Are you getting traffic to your site, but visitors just aren’t converting into leads and sales? If prospects are spending time on your site - particularly high-intent pages like your pricing page - but then disappearing - then what is putting them off? If you don’t already have live chat or bot functionality on your site, this is likely to be the missing link causing hot leads to fall through the cracks and straight into the hands of your competitors.

The way customers want to communicate has changed. People don’t want to fill in contact forms and wait for you to get back to them: they’ve got a burning question, and they want an answer now. If they can’t get it from you, they’ll try somewhere else. So, how do you catch these hot prospects in the right place at the right time? We recommend Drift. Here are six signs that show your business could benefit.

1 You’re still using forms as your primary lead-capture tool

If this is the case, you’re making it harder for visitors to your site to convert. Although most forms don’t take long to fill in, they feel like a hassle for the customer. When you have a bot that can handle your most common questions, you create a site-experience that is customer friendly. And when the bot can route that customer straight to the relevant rep, for a one-to-one live chat, it becomes a great front-of-house sales tool.

There’s something about filling in a form that is frustrating – it tells you “we’ll get back to you” — and this does not create a great customer experience. An astonishing 85% of customers said they’d rather have a conversation than fill in a form. Granted, when they get something back – a free resource such as an e-book, say, there’s some feeling of instant reward. But your hottest leads — the ones who are on your site because they’re ready to buy — want to have a conversation now. They want answers: fail to give them, and you could easily lose out to a competitor with a more responsive site.

When you have bots to help filter out the customers who aren’t serious, and route the ones who are straight to live chat with a rep, the real magic starts. In that live chat, powered by Drift, your rep can share demo videos, for example, and have the customer chat with them whilst it plays, answering any questions they may have there and then. We have found that this functionality in particular makes for a powerfully persuasive tool.

2 You like your MAP/CRM and it isn’t HubSpot

At ESM Inbound, the vast majority of our clients are on HubSpot. We’re huge fans of the platform, and have been impressed recently with their advances to the sophistication of their chatbot offering. We love HubSpot. For this reason, it’s rare that we recommend HubSpot customers also purchase Drift.

Some of the scenarios where we would make an exception include:

  • You need richer targeting options than offered by HubSpot Conversations
  • You want more control over which chatbot is triggered for the end-user
  • You need to be able to trigger different chatbots on a single page, based on which buttons are clicked on your homepage
  • You have a carefully planned ABM strategy - and a conversational marketing strategy to match

Where prospective customers come to us and tell us they’re happy with their existing MAP, whether it’s Salesforce, Marketo, Eloqua, ActiveCampaign or any of the others out there, Drift is something we can use to add bots and live chat throughout their site.

Adding Drift functionality is simple, and requires a fuss-free insertion of a JavaScript snippet on your website. Once set up, our dedicated Drift-trained consultants help ESM Inbound’s customers to create bots and populate them with a series of scripted conversations called playbooks that ensure they answer the right questions in a tone-of-voice that’s completely on-brand. The playbook sequence of your bot follows a series of if-then questions and answers.

3 You know you can’t rely on phone sales to meet your targets

Even before COVID-19 forced many salespeople into isolation, face-to-face, meetings were considered the ultimate selling tool by a minority of businesses. For businesses with basic websites, reaching out by phone and email may still form most sales interactions with customers. But for businesses thinking with more of an inbound mindset, where the objective is to make yourself as easy to buy from as possible, and on the customer’s terms, live chat is a no-brainer.

Research by Smart Insights suggests that those still wedded to analogue approaches are missing out. 50% of B2B searches happen on a mobile device, a figure that’s on the rise. That’s mobile…. where filling in a form is likely to seem even less appealing than it does on a laptop. In short, if you don’t have bots or live chat, you’re missing a trick. How many sales might be falling through the cracks because forms are scaring-off prospects browsing your website on a mobile device?

4 You have live chat on your site, but no bots

Live chat is a great sales tool. At ESM Inbound, we’ve noticed that some customers get confused about the difference between live chat and other bots. In short, live chat is the most basic type of bot - it connects your lead directly to a sales-rep without qualifying them further first. A chatbot is either rule-based, following a branching logic planner along a predefined series of pathways, or it learns from conversations and composes a response based on the customer’s linguistic clues.

For more information, this excellent guide to bots from Drift is a great place to start.

When live chat stands alone, without rule-based bots to help filter out basic enquiries and those who aren’t ready to buy, your team can end up wasting a lot of time chatting to the wrong customers. Develop a series of bots that rely on a combination of rules and AI, using carefully considered playbooks, and you will be answering all your FAQs politely and efficiently, with minimal effort.

Customers won’t mind interacting with an AI if it isn’t pretending to be human — provided it’s well designed, and uses language that is friendly and helpful to give relevant answers (more likely with Drift’s sophisticated AI functionality). Effective chatbots will help you save your salespeople’s energy for the most important, revenue-generating chats and calls.

5 Your competitors have sophisticated bots on their site

When customers are shopping around for a B2B product or service, they’re likely to be looking at more than one provider. They may use review and comparison sites, and Google results on ‘best, or x product vs y product’ to find the information they want. This explains why creating a customer-focused bank of inbound content can improve your visibility and create an impression that you understand what matters to your customers.

But this on it’s own is not enough. Imagine a prospective customer lands on your pricing page. What happens? Is there someone there to welcome them and answer any questions? Or are they simply left to browse, before slipping off to a competitor site?

Any live chat functionality is better than none, but we know from data that B2B customers browse at all times of the day and night, so if they visit your site out of hours, the opportunity to connect is lost. Where there’s a sophisticated bot, though, they will be able to have many of their initial questions answered, and with Drift, they would be able to book an appointment with a specific rep, accessing their diary availability then and there, even if it’s 11pm when they do it. If your competitors provide this sort of service on their site and you don’t, they may have the edge on you. It’s a risk you can’t afford to take.

6 Your competitors Don’t have sophisticated bots on their site

On the flipside, it can be easy to feel relatively complacent when your competitors’ sites are basic compared to yours. But don’t rest on your laurels. The competitive advantage of adding bots to your site is potentially huge when others in your market just offer customers a phone number or a form tool. By reducing friction and making it far easier to talk to you and buy from you, you’re already building customer perception of a brand that is proactive, easy to work with, cooperative and future-focused.

Not having live chat or bots on your site is the same as ignoring a customer who walks into a shoe shop, browses for a few minutes, picks up a pair of boots, checks the price tag and leaves. A chatbot empowers you to walk over to that customer, invite them to try on the boots, show them the variety of colours and acknowledge that yes, they’re more expensive than your average pair — but they’re handmade. Having bot functionality on your website means you’ll be able to answer your prospects' questions, allay their concerns and help them to make a decision with confidence.