Humans Can’t Scale and Bots Can’t Sell: Why Your Business Needs Both

Learn how to use sales reps and chatbots together to build a highly effective conversational marketing program.

Maura Rivera
Maura Rivera
March 16, 2020
min read
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Conversational Marketing makes it possible to engage with qualified leads the moment they arrive on your website. You can greet them and answer their questions, building a rapport that generates trust.

This type of instant engagement is a great way to guide prospects down your marketing funnel. But how do you route each conversation so that you’re connecting high-intent prospects with live sales reps? When should you rely on chatbots to help you scale your efforts? What’s the right mix?

The ideal Conversational Marketing strategy is a mix of chatbot and human-led live chat experiences. Today, we’re sharing why modern businesses should use both, as well as the right times for using chatbots vs. sales reps.

Why modern businesses should use sales reps and chatbots

If you’re doing account-based marketing (ABM), you want to be able to prioritize conversations with VIPs from target accounts. You want these prospects to be well taken care of by a sales rep. However, most visitors to your website are not these high value prospects. 

According to a study by Episerver, 92% of people that visit a website site aren’t ready to buy. At the same time, you only have 10 seconds to capture someone’s interest, according to Nielsen Norman Group. You want people to be taken care of, but many of them are not viable leads. What’s a business to do?

Enter chatbots. Today’s sophisticated chatbots can greet visitors, answer simple questions, capture leads, and route important conversations to your sales reps. Plus, chatbots are scalable. You can turn them on without needing any human resources to engage and convert more website visitors. 

When to use chatbots

Many salespeople worry that chatbots might appear very robotic, detracting from the experience. Thankfully, today’s chatbots can quickly route an important or tricky conversation to a human.

According to research from Forrester, “consumers don’t expect a conversation for every digital task.” Consumers agree that simple tasks and questions can easily be fielded by chatbots.

Chatbots can greet visitors and help qualify them before passing them on to your team. Here are a few things chatbots can do:

  • Engage and capture visitors 24/7. No matter what time of day a visitor lands on your website, a chatbot is there. These chatbots can engage visitors and help guide them to helpful resources, ensuring that your sales pipeline is always “on.” The Homepage Tour Guide is a popular chatbot strategy, designed to engage unknown website visitors.
  • Ask qualification questions: Chatbots can automatically qualify inbound leads by asking a series of qualification questions. They can ask for role, company size, and other important details. Then, they can route the conversation accordingly.
Ask one to two important qualification questions, then route accordingly
  • Capture leads: A chatbot can not only qualify visitors as leads, but it can also capture these leads so that your sales team can engage with them immediately or follow up with them at a later date. A chatbot can automatically create a lead in Salesforce.
Use chatbots to capture email address, then enrich their profile and push the lead to Salesforce

PRO TIP: Once you collect email address, you can automatically enrich the visitor profile with data from Salesforce or third-party systems like Clearbit, to give you a 360-degree view of this person.

  • Book sales meetings: If someone is interested in learning more, a chatbot can offer up meeting times by syncing with your team’s calendar. A meeting is booked without a barrage of back-and-forth emails. 

Quick tips for setting up friendly chatbots

Program them to be conversational. A chatbot doesn’t have to act like a robot. Instead of programming it to say “Hello. How many I assist you?” you might choose something more natural like “Welcome! How can we help you?”

Don’t trick your visitors. Your customers are smart. Don’t try and hide the fact that they are talking to a chatbot. 

Offer chatbots as an alternative when someone is about to fill out a form. If someone is about to fill out a form, they’re demonstrating buying intent. This is a great opportunity to engage them with a chatbot. For example, you can use chatbots to allow customers to “skip the line” on a page where they can fill out a form. 

When to use sales reps

Chatbots are excellent tools, but when there’s a visitor on your website who is known to be qualified, you’ll want to route them to a sales rep. Sometimes, it makes sense to drop everything to have a live conversation, over live chat or phone call.

That’s because sales cycles progress when conversations happen– real, live human conversations. Whether it's a discovery call, product demonstration, or pricing discussion, that's when deals move forward.

For example, if you have a visitor arrives that matches your ideal customer profile, let’s say they are  in your target industry or have >500 employees, you know they are likely to be a potential buyer. You can greet these visitors with a chatbot but then quickly route them to live team members so that they can have high-fidelity sales conversations. 

Here are a few times you should use humans:

  • ABM Target Accounts: If a visitor on your site is from a target account, it makes sense to drop everything and make sure they are able to speak with a human being. Roll out the red carpet for these target accounts.
  • Open Opportunities: A visitor arrives on your site and they’re associated with an account with an open opportunity. You can route the conversation to the Opportunity owner so they can have a productive sales conversation.
  • Ideal Inbound Customer: If a visitor lands on your site and they meet certain criteria, such as coming from a company of a certain size, they’re an Ideal Inbound Customer. You can route them directly to a live conversation.
  • Nuanced questions: Sometimes, questions are not straightforward. If someone has questioned they need answered, and they’re outside of the norm, it’s best to offer a human hand to help out.

Wrap up

There’s no doubt that live chat is a helpful tool for sales. But it’s most efficient when companies employ a mixture of chatbots and humans. Wondering how you can use chatbots and humans on your site? Check out our Top 20 Live Chat and Chatbot strategies for Sales and Marketing.

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