relationships, answering FAQs, and qualifying leads chatbots have proven to be an asset to each stage of the sales funnel. Let’s have a look at each stage separately:
- Awareness: At this stage, establishing a relationship is crucial to moving the prospect through the sales funnel. Either deployed on your website or social media channels, a chatbot can initiate a conversation, causing the visitor to engage with the brand.
- Interest: Your chatbot might suggest products/services based on previously visited pages and the customer’s needs. It can handle many of the preliminary questions, at least the most frequently asked ones. If it’s familiar with the query, it will provide the answer. If not, it will connect them to a sales representative.
- Decision: At this stage, your chatbot can send additional advertisements and information based on past conversations to the lead. Collecting valuable data might pre-qualify leads and save company time and resources.
- Action: Especially for e-commerce and travel, after a sale is complete your chatbot can send scheduled follow-ups based on the stored data. This information can then be used in retargeting the user, creating a repeat and loyal customer.
Chatbots can be an indispensable sales asset if you’re in the e-commerce realm. They allow you to send tailored recommendations to your customers, guide them through the decision-making process, and even process payments within the site without the need for human intervention.
Where to deploy them?
Now that we’ve talked about why to use chatbots, you’re probably wondering where to deploy them. Well, that really depends on which platform is best for your business, or where your audience hangs out online. You can place your bots on your website, Slack, Skype, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, within your app, etc.
What are the available tools?
Alright, now that you’ve decided to try using a chatbot, where do you start? Basically, you have three options in front of you.
A. Develop your own bot
This, of course, is the most complicated and time-consuming option. Most of the platforms we’ve mentioned (Facebook Messenger, Slack, Telegram, etc.) provide guides, resources, and documentation on how to develop your very own chatbot from scratch. If you need ultimate control over your bot, this is the way to go.
B. Use a chatbot platform
Various companies have developed chatbot platforms, where you can create your own bot by using an intuitive graphical user interface. Once your bot is ready, you can deploy it to wherever you need (your website, Facebook Messenger, Slack, etc.) Some examples are MobileMonkey, FlowXO, OctaneAI, Aivo, and Chatfuel.
C. Use an integrated chatbot
As chatbots are becoming more and more popular, most tools started to integrate chatbots into their existing solutions. For instance, almost all live chat software has built-in chatbots. You can check out how Drift, Intercom, and LiveChat integrate chatbots into their software.
It’s not only live chat software companies but also CRM solutions that started to have built-in chatbots. For example, with HubSpot’s Chatbot Builder you can build your own bot to qualify leads, book meetings, provide answers to common customer support questions, and more.
As a sales automation software, here at GetAccept we also have a chatbot. After you send the proposal to your prospect, our chatbot asks relevant and professional questions to keep the prospect engaged and more likely to sign a contract. If the chatbot can’t answer a question it will push a notification to the sales representative, who can reply in real-time.
Chatbots are the future of doing business, and sales in particular. Either within your live chat or integrated into your sales automation software, you better start using a chatbot.