Engage Your Leads and Win That Sale – with Artificial Intelligence
Nurturing leads is more of a science that an art…
It’s often found that when trying to engage your leads, sales reps don’t have enough points of contact with the leads before they give up.
Two studies we looked at support this; the first stated that a typical lead takes between 7-13 touches to qualify a lead, however, 89% of sales people give up by the 4th contact. In a similar study regarding enquiry responses, only 45% of leads responded to emails within 5 days of contact, meaning teams are losing over half of their leads by not following up and keeping the lead nutured.
How can AI help keep leads engaged…? Consider an email bot, which responds to enquiries for you.
What is an email bot and what can it do?
‘Bots’ have been around for quite a while now; think back to Microsoft’s paperclip bot ‘Clippy’ from the 90s that everyone loved to hate! However, they’ve progressed quite a bit since then…
An email bot is a piece of bespoke software that sends out answers to your customer questions and enquiries using your email address and branded language.
Developed using artificial intelligence, the main role of the email bot is to answer questions and point leads in the right direction. It can receive multiple questions and respond to all of them.
Similar to a search engine, it ranks all the possible answers and prioritises what it thinks is most important. These answers can be in the form of sentences, summaries, documents or links to webpages and brochures, whatever you choose.
It can also perform other tasks, such as classification. For example, it could have the ability to classify emails and enquiries into leads, complaints and spam. Thus, streamlining internal procedures by sending complaints to customer service, ignoring spam and dealing with the leads itself.
Another feature when dealing with leads it could contain is prediction. What questions will be asked next? When is the best time to send a follow up email? How many emails are best to send to this lead? Remember these are just a few ideas that can be developed into an email bot; the likelihood is if you can think it, it can be done!
So how does it use Artificial Intelligence?
Whilst you may have a vast amount of data, the struggle with all your data is it’s unstructured. Think of it like this… data within an excel table is neat in rows and columns; it’s easy to read and understand for a machine.
However, text, images, reviews and brochures; these contain little to no structure to them, which make it much more difficult for software to make sense of them.
That’s where natural language processing (NLP), comes into play. NLP is a form of AI and machine learning. This ensures that with every decision the bot makes, it can learn and adapt to improve its algorithms and improve its future performance.
Put simply, machine learning is a way in which computers can learn and grow without explicitly programming it to do so. You can give the software new data, which it will use to learn, grow, change and develop itself.
So how do you build an email bot?
There are 5 stages to developing an email bot…
- Create an algorithm / series of algorithms
- Feed it data
- Train it
- Test it
- Use it
Sounds pretty easy right? Well, this process can take anywhere from two weeks to many months, mainly depending on the amount of data you currently have and the accuracy of the results that you’re after as a business.
Another question that is often asked when developing a bot is can you make it sound human, and if so, should you let the lead know that they’re talking to a bot or not?
Regarding an email bot to have an ability to sound human, it’s quite simple to do this. There are however, ways you can trick a bot. Sarcasm, abstract questions, local dialect and very in-depth conversations are ways in which a bot could trip up, depending on the level of NLP development and data sets the bot has been trained on.
An interesting stat that we found from Gartner suggests that by 2020, “We’ll have more conversations daily with robots than with our spouse”. Whether or not you want to believe this, it does suggest that bots will no longer be a thing of the future, and will become more integrated into our everyday lives.
How does it add value to your business?
The business added value of an email bot can broadly be broken down under three headings.
Knowledge – It’s got all your data
Even the most knowledgeable employees who have worked 20+ years for your company will not be able to memorise everything your company has ever offered. For example, knowing the prices of flights, hotels and exactly where to find this information.
A machine, such as an email bot, can store lots of information and knowledge about your company; it’s only limited by the capacity of your hardware.
Efficiency – It’s quicker and more accurate
According to Juniper Research, by 2022 bots will be responsible for savings of over 8 billion dollars annually. An email bot will make your sales staff more productive; saving them from having to search for something they know exists but can’t quite find. Saved time can then be spent on more creative areas that are more productive.
Sales – Your sales volume and quality will increase
If you answer all your enquiries and maintain contact with leads for longer, not only are you qualifying more leads, but also you’ll process more leads. Both sales and profit will increase.