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Conversational Marketing chatbots for conversions

Chatbots are the future of site interactions and conversions. Visit the Qualified Blog to learn how to ramp up website conversions with a conversational marketing chatbot.

Nick Duke
Nick Duke
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March 16, 2022
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X
min read
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Of all the traffic that makes it to landing pages, only 2.35% ever converts via a form. That’s a small number, and if that form were a door to a local business, it might not survive.

Meanwhile, B2B companies are spending $11 billion on digital ads every year—soon to be $15 billion—to drive visitors to those forms. That’s a lot of waste, and a big part of why conversational marketing chatbots exist. 

Chatbots allow your business to interact with that silent 98% in real time, for more conversions and a far greater return on your marketing spend.

What is a conversational marketing chatbot?

A conversational marketing chatbot is a type of software that gives visitors the opportunity to engage  with your company, discover content, and connect with your salespeople through a chat bubble on your website. The always-on “bot” is an intelligent script—programmable, tireless, friendly, persistent—and is smart enough to know when to pass warm leads to your sales team.

You’ve likely interacted with a chatbot before, and maybe that experience wasn’t great. Perhaps it entirely mis-guessed your intent, offered something vague, or didn’t understand what you meant. This is common. It happens when companies apply conversational marketing bots without proper targeting, as many do. 

But when you properly pair chatbots that can learn with a CRM like Salesforce, it narrows their scope and enables  them to be much more useful. Bots can recognize key and target accounts even if they’re browsing anonymously. 

Plus, if you sell a B2B product or service, the people visiting your website are most likely there for a very narrow set of purposes. This means  you can surface compelling value propositions, content, and offers that, unlike untargeted chatbots, really get the visitor to open up and engage. 

From there, these new conversational marketing chatbots can qualify, filter, and accelerate:

  • Qualify: The bot asks some qualifying questions and collects their email. Based on what’s in Salesforce, plus a mixture of third-party cookies and intent data, it determines whether this is a valuable lead or not.
  • Filter: For leads that aren’t a fit—non-buyers conducting research, people at accounts that fall outside your ideal customer profile, and competitors—it sends them down an automated flow.
  • Accelerate: If the lead is a fit, or a target account, they’re routed to a sales rep who instantly gets an alert. If a known visitor is browsing the site, the  alert can be triggered  even before they engage the chatbot. If the visitor engages with the conversational marketing chatbot, the salesperson takes over with live chat or initiates a video call. 

(The above is an example of what happens in Qualified. Each platform may differ.) 

How to execute a conversational marketing strategy

Conversational marketing chatbots are useful throughout all stages of the sales cycle. While it’ll help you convert more of that 98% of traffic that doesn’t complete a form, it also provides prospects a forum for immediate answers. After the call, after the demo, and any time they return to the website, prospects can re-initiate the conversation, and the chatbot can forward that conversation to a salesperson — delivering a seamless experience.

For example:

The prospect revisits the pricing page after the call

Someone else on the account visits the website

The executive is conducting early morning research

The salesperson can pop up in chat and answer more questions.

The salesperson can engage them and influence their journey as well.

The salesperson gets an alert that the executive is on the website and can join the chat from their mobile phone.

Speed-to-lead matters. When B2B sales teams respond to leads in under five minutes, they’re 8x more likely to make contact with that prospect, an InsideSales study of 50 million interactions found. When responses take longer than five minutes, you get missed connections, back-and-forths, and longer sales cycles.

Conversational marketing chatbots also reduce the guesswork and number of touches marketers need to make. Through no fault of their own, marketers waste a reported $958 million each year on marketing content that doesn’t perform. Nurtures, ads, and content recommendations are, after all, simply advanced guesswork and will always be less effective than simply asking the visitor what they want. 

When chatbots connect prospects to salespeople, they shorten the sales cycle, reducing the number of touches needed, and in aggregate, the number of campaigns marketing needs to run. 

Conversational marketing chatbots also reduce your sales and marketing costs. If your landing page conversions increase from their current baseline (let’s say 2.35%), that means you need proportionally less ad budget to build the same amount of pipeline. 

To execute your conversational marketing strategy: 

  1. Identify your target accounts in Salesforce.
  2. Implement a conversational marketing software.
  3. Sync that software with Salesforce. 
  4. Set goals and metrics for  30, 60, and 90 days out.
  5. Prep your salespeople with what to expect—at larger companies, consider piloting with a select number of advocates.
  6. Launch a (mostly) templated conversational marketing chatbot sequence with tweaks
  7. Place the chatbot on strategic, high-itent pages—for example, pricing or legal. 
  8. Launch, measure, iterate, and expand.

If you noticed that nowhere on that list did it say, “find a systems integrator” or “reconfigure your tech stack,” that’s because a B2B conversational marketing chatbot is purely additive. It’s non-intrusive, doesn’t require a lot of changes, and makes for a great year-long experiment to see if it proves valuable. 

11 conversational marketing examples

What sort of problems can you solve with a conversational marketing chatbot? And what might the impacts be? In this section, we’ll share a variety of scenarios as well as real-life case studies of Qualified customers.

1. Catch visitors right when they’re ready to purchase

The faster you engage with visitors, the better. Instantaneous chatbot connections can increase your likelihood of closing the deal—either  because you intercepted someone before they evaluated another solution or because that initial positive impression put you ahead. 

The data platform InsideView launched a conversational marketing chatbot and trained its SDRs to use it. The team’s hypothesis was that they’d simply accelerate sales cycles. Not only did they achieve this, but they also found that if prospects engaged in chat, they were also 3x more likely to close.

2. Give target accounts a VIP buying experience 

Conversational marketing chatbots can recognize target accounts (as indicated in Salesforce) and alert the enterprise rep that someone from that account is on the website. When target accounts arrive, there’s someone waiting there to chat with them.

The analytics software ThoughtSpot used conversational marketing chatbots to replace its forms, and connect target accounts to enterprise reps. They earned 64% more meetings.

3. Increase account growth opportunities

Much of what happens with land-and-expand deals occurs in what’s known as “the dark funnel”—offline conversations that can’t be measured or tracked. But when someone from a different department starts conducting research, chatbots can instantly traverse Salesforce and connect them with their account manager.

4. Route leads based on account size

With the help of reverse IP tools, conversational marketing chatbots can determine whether visitors fall above or below an employee count threshold then route them to the right people.

Bitly, the link-shortening service, has a high-volume, self-service, prosumer offering (most of its 17 million monthly visits) and a low-volume enterprise sales offering. They used chatbots to connect enterprise prospects with salespeople right away and increased pipeline 6x.

5. Weed out unqualified visitors

Because a conversational chatbot can recognize high-value visitors, it can fast-track those accounts so they get a speedier response and deprioritize visitors who aren’t qualified.. 

That’s how Granicus, which sells to state, local, and federal governments, uses chatbots. Prior, all their contact requests came through one form, which meant new leads were buried among support requests. BDRs would have to dig out those requests and manually add prospects to sequences. With a chatbot, Granicus made faster connections and increased MQL conversions by 40%.

6. Convert more paid traffic to build pipeline

Conversational marketing chatbots allow you to use what’s known as a paid traffic converter strategy where you alert sales reps that a target account has clicked on an ad, so they’re ready when that prospect reaches the website. If the chatbot has engaged the prospect, they’re ready to talk to sales.

The communications firm Gamma implemented this strategy and found it earned them an additional £12M in pipeline.

7. Increase your return on traditional media buying

Whatever program drives traffic to your website, you can likely improve it with chatbots. If more traffic converts, you get a better return on that program.

The organizational consultancy Korn Ferry runs major paid advertising campaigns, both on programmatic and traditional TV as well as as hosting the PGA tour. That earns them 500,000 visits per month, but a 0.17% conversion rate. Chatbots increased that conversion rate by 60%.

8. Give sales reps better insight into how prospects behave

A conversational marketing chatbot system gives reps real-time insight into who’s on the site, even if they don’t interact with a chatbot, which offers better insight into what that prospect is doing. (For example, if they skipped a call, but are now on a product page.)

9. Engage visitors who want to interact but don’t want to complete the form

Some buyers are in a rush, in between meetings, or in a place too loud for a call. Chatbots give them a chance to engage and get their questions answered, regardless of their environment.

10. Intercept deal saboteurs

Buying committees now consist of an average 6-10 people, according to Gartner, but it’s rare for a sales rep to actually thoroughly meet all those people. Chatbots give them access to that “dark” half of the buying committee. So if a procurement manager shows up doing research, sales has a chance to engage and preempt any objections that may show up later in the sales cycle.

11. Get additional facetime with prospects

B2B buyers typically still have an assumption that scheduling a call takes time, and is a hassle. (Half an hour is a lot of time to commit, especially when you’re comparison shopping.) So, they conduct most of their research independently. But chatbots allow prospects to engage and help the salesperson to be ever-present, ready to answer questions.

Can a conversational marketing chatbot work for me? 

If you’re spending on programs  to drive traffic to your website, and you’re still not seeing the results you want, chatbots can likely help. Not everyone who visits your website will interact with a chatbot. But those extra conversations with salespeople, accelerated deal cycles, and additional data gathered all make a meaningful difference—both to your marketing performance and to the prospect’s experience.

Nobody wants to fill out a lengthy form and await a not-so-timely call. They want answers, they want pricing, and they want to chat. If you have any interest in cracking that additional 98% of visitors that don’t complete the form, it’s certainly worth a shot. 

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