How to Make Your Chatbot a Valuable Member of Your Sales Team

July 3, 2017

10:50 am

In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re living in an era of mass disruption. Industries that have remained stagnant for decades have been transformed overnight, as a result of new technological innovations. Artificial intelligence (AI) is perhaps the most disruptive technology of all. The AI market is surging at the moment and is estimated to be worth $16 billion USD by the year 2022.

With chatbots, businesses have begun to leverage the massive potential of artificial intelligence. By mimicking human conversations, chatbots can be used to gather data, drive sales, build rapport with customers and ultimately, humanize brands. In 2016, 8.3 percent of all retail sales in the US were conducted online. While it’s wonderful that technology has facilitated a thriving ecommerce industry, people still want to purchase from other humans instead of faceless corporations.

Chatbots allow you to inject some humanity into your marketing and differentiate your brand from the competition. A chatbot shouldn’t replace your sales team, but it can definitely assist them greatly. Here are some tips for making your chatbot a valuable member of your sales team.

Data Gathering

Large corporations typically spend significant sums of money on market research, trying to narrow down their buyer personas and identify receptive markets. This process isn’t only expensive, it’s extremely time consuming. Fortunately, a chatbot can be a wonderful choice for data gathering. Chatbot logs will provide a wealth of data regarding who your ideal buyers are, what products they’re interested in and what common questions they have.

This qualitative data will help to inform your marketing strategy – particularly when you cross-reference it with quantitative data (such as Google Analytics and Facebook ad campaign insights). Every chat log should be stored in your CRM. If your sales representative is able to access the chat log of every lead before cold calling, they’ll have a much better idea of the lead’s problems and desires, which will enable them to provide a uniquely tailored offer.

Sales Automation

Fast food restaurant chain, Taco Bell, provides a glimpse into the way artificial intelligence can be used to automate the sales process. Using Slack (a messaging application), users can connect with TacoBot and place orders without ever having to leave the application. You can ask TacoBot about the meaning of life, customize your order and input your delivery details before the order is finalized.

TacoBot has a distinct, quirky personality which helps to humanize the Taco Bell brand. Most interestingly, TacoBot can promote contextually relevant upsells (in this case, bacon) based on the user’s input. Ecommerce marketers can utilize this process to promote upsells and increase their store’s average order value (AOV).

Give Your Chatbot an Identity

Have you ever watched a bad movie, where all the characters seem plastic and fake? If all of the characters have similar speech patterns with similar vocabulary, it becomes hard to convey the uniqueness of each individual.

Give your chatbot a memorable name and enable it to communicate with an informal, conversational tone. When you give your chatbot a real sense of identity, customers will be more enthusiastic when interacting with your brand.

Personalization

Your chatbot’s communication style should be influenced by consumer data insights. Each consumer’s geographical location, previous purchasing history, and brand interactions should be factored in when determining what messages your chatbot delivers.

With tools like ChatFuel, you can create multiple flows that are tailored to each consumer’s preferences – with no programming required. When you utilize segmentation, your chatbot can create a highly personalized experience for your visitors.

Research shows that 60 percent of marketers struggle to personalize content in real time, yet 77 percent think that real-time personalization is important. Chatbots represent an excellent way to integrate real-time personalization into your marketing strategy.

Reviving Abandoned Carts

In a recent study, Adobe discovered that only 19 percent of carts result in an order for mobile customers and only 30 percent of carts result in an order for desktop customers. If your abandoned cart rate is 70 percent or more – this represents a gigantic opportunity for improving profits.

In cases where people need a small nudge to complete their order, your chatbot can send a message offering a discount code. Alternatively, the chatbot can provide more information about the product to alleviate purchasing fears. In cases where failed payments are the reason for abandoned carts, your chatbot can suggest alternative payment methods or offer to save the item to a wishlist for a later visit.

Remarketing tactics (such as Facebook retargeting and cart abandonment emails) become less effective the longer someone has strayed from your website. It’s much more effective to re-engage people immediately if you want to maximize conversions – something you can easily do with a chatbot.

Ultimately, chatbots are great for engaging people when they’re at the bottom of your sales funnel – and encouraging them to convert.

Read more about other business tips on TechCo

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Aaron Agius is an experienced search, content and social marketer. He has worked with some of the world’s largest and most recognized brands, including IBM, Coca-Cola, Target and others, to build their online presence. See more from Aaron at Louder Online, his blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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