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Chatbots For Digital Lead Generation: Just a Fad or the Future?
Lead generation is the lifeblood of every organization. Even for a Fortune 500 company or a small business, leads are what keep organizations running. Whether you’re a sales professional, marketer, or business owner, you know that generating leads is easier said than done. You may be throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks and still come up short.
There are many reasons why this is true, but one thing remains constant; unless and until you equip your teams with the right tools, your organization’s lead generation goals can be difficult for even the most dedicated teams.
Sales and marketing teams are constantly working to improve their lead generation strategies. As technology changes, the methods used for identifying potential clients within a target market are also evolving. One such evolution is Chatbot. There are chances you’ve already encountered one, if not several. These are usually the little pop-up chat boxes you get, offering help when you visit virtually any website.
Another more significant tech-trend in business today is Artificial Intelligence. The blend of AI and Chatbot technology has offered a brand-new way for businesses to interact with customers and, more importantly, convert your web visitors into potential leads.
This article is engineered to shed light on the Chatbot’s path from being just another communication tool to an AI-powered lead generation tool and how any sales and marketing team can leverage its power.
The Evolution of Chatbots
The Chatbot is a marketing innovation that has been around since 1966. You would have heard of Eliza, the first bot that mimicked human conversation to prove the capability of computational linguistics. In the past, chatbots were limited to pre-programmed responses or a set of rules that they had to stick to. This type of artificial intelligence is known as “weak AI” because it lacks the ability to make decisions on its own. However, more recent iterations of chatbots can use customer input and its own algorithms to provide unique responses – all thanks to Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning. And with the integration of voice recognition, chatbots have transformed into voice assistants like Siri and Alexa,
which have become household names these days. In fact, more than 1 billion voice searches take place every month.
Chatbots have become an integral part of businesses and will become even more critical in the coming years. Businesses are already using this technology efficiently for customer service, lead generation, recruitment, and much more.
Chatbots for Lead Generation
Chatbots are a great way to generate leads and build your online presence. Chatbots can be an effective lead capturing tool that can be integrated into all your online and offline channels like websites, social, chat, and SMS. With AI-based chatbots and an effective lead generation strategy, businesses can enhance customer experience and multiply qualified lead numbers quickly. And that’s why 36% of businesses use chatbots to generate more leads.
So, how exactly can Chatbots be used for lead generation?
The millennials and Gen Z are not a fan of filling long forms and waiting for replies in emails anymore. They are hyperconnected and find lead forms as tedious or not so engaging ways to connect to a business. And in fact, historically, lead forms have had a very minimal conversion rate of 2% – 5% industry-wide and businesses have been looking for a more exciting and efficient alternative.
Rule-based chatbots are a good substitute for simple forms, which we usually see on every landing page for capturing prospect details. These bots stick to pre-defined flows and choices and make it easy for your customers to fill in their details.
Auto qualify leads
Lead qualification is the first step in the sales funnel. Before you can make a sale, you need some way to separate the people who are interested in your product from the ones who aren’t. This is why lead qualification is essential and why companies are working on new ways to streamline the process. But lead qualification can be tedious, time-consuming, and often inefficient.
Chatbots can initiate conversations with potential customers and help them self-qualify by asking simple questions. Decide what questions your Chatbot must ask your visitors to qualify them, and let the Chatbot do the rest. This leads to fewer lost sales opportunities and higher conversion rates.
Segment your prospects
Chatbots can segment customers into different groups that would best fit the company’s marketing and sales strategy based on the offerings. For example, a company that offers a wide range of products can use chatbots for segmenting customers according to their interest, location, gender, or even age. This automatically enhances the lead quality and can help a business target their customer with more specific and personalized marketing campaigns.
Know your audience
There is no point in running marketing campaigns and promotional activities, if you don’t know your customers enough. Chatbots are an excellent addition to your lead generation and marketing strategy to understand your customers better as they strike meaningful conversations with them.
Chatbots can be used to conduct surveys and ask engaging questions to your customer about their likes, dislikes, or feedback about a product, which would help you segment them and get a better understanding of their purchase behaviors. Result – More compelling marketing campaigns and more leads.
Integrate with your CRM
Companies are finding new and innovative ways of using chatbot technology to make life easier for customers and employees. One such example is the simple integration of CRM and your Chatbot. When a prospect gives in their information in the chat, their details land in your CRM as a lead. This not only organizes your lead data but also makes your lead cycle smoother and efficient.
Some customers might need more information on the offerings, and some customers just need a quick chat to close the deal. With the help of Chatbots, businesses can quickly identify the position of the lead in the sales cycle and proceed with effective strategies to move the lead further towards closing.
Capture leads 24/7
Lead capturing around the clock is probably the best or most appealing reason every business needs a chatbot. Since customers have access to the internet in their pockets, you never know when an opportunity to make a sale will arrive at your website or social page. Chatbots provide that all-important flexibility for businesses to convert online visitors to potential leads 24/7 without employing staff on different shits around the clock.
Chatbots aren’t only smart; they’re also multilingual. These chatbots use Natural Language Understanding (NLU), a branch of AI, to understand and ask questions to the prospects and also find the appropriate answers to their question in the database. This way, it doesn’t matter what language the user uses, the quality of service is maintained. This is also a huge advantage for businesses that want to reach an international audience and take their business offshore. You don’t have to employ a person for every language your prospects speak. Instead, a single multilingual chatbot can do the job.
The blend of Artificial Intelligence and Chatbot technology is proven to improve lead generation and customer service efforts of any organization irrespective of their industry, all while putting the power of social presence, at their very fingertips. Furthermore, since chatbots can be used as virtual assistants to carry out tasks such as appointment setting and lead generation, they provide an excellent solution for organizations that want to improve their sales and service capabilities with minimal cost & maximum ROI. If you are interested in a Chatbot for your lead generation process, connect with our experts for exclusive assistance. You can even try vChat here.