The majority of B2B businesses suffer from websites that aren’t optimized for lead generation. Many have long-form captures and “Contact Us” pages with extremely low conversion rates. In most cases, prospects visiting these websites will end up with more questions than answers.
But implementing conversational marketing via chatbots can change that.
Take the case of Wavestone US, an IT management consulting firm with a team composed of former IT executives and CIOs. Like many other B2B firms, it was difficult to generate marketing qualified leads (MQLs) organically from the website. Instead, most MQLs came through email campaigns and telemarketing.
But there seemed to be a real opportunity in optimizing the Contact Us page. Although the page was generating the right amount of leads, most of the leads were not qualified, and it took a considerable amount of time for Wavestone’s sales reps to go through each lead before passing it to telemarketing.
So they reached out to 2X, a marketing-as-a-service agency, to come up with an integrated strategy to increase traffic from organic sources and the overall conversion rate across the site.
Deciding on AI and B2B Chatbots
A couple of stats led our team at 2X to explore AI and B2B chatbots as a way to qualify leads and guide prospects to the next step in the funnel without using too many sales resources.
- According to a study from Harvard Business Review, companies need to reach out within five minutes of initial contact to have the best chance of qualifying a lead. Wait any longer, and the odds of qualifying the lead decrease by 400%.
- On top of that, only 43% of people answer cold calls. The average email open rate has fallen to 20%, and the average landing page conversion rate is only 2.35%.
To reduce the response time from a few days to an instantaneous connection, we decided to implement Drift’s conversational bots to help bring Wavestone one step closer to its sales goals. And by giving prospects who often visit the site the right answers—at the exact moment they’re looking for solutions—Wavestone achieved significant results.
Over a five-month period, the chatbot generated 152 conversations from the website, resulting in three sales meetings that ultimately led to $500,000 in revenue.
Here’s a breakdown of how 2X achieved these results.
We wanted an affordable chatbot solution that could do the following things for prospects visiting the Wavestone website:
- Answer a question they might have
- Get more information about them (i.e., interests, problems, services they’re after)
- Lead them to the relevant section of the website (i.e., a related blog or resource page)
- Once qualifying them, connect them to a sales rep or specialized consultant
In the search for a solution that satisfied all the requirements, 2X found Drift. The chatbot was easy to set up, especially since we started small, and we ran the tool on some of Wavestone’s smaller pages to test how helpful it was.
After a few failed attempts with low engagement rates, we reached out to Drift’s customer success team and worked closely with them to build the right conversational marketing playbooks to pique curiosity and encourage engagement.
The solution was going back to basics and asking a simple question:
What makes a good conversation?
Three Key Components of a Good (Bot) Conversation
To get conversational marketing right, the bot needed to satisfy these three key conversational components for Wavestone:
- Personal touch
- Real-time connection
1. Establishing the right context
As an IT consultancy, Wavestone has three major types of visitors:
- IT/Technology graduates looking for the latest information about a topic, or for career options
- Mid-level management in the research stage where they are evaluating solutions before passing down that information to the CIO
- CIOs who have limited time and expect to find solutions to a problem within a few seconds – or to speak to an experienced consultant who has had shared experiences
The relevancy of the messaging and content to each audience segment makes a significant impact on how willing prospects are to initiate a conversation with the chatbot. Prospects also were more likely to engage with the bot if the conversation opened with a question that aligned to a problem they were facing.
Take, for example, a visitor reading a blog about IT optimization. The bot could trigger a conversation by asking a question within the context of IT optimization. A good conversation playbook could pique interest about related topics, or ask questions to find out more about what problems that person is trying to solve—and simultaneously qualify the prospect.
As the prospect engages, the bot automatically connects with the sales rep or schedules a meeting with one of the available consultants. Then the information gathered by the bot is transferred to the sales rep or consultant to carry on a seamless conversation on the pain points, solutions, and offers, helping to close the sale.
Context is similarly important for service pages. If someone is searching for a service, the sales intent is higher; in that scenario, the bot can be triggered to ask problem-centric questions that can trigger engagement.
Similarly, by enabling the UTM parameter feature from Drift in email campaigns, 2X was able to trigger a specific conversation with any prospect who clicked a unique link that led them to the website. This gave more personalized options that were unique to a particular target group, allowing higher levels of engagement by asking the right questions at the right time.
2. Including a personal touch
With Drift, there are many ways to add that unique personal touch, and the small details make the difference between a cold, boring robotic conversation (and a missed opportunity) and an engaging and delightful conversation that leads to meaningful meetings – even with a bot.
For example, 2X saw a better conversion rate and engagement by using a real person’s name and image rather than a bot name and icon.
3. Connecting in real-time
Drift’s ability to connect a prospect to a live chat and to switch seamlessly between a bot and a real sales rep is an advantage when it comes to taking a conversation and turning it into a meeting.
By connecting a chatbot directly to a dedicated sales rep that is ready to jump into the conversation at any time provides the intangible and important quality of human touch to the process. It also provides support in case the questions are too complex for the bots to handle.
By optimizing the conversation playbook with these three key components, it flipped the switch for Wavestone in a matter of months—from a low engagement rate to scheduling a meeting from the website that generated half a million in revenue.
Conclusion: Ensuring Success with Conversational Bots
Chatbots can be helpful to the sales process and should be part of a broader marketing strategy to nurture demand. However, a conversational bot is not a magical solution that works on its own. You’ve got to be ready to experiment and tweak it when something’s not working. And most important of all, you need an integrated strategy that combines content, user behavior analysis, data, actionable insights, sales input, and personalized messaging delivered at the right moment.
Bots worked well for Wavestone because of the consistent generation of quality content in the form of thought leadership blog posts and strategy briefs. Choosing Drift as the conversational marketing platform also helped. The advanced reporting feature helped 2X better understand Wavestone’s prospects by what kind of questions they asked, what problems they were trying to solve, and what content they were searching for. With that information, 2X was able to build content, optimize conversation playbooks, and add a personalized touch.
Contact us to learn how we can help improve your conversational marketing strategies.
This article was originally published on drift.com