Chatbots & lead generation – 2020 guide

Be it small businesses, entrepreneurs or even big ones, the future of the companies are defined by the constant search for the ultimate lead generation strategy. It is seen that both consumers and businesses are satisfied using chatbots both as sales as well as service tools.

Why is this becoming popular?

Because chatbots are helping the visitors to solve their queries faster, remove friction, increase leads leading to an entirely new way of selling. We think it’s a no brainer, that chatbots have to be a part of your lead generation.

B2B is a complex process in itself and your website will serve as a centre to that process. Weather you want to be on the top on the search results or build a healthy customer relationship through your content, then your website plays a key role in your sales process.

According to a recent research it is seen that a lot of consumers are finding hard to navigate through the websites on their own and close the page after seeing only about 1.7 pages. Business websites are very critical in the sales process and they must be able to hook and keep them engaged and provide them the information they need as easily as possible. This will help them make an informed purchase decision. Chatbots come handy during these situations and they have helped them overcome this pain point as they help visitors in answering their simple questions almost immediately. This has made chatbots an important tool for lead generation, removed friction between the company and the customers and increased customer value.

Lets see how chatbots help in the lead generation process.

What is a Lead Generation Bot?

Lead generation bots are designed to specifically identify potential customers and encourage their interest into various products and services offered by the organization. This will help businesses to maintain a relationship with the potential prospect. These kind of bots use conversational approach to collect client information and in return offer them business and product information

1. Bots lets you tailor make the conversation to individual users.

The conversation process of chatbots on all B2B websites are the same. Generally they have a generic looking firm which collects personal information from the users by asking them a couple of questions and other details. These forms are not so exciting, they are quite boring and the process of filling them out the details sometimes is a tedious job. These generic conversations are not only boring but also are proved to be ineffective. It is seen that brands that do not give a human touch to their virtual presence or fail to provide a memorable experience are most likely to push people away from the websites. We all have been there for sure. But when businesses use conversational interfaces they are likely to prevent these drops for real.

Generally with lead generation chatbots the websites are welcomed by a full page chatbot. It is a privilege to have somebody give you special preference and be there to answer your questions when you land on any website. These lead generation chatbots without the knowledge of the users drag them into the conversion funnel, giving them the correct information they are looking for without having to look for them elsewhere. They serve them all the information in the platter with a simple yet interactive conversation.

How do they help?

When any visitor visits the website it indicates that they are most likely to be interested in your products and services. These bots greet and ask them their name. Once they provide the name their name, the bot thereafter addresses them by their name throughout the entire conversation making it fun.

As the visitor progresses, all the information gathered is saved as a variable. For instance when the user enters their name, phone number, email address, birthday etc. all the details are saved in the system. When the user revisits the site, the bot uses the cached information from the past conversations to customize the whole experience right from the beginning itself.

The chatbot lead generation strategies gives users and companies the luxury that all the prospective users are getting an enhanced site experience that are tailor made to them. This will lessen the risk of driving away potential customers.

2. Conversational bots lead to interesting experiences.

Turning a site visitor to a viable prospect and keeping them engaged is the most challenging part. Companies have to make sure that they are being engaged for long enough so that they can get the right choice for their needs.

This no easy task these days. It is just not enough to only decorate your lead generation website or landing pages with only long walls of text and this is not the best way to get leads. A lot of information on the website pages makes the website a little boring no matter how well written it is making it tough to interest the visitors.

Conversational bots ensure a better experience. Instead of leaving the users to read the paragraph, texts or just skim through the details and make them search for the information that is relevant to them, these bots helps users with this information by an interesting two-way conversation.

For example, first the chatbot clearly introduces itself, then it itself makes it clear to the user that it is a bot and a human. Once done, it tells what the company is well known for and the products and services they are providing and then ask for a clarification from the user. Then the bot offers a very straightforward explanation using very interactive ways like the GIFs, pictures or videos to keep the conversation interesting.

This helps visitors to know about the company, their platform, the products and services in a conversational way which makes the entire conversation very interesting that a bare wall of text. Let the chatbots explain what makes your products stand apart from other possible option available in the market.

A well written marketing text might provide interesting reason for them to convert, but a bot makes it very conversational than a normal sales pitch or a brochure. Chatbots will transform the whole tedious method of researching of the brand to a more enjoyable experience, which will help your targeted audience to remember for long.

3. By simplifying the conversions from forms to conversations.

The type of conversion for many B2B websites are mostly the static information capture forms. The information collected in these forms turns casual visitors into potential customers for your entire company and your team.

But, generating potential leads of any of these kinds and marking the right conversations is very challenging. The fact is an average website has a conversion rate of only 2.35% which is not good news for many companies, especially for those businesses who want to increase their business and look forward to using their websites as a key part of their marketing campaigns and important sales strategies. Having said that, a low average does not mean that even your sites conversion rate has to be low as well.

You can go the smart way and replace the standard forms with bots which can be a good solution. Not having a clear call to action serves as one of the biggest hurdles for conversions. But when you have a good and center landing page on the chatbot, you will be able to eliminate the possible distraction and allow users to focus on the main content and engage with the bot properly.

It has been a drastic increase in the conversion rate from 3% to 9.6% when a website has launched a chatbot that took the entire homepage, this prevented users from accessing other available content. This does not mean that you should replace the entire website with a big and huge chatbot, but minimizing other elements makes the conversion process more easy, interesting and a very compelling part of the site.

This creates a great impact and increases the ability to attract potential clients. The chatbots collects all the data from the customers using very simple, easy to answer and straightforward questions. All these collected information can be directly sent to the CRM or any related sales platform. You can take the required information to turn the potential lead into a customer.

4. Delivering information in an interesting way.

There are a lot of factors that decide the purchasing decisions for any B2B or B2C. Your potential clients would want to know what you are ready to offer them, what will be the cost of the services, what will be the end result, and how your company is a step ahead to your competitors. In many cases, your website will be the one stop for users to research and evaluate their options to choose the products and services.

Therefore if you want the users to choose your company and be assured that it is the right choice then, you will have to listen to them and make them stick around to get more information they would require to come the conclusion.

It is observed that an average user visits on 1.7 pages on any website as they browse. Which means that if your site is normal and most likely like other websites, then visitors are not making it through even two pages before leaving. Conversational bots help to change this by initiating interesting conversations that give users a reason to stay on the page.

Conversational bots can change this by initiating conversation and giving users a reason to stay. For example, if you display the chatbot in an attractive pop-up window in any corner of the visitors browser. This will help the visitors instead of browsing through the pages for information, the chatbot gives users basic options to choose from.

This not only keeps the visitor on the site for long but also directs them to the information easily which helps them to convert easily.

5. Differentiates your brand from your potential competitors.

Many B2B and B2C evaluate other companies and products before they decide which answers works best for the queries asked by the users. Collecting this information will make a good sense to the products or services you want to sell.

Catching users attention might not be a problem if your are confident of the quality of the services and products you are selling. But not many have the luxury for the same as we are surrounded by capable competitors who are offering similar and better products, services and plans that steal potential users attention.

Simple and friendly CI bots are best suited for this challenge. For example, many healthcare platforms are using chatbots that guide visitors through a simple health evaluation to attract visitors. The conversations tone and ease is made very simple and the process engaging. These kind of chatbots are sometimes difficult to replicate.

Most of the brands do not make use of the advantages chatbots at all let alone using chatbots for lead generation. Make use of this opportunity, use chatbots to attract and engage visitors who land on your website, mesmerize them with personizeld and tailor made content to help them find the information they require.

This will make your brand stand out from the rest. When you give a tough competition to your competitors it will become a differentiating factor to make them pick your brand.

6. Connect to highly quality leads easily.

Chatbots are not here to replace human employees completely. To be frank, chatbots are the most effective acting as touchpoints in the whole process.

This process helps the sales and support team to get in touch with the customers who might need their help Conversational bots are replacing the lead generation forms as the yask excellent basic lead scoring questions. Therefore they automate lead qualification and scoring process by using the collected user data for their reference.

Websites can further program these lead generation bots and let the bot know when the human member of the team has to step in. For instance when a bot receives a question but it might not know the answer, it can automatically transfer the question to a human employee to handle the case moving further.

But first, the chatbot tries to understand what the user wants and needs and then use the information to connect it to a human person. This process will lead to higher customer satisfaction. As the customer can get frustrated if the process is passed from one person to another and they have to keep repeating the situation all over again.

Some chatbots platforms are also programmed to set up an internal slack notification that will pop up each time user needs external/ human help. This will minimize the downtime and the appropriate people will respond as quickly as possible.

How can businesses save money using chatbots?

1. Chatbots reduce operational costs

Chatbots are the next version of self-service portals and serve as a base of advanced knowledge bases. They use this knowledge and help customers to find their answers for simple questions. This reduces the stress they take to make calls to the contact centers, improve efficiency and reduce operational costs.

Chatbots not only reduce incoming call volume, but also lower the overall interaction volume which includes emails, chats, social media queries etc. That is, every time a user interacts with the Chatbot instead of a live human, the cost per enquiry gets lower.

This is a proven fact for phone assistance. When a person makes a call to connect with a live agent after interacting with a chatbot, the center pays 33% less then outbound calls than inbound calls. Moreover, Chatbots capture useful information of the customer. This means agents can use this information and initiate conversations using prior knowledge of the query to which the customer is looking for answers.

Since the agent already knows the query beforehand from the chatbot, it saves valuable seconds of the interaction. Which means the customer is provided with quicker solutions, lowering the cost-per-interaction for companies and the agents paid time is utilized in a much better way.

2. Reduces labor expenses

Chatbots help companies in reducing labor costs. According to reports, 65 to 70% of any call centers operating costs are directly related to staffing. Cutting costs around staffing and also fulfilling customer expectations at the same time is really difficult.

Companies and businesses who reduce their agent count in order to save a lot of money eventually have found an increase in the number of calls and chats in the queue. This resulted to take a toll on customer service. On the other hand longer wait hours means expensive bills, therefore cutting staff ended up costing more than actually saving it.

But businesses who want to save on labor expenses, can use chatbots to do so. It is seen that 29% of customer service positions in the USA are automated with the help of Chatbots. This is because a live chat agent can easily handle around three customers at once when compared to a phone representative who can handle only one customer at a time. But a chatbot can handle n number of interactions at the same time.

A good quality Chatbot usually costs less than the annual salary of a single representative. This includes initial installation and programming costs of the chatbot. When businesses hire a representative they have to bear the costs of hiring, on-boarding, training, hourly pay etc. Moreover chatbots can pull of the entire weight of any representative, they take of around 26 % of all the incoming live chats enquiries all alone by themselves.

This means, even if one representative is less, chatbot wil be able to handle the pressure and reduce labor expenses eventually saving money.

3. Better Return of Investments

When an agent is appointed no matter how experienced they might be, their patience is tested at some point or the other when they have to answer the same questions all over again to various customers.

Call centers become unproductive when the work becomes basic and very repetitive. And also agents would want to cut down these unnecessary queries and want to focus on assisting customers with more complex and complicated questions when they need.

Chatbots can therefore handle simple and repetitive tasks that will take a lot of burden from the agents. This will help them concentrate and develop their skills on more complex queries that test their knowledge and helps them to learn.

This will make the agents more fulfilled, resulting in higher turnover rates which means that companies do not have to invest a lot in recruiting, hiring, onboarding and training new agents all over again. Instead companies can use these funds and invest in other important endeavors.

And also happy agents will be more productive which help them to better achieve contact center metrics.

4. Value in customer satisfaction

Artificial Intelligence makes the customer and company channels preferences align easily. Chatbots therefore allow businesses to resolve customer issues on all digital channels that are convenient for the customers and also inexpensive for the companies.

Customers find these self nature of chatbots very convenient to use, as they do not have to wait in long hold for the agents to get connected to assist them. Chatbots are useful to give customers a frictionless support which requires less effort and further resolves the issues very quickly and immediately as soon as they get queries from the customers.

This way customers will not feel neglected and devalued when they are attended immediately. Since chatbots are objective in nature, they are free from any judgement and cognitive disparities that can affect human feelings leading to better communication and decision making.

For instance, sometimes human agents might give out wrong information thinking that they have faced this similar situation before, but actually the information that has to be provided is something else altogether. More than 74% of call center managers have experienced improved customer service using chatbots, which have helped in decreasing errors and improved customer experience.

Positive customer makes way to loyal customer and they will be ready to invest more in the company.

5. Available 24/7

Companies are trying very hard to accommodate their schedules and promise to attend their customers 24/7. Businesses may face problems if they do not want to spend a little extra to operate during low traffic hours or during late-nights.

There are cheaper solutions adapted by many companies but like hiring freelance live chat teams, virtual assistants etc, but chatbots are best solution that companies are investing in these days. With chatbots companies need not have to pay anything extra, they cost the same and are available 24/7, 365 days a year.

Companies can provide the support the customers need by handling the queries around the clock even in odd hours and when they need the support. This can be done without the need of hiring additional agents to cover during these odd hours.

6. Save a lot over time.

If a customer has a satisfying experience with a chatbot they will help the customers to come back for more. When the customer effectively resolves issues using a chatbot, it opens up the possibility of trusting the chatbot when they face other issues.

This results in fewer customers calling agents for their first resolution option which further results in great savings for companies over time. Chatbots help companies in long term saving by putting them ahead of the competition. According to a survey organized by Oracle, it is seen that 80% of big and small companies will adopt the chatbots facility by the end of 2020.

This might be the beginning of Chatbot technology but it is only improving and definitely will rule the future. But if the companies are investing in chatbots now, they will get better results and increase user experience making them ahead of their competitors as this technology will only flourish over time.

7. Bring in revenue

As discussed earlier companies use chatbots technology to generate leads which eventually lead to making sales. Chatbots make the customers aware of various sales and discount options which increases upsells and engages visitors.

Businesses are integrating chatbots in their Facebook Messenger apps that provides users with useful content which ultimately drives them the company website. They offer expansive menus, products, services that will customers options to choose them which would not have been easy if they were no chatbots. This will encourage clicks and help in product discovery.

Many chatbots are used for marketing, like that Dominos Tinder bot or the Taco Bells emoji engine that has gained a lot of popularity on social media by spreading brand awareness. They help in fueling better and personalised communications with a lot of fun.

How much does a Chatbot cost?

How are Chatbots built?

There are a lot of ways to build a bot. You can build it right from the scratch using custom codes or make use of platforms like Chatfuel, Manychat etc. it sometimes also depends on the platform you want to make the bot live, the availability of tools that are used to build the bot etc.

For instance Facebook Messenger is very popular platform where bots are widely used and there are also a lot of good tools that can be used to build these bots. If businesses want to deploy bots in Slack or intercom then the availability of these tools are more but if you want to build it from stract it takes a lot of time and work for doing that.

How much does it cost to build a Chatbot?

As mentioned there are two options available to build a chatbot

1. Building on your own

If you are a development agency and have developers who have programming capabilities in your team, then you can opt for the option of building a bespoke chatbot taking your various requirements, needs and preferences into consideration.

The drawbacks of opting this option is it requires a lot of time and it will most likely cost you more. Moreover , you should look after the entire maintenance of the bot.

2. By using a bot builder

This is the most feasible option which requires users to pay a monthly subscription in return it will help you build your own chatbot. It will give you a framework to build upon, all the support and maintenance is looked after by the vendor.

Other costs that include in building a chatbot.

1. Project management overheads

Enabling content into the bot generally takes 20-40% of the overall work that has to be done to run a chatbot. The remaining percentage goes into user testing, technical integrations, back and forth communications between the client, the developer and the chatbot.

Many a time users have to keep revising the content, update the latest changes in the bot and receive feedback. All these small and big changes take time and should be included in the overall cost of the bot.

Usually when working huge organizations, there are a lot of things that may be of any concern for the user but they cannot be ignored at the backend like privacy policy, security, data storage etc. this will also increase the overall price of the bot.

2. Infrastructure costs

This is a very obvious cost which has to be taken into consideration. A lot of times bot developers use many softwares that put them together. These softwares can be paid or include a pro plan etc. As a developer or a buyer one has to understand and know what is involved. For instance, if the developer using software like chatfuels or manychat their plans start from 30 USD etc.

If the developer is using CRM then he might add up to the total chatbot cost. If the data has to be stored or moved between the servers then even that has to be taken into account which eventually adds up to the total cost.

3. Chatbot launch and post launch costs

What happens once the bot is built, you have to even consider that. Once you think the bot is ready, it has to go live. For the bot to launch there a lot of things that you need to take into consideration like how can you drive traffic to the bot? Through Facebook ads or through your website.

Where do you have to make it live, on Facebook or your website. If you want to use Facebook ads, you need to link the bot to the ads accurately, if you want to use it through the website then you need to amend to the website properly.

Now that the bot is live, you have to consider what happens when the bot is launched? Once the chatbot is launched you will definitely find some changes. Based on how users are interacting with the chatbot you can make the changes accordingly. Usually the ongoing support for conversations, chatbot training, monitoring and fixing is done with a fixed monthly fee.

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Anvesh G
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