In 2016, a Business Insider report on the use of emerging technologies in business showed that many business decision-makers would have chatbots in place by 2020.
800 business leaders responded to the survey – senior marketers, chief strategy officers, top sales executives, and chief marketing officers from Europe and Africa.
Some of the chatbot applications that these leaders were eyeing to implement included interactive software platforms common in email, apps, SMS, and live chat applications. 42% of the respondents said that they would also activate chatbot technology in marketing, sales, and customer service.
Have the business executives actualized their intention to have chatbots in their business marketing strategies by 2020?
Today, 67% of online visitors have had close interactions with a chatbot, and 58% of businesses working with chatbots are B2B. These intelligent automated helpers handle an enormous chunk of the 2 billion messages that run between businesses and their customers daily.
The usage of bots in business is now at a sizeable scale, and more investments and advancements in the technology are increasing its usage. How are B2B marketers using AI-based platforms to boost their business’s ROI? Below are some key applications of artificial intelligence chatbot applications in marketing today.
Enhancing inbound marketing
Customers that have had to deal with years of protracted mass advertising and brand messages have become numb to the traditional B2B marketing toolkit. They prefer the inbound process that helps B2B businesses to build long-lasting and meaningful relationships with their clients.
Unsolicited marketing messages don’t work
In the absence of a significant bond between the marketer and the customer, the unsolicited marketing message will go to the spam folder and the banner advert suppressed by the browser.
Pushy cold calls from brave sales reps, on the other hand, will be blocked via call management software. Old school lead generation has reluctantly had to give way to inbound marketing because most of its ROI has been on a decline.
The sharp B2B marketer has quickly realized the opportunity that lies within this new reality. Old and expensive marketing methods anger customers and are no longer as effective. The smart marketer is using content-driven strategies to entice, convert, delight, and close the deal with a potential lead.
Inbound marketing tactics help to align the B2B marketing strategy with a buyer’s decision-making process. It ensures that your expertise is readily available to your potential buyer whenever they require it the most.
Buyers have several buying process stages. They research their needs and identify solutions before making a final decision. All buyers travel through these stages at diverse speeds, acting differently during each process.
The B2B marketer has to be present at each stage to earn trust and to engage them when they need information for good decision-making.
A chatbot is a program that simulates human-to-human interaction. It runs on artificial intelligence technology. The chatbot will automate communication with your B2B leads at all stages and at all times.
Chatbots ensure your presence is always felt
With chatbots, your leads are never alone when they need your help. By reducing the human factor, the chatbot will enhance your inbound marketing strategy by:
Working more efficiently to attract new leads to your site
The bot will be present to answer your potential customer’s questions in real-time. 69% of consumers love communicating with chatbots because of their ability to give fast solutions and answers on demand.
Helping customers to make quick decisions
Your B2B buyers do not only expect immediate responses to queries, but they are also decision-makers that demand these answers at any time of the day.
Your employees cannot possibly man all customer lines 24/7 without adversely affecting their work-life balance. The chatbot will save time, costs, and not only attract your leads but also engage them at all times.
Do not make your leads wait. Use a chatbot to engage them in their free time, and direct them to your products or services. This helps them decide faster, keeping you ahead of your competition.
Answering vital queries along the purchase journey
Before making a purchase, your lead will have different questions. The chatbot can offer them canned responses, a much better and more engaging alternative to written FAQs.
This process ensures that by the time your lead requires human help, they have answers to their most urgent questions. They are already engaged and ready for conversion. Your chatbot can, for instance, guide your prospect to relevant content such as blog posts and videos. Did you know that 71% of B2B buyers will read through blog content before conversion?
Giving you high-quality leads
The chatbot will also help in high-quality lead generation. It can filter out web visitors who do not fit your buyer persona by simply answering their initial questions. This attribute will save your marketers a lot of time and costs. It will help them focus on leads who can bring a high ROI.
Increasing new channel opportunities
B2B marketers in the past, played by old rules, limiting their interactions with potential leads to specific channels. Since every statistic claimed that 97% of B2B social media leads come from LinkedIn, the uninspired B2B marketer would keep his or her lead generation strategy within the professional networking platform.
Over time, social media platforms like Facebook that have over 2.7 billion users worldwide became the playground of B2C marketers. These keen salespeople have reaped huge returns from the massive potential that lies within the world’s most popular social media network.
Keen B2B marketers are, however, beginning to realize that social media marketing does not have a predetermined rulebook.
Social media prospects can access B2B lead generation material on the giant network as well. Facebook users come from all demographics. There are C Suite executives that visit the platform for their social needs.
Did you know that 74% of high-income earners use this social media platform as their preferred social networking site?
Fortunately, Facebook chatbots have made it much easier for B2B sales teams to move into the Facebook environment. Data shows that there have been more B2B professionals on Facebook since it deployed chatbots.
The success of Instant Translator is a good example of the marketing potential that lies within chatbots on Facebook for B2B marketers.
Instant Translator was originally designed to display the latent possibilities that lie within chatbots for corporates. In a short time, the bot became the most popular translation bot on Facebook, with over a million users enjoying its wide range of supported languages for translation.
The bot is easy to use, listens to users, answers all their questions, and has video support that makes its user’s lives easier.
RewardStream, on the other hand, is a fantastic referral bot for enterprise businesses. It increases conversions in digital content marketing.
In the past, chatbots were clunky automatic response generators, but that was before the era of Facebook Messenger chatbots. These bots can guarantee a high message open rate of up to 98%. In contrast, emails can only give an average open rate of 22%.
Since these chatbots work with Messenger, your leads do not need other apps to access your marketing content.
Consequently, you can take advantage of the captive audience on the platform. Do this by releasing easy to build bots that will deal with any needs your prospects might have along their buying process.
B2C brands have perfected the use of Messenger chatbots so successfully that you can order a Domino’s pizza, get H&M clothing recommendations, and track your flight via Messenger bots. The possibilities that lie within Facebook chatbots for B2B lead generation are endless. Your marketers can use them for;
- Lead qualification by collecting data and performing follow up
- Customer insight generation to help marketers guide the leads through a sales funnel
- Brand engagement giving prospects a fun channel to engage with brands
- Content promotion to different demographics
- Simple transactions
Offering better customer support
Businesses are increasingly turning to chatbots to streamline their conversational commerce and customer service. This helps to save on billions of human resource costs.
These artificial intelligence run computer algorithms have become so warm and likable that 40% of millennials have chats with them regularly. The satisfaction rate for business brand-customer interaction live chat is at a 73% high.
Does your marketing team rely on contact forms and FAQ sections on your website? If so, you are wasting a precious opportunity to harness more leads through chatbot led customer to brand interaction.
Your bot will not only increase customer experience satisfaction rates. It will also save a lot of sales and customer service representative costs. A chatbot can run an all round-the-clock support service, handling conversations from beginning to the end and learning from the responses given to enhance its reactions.
Chatbot technology has changed the B2B marketing game, saving millions in costs once spent on human resources, time wastage, and inefficiencies. The technology is increasing business ROI by enhancing lead generation and supporting other B2B marketing strategies. If your business is not in the chatbot arena, get innovating, or you will get stuck in the Stone Age.