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How Chatbots Improve Lead Generation

Dave Orecchio
by Dave Orecchio on Oct 10, 2019 7:15:00 AM

In the modern customer-driven business world, chatbots are one of the most useful tools any business can put to use. Infinitely available and friendly, a chatbot is often the first step to customer engagement. While you may have a talented sales team ready to take over customer communications at any time, a chatbot is the key to having "someone" say hello to leads the moment they arrive and ready to respond at the exact moment when a lead decides to ask a question. Chatbots can be programmed to never push, but always offer, and can help guide leads through that important moment between engaging and their first commitment on the conversion funnel.

In other words, chatbots are like your automated concierge assistants to the buying process. But how they do everything "on the box" is a question that any business should be asking and the exact question we are here to answer today. Let's dive into how chatbots improve lead generation.

How-Chatbots-Improve-Lead-Generation

The Greeting and Sales Connection

The first thing a chatbot does, even with very little setup, is to greet leads as they arrive and remain in a ready, responsive state while leads read their first blogs or browse your site for the first time. Primarily, chatbots ensure that leads are never 'left waiting' while a sales rep logs in to help them when questions are asked.

Leads who already know what they want will, upon being greeted, ask the chatbot immediately for the product or service they need. The chatbot can direct them to the correct page, starting the conversion process or even ping a Sales admin to take over the conversation for more expertise management.

For everyone who takes more time, the chatbot is always there, on every page, to answer basic questions as they come up. When a lead is ready to talk, the chatbot bridges the logistical gap between a question and a Sales rep logging in who is ready to provide a detailed answer.

How Chatbots Improve Lead Generation

Lead Qualification by Equipping Chatbots with a Lead Magnet

Chatbots are also fantastic at qualifying leads who engage, even if the lead does not immediately require the help of a live sales agent. The key is to create powerful lead magnets like ebooks and webinars, then equip your chatbots to offer these lead magnets spontaneously or when visitors engage to ask a question. Your chatbots might open their greeting with a lead-generating offer of a free e-book for any interested visitors, for example, which will win many takers from those who came to research and read in the first place.

When a lead engages but hasn't qualified yet, a chatbot can also segway a conversation into offering your lead magnets. With the right keyword triggers, it can even respond to questions like "How long does an installation take" with something like "The installation process is outlined in our complimentary eBook Everything You Need to Know About Your Water Heater ", thus prompting curious leads to sign up and be assigned to a personal sales agent.

Conversational Chatbot Lead Generation

conversational chatbot lead generationAnother option is to prepare chatbots to generate and qualify leads on their own through conversation. Some leads are chatty and enjoy talking to chatbots about the brand and products, even without contacting a human sales rep. In the course of a casual conversation, your chatbot can start asking answers in return that would help to qualify the lead. Your chatbot might ask if the lead is investigating for themselves or on behalf of someone else. It might ask what services the lead is most interested in, or what state they are located in. Any number of casual lead-qualification questions can be collected through a conversational chatbot.

These responses become even easier for some leads if your chatbot is equipped with pre-written responses. These often appear as buttons for the lead who can choose between a standard set of entry responses. The responses can help leads quickly to provide answers with little effort. In some cases, the response options will help a lead feel more casual, like indicating a budget range rather than naming a number.

Once the lead is accustomed to the pre-written responses, they will start interacting with the chatbot as if it were half-conversation, half-form which can speed up the conversation and make them more forthcoming with qualification info. Eventually (or early on) the chatbot will ask for an email address or get it through a lead qualification offer to round out the new CRM account.

Purpose-Built Chatbots

One thing that many brands don't realize until they are implementing chatbots is that most sites don't have just one unified chatbot, they have a wide variety of purpose-built bots each serving specific pages, contents, and response expectations. In fact, we recommend being very specific by building a chatbot for each page you want it on. 

As an example, check out the Chatbot on this page that offers an eBook or will tell you a joke!

In addition to your greeting bot, you might have a specific bot for each type of landing page you design. For example, a restaurant might have one bot for the catering page to answer catering-related questions and offer catering-related lead qualification. Then a separate chatbot for the event planning page to answer questions about renting venue space, planning events, and offer event-related lead qualifications. A retail brand might have a personal-shopper bot, help-section bot, and an account services bot.

Each of these bots is given a different set of responses and lead-qualification tools to provide to leads and customers based on the context of the page. This way, chatbots don't have to be super contextually-smart, merely ready to respond based on their assigned subject matter. And any time a lead wants to know something that goes beyond the scope of the bot's ability, a real human agent is flagged to take over the conversations.

Why Website Visitors Love Chatbots

It may come as a surprise just how useful chatbots can be to engage new leads and even serve returning customers. Chatbots are incredibly popular in today's customer-centric market specifically because customers enjoy interacting with them. Why? Because a chatbot makes it all about the lead or customer.

Chatbots are always available in the moment. There's never waiting even two minutes for a human to make time to talk online. Chatbots also can't get bored or irritated, even if a lead has a million questions that are all very similar. If a lead needs to ask "Is this product include latex?" (or something similar) for every single item they look at, they'll feel self-conscious and annoying talking to a human. A chatbot doesn't care and is happy to answer the same similar question a million times, if necessary. This gives the lead or customer full control of the conversation with no need to worry about the feelings of their contact.

Chatbots are also up all hours of the night. For leads who do all their research after-hours, for night-owls, and for night-shifters, chatbots are much more accessible than the average sales team. And they are always chipper no matter what time the clock might read.

chatbots help lead generation

TWEETABLE TIP

Chatbots are awake 24/7. For website visitors who do their research after-hours, for night-owls, chatbots are much more accessible than the average salesperson. And they are always happy no matter what time the clock might read.

VIA @dorecchio


Using chatbots for lead generation and lead qualification is an incredibly smart move for any brand. B2B or B2C, one product or a full-suite selection, chatbots help engage with leads and guide them down the conversion funnel. Chatbots can act as a bridge between initial contact and a live sales conversation. And, ultimately, chatbots can qualify leads while the leads themselves enjoy the experience. For more insights on what chatbots can do for your company's inbound marketing and sales results, contact us today!

Of course, when it comes to lead generation, this is only the beginning! If you'd like to take a deeper dive into the secrets of generating leads, then download our free eBook, "8 Steps to Attract Qualified Leads for Your Business.

8 steps to attract qualified leads for your business

Bristol Strategy is a full funnel inbound marketing agency and inbound sales agency offering the full complement of  Inbound Marketing services that enable our clients to surpass their business objectives by transforming the way they engage with their buyer online.  Reach out to us to learn more about how our experience and capabilities can help your business grow. 

Tags: Marketing Strategy Lead Generation Business Blog

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Dave Orecchio
Written by Dave Orecchio
Dave Orecchio is one of the earliest adopters of Inbound Marketing. As one of Hubspot’s first customers and CEO of a Boston-based startup, he experienced the benefits of this effective digital marketing methodology. Dave now provides Inbound (marketing & Sales) services to businesses to help them grow and realize the positive results that an integrated program can provide. Dave is a high-tech marketing and sales expert with more than 25 years of business experience.
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