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Using a chatbot to boost business growth has seen increasing popularity in recent years. According to a study by Oracle, 80 percent of businesses plan on using a chatbot by 2020.
Whether it be to acquire new customers, provide support to existing customers, or build brand awareness, chatbots can take care of certain tasks that would be mundane to a real person. On top of that, chatbots have the ability to learn information about a customer, create personalized messages when communicating, and integrate with other software tools used when interacting with customers.
How are chatbots used for sales?
While the foundations of the sales funnel have fundamentally stayed the same, marketers and sales reps have adopted new tactics that take advantage of emerging technologies. One of them being chatbots. There are plenty of benefits associated with using chatbots for your business, especially when selling. To name a few:
- They offer a customized experience, providing accurate information and advice based on a customer’s purchase history
- The lengthened engagement (compared to other marketing methods) holds the customer’s attention longer
- Feedback from customers can be gathered naturally and then analyzed to reveal insights into customers’ wants and needs
- Customer information collected by chatbots can seamlessly move them through the sales funnel
While those benefits of using a chatbot will help your sales, they cannot be felt by a business if a solid strategy is not first created.
How to implement chatbots into your selling strategy
The main purpose of using chatbots to sell is to acquire customers and pass them off to a real salesperson. To do this, the chatbot (and its associated strategy) needs to take six key factors into account: the audience, goals, intent, storytelling, platform strength, and feedback.
1. Consider the audience
The first step is to craft an ideal customer persona that is interested in your business. The purpose of the chatbot is to sell to customers, and understanding who they are, their pain points, and what they want to relieve them is the key to selling. Look at the typical conversations customers are having with your brand, and have the chatbot interact similarly. The customer needs to be at the focus of your selling strategy, so starting with what they need is your best bet.
Any information you collect with your chatbot should be entered into your CRM software, so when it comes time for the sales rep to step in, they will have access to all the information they need to provide a worthwhile, personalized, and compelling value demonstration.
2. Identify goals
This step involves working backward. Move from thinking about the audience to the action you ultimately want them to take. You obviously want the end result to be the customer buying your solution, so this phase includes you asking yourself, “What do I need to do to get there?”
Make sure the chatbot is providing the customer with worthwhile information. Talk about the customer’s problem, the risk associated with not taking action to solve it, and the value your solution can provide. Ensure the interaction is personalized based on the information the chatbot has collected about the customer.
3. Understand the intent
To manage the buyer journey and move them through the funnel, highlight the intent and actions the chatbot needs to complete. Make it clear that the chatbot cannot get them all the way to the final act, which would be finding a solution. If the customer is showing serious intentions of wanting to buy, pass them along to a sales rep to finish the interaction.
4. Use storytelling
With goals and intent in mind, the groundwork of the customer journey, from beginning to conversion, will be laid out. It is important for your chatbot to understand where the customer stands in their decision-making phase. This will include giving the chatbot cues for starting a conversation and identifying the customer as either being qualified or unqualified, as well as having a course of action if the chatbot does not understand a message from a customer.
This is often referred to as a storyline. It helps keep the customer on track to finding a solution, all while having a good experience along the way.
5. Find the right platform
Certain platforms are better for different experiences, features, and audience bases. Finding the right platform to reach your ideal customer persona is crucial to having a good chatbot conversation selling strategy. When using your chatbot on the strongest platform possible, the other features, like personalization of messages, memorization of details, and immediate engagement, can shine even more.
6. Take feedback into account
Arguably one of the most important parts of creating a chatbot selling strategy is to get feedback and use it to modify your tactics. Throughout the design process, get feedback on the customer journey flow to conversion, available information, and overall approach. When coming up with the conversation strategy without interacting with a customer, the experience is mild and unrealistic. The path of the conversation with a customer can take a variety of different directions, and preparing for each one will make your chatbot that much more effective. Request feedback while designing, but also from real customers using your chatbot.
Chatbots are a sales rep’s best friend
Using a chatbot for sales is a great way to save your sales reps time, easily qualify leads, and move customers down the sales funnel. Companies of any size and industry can benefit from a chatbot, and if you don’t include them in your sales strategy, you could be missing out on creating beneficial relationships with customers and growing as a business.