How to drive revenue with chat solutions
Knowing not just where your prospects come from but also where they want to go and what they want to achieve is key.
HOW TO DRIVE REVENUE WITH CHAT SOLUTIONS
Using Conversational Marketing
<br> IN THIS READ:
How to use <b>live chat</b> and <b>chatbots</b>?
How to apply <b>conversational marketing</b>?
+ ABM <b>strategy</b> and chat solution <b>use cases</b>
LIVING IN A DIGITALLY CONNECTED WORLD
<br>...where buyers have all the power
LIVING IN A DIGITALLY CONNECTED WORLD
We live in a digitally connected world, where we all are constantly connected to each other and have gotten used to instant messaging.
All the information we could possibly be looking for about any topic is at our fingertips – all we have to do is to make a quick online search on our phones, tablets or computers.
Buyers are now quite capable of informing themselves about almost anything online, especially when it comes to a company’s products or services. It’s evident that marketing teams need to be able to “catch” potential buyers and adapt to wherever they are along their buying journey.
Knowing not just where your prospect comes from but also where they want to go and what they want to achieve is key.
*Interesting Read: Intro to Buyer Personas and Buyer Journeys for B2B Orgs
Doing so improves alignment between your marketing and sales teams, because marketing needs to know this information before they know which leads to hand over to sales and when.
Now more than ever, B2B marketing needs to adopt a customer-centric strategy – to offer personalized and relevant content based on their prospects and customers’ expectations.
While B2C marketing is able to rapidly adapt to changing consumer behaviours and provide a hyper-personalized experience (both online and offline), the buyer experience in the B2B world can be likened to entering an empty warehouse, where no assistance or personalized approach is provided (even if you expect it). In an attempt to make the sales process more manageable, businesses have created all sorts of hurdles for the interested buyer. Accessing key information for buyer decision-making takes several steps, making harder for one business to buy from another business.
Nowadays, buyers have all the power. They need answers NOW – and fast. It is essential that marketers are able to engage with buyers when required.
THE FRICTIONAL JOURNEY OF THE B2B BUYER
Now don't get us wrong, we all love a good brain teaser from time to time. However, buyers have better things to do than to follow a complicated route to get access to information.
For most B2B buyers, a typical journey resembles something like this:
According to Marketing Land (2019), 74% of marketers were using online forms as their main tool in their Lead Generation Strategy.
This is not reassuring, knowing that most buyers won't fill out a form to access gated content and most companies won't follow-up on a most leads who filled out a form.
The truth is... buyers do not want to spend time filling out a form and wait to receive the information they need.
74% of marketers were using online forms as their main tool in their Lead Generation Strategy. This is not reassuring, knowing that most buyers won't fill out a form.
The current main challenges in B2B marketing are the following:
- Finding and intercepting a lead at the right moment in their journey
- Following and tracking the prospect's or customer's buying cycle
- To offer a positive, human and personalized customer experience, which is representative of your company's brand
LIVE CHAT AND ITS LIMITATIONS
<br>Engage with visitors at their most interested moments across every point of their buyer journey
ENGAGE WITH VISITORS USING LIVE CHAT
Live Chat solutions allow you to directly engage with a prospect without having to go through so many unnecessary steps.
Instead of asking website visitors to fill out a form before before they hear from you (if they ever do), make life easier by letting them chat with you NOW.
What exactly are the benefits of Live Chat solutions, you might ask? Well, here are a few...
Improves customer experience by instantly connecting visitors with reps from sales or customer support.
Allows visitors to schedule live calls or meetings based on rep availability.
Allows marketers to align with sales by getting in touch with visitors at specific buyer journey stages.
Lets visitors engage with you at the moment of highest intent.
Increases likelihood for conversion of website visitors over time.
Expresses your brand in a unique way and brings your website to life.
Have you tried using a live chat solution before to convert more website visitors?
- No, I've never even considered it
- I've heard of it and I'm curious to try
- I'm comparing live chat solutions now
- Yes, we use it and I'm happy with my vendor
- Yes, we use it but I'm looking to switch vendors
LIVE CHAT SOLUTIONS ARE GREAT, BUT ARE YOU REALLY COVERING ALL YOUR BASES?
Live chat solutions are a great way to help you engage and convert website visitors. But what happens when it's the weekend and your marketing and sales teams are out of the office? Who will your website visitor interact with then? What if it's 2 A.M. and a potential prospect (who also happens to be an insomniac) is checking out your website? What if they needed an answer to their question right then and there before going to sleep?
Yes, live chat allows you to connect with potential customers, but that by itself is not enough. Live chat is limited to opening times/schedules of your team members, as visitors will only be able to engage with reps who are available.
When engaging with a visitor, it is also complex to filter conversations based on requests, e.g., is it a customer that needs to be redirected to customer support or is it a lead that should speak to a sales representative ASAP?
Using Live Chat solutions on their own also means you might get yourself and your team entangled in a large volume on calls, which won't all necessarily be very interesting for you.
Since it’s not possible to immediately identify website visitors, it’s difficult to anticipate whether or not a prospect is worth following up on. Account owners can’t rely on live chat solutions alone to detect whether VIP leads or customers are on the website. Live chat also lacks the ability to automate lead qualification processes.
It's important to be prepared to engage with your visitors, even if no actual reps are available to interact at all times.
This is where chatbot solutions come in...
CHATBOTS TO THE RESCUE!
<br>The benefits of live chat and chatbots
CHATBOTS TO THE RESCUE!
Live chat solutions sure are great, but combining them with chatbots is even better.
Chatbots can engage with website visitors when no one else in your company is available to. This process ensures that prospects and customers have the best user experience possible. Rule-based (e.g., via pre-set decision trees) and AI chatbots, which can be built to support a variety of use cases, can significantly enhance live chat technology.
Chatbots follow a set of rules and logic (that you determine), which helps guide visitors through a conversation with a specific objective (e.g., capture emails, connect to customer support, etc.). They can react to both what visitors click (e.g., buttons or options within the chat) and what they type.
Let’s not forget about AI chatbots. These require a "training period" and can even process natural language to best understand the needs of the web visitor.
However, it is important to remind ourselves that AI cannot fully replace human interactions all together. Even though it might be tempting to use AI as a replacement for reps, we need to think of AI as a virtual assistant helping reps interpret the needs of a particular web visitor.
This includes: suggesting how to best handle the issues being raised, presenting relevant documents to a potential prospect and contributing to the improvement the overall chat experience for both parties.
Instead of overautomating, we need to find a way to work with technology, instead of having technology replace and impersonate humans.
We need to find a way to work with technology, instead of having technology replace and impersonate humans.
OK, BUT WHAT EXACTLY ARE THE BENEFITS OF CHATBOTS?
Chatbots come with several benefits. They can be placed on any one of your website domains, including high-intent web pages (e.g., "Pricing" pages).
1. TAKES OVER OUTSIDE OF OFFICE HOURS
...or even when all your other human reps are busy. This means that if a potential lead visits your website, they will still have the opportunity to interact and obtain relevant information. No opportunity is missed or left aside, even when you are on a beach sipping on a cocktail instead of checking your messages.
2. REPLIES INSTANTLY, 24/7
No more waiting time after filling out a form - a chatbot replies within a couples of seconds to a request. Chatbots allow visitors to immediately engage with you, which increases the likelihood of converting website traffic over time. Any website visitor can engage anytime and from anywhere, and still get an instantaneous reply.
3. GENERATES MORE QUALIFIED LEADS
Chatbots can start a conversation at any moment in time, whenever a lead is ready and willing to engage. Engaging with a lead on a high-intent website page (for instance) helps generate qualified leads more easily and quickly. Embedding a chatbot in strategic places, based on where relevant content is located, helps intercept leads when their level of attention is high and more likely to react.
4. SCHEDULES MEETINGS WITH QUALIFIED LEADS
Chatbots can act as filters – an extra layer of qualification. You can configure your chatbots against different criteria (e.g., email is known, company is X, contact is to determine which leads are worth pushing to sales, or should be redirected to other reps (e.g., for customer support). Meanwhile, your team can simply check their calendar to see when they will speak to a prospect next!
5. 1ST CLASS SERVICE FOR IDENTIFIED CLIENTS
Another reason why chatbots are great is that they can help identify your visitors’. A chatbot will know whether it is engaging with an anonymous visitor, an individual from a target account, or even an existing client. When it comes to existing clients, you can personalize their experience based on what is already known about them, like skipping the steps that ask for information you already have (e.g., email address, name) or tailoring your message to their specific product/service interests.
APPLYING CONVERSATIONAL MARKETING
<br>Improve customer experience and brand communication with chat solutions
APPLYING CONVERSATIONAL MARKETING
Chat solutions should be used strategically and follow certain guidelines. Essentially, there are 3 steps to remember when thinking of how to improve communication and customer experience.
Before even redirecting a lead to the marketing team for nurturing or to the sales team for follow-up, establish how a conversation with web visitors will take place. For instance, once a bot knows who a visitor is, which web page they are on, and where they come from, then a conversation can be tailored accordingly.
Prospects and clients are more demanding than ever. They want to engage on their terms, expect a personalized experience, and want to receive relevant answers to their questions immediately. All of that with a very low tolerance for mistakes.
You can kickstart a conversation with a lead via chat to ask the right questions and provide the right info immediately, acting during moments where you actually have a visitor’s attention.
Understanding where buyers are along their buying journey is key to efficiently applying conversational marketing.
Today's buyers are more informed than ever and will come to you having already done plenty of research prior. It’s imperative to understand their needs and assist them in a way that’s relevant to their buyer persona and where they are along their buyer journey.
Once you know more about the visitors that have engaged with you, you can decide to qualify them further or not, to redirect them to another person (e.g., a sales representative), or send them more information (e.g., piece of content).
Finally, a last important step to consider when engaging with potential buyers is to provide suggestions for next steps.
This is where chatbot “routing rules” and automated workflows (i.e., performing task/action based on the visitor’s task/action) come in handy. This ensures that you’re constantly providing a relevant and personalized experience to your visitors. Use chat solutions to drive relevant, timely, and personalized and human-to-human interactions.
WHAT ABOUT ABM?
<br>Where does conversational marketing fit in your overall demand generation strategy and execution?
CONVERSATIONAL MARKETING AND ABM
Traditionally, marketing’s approach was directed towards engaging with individual persons while disregarding the accounts those people were part of.
This approach downplayed the complexity of the interactions occurring at the account’s buying committee level. Person-Based Marketing can work well, but only if the buying process is short and smooth.
That means that there are no hurdles in the way of decision-making, and that there is a low risk of getting stuck in decision paralysis where many stakeholders are involved.
Person-Based Marketing can work well, but only if the buying process is short and smooth.
We can now notice that this seamless buying experience cannot be reached when asking web visitors to fill out forms and wait hours (if not days) to receive the information they asked for in a follow-up call or email. We already know that Conversational Marketing can help with this, but what about ABM?
More often than not, the buyer journey is long and complex. Getting in touch with one member of an account’s buying committee is a good first step, but it doesn’t mean the deal is closed. This is where ABM comes in.
*Interesting Read: The Fundamentals of ABM
It's possible to use Chat Solutions and Conversational Marketing to provide the most relevant and personalized approach.
UNDERSTANDING THE RIGHT STAGE
Account-Based Marketing requires both marketing and sales teams to collaborate and align in finding the best way of addressing an account. Once that's done, it's then possible to approach the individuals within the account. It’s a good first and easy step to identify an account to target, but it is more complex (yet valuable) to understand which stage of the buyer’s journey the committee members are at.
Even if intent data can help in at this stage, it is crucial to find the right way of approaching a buying committee in a digital-first world. Using Conversational Marketing (as presented in the previous chapter) in ABM initiatives can be of tremendous value, since the main goal is to be relevant to the buying committee of those accounts.
The good news is that account members of a large account can be identified by their incoming IP address or even via the tracking mechanism of your marketing automation platform. This means that it is possible to use chat solutions and conversational marketing to provide the most relevant and personalized approach in an ABM context.
WEAVING RELEVANT THREADS THROUGH INTEGRATION
Great! Combining ABM, chat solutions and conversational marketing sounds like a winning combo, right? In case you cannot quite imagine what that would mean concretely yet, here are a couple use cases for you:
- Identify and route the incoming individual visitor via chat straight to the account manager. This is based on the chat platform’s ability to recognize the account the visitor is part of.
- Provide that account manager with relevant account and individual data to make the session relevant and personalized.
- Launch a script (playbook) specifically targeted to the account associated to the visitor.
- Differentiate visitors and accounts with personalized playbooks.
- Feed valuable visitor data back and forth between marketing automation platforms and chat solutions.
- Gather more information about visitors (known and unknown) and improve personalization over time.