How Chatbots Are Changing The Way We Sell w/Billy Bateman @Chatfunnels
Learn how sales chatbots are changing the industry and learn the best practices in deploying chatbots for your business from Billy Bateman of Chatfunnels. Read on to find out more.
In this article:
- The Chatbot Phenomenon
- How to Deploy Chatbots in Sales
- What to Avoid When Deploying Chatbots
- Other Features of Chatbots
- How to Deploy the Chat Program on Your Sales Team
- How to Measure Success in Your Bot Strategy
- The Challenges That Companies Face on Implementing Chatbots
How Chatbots Can Transform Your Business
What is a Chatbot? This is a type of artificial intelligence program that allows interactive conversations between the program and a human user. It uses text or auditory-based signals and pre-installed user phrases to communicate.
The chat program is becoming more mainstream every day, and there are already technologies that readily provide this service. Yet one of the problems that businesses encounter is deployment.
After buying a chat program, most people don’t know how to operate them or get the best out of the service they bought. To provide clarity on this dilemma, we brought on Billy Bateman, who is the Director of Operations at Chatfunnels.
Bateman and his team helped us optimize our own chatbots, and we’ve seen amazing results working with them.
Chatfunnels helps B2B companies with their chatbot strategy and deployment. They also provide regular reports and continuous optimization so their clients will know how they’re doing and what their next steps are.
The Chatbot Phenomenon
With a chat program in place, marketers can automate parts of the sales and marketing processes on their website.
Bateman reported that the chat industry is seeing great results as a whole. According to him, if you replace your website form with a chatbot, you’ll most likely see significant improvement.
He’s talking about an uplift of 150%, and even as high as 200%. This refers to the overall conversion of collecting the same information via chatbot versus the form.
Drift’s CEO shared a cool analogy about the chat program. Think of your website as your storefront.
Would you allow customers to come in and not attend to them immediately? Would you wait for them to ring the bell to get assistance?
As Drift’s CEO said, it’s absurd to think we can operate like that in the digital world.
How to Deploy Chatbots in Sales
We also shared with Bateman one of the biggest challenges we had with this program — deployment. After setting it up, we realized the chat program didn’t run itself, and we still needed to do split-testing.
Other businesses have the same dilemma, so we took this opportunity to ask Bateman how to deploy a bot.
Anyone who buys a bot knows they can do so many things with it. Yet, where to start is really the problem that most businesses have.
Bateman let us in on a deployment practice they’ve found to be successful. He suggested starting by picking one offer you make on your website. That could be a demo, a “chat with us” feature, a pricing conversation, or a free trial.
Here are the initial steps he enumerated:
- Start out with one offer.
- Put it in a few strategic places within your website.
- Figure out the best way to replace the form you use for this offer with a bot.
If you work with a chatbot deployment and optimization company like Chatfunnels, they can help you out with this process.
They’ll take note of the information you’re asking for in your form and have the bot ask those instead. They will also test the question order, how you’re asking the questions, and where you’re sending your leads to.
This is because one of the benefits of providers like Draft and Intercom is they can route your leads right to a sales agent. Even if the sales agent isn’t available to chat, the bot can still present a calendar so prospects and customers can book.
In a nutshell, the deployment process goes like this:
- Start with one offer.
- Test the offer and the process around it.
- Once you nail it and you’re comfortable with it, start scaling it throughout the whole website.
- Move on to the next offer.
Bateman strongly advises to do it one at a time. Work on one offer, nail it, and then move on.
What to Avoid When Deploying Chatbots
Bateman also shared with us another good practice, yet it may not be the best place to start. Some businesses want their bot to be everything to everyone.
For instance, they use a single bot for customer service, demo booking, and other activities. Bateman doesn’t recommend this, as you have to figure out each of these use cases on their own.
After you’ve done that, you can bring them all together to have an all-around bot.
If you want your bots to be successful, they need to be use-case driven. They need to focus on accomplishing only one task.
Bateman also warns that the elements involved in chatbot deployment and optimization are always changing.
When you think you’ve nailed something, you’ll realize that something changed within your organization or your customers. Then you need to rethink the bot and start testing all over again.
Other Features of Chatbots
Bateman also shared with us two other features that chatbot users will find helpful. First is the conversational landing page.
This means tying an ad or an offer to a page that is purely run by a bot — something a lot of companies do.
Let’s say you have an ad for a free whitepaper and you’re directing the people who want to avail them to a landing page. Here, they’ll fill out a form so they can get the whitepaper via email.
Yet while encoding their details, there’s a high chance for them to encounter distractions.
When you have a bot in your conversational landing page, it can get all the necessary information for you. The bot can even email the whitepaper to the person’s inbox.
There’s no chance for distraction because they’ll continuously chat with the bot. After this process is over, you can redirect the person back to your website or give them other information.
Bateman said they see really good conversion rates off of the conversational landing page. That is, when you find the right use cases for them.
The second is what we call the partials. If someone only partially fills out the form, there’s a 50-50 chance for you to access the information they gave you.
Yet if someone partially fills out a bot conversation and gives you their email address, you can do a lot with that. You can look them up and figure out who they are.
You can then follow up with them because there is obviously some interest from their end.
How to Deploy the Chat Program on Your Sales Team
Changing your process isn’t always easy. Most of the time, it takes getting used to, and that’s how your sales team might feel with the chat program.
Along with properly using chatbots, you also need to make sure your sales team buys into the process and deploys it correctly.
To do that, Bateman advises companies to keep their communication lines open. As a consultant, he shared that one of the things they can do is to act as a liaison.
Often, it’s the marketing team who owns the website and activates the bot. Then, they try to send out information to the sales team.
As a liaison, Bateman enumerated some tasks they do to keep things running smoothly:
- Lay out the right deployment instructions for the users.
- Explain how the chat program works.
- Explain which questions the bot is asking.
- Get user feedback.
- Recommend improvements for the company to get better results.
When the sales team sees the number of quality appointments they’re getting, they’ll also come around. Based on Bateman’s experience, the adjustment period often takes two to three months.
It all boils down to communication. You need to show your team they’ll get more quality appointments from bots because they capture more information.
How to Measure Success in Your Bot Strategy
Now the question is, how do you measure the success of your chat program?
Bateman shared that every customer has a different perspective on what success looks like in terms of numbers. Despite that, they use the same success metric for each customer.
First, they start with Google Analytics. They check the numbers on the following indicators:
- Website traffic, particularly in the high-value pages
- Customers who engage with the bot
- Customers who converse with the bot by answering at least one question the bot asked
- Conversations that lead to email captures, a marketing qualified lead, and a booked meeting
Then, they take it one step further by asking some evaluation questions:
- How many meetings did you book?
- How many of those meetings lead to a real opportunity?
- What is the value behind those?
- How many of these meetings really closed?
After that, they’ll measure your ROI for your entire bot strategy and see how much money it’s saving you. They’ll also assess how much extra money you’re making on sales opportunities by replacing forms or adding a bot to your website.
The Challenges That Companies Face on Implementing Chatbots
What are the factors that hinder companies from succeeding with their bot program?
Bateman shared the two main reasons why this happens.
- Companies have trouble installing the bot on their website and making it work.
- After they’ve picked the use case, they fail to revisit their chat program and measure their success.
Bateman shared that most of their customers fall into one of two categories:
- They bought a chatbot software, but they don’t have it up on their website. Either they don’t know how to set it up, or they don’t have the capacity to do it themselves.
- They deployed the bot and discovered how to make it work, but they weren’t able to optimize it.
Chatfunnels’ customers mostly belong to the second group. They help optimize their customers’ chat program by running tests, checking to see what works and what doesn’t, then sharing the findings.
Chatfunnels also recommends which strategies to take and opportunities for further deployment. They help their customers as well by letting them know how to get the most value out of their investment.
Acquiring chatbot software is one of the best ways to make your processes more efficient. The real challenge comes when it’s time to deploy them.
Apply the best practices we discussed so you can succeed in utilizing and optimizing chatbots for your business.
In what ways can chatbots help your business? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.