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According to Forrester, it takes just one bad experience for 63% of customers to leave a company, and nearly two-thirds of customers wait less than two minutes for help.
These stats aren’t just for B2C companies; B2B companies are worried about them too. This is one of many reasons why conversational marketing is growing in popularity.
Although retail has been using live chat and chatbots for quite some time, B2B companies have recently embraced these elements and continue to refine them. Well-planned and executed conversational marketing strategies can significantly increase customer engagement and retention.
The pandemic accelerated both the speed and scale of digital transformation – “escalating digital initiatives into digital imperatives,” noted a Gartner report. The B2C marketing world has already embraced the trend of using chatbots to create seamless experiences for customers, and B2B is fast catching up. Businesses are beginning to use conversational marketing to improve customer interactions and meet pipeline goals by more effectively targeting buyers and moving them down the funnel.
Chatbots are therefore becoming a valuable element of the ABM strategy, providing another touchpoint to make meaningful connections. By mimicking and simulating human conversations, chatbots can help marketers convert leads and increase sales by targeting audiences for better data collection.
Why use chatbots in B2B marketing?
Traditionally, teams have relied on tactics like landing pages and generic websites, lead capture forms, and follow-up outreach to engage with prospects and convert them into sales. This tedious process takes an average of eight touches to secure just one meeting or other conversion. However, chatbots automate and speed up the process with a more consistent reach that puts the buyer in control.
Chatbots enable businesses to engage target accounts at every step of the funnel, offering personalized experiences with relevant content and engagement at every intent level. This approach replaces the traditional, cumbersome strategy of forms and friction with real-time engagement at the moment of interest, allowing go-to-market teams to more easily manage and track conversations with target customers to deliver a consistent, personalized, and seamless experience.
According to our research, companies that have integrated an account-based chatbot solution into their websites experienced:
- An 82% increase in conversions compared to sites without chatbots
- A 700% increase in target account engagement
- A 3x increase in lead volume and a 51% faster lead response time
- 250% more leads than traditional website forms and up to 300% faster response time
- A 42% increase in sales-accepted lead (SAL)-to-close rate
Chatbots in ABM
Chatbots have a number of specific uses in account-based marketing (ABM). Great account-based chatbots can leverage segmentation, audiences, intent signals, and personalization.
Some chatbots require full pre-programming. Others use AI technology to help them generate answers on the fly. Keyword chatbots encourage search-based interactions. Speech-based chatbots identify a user’s intent based on speech recognition, using prompts and empirical patterns to offer data. Service-based chatbots take input from service requests to ask specific related questions.
By taking a conversational approach to ABM, teams can be more focused. The key phrases we use trigger traditional chatbots to send pre-defined messages to prospects. More sophisticated chatbots can craft detailed responses and engage in more complex conversations with users.
In ABM, go-to-market leaders can program chatbots to provide much more personalized support — for example, sharing content that details a product or scheduling a demo with a sales rep. Great playbooks extend a great ABM strategy – they’re not an afterthought, nor do they sit on the periphery.
Data is king
Chatbots also enable B2B organizations to directly connect ads, email, social media, and other marketing touchpoints to an intelligently routed conversation, empowering marketers to create smart, intuitive playbooks capable of …
- Create account lists
- Collection and qualification of leads/inbound traffic in real time and incorporation into the ABM mix
- Collecting Visitor Data
- Correctly and quickly routing clients to the right department and person – billing, feedback, operations, sales, etc. – when they need a human touch
- Run orchestrated campaigns from a single source of truth
- Trigger sales automation with prospects and customers
Additionally, chat analytics provide key performance indicators to guide decision-making at each stage of the funnel. This data allows teams to see which touchpoints and channels are having the most impact. Chatbot forms collect specific information through data entry so B2B marketers can design appropriate ABM campaigns with the most effective content based on available data.
The chatbots can collect a range of data:
- Account, chat and lead volume metrics
- Conversation Insights
- Sales Rep Response Rates
- Insights into website visitors
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Consumers regularly use chatbots in the B2C world, so it’s only natural that B2B buyers have the same expectation. But ABM chatbots go further to help go-to-market teams gather information, use data, show intent, offer content, and more.
Chatbots are revolutionizing the way B2B companies engage with customers, helping to personalize their journey from the first touchpoint. The question shouldn’t be, “What can we sell you today?” but “How can we help you solve your organizational challenges and drive your business results?”
More resources on using chatbots in B2B
The CMO’s Decision: Messengers or Not?
Why your business needs a chatbot (and how to get one): Andrew Warner, founder of Bot Academy, on intelligent marketing [Podcast]
Develop brand image: Chatbots are the secret weapon of B2B marketers