From Google's voice search feature on your phone to Siri on your Mac and Alexa at home, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is everywhere.
I’m used to it; you’re used to it; and your prospects are used to it.
“Just as your business now requires a social media presence so that your customers can find and contact you, AI interactions will soon be must-haves for your company,” says Ben Lamm, a technology entrepreneur and AI expert.
“Most customers expect near-instantaneous responses to their query, and they want the option to connect 24 hours a day, seven days a week.” AI can help you do that.
So why not use AI to increase your B2B sales?
This article outlines 5 secrets to using AI to grow your B2B sales leads.
1. Know Your End Goal
Yes, getting your own "sales machine” is exciting and you may want to jump on the AI wagon right away - but wait!
First you must be clear on the main goal you want to accomplish with AI.
Perhaps you aim to increase lead generation by 60% in the next quarter.
A chatbot is a tool that your sales team can use to reach that goal, but it won’t work without a well planned strategy. For instance, you can use chatbots to handle the initial contact and engage leads, but human sales reps then take it from there.
Thus, you free some of your reps time so they can focus on closing the deals and increase revenue.
Another goal may be to shorten the sales cycles. Michael Hanson, VP of Marketing at CloudTask says that AI can help speed up the process of making sure prospects are actually qualified with a series of simple questions.
"By incorporating these questions seamlessly with a conversation, AI can decide whether or not it’s worth your time to set up an appointment with someone else in the sales department.”
The best of all is that a chatbot is available 24/7 and can respond to questions and qualify leads on the spot, without waiting for a human rep to be available.
Having clarity on your end goal will allow you to choose what kind of AI tool to use.
If you are searching for a chatbot, there are plenty available: shopping bots, health bots, therapy bots, financial bots, e-commerce bots, support assistant bots, personality bots, travel bots and more.
Once you have it, you must decided where to place it.
2. Decide Where You'll Use It
What virtual office should you assign to your AI employee? Wherever your leads are and can benefit the most.
Focus on the channel with the highest traffic, be it your website, your social media or other platform. You can place AI on certain pages of your site, you can use with emails, SMS, Facebook Messenger or even Skype, Telegram or Slack.
Let’s say you add it to your website. You can customize it depending on the page where the chatbot is - the homepage, the product pages, the pricing page or the contact page. There can be a message tailored to what the visitor is looking at right then.
Or let’s say you want to use AI with emails. You can grow sales leads with conversational AI encouraging customers to leave reviews and asking for referrals or social media recommendations. AI-generated emails or SMS messages are a great way to follow-up and offer up-sells.
Despite all the automation going on here, you still have to personalize your message...
3 - Personalize Your AI
I’m sure your brand has a story, a particular look and feel, a unique way of talking and engaging with your customers. Right?
Infuse that personality into your bots. Actually, go ahead and name it (just remember that Siri, Alexa, and C-3PO are taken).
Then, think about the interactions the chatbot is going to have with the prospects and how best to approach them: Serious and formal? Witty and funny?
For some, a “Good morning, how can I help you?” may work; for others, a “Hi there! Need any help?” may fit better with their brand.
AI will be front and center with your customers, so make it representative of your brand, from looks and design to language and even emojis. Just like you created your buyer persona, spend some time developing your bot’s persona.
Once your AI has acquired your organization’s personality, make sure it sells.
4 - Focus The Conversation on Benefits
Whether by email, chat or other AI application, you must focus your conversation on the pain points of your prospects, and on the benefits they’ll get from your product or service.
A chatbot, for example, may pop up a message to a website visitor that says something like, “I'm here to help sales leaders accomplish more. How can I help you?” You can replace “sales leaders” with your buyer persona.
Create a series of questions and answers that takes the prospect down the lead qualification process. The secret is to mention the problems you want to solve for them. Providing help and answering their questions and concerns, will build trust, which paves the way for sales.
5 - Analyze and Optimize
Even AI bots need performance reviews. After all, they’re working for you.
Analytics software can provide incredible data to evaluate your AI’s performance. You can analyze things like lag times between messages, how often visitors engage (response rate), chat time, number of messages and the type of questions people ask.
With all this information in hand, you can assess if the chatbot or email campaign is achieving the end goal and if it’s really helping you grow your B2B sales leads. Based on the results of your analysis, optimize. Make a few changes and see how your prospects respond.
One important way to optimize is having creative writers test different scripts for the live chat or follow-up emails.
Michael Brown, CEO of nDash, says that “though it's perceived as a new and promising technology, conversational AI faces the same limitations of every other marketing tool: it's only as good as the people and strategy behind it.”
So keep testing and improving - that way you could make your artificial intelligence, even more intelligent!
There you go.
Use these 5 secrets when using AI and see how your B2B sales leads grow exponentially.