A.I. and machine learning have been the important buzzwords for the past 3 years or so… and chatbots have been one of the most popular implementations for both technologies. Since 2017, a lot of brands started adopting bots as one of their core sales and marketing strategies. And one of the key advantages of using chatbots is that it’s very effective in qualifying leads. Many of Clever Messenger’s customers report a BIG increase in generating qualified leads. All through the use of chatbots. But how did they do this exactly? Well, based on our research and user testimonies, here are our findings:
Qualifying Leads using Chatbots
So, what’s the idea behind qualifying leads? And what about qualifying leads using chatbots?
An integral part of improving conversions with chatbots is to make sure efforts and resources are targeted to the right people. Meaning, those with the highest possibility of conversions. Your sales reps’ time and effort are a precious resource. And so, you have to make sure they are spent on only the most qualified leads. Meaning, the chatbot’s role here is to qualify these leads. And this is done via various preliminary, automated questions. And then finally it can pass the qualified leads to actual sales representatives.
In practice, a lead qualification chatbot should perform four step-by-step tasks to any incoming lead:
Step 1: Capture the prospect’s interests immediately
This is probably the biggest challenge for the chatbot’s strategy. The main idea is, as soon as the prospect has entered the chat, ask this prospect with a false-dichotomy question where they don’t have the chance to say no. For example, by providing “Yes” and “Absolutely” as the many choices.
This is a reasonably simple strategy but is quite helpful in making sure the prospect won’t leave the chat at this stage. If prospects actually want to say “no”, they have to exit the conversation, or simply never start the chat.
Step 2: Validate their pain points and needs.
It’s possible that your product, or service, has different functions for different target audiences. I.E., If you are selling a SaaS marketing suite… your product might provide different uses for an SEO marketer and a PPC advertiser. If this is the case, segment your prospect based on these use cases, and then ask this prospect about their actual needs. The goal is to make sure you understand what your prospect actually needs.
For example, we ask something like:
“What Is your purpose with Clever Messenger?”
- Automating Sales
- Qualifying Leads
- Improving Conversions
Try to avoid giving them an option where they can provide free responses (like “Other:______”). This kind of option tends to be abandoned by many people and so might hurt your conversion rate.
Step 3: Communicate your credibility and your product/service’s value.
Based on your assessment of the prospect’s pain points, provide proof about your company’s credibility. The main principle here is if you can communicate that your product is an effective solution for their pain point (based on step 2). You can quickly improve conversions this way. If you can provide data-backed proof, or case studies, even better! This is also the time to communicate your product’s USP.
I.E., you can say, “Good news, Clever Messenger has improved our customers’ conversion rate by 62% on average!”
Step 4: Qualify the prospects.
The main idea here to find out whether the prospect should and can buy your product or service. Define potential obstacles that might prevent the prospect of purchasing your product.
For, example, if your product is “expensive” (let’s say, above $1,000), then you can ask:
“Would spending $1,000 to solve your issue be too much for you?”
This way, you can disqualify people who answered “Yes”. You can do this by saying:
“That’s too bad; we currently don’t offer any solution within your budget range.”
Ask them to provide their contact info so you can notify them when you launch a cheaper product in the future.
If they do meet the qualifications, then you can pass’ this prospect to an actual salesperson. And you allow them to schedule a meeting from the chatbot interface. You have it collect their phone number so your salesperson can call them at their desired time.
With these 4 simple steps, you can successfully qualify or disqualify a prospect.
How to Qualify Leads With Your Chatbot: Best Practices
Don’t Force The Chatbot To Be A Human Rep.
The worst thing you can do is not making this clear, and so your prospect is unsure whether they are talking to a chatbot or a human representative. The confusion can lead to a trust issue, and the prospect might end up leaving the chat altogether.
Instead, let your prospect know that they are talking to a bot. Build the experience around empathy: the “hey, I’m not a human” moment.
According to Small Biz Genius, 40% of consumers prefer to communicate with A.I. chatbots in an eCommerce experience. As people get more familiar with chatbot and A.I. technology in general, we can expect this number to increase further.
There are several that can motivate people to prefer chatbots. These factors can actually contribute to conversion rates:
- Entertainment and engagement
- When people know they are talking to a chatbot instead of a live person, they tend to be more appreciative of its jokes and clever tips. Also, chatbots are actually useful in helping users kill time when they have nothing to do.
- Bots can pull data much faster than human representatives. And bots can now provide help fast and more accurate.
- Social factors
- Some people think that bots provide them a chance to talk without being judged. And this is actually a widespread obstacle for conversions. Bots can actually enhance social experiences with their conversations! Mainly because the user knows it’s not a human rep.
- Curiosity factor
- After all, the chatbot is a new technology, and people are curious about it. Curiosity breeds engagement, and so people feel more engaged when talking with chatbots.
Since the user feels more comfortable talking with a bot, it can use the opportunity to engage with the user. It can even analyze their behavior and qualify (or disqualify) them as leads.
Set Your Qualification Parameters
A qualified lead, in a nutshell, is any prospect who fits a business’s ideal customer profile (the buyer persona). The closer the prospect is to this persona, based on various factors, the more qualified the prospect is.
So, different businesses will have different qualification parameters. For company A, a prospect under 25 years old might be qualified. But not for company B. For your bot to properly qualify your leads, you should pick the correct framework to model your qualifying questions.
There are generally two main framework options to choose from:
Framework #1: GPCTBA/C&I Qualification
GPCTBA/C&I (Goals, Plans, Challenges, Timeline, Budget, Authority, Consequences, and Implications). It’s a qualification model developed by HubSpot. And it is a great template if you want to identify your prospect’s pain points.
In this framework, your questions should cover in a step-by-step order:
- Ask about the prospect’s goals, their objectives in using your product and service, and their goals. As your response, you should validate how your brand can help them achieve these goals.
- Ask about their previous attempts on achieving these objectives, and solving the obstacles. As your response, this is an opportunity to communicate how your product/service may be a better solution
- Further, ask about the obstacles and challenges they have experienced.
- Find out whether your prospect needs an immediate solution or if they need time before. This can be a major qualification point, you might want to prioritize those that are ready to buy immediately.
- Another major qualification point, whether they can buy your product/service. You can also communicate the potential ROI and benefits of your product/service to encourage them to spend.
- Ask whether they have the authority to make the purchase decision (important in a B2B setting, can skip if you are a B2C business).
- Consequences and Implications
- Communicate the positive implications they will gain by solving the issue and negative consequences if they don’t. You get another opportunity here to explain why your solution is the best for them.
Framework #2: CHAMP Qualification
A more straightforward but powerful framework, the CHAMP. This stands for Challenge, Authority, Money, and Prioritization. This model focuses on figuring out the best possible approach to engage with different types of prospects.
In this framework, your qualification question should cover:
- Asking what challenges the prospect is currently facing. Respond by communicating how your product/service can help them solve these challenges.
- Asking who is involved with a purchase decision? A significant qualification point, as established above.
- Whether this prospect has the necessary budget. If not, you might want to find out the process of how budgetary decisions work or decide to prioritize other prospects (disqualify them).
- How urgently would they need your product/service? In short, your prospect’s timeline. You can disqualify leads based on their urgency.
Chatbots Vs. Human Reps (in Qualifying Leads)
As we have seen from the above benefits, the chatbot can be one of the most potent arsenals in qualifying your leads. Chatbots are actually much better than the average sales reps for this purpose. Mainly because by improving the performance of your business in 3 key areas:
1. Covering a lot of manpower at a lower cost.
Your bot can act both as a sales representative and customer support, depending on the user’s needs. A major challenge of any sales process is qualifying your prospects where you’d have to vet your leads. And frankly, they may not be a good fit for your product/service. And you might instead spend your time and resources at the wrong prospect. A bot can step in to help qualify visitors and dis-qualify them depending on their answers. According to B.I., chatbots can save $39 billion/year in customer support and sales rep salaries.
2. Gather valuable feedback.
You can’t qualify any leads if the prospect bounces from your site in mere seconds. You will be surprised how many people actually leave your website because they couldn’t find what they need. Or don’t have anyone to around to answer a question. A chatbot can bridge this gap by being there 24/7 and be proactive. Humans, as far as I know, can’t.
3. Customer Support.
Another critical challenge for many businesses is executing excellent customer service… because it can be quite expensive. But, bad ones can quickly destroy the brand’s reputation. Again, you can’t qualify any leads if you can’t generate any in the first place.
With that said, a bot can easily step in, answer the prospect’s questions, and rapidly provide the right information. This can create a seamless experience that can help improve your lead generation.
A chatbot can be your most powerful ally in qualifying leads, that can help you:
- Save Time
- Lead qualification is usually is a lengthy, time-consuming process. A bot cuts the time required to determine whether a prospect has a good enough chance to convert into a paying customer.
- Maintain Your Credibility
- By disqualifying leads that are not a good fit, you prevent them from being unhappy with your business. If you disqualify a prospect (relatively) late, it might leave a negative impression.
- Prevents Customer Churn
- No matter what you do, not all your customers will be 100% happy with your product/service. If your leads aren’t a good fit in the first place, they are unlikely to make any repeat buy or renew subscriptions. Disqualifying these poor-fitting leads can cut your churn.
Most companies make the mistake of waiting too long before they actually qualify their leads. Not only will this mean wasting your time and efforts on leads that simply won’t convert… this can leave a wrong impression on these prospects too! Dissatisfied prospects can tell more than 10 people about this bad experience. And obviously, this can hurt your reputation. So, use your chatbot to engage and assess your prospect’s potential in real-time, 24/7. That said, I hope you liked this article. And here at Clever Messenger, we can’t wait to become your lead qualification partner ASAP.