An increasing trend on websites and apps is having a chatbot that can interact with visitors and users.
These chatbots are usually designed to answer common visitor questions and point people in the right direction. This can help save a company time and money, as these automated bots do not require the more time- and capital-intensive resources required of having live chat operators answering every visitor question. And especially if visitors have the same common questions repeatedly, the bots can help achieve results at a drastically lower cost.
But, let’s say you are a company that wants to leverage the automation capabilities of chatbots to drive more sales. How would you go about that?
In this article, we are going to share some of our best tips for helping you develop a chatbot for your business to drive sales.
Why a Chatbot for Sales?
There is only so much time and resources that any business has to allocate towards any particular activity. Automation can help you save time and money so you can focus on what really matters in your business.
Tip #1: Set your goal and work backwards
Let’s start at the beginning, with your main goal.
What are you trying to get from the person interacting with your chatbot?
While it may seem simple, it’s an important question to ask, because we need to focus on this goal and work backwards from it.
Whether you are trying to get the visitor to sign up for a free trial, schedule a demo, or purchase a product, you need to start with that intention and work back from that.
Let’s take a specific example:
My #1 goal for my website is to get people to schedule a demo with a salesperson.
With this being my goal, now I can think clearly about the intention of the chatbot, its placement, its text prompts, and its scripts.
As an example, you could put a chatbot on your pricing page, and it could ask the visitor, “Would you like a personalized demo with someone on our team?”
Since someone looking at your pricing page is demonstrating interest in your product and possibly purchasing it, this could be a good opportunity for placing a chatbot and having certain prompts for visitors.
To think this out completely, I like to write out bullet-points of the different aspects of who / what / where / when / why to achieve this goal.
Working my way backwards:
Goal = get visitors to schedule a sales demo
- Using a chatbot to ask people to schedule a demo
- Pricing page
- Contact page
- Features page
- People visiting these pages are demonstrating interest in the product
- Visitors to pricing page are demonstrating purchasing intent
- Chatbot prompts visitors to these pages, “Thanks for checking out our site. Would you like to schedule a personalized demo of our software?”
- After they have been on the page for 20 seconds (sending it too soon could be off-putting)
And with that, I’ve thought out how I am going to use this chatbot to reach the goal, and all the major details around placement and messaging. Without this planning, there can be a temptation to just use a chatbot because you have an idea, or because you want to use it, without any deeper understanding of “Is this going to be helpful or a hindrance?”.
Lots of websites use chatbots, and lots do so poorly.
Chatbots can pop up at inopportune times and frustrate visitors when they are just trying to gather information.
Planning ahead can help avoid these kinds of mistakes, helping you to reach your sales goals while not causing your visitors and users frustration.
Let’s take another example for sales for an app.
Goal: Get users to upgrade their plan
- Using a chatbot to let users know that they are almost out of credits and will need to upgrade to further use the app
- Informing users about new features that come with upgraded tier plans
- In-app on usage, pricing, or billing screen
- Users may not know that they are low on credits and to continue using the product they will need to upgrade
- Users may not know about helpful features on a higher tier plan
- Chatbot prompts visitors to these pages, “You are almost out of credits. Would you like to upgrade your account?”
- After they have been on the screen for 5 seconds
In this example, we can see how we can use a chatbot to help get users of an app to upgrade from their current tier to a higher tier plan.
Without this planning ahead, we could end up with a heavy-handed approach that users might find annoying or invasive rather than helpful.
One other related tip here is to think about your buyer persona.
Not everyone visiting your website is going to have the same interest in what you do.
This tip is really a sales best practice for any type of business, whether you are doing outreach or inbound sales. Knowing your buyer personas can help you better tailor your chatbots to their needs.
Tip #2: Plan out your chat flow ahead of time
Before you even start using the chatbot, you should write out your chatbot’s different IF / THEN logic for what it’s going to say and ask your visitors based on their responses.
To map this out, you don’t need any fancy software.
It can be as simple as having a bulleted list of prompts in a Google Doc or Word document, with bulleted indentations for different answers / trees.
How can I help you today?
- I have questions about pricing
- What pricing questions can I answer for you?
- What comes with the different pricing tiers?
- Here are some details on our different pricing tiers
- What comes with the different pricing tiers?
- If you are interested in a custom quote, click here
- Can I get a custom quote?
- For a custom quote, you can share your contact details below, or schedule a call with a team member
- Contact form
- Schedule a call
- Contact form
- I would like to get a demo
- Great. Please use our demo scheduler below:
Start simple, and feel free to add more over time if you’d like.
Depending on your chatbot software, you can have closed, specific choices and options for people to choose from. Or, you can make it open-ended so they can ask a specific question, and then get directed to the resource that the chatbot thinks is the most relevant to their query.
For beginners, I’d recommend just having closed, specific questions.
Tip #3: Spell-check and edit for grammar. Seriously.
Image source: https://share.getcloudapp.com/8Lu146A1
This should go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway:
Spell-check your stuff.
One important reason you should write your chat flows ahead of time in Word or Google Docs rather than building them in your chatbot tool is because they may not have a great spell-check or grammar checker.
Due to a lot of bad chatbot implementations, chatbots have earned a reputation for often having text prompts that read unnatural or stilted. While chatbots are supposed to emulate humans using live chat, the messages can often come across as generic or robotic (even for a chatbot).
This can cause frustration with your visitors and users, and they may close the chat or avoid dealing with it if they are having a bad experience.
These tools can not only point out obvious grammar and spelling mistakes, but they can advise you on things like sentence structure to better ensure your text is easily readable.
Tip #4: Find the right tool that can work with your flow, not the other way around
Some tools may be exciting or have cool features, but they may not be right for your workflow.
If you just need a basic chatbot that asks specific questions and directs visitors to the right resources and pages, then you don’t need a chatbot that does more than that.
From my own personal experience with working with chatbots, if the chatbot you are testing out is not working for your business’s existing workflows, then it may be more of a headache than its worth, and you might want to consider another tool.
One example –
Let’s say there is a chatbot that can ask your visitors to schedule a demo.
But, it uses its own scheduler app (and you use SavvyCal, Calendly, or Hubspot).
And it doesn’t integrate with your specific sales CRM.
So, now you have to maintain two separate scheduler apps, and figure out a way to get these sales demos into your CRM.
This creates more work for you to make it so you can use this chatbot.
Instead, what should be happening is that this chatbot should be able to hook into your workflows.
The chatbot should be able to automatically send new leads to your CRM or help desk software. It should be able to use your scheduler to schedule sales calls.
So, before you get too invested in any particular chatbot solution, make sure it already works with your tech stack and internal processes, otherwise it can end up just creating more work for you than it’s worth.
There are many different types of sales automation tools that can do different things. They are not all a good fit for every business, so make sure that whatever tool you are using, it fits within your workflow.
Tip #5: Start simple – you can expand later
One last piece of advice for chatbots – don’t shoot too big too soon or you may never get the chatbot implemented.
Take it one piece at a time.
Speaking from personal experience, you might have some grand ambitions for your chatbot, but if you are waiting until you get everything perfectly ready, you may never launch your chatbot.
Instead, start by planning out just one chatbot scenario.
Figure out the parameters of:
- What’s my goal for this chatbot?
- What page is this going to go on?
- What are the text prompts and options going to be?
Even if you can imagine one chatbot that has a lot of different content based on the user’s choices, you can always start narrow, and expand later as you have more time.
And that is it.
5 tips for building a chatbot for sales.
For some parting words of wisdom – you can do this. Just remember to start small and focused, starting from your ideal goal and working your way backward, and make sure to use that spell-check!