How Savvy Sales Teams Use Chat Bots to Route and Qualify Leads

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Originally published at: https://www.closedwon.com/blog/stories/how-savvy-sales-teams-use-chat-bots-to-route-and-qualify-leads

Lead qualification is an essential part of any business. Thanks to technology and the increasing abilities of artificial intelligence (AI), sales teams can leverage chatbots to automate the sales process.

When generating leads for your company, it’s important to know what leads are qualified and which ones are more likely to end in a sale to maximize profits and ROI.

Bots can quickly gather information about leads and disqualify them just as quickly. For example, if someone has a need for only 20 seats of a software, then they shouldn’t be passed to the enterprise’s sales team. A chatbot can gather this information and disqualify leads based on the number of seats they require. 

This same train of thought applies to price. If buyer’s budget is $500 and the product being sold is $2500, then that person might easily disqualify themselves without ever involving a salesperson. In the past, decision-makers would call or email a company stating that they were interested in buying software. They then reached an enterprise sales person, only to find out they only needed a few seats.

Now, you can use a bot to take a prospect through a series of questions that qualify and disqualify them, which helps the entire organization work with the leads that are the best fit.

THE BENEFITS OF DISQUALIFYING LEADS

It may seem like a bad thing to rule out potential clients because you want to maximize your reach and profits as much as possible. Disqualifying leads feels like you’re getting rid of prospective clients. The reality is, some of those leads weren’t going to become clients anyway. Disqualifying them just helps you predict which ones will and which ones won’t.

Sorting through the likely and unlikely buyers gives you a better focus on how to generate sales and a more effective way to predict their behavior.  So when you’re worried that you’re losing clients with lead qualification, just remember that quality is always better than quantity. It’s better to have 10 qualified leads than 100 qualified ones.

Here’s why you should disqualify more leads during your lead qualification process and how chatbots can help:

SAVES YOU TIME

Lead qualification can be a time-consuming process, but chatbots can be useful in cutting into the time it takes to determine if a prospect will be a likely customer. Chatbots can help you by providing speedy response times to potential clients and helping you decide which clients to allocate your time to.

PREVENTS CUSTOMER CHURN

At times, you’ll get the conversions you want. But, not all customers will be happy with your product or service. These poor-fitting leads can cause customer churn because they’re unlikely to stick around, renew your services, or become a repeat or frequent buyer.

Disqualifying these leads is important to keeping customer churn to a minimum. AI-powered chatbots can help with this by improving the customer experience and reducing response times.

MAINTAINS GOOD REPUTATION

It’s best to disqualify leads that are poor fits for your company before they enter your sales funnel. But if the leads happen to slip in and you disqualify them relatively late in the game, it could leave a bad impression on them. A customer who is dissatisfied will tell 9-15 people about their bad experience, which could tarnish your company’s reputation.

A chatbot can help weed out poor-fit leads. For example, the bot can ask the lead specific questions like what company they work for and how they plan to use your product. Their answer could indicate whether or not they’re a good fit.

ALLOWS BETTER SALES FORECASTING

Leaving bad leads in your funnel for long periods of time can result in inaccurate metrics for sales cycle length. This could cause you to lead your sales team in the wrong direction. Using chatbots, you can qualify leads more efficiently and prevent poor-fit leads from entering your sales funnel. 

THE SALES REPS OF THE FUTURE

40% of time spent on sale work activities can now be automated using AI. This helps sales reps become more efficient, freeing up time for them to spend on marketing and managing lead captures.

Instead of poring over various forms and spreadsheets trying to identify the best leads, sales teams can manage chatbots that can qualify and disqualify leads faster and more efficiently. They can spend more of their time messaging leads and booking demos rather than pitching to prospects and making cold calls.

Using chatbots, sales reps can:

  • Automate the right leads directly to the sales inbox. Sales reps can avoid answering customer support questions or dealing with site visitors who have no intention of buying. This keeps reps from wasting time on unqualified leads and allows them to dedicate more of their time to people who are more likely to buy.
  • Route inbound chats to the right department. Routing incoming chats to the right department can be tedious when handled by humans, especially during a period with a high volume of chats. Bots can handle the routing for sales reps. When someone visits your site and opens up the chat box, the bot will ask something like, “Hello, how may I assist you?” or “Would you like to speak with sales or support?” Leads can enter their response and be redirected to the correct department.
  • Set up human chat shifts during peak hours. While bots are capable of responding to every incoming message, everyone can have a specific day where they reply to chats to improve human-to-human interaction. This also ensures that during those peak hours, leads are getting the answers they seek and reps are “on-call” in case a lead requests to speak with a real person.
  • Set up push notifications when a target lead is live on their website. You can be notified when a lead is browsing your website. Then, you can initiate a chat to help facilitate the lead through the sales funnel. This is similar to the way a salesperson greets someone at the door of a brick-and-mortar store.
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