We are back with AI. But with a different flavor. With a different topic. A topic that is maybe more interesting for many than AI-based content generation – Conversational AI.
Before we start, if you are wondering why the title of this article has a strange bracket in between, there are predominantly two reasons for it:
- A lot of the applications of conversational AI in marketing eventually help to improve sales.
- I wanted to cover a few areas specific to sales where conversational AI has found its place.
That said, let us dive right in.
What are conversational AI and conversational marketing?
Conversational AI is nothing but the technique of applying artificial intelligence to real conversations to gather better insights and apply them to deliver a superior experience for customers, marketers, sales professionals, and customer support personnel. It leverages Natural Language Processing (NLP) to analyze text and voice to generate automated responses to emails, chats, voice requests, etc.
Before we look at how conversational AI is changing marketing and sales, it helps to understand what conversational marketing is. Simply put, conversational marketing is a combination of techniques used to attract, converse, and engage with prospects and customers using various communication channels such as chat, email, voice, etc.
How conversational AI is helping marketers and sales professionals
Broadly speaking, conversational AI in marketing (and sales) delivers the following benefits:
- Automates your interactions at scale while still maintaining high levels of personalization and a conversational tone.
- Helps to reduce the time invested by sales personnel, customer support team, and marketers on lead handoffs, scheduling meetings, collecting information, etc., so that they can focus on their core and business-critical tasks.
- Ensures 24×7 human-like support and response. This helps to reduce the number of customer support personnel required, in addition to increasing the number of touchpoints and interactions.
- AI-based conversational engines can analyze heaps of historical conversation data (which is impossible for a human to do) and apply machine learning and natural language processing to improve the quality of response, which in turn improves customer experience.
- Voice-based conversational AI platforms can analyze voice search queries, sales calls, contact center conversations, etc. to decode prospect intent and analyze people’s emotions.
Conversational AI platforms
Now that we understand the benefits of conversational AI in marketing and sales, let us look at the different types of conversational AI platforms.
Website AI chatbots
These are AI-based chatbots that can be embedded in your website to respond to user queries in real time. They help to automate the complete interaction with users starting from the welcome message to scheduling meetings with the sales team. Some of these tools even come with out-of-the-box integration with Outlook or Gmail Calendar so that you do not have to set up meetings or demos manually. Some of the most popular website AI chatbots available in the market today are Drift, Liveperson, Chatbot, Intercom, Botsify, and Chatfuel.
For you to develop a better understanding of how these tools work, please have a look at the below video from Drift:
It is interesting to note that a lot of these AI-based chatbot solution providers not only offer ready-to-use off-the-shelf solutions, but also highly customizable chatbot builders that can be used to design and configure bots tailored to your business needs. Some of them also offer chatbot solutions for mobile applications targeted at banks, food delivery apps, e-commerce stores, etc.
Social media and SMS chatbots
A lot of the companies that offer chatbots for websites do the same for channels such as Facebook Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, and even SMS. This helps businesses interact with prospects and customers at a place they are most active in and comfortable with. Some of the most popular solution providers in this space include Manychat, MobileMonkey, Verloop.io, etc.
AI email assistants
Conversational AI has found its place in email marketing as well, wherein AI-based email assistants help to curate and generate content that is personalized to the recipient. xIQ, Conversica, and Exceed are all examples of conversational AI platforms for email marketing. Many of these solutions position themselves as a complete sales and marketing automation platform while their key focus remains on email marketing.
Please have a look at the below video from Conversica to learn how these AI-based email assistants work:
Voicebots also leverage conversational AI and natural language processing to understand the context and meaning of your voice-based search queries. Google Assistant and Apple Siri are both examples of AI-based voicebots. In addition to some of the solution providers mentioned in the previous sections, a few other companies that offer AI voicebot solutions to enterprises and businesses are Kore.ai, Floatboat.ai, and Yellow.ai.
AI based sales intelligence and enablement platforms
These platforms analyze customer interactions across multiple channels such as phone, email, and web conferencing to find patterns and insights that will help your sales teams sell better. Some of the most popular platforms in this arena include Gong.io, Chorus.ai (now acquired by ZoomInfo) Meetrecord, and Salesloft. Please watch the below video that gives an overview of how Gong.io works:
AI chatbot examples
We already learned that many of the tools we discussed in this article are platforms using which AI-based chatbots can be built rather than mere off-the-shelf solutions. Leveraging this, many companies have built chatbots tailored to their customer or employee needs. Following are examples of a few such:
1. Lidl’s winebot – this bot makes personalized wine recommendations to consumers
2. HDFC bank’s EVA– this bot is your friend for banking using which you can ask product queries, credit card details, loan-related queries, and more.
3. Nestle’s NINA– NINA is a virtual nutritionist for children that gives suggestions on nutritious recipes for children between the ages of 2 and 12.
That wraps up this article on how conversational AI is causing a wave of change in marketing (and sales). As always, what I have shared in this piece is just the tip of the iceberg. If you are eager to learn more, I encourage you to do further research and learn on your own.
Skalegrow – B2B marketing agency
With marketing getting tougher and tougher, every wrong foot you make might hamper your growth. What you need is the right guidance and a helping hand. This is where Skalegrow can make a sea of difference.
Skalegrow helps IT, tech, SaaS, and embedded systems companies leverage new-age marketing tactics to grow their business. Check out the below intro video to learn more about what Skalegrow brings to the table:
Our services include content marketing, SEO, graphic design, video marketing, LinkedIn marketing, email marketing, performance marketing, and website management. Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our services page for more details.
About the author
Naseef KPO is the Founder and CEO of Skalegrow. He comes with rich experience across multiple areas of B2B marketing including content marketing, demand generation, SEO, account-based marketing, marketing analytics, revenue attribution, marketing technology, etc. He writes thought-provoking and relevant articles on The Skalegrow Blog and his weekly LinkedIn newsletter Elevate Your Marketing.
Prior to starting Skalegrow, Naseef led large marketing teams in multi-million dollar B2B organizations where he made significant contributions to the topline growth of the business. He has also appeared on numerous podcasts where he shared his thoughts on trending marketing topics such as the application of AI in marketing, startup marketing, ABM, and B2B content marketing, just to name a few. Being the founder of Skalegrow, he is currently focusing on helping its clients stay ahead of their competition by using innovative yet practical marketing tactics.
You can connect with Naseef KPO on LinkedIn.