June 8, 2020 - Brittany Garlin
Buyers are demanding that their needs be met instantaneously – the solution, revive your B2B marketing funnel with chatbots. And can we blame them? Everything we do is accessible at our fingertips – from ordering food, rides, and services at the click of a button. 45% of consumers say they will switch brands if a company doesn’t actively anticipate their needs. That creates the need for organizations to support every customer, every time, anytime, and anywhere. Sound cumbersome yet?
We had the opportunity to connect with Sculpt’s CEO, Josh Krakauer who shared his tips on how to revive your B2B marketing funnel with chatbots.
Sculpt is a B2B social media marketing agency. Clients hire them to grow their organic audience, reach high-value prospects, inspire their brand advocates, and close more deals. They combine paid social and conversational marketing to connect brands with their human customers more humanly. Sculpt believes in flexible scopes, flat pricing, and balancing brand and performance goals. ?
Let’s dive into some of the insights they provided us on reviving your B2B marketing funnel with chatbots.
Your team has standard working hours, but your prospects and customers make decisions on their own time. Imagine operating a 24-hour store and having no one to greet customers after 5 pm? When someone’s on your website they’re a captive audience. Their interest is high. How many times have you filled out a form for information only to move on or forget 3 days later when they respond? In some cases, even 3 hours later. Chatbots answer questions, sell solutions and capture information for you—24/7.
In most cases, chatbots improve conversions by supplementing a lead generation form as opposed to completely replacing them. For instance, adding a bot on a contact page with an opening message like, “Want to skip the form? Chat live now” can improve conversions by offering an expedited option for red hot leads.
We have run experiments where we completely replaced site forms with bots. Since forms are static and boring, we expected to see immediate lifts in conversion rates, but the results were inconclusive.
Our point of view now is to use a blended approach. Forms are universally understood, and bots help. Working together we see the biggest increase in site conversions.
An AI chatbot is exactly what it sounds like: a bot that has ‘learned’ how to reply to users by analyzing past conversations. A preprogrammed chatbot can reply to users automatically too, but its responses follow an “if this, then that” decision tree built by a human.
A chatbot is best used for replies to common questions and requests. Imagine scheduling a meeting as an example. There’s not much complexity in collecting contact information, choosing an available time, and adding notes. All of that can be automated without human participation. But what if your prospect wants to know if your meeting will cover pricing, and that wasn’t clear in the description? Their question will likely interrupt the chatbot logic and require a personal reply.
Humans should join the conversation when clarification, depth, and nuance is required.
My bot can show you our best articles on Facebook advertising, but if you want to know why your ads stopped performing, a human should probably jump in.
Programming a chatbot is an iterative process. The next time someone gets that same prompt, you might add a new step to anticipate their question in advance.
Chatbots with advanced features like Drift can personalize the visitor experience in a few ways:
Lead routing: Getting a lead to the right person at the right time is a key component of your marketing/sales team alignment. Chatbots can route leads to a specific customer or sales rep based on qualification, timing, or any number of attributes.
It’s not for everyone.
This week somebody left us the message that our bot was hurting the user experience of our site. I thanked them for the note. That was true for them. Chatbots often appear upon page loads and scrolls so they can feel disruptive. Be aware that some users will misunderstand your bot’s purpose, or prefer traditional contact methods.
You can reduce issues by activating your chatbot upon link or button click instead. If someone clicks “chat live”, they can chat with your bot, and only then does it start the sequence.
Consider chatbots a tool for content discovery and optimization.
On the discovery side, a chatbot can recommend new articles and resources based on the visitor’s experience. We’ve found chatbots to be super effective in collecting subscribers and marketing qualified leads (via content offers). Once they’re an email subscriber, or in your chat sequence, you can surface another piece of content to help them on their journey and nurture them further down your sales funnel.
Chatbots can also help you improve your content by better understanding what other questions your audience has. Chat creates an opportunity for real-time, free-form answers. For instance, “did this answer your question (y/n)?” is a mildly useful question. Whereas, “What’s your burning question about (the article topic)?” opens up a dialogue you can learn from.
We use chatbots like Drift to increase conversions in a few ways.
Top of the funnel: Converting blog visitors into subscribers and marketing qualified leads.
When people find blog posts from organic search they’re seeking specific knowledge. We find embedded call-to-actions and forms have low response rates because they’re positioned too generally. That’s where chatbots come in. The opening message of a chatbot serves as the ‘hook’ to get attention. We can quickly test different hooks using chatbots and see which offer drives the most opt-ins.
With our agency and clients, we use blog post bots as an opportunity to give visitors something of greater value. When you’re reading a post about social media strategy, we may trigger a message that asks if we can send them a free social media campaign template. It piques their curiosity. Now they’ve transitioned from an anonymous visitor into a known contact for further nurturing.
Bottom of the funnel: Converting visitors into opportunities.
Chatbots can play an active role in qualifying leads and reducing sales friction. Passing along your phone number, company name, and budget, in order to schedule a meeting, is a big commitment.
With a chatbot, conversion conversations are dynamic. Instead of a static form, it’s a series of messages back and forth. This provides an opportunity to overcome objections by offering context for why you’re asking certain questions and allows a human to jump in if they get stuck before the finish line.
A giant thank you to Josh Krakauer and the rest of the Sculpt team that shared their insights on how to revive your B2B marketing funnel with chatbots.
If you work at an agency and are interested in writing a guest blog for Agency Vista – we’re always looking for more brilliant contributors to join our ranks. Learn more about guest blogging opportunities here.
If you want to talk social media, you can always find me on LinkedIn. I love connecting with social media marketers and creatives so don’t hesitate to reach out!
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