Chatbots are excellent for customer service and marketing, but how can you better incorporate them into an account-based marketing approach?
If you want to know how, read on, as that’s the topic we’ll cover in this article.
What is a Chatbot?
A chatbot is a program or computer software that will simulate conversations with whoever interacts with it on the computer, and they do so through Natural Language Programming or NLP.
They usually base their responses on patterns or data from previous interactions or through a specified database that their developer assigned it to have.
Many marketers who have their websites use chatbots these days to take a chunk off of the work that customer service needs to do. They often use chatbots to respond to some of the customers’ frequently asked questions.
That way, human customer service reps can pay attention to those customer queries that require more attention.
Not only is it a valuable tool for customer service, but it can also be a powerful tool for your marketing pipeline or funnel if you know where to put it. It can be one of many marketing touchpoints your customers can have with your brand or business.
Let’s dive deeper into how chatbots can be helpful in marketing, especially in account-based marketing.
Understanding Chatbots in ABM
There are many reasons why having a chatbot is valid, even with an ABM approach to your marketing strategy. One reason is because, as mentioned earlier, it’s another touchpoint for your prospective customer to get in touch and get to know your brand or business.
Many sales and marketing tips on prospecting or dealing with prospective customers or clients advise that you need at least eight touchpoints before a prospect becomes a paying customer.
Of course, that number changes based on the specifics of your business, but across the board, eight is the number to go with.
With chatbots, that’s one other touchpoint you have with a prospect.
At the heart of ABM would be personalization. Now, with chatbots with premade responses, you’d think there is no room for personalization, but there is.
Most of the time, businesses that benefit the most from ABM are businesses that have a hyper-specific niche, industry, or even prospective clients. You can tweak your chatbot accordingly by creating responses for the right questions that are only relevant to your equally hyper-specific audience.
Since chatbots are customizable, why wouldn’t you push that customizability to the fullest by having ready-to-go responses to queries your most specific target audience would ask?
Now that you know better where chatbots could be for your ABM strategy, let’s discuss how you can effectively use them in your ABM plans.
1. Use Chatbots To Deliver Personalized Experiences
Although you’d think that chatbots, since they come with premade responses, would be challenging to personalize, that isn’t the case.
All it takes to personalize your chatbots better is a better understanding of who the high-value accounts are that you’re planning on reaching out to.
It would be much harder to craft personalized responses for your chatbots if you don’t know much about the account that you’re targeting in the first place.
Also, the key to personalizing chatbots is controlling access to them. Unlike most chatbots you probably see online, you can create specific landing pages for detailed target accounts instead.
You can create a chatbot specifically addressing that person, so much so that they can even address them by name.
You can then craft prompts, responses, and so on that are specifically made to answer any concerns that that target account may have.
Also, you can connect your sales team with the chatbot, as the chatbot can notify them if the target account triggers specific responses or starts an interaction with them.
2. Customize Chatbot Responses To Match ABM messaging
Another benefit to using your custom chatbots is ensuring consistency with your ABM marketing messaging. That means having ready-to-go answers to more niche queries your customers might ask about your products or services.
You can use chatbots to create consistent messaging about your technical knowledge base about your product or service. Your chatbot’s responses, especially ones about customer support, should be based on your product documentation and current knowledge bases.
Ideally, your knowledge bases or references should be there before your chatbots so that you can formalize these customer support steps.
Plus, it’s also a great way to reduce the workload on your customer service or support team who need to weed through customers or clients that have more urgent requests and need more of their concentrated attention.
Having a chatbot that responds immediately to the customers’ needs, especially when encountering issues, can ensure that customers get answers to their problems as soon as possible.
That way, you’ll reduce negative experiences that your customers have with your products or services.
3. Use Targeted Chatbots for Paid Marketing Campaigns
We mentioned earlier that you can create specific landing pages for detailed high-value accounts so that they can get a chatbot that addresses them specifically. Something similar would be targeted chatbots that you will use only for your paid marketing campaigns.
If you have a group of accounts you want to funnel into, you can use these targeted chatbots to support you in your paid marketing campaigns.
You can use Urchin Tracking Modules (UTM) parameters so that your chatbot can use data from previous chatbot interactions with your audience segment to inform future responses of your chatbots to the same segment.
That way, your chatbots become more competent and can create more relevant responses to your target accounts. Suppose you’re running campaigns only for specific audience segments and not toward the general target audience that you usually have.
In that case, applying this way of using chatbots can be very helpful in making that specific campaign more effective.
4. Provide personalized and captivating content
Your chatbots should provide the correct data to inform what your target accounts ask most often. What’s great about that ability is that you can tweak the premade responses of future chatbots that you’re making so that they are prepared to answer these questions that your target accounts have.
However, that’s not the only way.
You can also use that information to inform your content strategy.
The questions your target accounts may have regarding your product or service can help you craft content on your website that answers these questions in depth.
That way, your chatbots can respond quickly and even link to these in-depth content or resources if your target accounts want to know more.
5. Streamline ABM Tasks Through Automation
Chatbots have been around for quite a while now on many websites, and one main reason they have stayed on many of these sites is their convenience.
Chatbots are great at automatically answering potential customers’ questions when they aren’t ready to look through your website.
The chatbot can automate the search for answers and feed that directly to the customer, ensuring surface-level questions are handled swiftly without needing a human customer rep.
Aside from that, chatbots can also automate data gathering on user behaviors of your target audience segments. Your chatbots can provide that information straight to you, sometimes even in real time. Therefore, it’s convenient for strategizing and planning as well.
6. Optimize Your Chatbot for Conversational Interaction
Although you should use your chatbot to help and guide your target accounts, that doesn’t mean your chatbots should use corporate speak. Otherwise, where’s the “chat” in the chatbot, then?
It’s the best place to include a more conversational tone in your messaging while still being professional and transparent. The chatbot’s responses are a great place to inject some personality if it aligns with your branding.
Humans are inclined to want to talk to a fellow human already. So, the hurdle with directing or getting a prospect to speak with a chatbot is that you want them to be comfortable.
Using more conversational language and tones in the conversation should make it easier for your target audience to want to continue using your chatbot.
If your chatbot sounds too formal or, ironically, robotic, they might feel like they’re just being thrown on the wayside and served a chatbot because the business doesn’t want to take the time to deal with them directly.
You can offset that sentiment a little by using a more conversational tone of voice through your chatbot’s responses.
7. Analyze Data To Make Informed Decisions
As mentioned earlier, you can use your chatbot and its previous conversations and interactions with your target accounts as a starting point for brainstorming sessions for future ABM campaigns.
You can use that information to determine what content you should focus on making, how well-informed your accounts are about your services or products when they interact with your chatbots, and much more.
That way, you can optimize the chatbots and your ABM campaigns through the historical data you get from your chatbots’ interactions alone.
Of course, your accounts should have some form of warning letting them know that all conversations with the chatbot are recorded as a form of respect for their privacy and so you are as transparent with them as possible with your tracking data.
Different types of chatbots
If you do plan on using a chatbot for your ABM campaigns, it’s best to know what the difference is between each of them, so here’s a quick rundown:
Menu Chatbots/Button Chatbots
These chatbots have predetermined buttons or choices for the person to choose from and get answers based on the buttons they decide. These are usually not the most personalized chatbots for ABM.
These chatbots rely on you determining beforehand the possible queries and iterations of these queries through if/then logic your potential customers might ask them.
Although they’re more conversational, it’s a lot of work if you want them to be as accurate as possible.
Keyword Recognition Chatbots
You can indicate a response you want these chatbots to serve through customizable keywords, making them more flexible and conversational. However, it is not very clear if the keywords are too similar, which may confuse the chatbot.
Thus, some people combine menu chatbots and keyword recognition chatbots in case of that instance.
Machine Learning Chatbots
These chatbots use artificial intelligence and machine learning to remember conversations from previous times and use them for future discussions.
Although more advanced and conversational, they require much work and resources.
For businesses that might not have the data volume, opting for a hybrid between this and rule-based chatbots is the way to go.
Now that you know more about chatbots and how they can be helpful in ABM, you should be less wary of introducing one into your campaigns.
Given their benefits to user experience, they should be a worthwhile addition to your ABM strategies