Posts for #automation

The Secret to an Effective Chatbot Marketing Strategy

automation, digitalmarketing, marketing, SEO - admin - December 4, 2018

When Facebook released its chatbot platform in 2016, many in the tech world thought that bots would be the next frontier of human-computer interaction. However, as time has passed and the hype around Messenger bots has died down, it has become increasingly clear that bots are not going to supplant apps as the primary way individuals use the internet any time soon. That said, chatbots have found a promising niche in digital marketing. Increasingly, marketers have found that the killer app for chatbots is conversion rate optimization.

Chatbot marketing offers the promise of a more engaging lead generation and qualification process. Of course, to actually see any of these benefits you need to know how to approach the technology for the first time.

As someone who has worked in the chatbot space for the last three years, I have found that many businesses have a misguided notion of how chatbots are going to help them, resulting in a subpar chatbot that fails to meet their and their prospects’ expectations. Don’t fall into a similar trap. Learn how chatbots can actually help you boost your conversion rate and achieve the marketing holy grail: a lower CPA.

A Chatbot is not a Chatbot

To understand how a chatbot can help you reach your PPC goals you need first to deconstruct your preconceived idea of what a chatbot is. Most people define a chatbot (especially in the context of business) like this:

“‘A computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users’ to facilitate a trade of information or services.”

While such a definition is technically correct, it is not the right way to look at chatbots as a PPC marketer. The definition above sets the benchmark for a chatbot’s capabilities at human-level intelligence. When applied to PPC marketing, this benchmark generally manifests itself as an expectation that chatbots will serve as highly intelligent sales or customer service reps who live on your PPC landing pages and can guide prospects through the buying journey.

This expectation is certainly novel but it is unrealistic. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will undoubtedly play an increasingly important role in the way PPC marketing campaigns are run in the future, but:

Unless you are Google, Facebook, or Amazon, there is little chance that your chatbot will be able to understand human language well enough to handle every query users send its way.

This will inevitably leave both you and your prospects disappointed when the bot gives a nonsensical answer to a reasonable query.


Chatbots are Conversational Forms

So if chatbots aren’t the ultra-intelligent beings that we were promised then how are they going to drop your cost per acquisition? The key to answering this question is to set a more manageable benchmark: the humble lead capture form. Think of chatbots not as hyper-intelligent sales agents, but rather as conversational forms. If you task a chatbot with collecting the same details as a lead capture form, it does not require AI, so it will not fail to meet expectations and might actually exceed them.


Lead capture forms are not hard to beat. They are fairly dull and no one likes filling them out. The back-and-forth, two-way nature of a chat (even if it is with a dumb, AI-free bot), is a far more interactive way to capture the same information a form does. Prospects are given a constant stream of instant feedback for each of the details they send which is reminiscent of the gratification that their favorite apps give them every day.


The end result is a more engaging lead capture experience which leads to a higher conversion rate. This, in turn, drops cost-per-lead (by half in many cases) which in turn drops CPA.

Where’s the proof?

I have tried this approach with several of my clients’ ad campaigns and have seen an increase in conversion rate by as much as 200%. But, my favorite demonstration of the effectiveness of this approach doesn’t come from the marketing space.

I am a big fan of the DoNotPay app which lets you sue people with the tap of a button. When it began, DoNotPay was a chatbot that helped aggrieved citizens draft short letters to contest parking tickets. Joshua Browder, the bot’s creator, recognized that the contestation letters were formulaic, requiring the same set of details for every citizen.

His bot asked for each of these details individually in a conversational manner. As you might imagine, the bot didn’t require highly advanced AI to accept the details (e.g. you don’t need too much AI to pull a name from the phrase “My name is Arnav Patel” or to pull an address from “I got the ticket at 12345 Clover Blvd”). After collecting these details, the bot could compose a short letter by plugging details into a template the citizen could send to their local government. The bot did not have to use any fancy underlying tech and performed more like a conversational form than a robot lawyer.

This approach was so effective that DoNotPay helped squash over 200,000 tickets over the months following its release. This process of essentially tricking users into filling out a form is the same approach to chatbots that I described above.


The Upshot

The key to building an effective chatbot strategy is managing expectations. If you try to recreate a conversational agent with the intelligence of Jarvis from Iron Man you will inevitably fail. Both you and your prospects will be disappointed when the bot doesn’t perform as promised. If you set a more manageable goal and make a bot that improves your lead capture experience, your prospects will feel more engaged and you will convert more leads with the same ad spend.

This thought process affects your bot’s goal and how you phrase the bot’s conversational flow. I would recommend creating bots which have a very fixed and narrow objective (e.g. capturing a lead for a particular product/service) and phrasing questions with a similar fixed objective as one might do with a form field (e.g. ask “would you like help with X or Y” instead of a more open-ended “how can I help you?”).

Using this approach allows you as a marketer to feel the benefits of a chatbot’s engagement without the fear of awkward examples of failing AI that alienate prospects. The end result is a higher conversion rate, lower CPA, and a more efficient PPC campaign.


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5 Ways to Automate your Sales Process

automation, digitalmarketing, marketing, Uncategorized - admin - December 4, 2018

We live in the sparkly, shiny world of automation. Everything from switching lights on/off to assembling cars can now be automated. This calls for the question though—how important is automation? Is it really of much help?

The answer is yes. Automation is adding value by reducing manual labor, saving time, and in some cases, saving lives.

This is a tweet by Anton Zaslavskia (aka Zedd), a Russian-German record producer and DJ. He tweeted out in support of the smart car Tesla, talking about how it saved his life.


The autopilot feature in the car alerted the driver awake when it detected that he had fallen asleep. Thanks to the automation amalgamation, Anton’s life was saved.


Automation has created a paradigm shift in the way we work, across industries and businesses. And it is the same in the case of sales. The daily life of a sales rep is a list of crucial tasks that can make or break a deal. These include sending out emails, making calls, creating contracts, negotiating deals and more. They do these tasks multiple times in a day for multiple accounts, and it might be challenging to stay on top of all the accounts with just manual work.

A Forrester report states that automating tasks can help save 90% of costs. You can increase efficiency and productivity while cutting down on costs. Those are enough reasons to invest in sales process automation. But how do you go about automating the sales process? Where do you start? Here are the five aspects of your sales process that can be automated:

1. Email

Studies say sales reps spend 21% of their day on emails. That is a large chunk of their day, almost a quarter, which can be better spent talking to prospects. This calls on the urgent need for email automation.

Email Automation


To get started with email automation, you need to analyze the daily sales tasks performed by your sales reps and figure out :

  1. What are the most common emails that are sent daily?
  2. What is the time spent on creating and editing emails before hitting send?
  3. How much personalization and customization is needed for each email?

There are quite a lot of sales emails being sent in a day, and many are repetitive. As part of the sales cycle, sales reps send out various generic emails like:

  1. Welcome emails to new leads
  2. Follow up emails to unresponsive leads
  3. Demo emails to new sign ups
  4. Reminder emails about meetings
  5. Thank you emails to new customers

Creating the email copy, customizing it for each lead and sending them out requires a good chunk of your sales reps time. Let’s assume that a follow up email containing a helpful resource needs two minutes of preparation time before hitting send. If the sales rep has to send the email to 10 other prospects, that is 20 minutes of their time. Also, these emails are only the first touch point in the sales process. They need to spend more time on highly personalized emails for nurturing the leads further. These would take more time to prepare and send, and your sales reps would end up spending hours just sending out nurture emails.

Your frustrated sales reps deserve better, and email templates can eliminate this frustration. Rather than typing out the same email over and over again, they can create and save email templates that can be repurposed as needed saving tons of time. They can also schedule emails so that they can be sent out to multiple prospects at the same time.

email templates in sales process automation

However, not all emails can be automated. Sales reps exchange multiple emails with prospects, customers and team members and these need to be manually worked on. Some emails require personalization on the basis of content and context. Email automation cannot come into play for emails containing:

  1. Discussion on legal parameters
  2. Pricing negotiations
  3. Questions on premium features of the product
  4. Confirming meetings
  5. Contacting a C-level executive


  • When creating emails templates, keep in mind to customize email signatures with links to collateral that can further help nurture the lead.
    For example, in a “thank you for signing up” email, add links to product videos and customer case studies. This would help the lead understand product features and use cases better.
  • Always add a hint of customization to bulk emails using placeholders.


  • Avoid sending emails during their out of office hours. Schedule emails according to the time zone of the recipient.

2. Lead Prioritization

Your business may receive a high volume of leads from multiple resources. Some of these leads may be looking for a fling while some may be interested in starting a relationship with your company. While it makes no sense to spend a lot of time with the former set of leads, your sales reps may not be aware of that. There are, of course, AI-based lead scoring tools to help your sales reps prioritize leads. But before you go ahead and get one for your business, ask yourself the following questions.

  1. Are your sales reps spending a big chunk of their time in the qualification process?
  2. Are the conversion rates low?
  3. Are your sales cycles longer due to leaks and bottlenecks?

If the answer is yes to any of the questions, your business can benefit from automating the lead prioritization process.

Before you set off to create your lead scoring model, consider the metrics that are indicative of your business type. Most businesses score leads based on explicit signals like job title, industry type and company size. In some cases, businesses require deeper knowledge into how the customer uses the product and can lead based on implicit signals like website activity, page visits, and collateral downloaded.

Depending on how your customer uses the product, you can create a hybrid scoring system, using a mix of implicit and explicit signals. For instance, you can grant a higher score to a CFO who visits the pricing page as compared to an intern who visits the landing page.

lead prioritization in sales process automation



  • If you are a multi-product company, set up different lead scoring models for each product.
  • Set thresholds for the scores on the lead and bucket your leads based on their score as cold, warm and hot.


  • Make sure you configure the model for negative scoring. This is a common mistake made while creating lead scoring models. We take into account only positive attributes but over time, the lead interest may begin to wane. For instance, you can assign negative scores to leads who have stopped engaging with your website and aren’t responding to the emails sent by the sales rep.
  • Do not score based on vanity metrics like say, email opens. They are not the best indicators of the lead’s interest as the lead may have opened the email multiple times to read it but may not have gotten the chance.

3. Lead distribution

Research indicates that calling a lead within the first five minutes of sign up will increase the likelihood of them answering the call by 100X. But this isn’t the case in most companies. In most cases, the business receives leads from multiple sources—website, blog and social media—and they remain untouched within the CRM for a period of time before being assigned to a sales rep. There is a gap in the time from when the lead enters the CRM and the sales rep reaches out to them.

This is where lead distribution comes in. By automating lead assignment, the response time is cut down which, in turn, increases the lead conversion ratio. You can assign leads by geography, industry type, company size, and deal value, making it a lot easier and faster for the sales rep to get in touch with prospects. This helps increase sales efficiency as it avoids multiple reps reaching out to the same lead.

lead distribution in sales process automation

DO’S: If you have leads from all over the globe or you have a multi-product business, you can automatically assign leads to sales rep handling a particular region or product.

4. Day-to-day tasks

Apart from modular tasks like sending emails and qualifying leads, sales reps do various administrative tasks on a daily basis. These contribute in small ways to the larger growth of sales.

The various tasks could entail:

  • Data entry

The true success of a CRM lies in the fact that it serves as a single source of truth. It is an organized collection of data on prospects, customers, deals, accounts, and related sales activities. But this information has to be entered manually by the sales rep. Automating CRM data entry can help reduce the time and effort spent on it.

With automatic call logging, your sales reps can crush their daily sales call quota and not worry about missing out on adding calls to the CRM. The CRM will automatically log calls into the respective lead profiles.

With lead enrichment tools, the lead profile can be auto-populated with relevant information like job title, industry, and company. This eliminates the need for the sales rep to manually research on the lead.

  • Creating appointments and setting reminders

To schedule a meeting with a lead, there is usually a flurry of emails sent back and forth with various time slots. Automating appointments using a tool like Calendly can eliminate this hassle. You can forward a link to your calendar with the available time slots and the lead can choose their preferred time slot. A calendar invite is sent to both parties automatically and a reminder email is triggered before the scheduled time.

  • Invoice generation

When a deal is won, the deal status has to be updated within the CRM. The sales rep has to switch over to the invoice generation tool and create and generate an invoice for the lead. This is time-consuming as they have to switch between tools. Using automation, an invoice can be generated automatically when the deal status is updated to “Won.”

5. Report generation

Reports are tiresome and boring but extremely important. As a sales manager, you are responsible for revenue targets. You need to be aware of how the sales pipeline is moving and measure the output of the sales process. The easiest way to do this is to maintain records of the sales activities.

But collating data manually would involve updating a spreadsheet after each task is done with a description, like the number of calls completed, the outcome of the call and call notes. For each KPI, you have to maintain multiple records. That’s a lot of manual data entry, tabulation, and graph generation. If you miss out on adding an activity to the list, you will end up with erroneous data. That’s where reporting automation can help you.

Before you automate your report generation, make a list of all the reports you need and the KPIs you need to track:

  1. Annual sales report
  2. Quarterly sales report
  3. Sales calls reports
  4. Sales emails reports
  5. Team performance comparison

These are team reports. For individual rep reports, you’d have to track their KPIs like:

  1. Emails sent
  2. Calls completed
  3. Qualified leads
  4. Deals created
  5. Closed lost
  6. Closed won

By automating reports, you can eliminate the manual task of collecting, organizing and analyzing data. This further excludes inaccuracies that are borne out of human error. Multiple reports can be created easily by choosing the necessary parameters. Sales rep performance can be tracked by customizing reports with the KPIs that need to be tracked.

DO’S: Schedule individual reports so that the rep is aware of their performance and can tweak their activities accordingly.

DON’TS: Avoid keeping information to yourself. Make the reports accessible to the team so they have visibility into how the team performance is progressing.



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