Why an AI-Powered Botforce Will Kill Lead Forms

Why an AI-Powered Botforce Will Kill Lead Forms
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Lead capture form optimization is more of an art than a science these days. Companies invest a lot of time and money trying to find the right number of fields and information types to optimize the conversion rates on their website.

At the end of the day, they’re still using relics. It’s time to change the channel.

Lead capture forms require too much effort for both businesses and buyers. They require prospects to provide contact information, business information, and a variety of other pieces of info that may or may not even qualify the lead for the sales team.

This leads to sales teams wasting time on unqualified leads, when they could be pitching to people who are ready to purchase.

Conversation bots solve all these issues at once. Thanks to advancements in artificial intelligence, conversation bots can proactively engage website visitors to collect information in a conversation, then segment that lead by likelihood to purchase.

With this new digital channel for lead generation, salespeople get better leads; and potential customers don’t have to waste precious minutes filling out online forms.

These advantages have measurably benefitted B2B companies. According to recent estimates, global chatbot market revenue eclipsed $250 million in 2017. This spike in adoption coincides with increases in conversation bot capabilities, indicating that these tools have finally hit the intersection of affordability and functionality that companies need.

Chatbots of the past could only interpret limited phrases and spit out scripted responses. Today’s conversation bots use sophisticated programming to respond to requests and adapt user needs across the sales funnel.

These new capabilities create better experiences for end users, increasing the likelihood that they will do business with the organizations behind the conversation bots.

Companies are catching on, but most still have a ways to go. According to a recent survey from Oracle, 80 percent of businesses want to implement conversation bots by 2020.

The longer they wait, however, the more likely they are to lose business to companies that have already embedded conversation bots into their customer experiences.

Conversation Bots Drive Results

Today, even less advanced chatbots are driving substantial business results for the companies with the foresight to use them.

Facebook Messenger, for example, has a couple of success stories. ASOS boosted its sales by 300 percent using bot technology on Messenger. The ASOS chatbot assistant provided a 250 percent return on investment, demonstrating both the effectiveness and affordability of chatbot technology.

One of the largest floral companies on the planet, 1-800-Flowers, also achieved great results through Facebook Messenger. According to Stanfy, more than 70 percent of its orders through Messenger were from new customers.

That’s not just revenue — that’s a massive increase in potential repeat business. Customers appreciate the extra paths to purchase; and 1-800-Flowers reaps the rewards.

These are just two examples of companies that have turned conversation bots into significant revenue gains. As more companies implement them, customers will begin to expect the ability to immediately interact with brands— B2B companies included.

How Conversation Bots Will Kill Lead Forms

Most B2B marketers already know that lead forms could be more effective. However, marketers continue to use these forms because that’s what they have always done. This is the tech that’s available and expected.

That isn’t good enough. Today’s prospects don’t trust lead forms. Even if they’re interested in the gated content behind the forms — white papers, ebooks, infographics, etc. — they usually see lead forms as obstacles to overcome rather than starting points for fruitful partnerships.

Why not use a conversation bot to unlock content? While lead forms feel like a forced interaction, conversation bots are natural extensions of digital communication.

Intelligent conversation bots can gather a prospect’s information and learn about a buyer’s needs to provide relevant information that meets those needs — without making it feel like work. It’s not a task to complete; it’s a conversation to have.

Perhaps the most exciting benefit of conversation bots is their ability to qualify leads as they go. When a prospect enters a personal gmail address, for instance, the conversation bot can lower that person’s lead score.

However, when a prospect enters a professional email address and provides an estimated budget for services, the conversation bot can fast-track that info to a salesperson.

Conversation bots can provide B2B organizations nearly limitless utility. They can schedule discovery calls and track user intent, allowing salespeople to have personalized conversations with prospects.

Being able to have an immediate conversation with a brand can dramatically reduce sales cycle time and increase conversion rates. Companies can make more money, salespeople close more deals faster, and customers get the personalized service they crave.

Conversation bots are incredible tools; and they won’t stay rare for much longer. Companies across industries are finding creative ways to use conversation bots to meet business goals.

Soon, conversation bots that intelligently interact with buyers will no longer be a clever luxury, but a vital necessity for B2B organizations to compete with each other. Businesses should consider conversation bots as a way to position themselves as market leaders and prepare themselves for the higher standards of tomorrow’s customers.

 

As the Founder and CEO of Conversy, I bring more than 20 years of experience in enterprise software design and development to the venture. My business-critical solutions are in use by some of the world’s largest enterprises including Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, Software AG and AT&T.  I hold two patents in object modeling for network policy management, as well as policy- based network architecture. My business philosophy centers on empathizing with customers, so I can build powerful solutions that relieve their pains. I am committed to delighting my customers and making them successful, which is a value I share with my team.

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