Communities play a massive part in the growth of a startup ecosystem. When you are part of a community and share your ideas with the people, you come across transformational ideas which may not have been possible earlier. Recently Datahut participated in a group city meet of various Sales leaders and founders to brainstorm ideas and learn from each other. We had a meetup a few days back, and one of the topics we discussed was using chatbots for lead generation. Here is the crux of the ideas we shared amongst ourselves.
Contact forms are getting obsolete, and conversational marketing is taking over
Facebook messenger was the first big player in the conversational marketing space. Companies like drift and intercom are building amazing conversational marketing tools. $Noforms movement by drift is an exciting marketing philosophy.
Within conversational marketing, Chatbots are the latest trend. At Datahut, we’ve been using different types of chatbots and chat tools for lead generation for the last three years. Here are a few observations and learnings from these tools:
Disclaimer: The ideas expressed are based on our experience using different chat tools and the insights we’ve received from fellow startups. We’re open to new ideas shared from our reader community.
Classification of Chat Tools
We can classify chat tools into three different categories depending on the way they are designed. This blog discusses the pros, cons, my observations and how it affected the sales process.
- Live chat apps
- A lot of them are free eg: Tawk
- It is plug and play – installation requires less than 10 minutes.
- Lead qualification is manual – for a startup founder who wears multiple hats – responding immediately to queries isn’t always possible.
- Handling multiple people at the same time is messy
- ROI is low comparing to the other options
Even though Datahut was able to get a few leads ( some pretty good ones ), we found it very inefficient for a SaaS / DaaS startup. The time we spent on the chat does not give us a very good ROI. These type of chat apps are good for customer support and B2C sales, not B2B sales/lead gen.
How the choice of the chat app affected the sales process?
As a salesperson, one look for only qualified leads. In case of a chat app, a salesperson chats with everyone to first qualify them. This has a huge impact on the sales process as and one end up wasting a lot of time qualifying the leads. Preparing proposals to unqualified leads is the worst way a salesperson can waste his/her time.
2. Chatbots that you can build on top of existing platforms
- It was better than the live chat app as it reduces the time spent.
- You need to know a little bit of python coding to set it up
- You will need to carefully prepare the training data at addresses all possible scenarios. It takes time to prepare the data.
- Integrations were messy as they did not provide direct integration with the CRM ( Zoho in my case). Integration requires using their API.
- The bot responds correctly in 70-80 percent of the cases only.
Even though it saved some time with automated responses – there were still some 20% of the cases where the bot asked the visitor the wrong question or given them the wrong answer ultimately pissing them off. I tried multiple platforms and ditched them after a week or two.
How the choice of the chat app affected the sales process
It did save me a lot of time, however, there were some good leads in the lost 20% the bot could not address.
3. Rule-based chatbots
This is a simple rule-based chatbot with response buttons and a defined question hierarchy. This is completely automated with no human intervention needed. A rule-based chatbot gives visitors only limited choices and qualified them then and there. At Datahut, we use collect.chat
- Automated lead qualification
- Easy to setup
- Better ROI
- The engagement was far better than the other chat apps I used.
- It does not have a human touch
What should be the criteria for selecting a chat solution for your business?
- Who is your customer?
The selection for the right solution should start with the customer and should be worked backward. Let us see a few different cases.
An automated lead qualification is necessary If you want to talk to qualified leads only. An example would be an enterprise data analytics software with the pricing starts at $10000 per month. Not everyone visiting the website will be having this budget and qualifying them upfront is the best thing to do unless you want your AE to waste time chasing wood ( leads that won’t close ). Also – I believe giving limited choices is the best way to qualify the leads.
Another example would be an online comic book store where you must have a human touch to answer the questions. In that case, live chat apps would be the best option. I don’t recommend chatbots that need training as the failure rate was high among the three apps I tested.
Our advice: Think about your business and customer – then decide. The wrong choice will hurt your sales process – choose wisely.
Integration of chatbots to other applications ( like sales force or marketing automation tools) is a must if you want to optimize your sales process. I noticed some chat apps don’t have native integration or even zapier based integrations. Make sure the chat app has integrations or an API access available for the plan you choose.
Just taking the user input is not enough for a chat tool app. You want to understand who they are, what they want and based on that the questions and chat script should be changed or chatbot retrained with new data sets. Make sure the chatbot gives the basic analytics and at least google analytics tracking. Without this insights – you will never be able to use the chatbots to its full potential.
UI of the chatbot plays a major role in the engagement of the users. Even the color of the buttons, the fonts, and size of the chat window matters for maximum engagement. The UI of most chat apps isn’t that good.
5. Multi-channel support
Its bad news If you are selling in multiple channels and the chatbot isn’t compatible with all of them. Chat Data scattered across multiple systems is the last thing you need.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on choosing the right chat tools for your company. Let us know in the comments section below.
Datahut helps businesses get structured data feeds from any website through our cloud-based data as a service platform. To know more about how we can help generate leads, contact us at Datahut, your web scraping experts. Take a look at how web scraping is used to generate quality leads