Wondering why your sales reps are not closing enough deals? AI could help

The texture of the furniture looked so inviting that she almost lifted her hand to reach out and touch it. It was a lazy Saturday afternoon, and Kim was lost in the glossy pages of the home decor magazine. Intrigued by the vintage find, she immediately picked up her phone to look up the online store.

“Should be able to afford the refurbishing, now with the freelance thing on the side…Oh, Mike will love this Ocean Weed tone! Wait…let me check if they have it in coral…”

To her surprise, their website didn’t reciprocate with half the feeling of warmth their marketing had evoked.

A circular button glared green at the bottom right corner. Clicking on it popped open a window.

Welcome to our Live Chat corner! We’re thrilled to have you here. Our customer support representative, Katie, will be assisting you shortly. In the meantime, please fill your contact details below so that we can serve you better.”

In the meantime, she ended up skipping to the products page.

“Ah! Expansive range…But that furniture from the magazine, I want exactly that…Let me see what they have here…Ripe mustards, dusty pinks…Ummm but nothing quite as chic as coral…Is Katie back yet?’’

*Connecting…*

“Ugh!” Kim lost interest, tossed the phone aside, and turned the page over.

Businesses around the world are losing $75 bn in revenues every year due to inaccessibility at point of sale.

CEOs of companies large and small are readily recognizing the problems plaguing their current sales funnels, which are making them lose revenue targets.

Recounting a few of the several loopholes, to begin with:

  • Businesses do not have enough agents at a singular point in time to speak to each visitor on the website
  • Lead Forms, asking users to provide their contact information, offer only one-way communication
  • Information is difficult to find, and in most cases, businesses have zero measures in place to help the customer navigate
  • Customer support agents are terribly slow and rarely follow up with customers, even at the peak of their interest
  • They also do not ask them relevant questions to gauge if the leads are good enough to pursue or a downright waste of time
  • Businesses do not have any actionable insights to help the sales reps
  • Your business is struggling with more than half of the above

Turning around the turnover

Building cognitive capabilities can help your sales reps solve the problem of inefficiency, leverage otherwise invisible opportunities, and close more sales.

AI chatbots empower your sales agents by letting them step in exactly when the customer is at the peak of his interest rather than having them chase every visitor and waste time. They can optimize your revenue cycle by improving lead generation, enhancing lead qualification, and maximizing close rates.

Here’s how:

1. Increasing Lead Generation

Currently, your sales teams must be creating ‘landing pages,’ complete with value-adding, download-ready incentives, to convince the visitor to give their contact information. Alongside this, your business would be investing heavily in SEO, PPC, and social ads to drive traffic to these dedicated pages and acquire the targeted leads.

This traditional approach, however, is a dead end.

Two simple reasons why:

  1. Most individuals will end up filling in irrelevant addresses and phone numbers that would not be of significant value to your business.
  2. It will add up frustration among your account executives who, then, will fail to qualify or convert most of the leads they have been assigned.

Alternatively, developing a ‘cognitive help desk’ — on your website, app, and all online channels (AI is channel-agnostic) — will help your business acquire leads much more smartly.

The cognitive AI-based assistant uses Natural Language Processing to engage with visitors in their language, in a human-to-human-like conversation — almost like a friend.

While helping them out with 1:1 personalized responses in relation to the information they asked for, and by anticipating their needs and serving them up with suitable recommendations — it collects their contact information and keeps updating the leads database in real-time.

Apart from tracking a visitor’s journey to channel them towards the next leg of the sales funnel, AI also digs in the data pool for any upselling opportunities to current customers and maximizing their lifetime value.

2. Enhancing Lead Qualification

Often, sales reps end up qualifying leads based on misleading buying signals. Their decisions stem from their instincts and incomplete or incorrect information. In fact, “misleading buying signals” are one of the greatest challenges in lead qualification, as acknowledged by around 61% of companies in a survey.

AI enables the sales teams to accurately identify the most lucrative sales leads by sifting through large volumes of real-time and historical data in no time. An AI chatbot interrogates a user with questions uniquely tailored to take into account a multitude of parameters like their demography, navigation history, interests, etc., for instance — ‘Which of these situations best describes you?’, ‘How soon are you looking to purchase a [XYZ] product?’.

Leveraging these powerful insights (otherwise not available) into what interests them right now and what could possibly interest them in the future, it drafts follow-up messaging to channel the customer towards the likelihood of making a purchase decision.

3. Maximizing Lead Conversion

As per a research study by CSO Insights, less than half of the forecasted sales opportunities eventually close successfully. Even the most accurate lead scores cannot assure a sale. AI helps sales reps navigate the uncertainty by offering reliable insight.

AI chatbots enable the agents to understand and keep tabs on customer experiences and journeys through data. They make the customer pain points, preferences, sentiments, and a number of other purchase triggers visible for them in real-time to facilitate closing a sale.

Also, AI chatbots have a smart-routing capability to forward the more complex queries to the reps and not risk losing the customer in case the visitor is not satisfied.

On a greener grass…

Kim arrives on the website, which now has a cognitive agent (an AI chatbot) rather than a human customer support agent (Live Chat). The cognitive agent offers to understand Kim’s concerns and answer her questions in her language, all the while personally recommending her products and services that might pique her interest.

Kim gets really excited about the products and the business at large, so much so that she ends up buying more than what she had come looking for! That too, without a customer support agent ever having to step in, to painstakingly read through her chat history and trying to answer her repetitive and predictable questions.

Kim never had a chance to lose interest along the way or move away because of some lack of support or delay in response.

Instead, she is now happily posting away pictures of her newly furnished home on Instagram – tagging that business, of course.