Episode 21: Chatbots for Lead Generation

A chatbot robot on a desk with computers

Show Notes:

Welcome to Make the Logo Bigger where we help marketing directors and CMOs stay tuned in on trends and topics that can up their game.

This is Bill Rice, I’m the CEO of Kaleidico, a Digital Agency and with me as always is Mike Carroll, the head of Growth at Nutshell a SaaS CRM company.

Today, we’re talking about Chatbots and specifically about Chatbots in the context of Lead Generation.

What are chatbots?

Kind of an extension of live chat

Live chat was never really perfect unless you kind of had a “digital” call center of chat reps – waiting, routing, filtering

Most of the time it turned into a web form and email capture

Chatbots now allow for you to create automation logic that somewhat simulates that early navigation assistance that web visitors need and the filtering and qualifying process your sales team needs.

The state of lead generation 

  • Web forms are the capture mechanism
  • Then we spend a lot of time and energy chasing people down via phone calls and emails to actually have an initial conversation they were ready to have when they were on   website.

The state of web forms

We’re working around them with the following:

  • Autofill
  • Password Managers
  • Social sign-ins

What can chatbots offer?

Create a more human experience

Improve the research and decision support experience

Help qualify and filter leads

Optimize initial contact

Support prospects and customers 24/7

Chatbot Solutions

True Chatbots



Hubspot – Hubbot


Manychat – Creating a Facebook Messenger Bot


Conversica – Takes this kind of engagement to the email inbox, a critical part of the sales lead conversion cycle – lead nurturing.

Old School




Customer Service and Support


Suggested Reading:

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash



BR: All right, welcome to make the logo bigger where we help marketing directors and cmos stay tuned in on trends and topics that can up their game. This is bill rice. I’m the CEO of Kaleidico, a digital marketing agency. And with me, as always is Mike Carroll, the head of growth at nutshell SAS crm company. And today we’re talking about chatbots and specifically want to talk about chatbots in the context of lead generation. How’s it going, Mike?

MC: Oh, that’s good, Bill. It’s good to be here. This is an interesting topic by the way. As you and I were kind of riffing a little bit like before the, before the show and this is while I don’t know everything about digital marketing, obviously this is one of those sort of super fun categories that like I haven’t delved into as deep as I would like to and it’s a truly trending things.

MC: I’m super excited to kind of like, I don’t know, our brass tax level, hash it out with you today because it’s. I think both of us are kind of like on the fence about whether or not to do it, to not do it. So I’m excited for today’s conversation.

BR: Yeah, I think this is fun. I mean, every now and then we tried to kind of explore something that’s new, um, chatbots specifically or hot topic. Everybody’s talking about it. Um, and the funny thing is everybody’s talking about it, but I think most are in the same position we are, um, is that we’ve, we’ve kind of heard about it conceptually. We understand it but we probably haven’t actually played with it. So I wanted to take today and you know, for our marketing directors and cmos start to kind of break down how we would evaluate a new technology or trend like this, um, and, and see what we think of it.

BR: And so that’s kind of what we’re going to take you through in order to give us kind of level playing field. I think it’s important to define some terms and maybe even talk about some current state of the areas before, you know, just create a baseline. So the first thing I want to baseline is, is what our chat bots, so what, what does that mean? And I think as I did a little bit of research, we’ll talk about the bot part and a in just a second, but kind of all of this seems to extend out of an often this happens out of a pain point. It’s kind of an extension of live chat and live chat. I have a lot of experience with that and I’m in the wrong context. It’s like a really horrible experience. So chat bots are kind of a resurgence of live chat. Would you kind of agree with that or

MC: I, I would, I would fundamentally agree with that. I think the, the important distinction which most people like should intuitively make is that the difference between a chat Bot and we’ll have a live chat, is that chat bots came out of the need, like you described so many people put the live chat on their website and then don’t recognize that if it works well, it’s an incredibly challenging thing. Whether a support or sales capacity to service it is fundamentally disruptive, uh, to whatever else you’re doing that day. Um, and we use live chat a nutshell a lot both in app and on the website. We can talk about that a little more later. Um, but that the chat Bot to your point came out of a need to scale a personal interaction, um, and to speed a user to like the thing they need, whether that’s a sales conversation, a meeting, a resource in your support center, a whatever that is. And so like the fundamental difference is that Chat Bot is automated, right? Like you should not have to really touch it until, um, until that lead or whatever it is, is qualified for actual human interaction.

BR: Right? And that’s, and I think it’s kind of solving a couple of different problems, right? So one is just the manning. So really live chat only works well, at least in my experience. Um, I think oftentimes people try to make live chat, work with just extra cycles on the existing salesforce or business development people. You have the really, the only place I’ve seen it work well is when there’s, there’s actually a dedicated, sort of, I’ll call it a digital call center of, of Chat Reps, at least a couple now. You can manage a lot of conversations for sure, especially those reps that are, um, that are, that are well trained or understand how this works. But, um, but generally it’s really kinda hard to pull off because there’s, there’s waiting, there’s routing and there’s filtering. So that lack of manning and the ability to man sort of qualified skilled people for a task like that, um, creates a lot of friction and aggravation on the customer front.

BR: Right? Because I, it’s Kinda funny because I even went as I was going to, and we’re going to talk about some different companies that offer these solutions. But I went, I went to the kind of the old school live chat. Most of them, uh, even at like, I don’t know when I did this was 8:00 in the morning or something, had the, uh, the kind of the unmanned version of that sitting on their own website. And then it’s basically just reduces it to a web form, which we’ll talk about in a second to capture your email and follow up later, which like awful experience, right?

MC: So it’s even worse than it’s even to your point, it’s even worse than not having the live chat on your website at all. Right? So like if you want a user sees it, a chat box, the fundamental expectation is that, oh great, I get to, you know, do not pass, go do not collect $200. Like I can get talked to a real person right now. And then to pull the rug out from underneath and be like, oh nope, not right now. You can just fill out this web form. They probably a like won’t fill it out. And then be there to fill out your regular web form either by the way,

BR: because you do, you do create an expectation that, hey, I can, I can get a quick answer to a quick question. Um, and, and there’s advantages to the company as well. So the ability to be able to put, um, you know, artificial intelligence or ai or just construct, construct some sort of automated decision support behind that live chat element in and create a Bot that does that I think solves a huge problem now before we get out of the definition of chatbots and I could be wrong. So definitely reach out to me and correct me or um, uh, educate me as to some, some companies and solutions that maybe provide a different level of chat bot. But, um, from everything that I can see ’em to call and they like to throw around the AI component or the conversational ui or ai component. But it’s, it’s really, it’s really not there right now.

BR: Uh, there’s a lot of scripting, there’s a lot of if then, um, so there’s, there’s quite a bit of a commitment to kind of program these things to be effective. Um, but it’s, it’s still pretty basic if then logic, which is not bad, uh, because oftentimes we know what the common questions and, and journeys that we need to take our customers on. Um, and we can guide them that way. But again, just to, to keep everybody level set as to what is the state of the technology is right now, if you get a chat Bot and you put it on your site, you’re going to have to do a fair amount of, um, of journey mapping to get that thing to work correctly and effectively and give you a good experience, that sort of thing, which is still a huge benefit. But, um, but there is work to be done, I guess.

MC: Yeah, that’s the way that I understand it. I agree. I would not like define myself as a chat bot and slash or you know, an ai expert by any stretch of imagination. So I actually had a question for you because I know that you’ve been sort of working in this space with a client or two. Um, so curiously when we’re talking about like ai or conversational ai, what do they really mean by that? Because in, let me, because what it would mean to me, uh, someone looking on the outside looking in is that if it was true ai is that you would throw the bottom up on your website and the website and like, and then maybe give it some foundational information about your company or what you’re looking for, and then the Bot itself would actually formulate its own questions and like lead somebody down a path based on some, you know, some loose parameters.

MC: Um, and like I, I don’t see that technology either like that. That seems like some Saifai, you know, hell, you know, like that doesn’t exist. I don’t know where that exists. Even in the conversational ai marketplace, like even the banks that are playing with it, right? Like you still have to really fundamentally define. So is ai like conversational ai. These is just really the sort of like the, the decoding of human language into computer language without having to do commands and all that kind of thing. Is that really where we are right now is like that we’re talking about or is there a thing out there that exists that like, you know, like Watson, you know, like makes decisions for itself like combs the entire Internet finds an answer and like formulates it for you. Yeah, I

BR: know this is kind of a big question, but I’ll kind of give this the simple answer because it is interesting. So one, when you say conversational ai or you can say conversational Ui, um, or even though he is now the big new thing, the voice user interface, um, that could mean a lot of different things. So a lot of different people and companies are using that terminology very, um, very loosely. Ideally, if you really wanted to say, hey, I want to just, I actually just wrote an article about this, but if you wanted to introduce conversational ai into your enterprise and have it support customers and that could be a bunch of different ways. That could be a on the back end of a chat bot. That is kind of important to understand this on the back end of it. A Chat Bot on the back end of an ai assistant, like something like Siri or Alexa or you want to do something via text message or something like that.

BR: I’m your best execution is really to find a company that’s already has some domain expertise in your particular area. So if you’re looking for a conversational user interface, which is probably the most appropriate terminology to be built for a bank, you probably want have somebody that has done that or has conversational ai in that domain because I’m a big part of that as you described, is that kind of core data set of conversations that they already have. And that’s kind of the best shortcut. So if you go to a conversational ai platform, usually some of the big value propositions that they give you is one, they have a large data set. I’m already have conversations that are relevant to how much money do I have in my checking account, right? Stuff like that. They already have that data. And so, um, and they already have kind of done some intelligence around that to know what the appropriate responses are.

BR: So one, uh, when you hook it into Alexa or you hook it into Google home, um, it’s gonna, it’s gonna already understand a lot of things and that’s the biggest thing is natural language understanding one of the bigger, there’s all kinds of huge problems still to be solved, but the, the natural language understanding is a big barrier. So they’ve kind of helped that along. Um, and then they’ve also figured out how to solve some of those problems. And then over time again, these platforms are capturing new conversations and they are, the better ones are using things like neural networks or deep learning or machine learning, which are actually two different things and they’re kind of discovering more appropriate responses based on things like, Hey, I responded this way in eight out of 10 times it was the appropriate response. So they’re doing some of that kind of stuff.

BR: So there’s some of that, but kind of have to pull this all the way back to chatbots as deep as I’ve kind of worked in this area with, with some startups in the conversational ai space and in Ai. I see a lot of that. I’m going to um, the back end of Ai Assistance, um, and to some degree a proprietary apps. I don’t see any of that technology, at least from my, you know, quick inventory of the market. I don’t see any of that going into chatbots right now. Um, and I think there’s probably a reason for that. Well, it’s super expensive to develop I imagine. And like if you wanted to make a chat bot accessible to anyone and you and I talked about this before as well. They’re not cheap like you know, the good ones that exist. I mean it’s not, it’s not like impossible expensive.

MC: It’s not out of reach but like it’s no joke, a monthly investment. So to leverage a good chat bot these days and I feel like people have the same sort of outsized understanding. Like when I hear people talk about ai in their minds, I feel like they’re thinking about like the robot from interstellar, right? Like a full on conversation like you would with a human being. And like that’s just not the case. That does not exist and there are some incredible things that would just kind of like, you know, wow. You, I mean the ai kind of the pace at which ai now is innovating, is this once they kind of locked into the computing power and the these newer? No, I mean like the advances are just incredible and happening and they’re going to get there. But I think one of the fundamental problems for the broad market and particularly chatbots specifically is obviously talking about the cost, but the domain expertise.

BR: So when somebody wants to put a chat bot on their website, in order for that market to be effective for a chat Bot software company, they’ve got to go. They’ve got to go broad, right? They’ve got to go as large as the market will go. And so as a result they have to transfer the domain expertise onto you, the customer. And I think that’s where the sticking point for bringing ai into it is really, you know, they could be on one website, they’re selling crm for you guys and on another website a, they’re selling something crazy like conversational ai or are there selling senior living, you know, so yeah. So, so I think that’s, that’s a, a big barrier right now because like you said, that underlying kind of a deep learning isn’t sophisticated enough to just like start taking raw conversations and making decisions about how to answer it.

BR: It’s just, that’s not the way it works with the state. So the whole thing. Yeah, that’s a super fun conversation and we could all day on that, but we could waste it. Yeah. Fun. Fun. Okay. So, um, so, and again, again, level setting, we’ve kind of talked about some of the things we’re going to talk about it in the Chat Bot thing, but I think it’s important to talk about since we are talking about chatbots in the context of lead generation is really to talk about the current state of lead generation. Like what really happens. Um, believe it or not, there’s a lot of marketing directors and cmos that I talked to, um, that are so focused on kind of high level marketing concepts that they don’t and they know they need to produce leads for their sales organization, but they probably don’t have a good understanding of kind of what that whole path looks like today.

BR: And maybe some ways that they can make it better. So the current state of lead generation, as I would describe it, is somebody comes to the website, they kind of noodle around, you know, in a ham fisted way. Hopefully we’ve predicted the navigation that they want, but they, they, they hunt and peck around your website and scroll around and try to find what they’re looking for. And then in most cases, you know, maybe check off a couple boxes, but they still have a lot of questions. And so then they got to hunt around for a web form. And then so, so then you fill out the web form and then you know more about this than I do. But once that web forms filled out and comes into the crm, then you start the quest to actually make contact, which is horribly inefficient process. It’s a combination of calls

BR: and drip email campaigns and all kinds of nonsense that’s horribly inefficient. And so maybe give us a little color to that process. I think what people like the chief thing, they underestimate, right? Is the idea that a form fill like indicates intent, high level intent. Um, and this is one of the things that I think I’ve learned, you know, over the years, you and I working together and generating leads for, you know, companies, you know, across a wide variety of like industry spectrum, like the industry spectrum or whatever else is. And then here at nutshell by the way, because our lead by our lead form, you know, it creates a free trial, right? So it’s not even like a, we have a contact form, like if you just want to talk to somebody, you can do that, but 90 percent of our forms just drive you right into the product.

MC: Um, and so the, you know, the outsides assumption even here and I think it, most companies, sas companies or particular that do that or the lead actually kicks off a free trial and their products, you know, the, the assumption is like, oh well then obviously means they want to use the software. And the answer to that question is no, I mean maybe 30, 40 percent of them maybe are like, so. So then what do you do with the other 70 percent? So yeah. So the hunt, I love the way you put that, right? Which is like, okay, so they fill out a form of your website now the hunt to like talk to them is on and just because they fill out a form on your website then yeah, you’re throwing everything in with the kitchen sink, you know, on average it takes six to seven phone calls to make contact with somebody.

MC: Like to have a quality conversation. If you’re a heavy phone calling organization or you know, if you’re running email drip and like you’re trying, you don’t have a large sales team to make outbound phone calls on inbound leads, then you’re, you’re running like this ever lengthy every other day. Email drip, which you know, annoys the crap out of people most of the time. What you do, what you do at any way because what else, what else are you going to do? There’s only a couple of different ways that you can contact somebody. Then becomes the question of like the remarketing angle, right? Like, oh, so we captured some intent with, with a lead form fill. Um, but maybe they won’t engage with us. They won’t call us, they won’t talk to us via email or whatever else. So now we’re going to go ahead and like, you know, pound their social feed with remarketing ads and like, you know, plaster display ads all over their, their, you know, their Internet journey no matter where they are and all that kind of stuff.

MC: And, and it’s, it’s much. There’s this idea in the lead generation world that like all of the technology has made the ability to capture and engage and then convert a lead to a sale and elegant thing. But to be honest, to me it’s actually only made it um, clunkier and what you end up, you end up doing is filling up your crm with, you know, with a fair amount of garbage. Now there’s value, like if you’re a good trash picker, lots of value in the garbage, right? Like, so, like you don’t want to throw it out. It’s definitely, there’s things to be recycled and so on and so forth. A little nuggets in there, but it’s not, it’s not a clean no lead experience these days

MC: is a clean experience and there’s, you know, there was more loss or leakage to be expected in any lead generation program. Um, it’s Kinda like fraud for credit card companies. Like it’s just a, it’s an accepted norm. Like, okay, I’m going to spend all this money and about half the money I spend is actually going to be, you know, I could, I could do better to like go out and throw it in a garbage can and set it on fire. Um, so I think that’s where the outside is expectation is, is that like is where, how do you monitor and gauge intent and a form fill is not, is not how to do that, right?

BR: Yeah, for sure. And I want to lead into the second thing we want to talk about as far as the state of things is, is the web form. It is the cornerstone of how we capture information today and how we start that, that, that conversational process, if you will, but I want to lead in because you pointed out something that, that is really problematic with the web form. So when you talk about all that garbage in your crm, there’s probably lots of valuable conversations to be had because that person who filled out that form, they had some specific need or want. The problem is, is you have no idea what that is. And so you’re guessing and you’re throwing stuff against the wall, hoping that you provide or somehow put in front of them or interrupt them in such a way that you were like, that you hit the need, whatever that was, but you don’t know what it is.

BR: So, so one of the natural things that we do with web forms, um, that shuts essentially all communication off when you do this is we said, okay, we got all this junk. We need to have better quality leads, right? We need to filter them better. So what do we do? We load up our web forms, which is already inefficient process loaded up with all these other attributes that probably a, for any given customer, only like one percent of you know, there’s one field that you added, this actually is relevant to them, but you actually made them fill out like another 10, 20 fields of data because you’ve got to again, essentially forecast for all of the potential once and needs on your website to get that information so that you can actually have a relevant conversation with them. So you’re trying to help. But in the process, you actually are frustrating the customer, you’re making it absolutely impossible for you to actually acquire a new context.

BR: And it’s so, so the state of the web form is as it’s always been. It’s a complete mess, right? It’s, it is a garbage way to start a conversation. Right? And it’s a hard way and we’ve tried it all the different ways you can. Right? So like, you know, like the mortgage industry is like a really good example of this. I think like you and I’ve learned this the hard way, right? Which is. So you come to some, some websites, so you’re out there looking for a home loan. Okay. Like this is a process, you know, it’s going to be a process, you know, whatever else. However you’re shopping. And so some mortgage companies be like, great, I just need your contact information. I’ll get ahold of you. No problem. You know, other, other companies

MC: are like, you know what, I’m going to not put all this information in a single page form. I’m going to make you go through like a two step process where I only ask you one question on the page, um, and there was some, some, some consensus around the idea that like a step by step with the progress bar was the way to drive somebody to actually complete a lengthy form. Um, and then it circled all the way back to like, nope, that’s super annoying because like if you go to salesforce for example, I’m kind of mixing industries here, right? But like the salesforce form is 22 fields. It’s absurd. I don’t know how anybody, I don’t know if they capture any leads, it’s their brand, not the form. Right. So like, um, and so I think when you iterate on a thing that is so limited as a web form, which is why chatbots are really interesting to me, when you iterate on a thing that is a web form and so limited, like you’re just going to end up making it worse.

MC: Like there’s no optimization to really be had, you know, it’s like the orange button, yellow button conversation that always drives me little nuts, which I know that you, that you enjoy maybe slightly more than I do, which is just like, what if we changed the color of the button, then we’re going to increase our conversion Xyz and like, yes, that might be true. We all know that the orange button converts better, at least it used to than a green button or whatever else. But like what are you really optimizing for? You’re just optimizing to get somebody to get through something they didn’t want to do in the first place faster. You’re not optimizing for capturing intent or need earlier so that you can create a better experience for that customer. And chatbots, by the way I think offers that opportunity because our, our, you know, the underlying challenge here is that consumers today, and no matter what they’re buying are more informed and ready to be focused on self service than ever before in like in consumer history, right?

MC: It’s like they’re not. No one’s coming to your website, whatever you sell, whether it’s socks or software and like not nobody but a vast majority of the people that will have intent and actually buy your software are not coming in there blind like, aw, I didn’t just wake up one day and they’re like, oh, I need this thing, and then they show up on your website and then you have to educate. I mean, so anyways, that’s that. I think that’s one of the, one of the problems with chat bots are like trying to solve, which makes it really, really interesting, which is allowing someone else to decide their own level of engagement. It’s always our thing too, right? When we build lead generation websites and the hubspot squeezed page was like the, you know, the Tour de force, like the or the soup de jure drive someone into a page where they can’t do anything else but fill out that form and that’s how you capture someone.

MC: What does, what does that like? That’s the equivalent of being like, oh, okay. The only way to convince somebody of anything is to like to fake fake them out and to lead them into a locked room with no windows or doors and then like keep them trapped in there until like, they’re like, oh shit. The only thing I could do to get outta here, it will tell you this information. Let’s not intent. That’s coercion. That’s like hostage taking, which is why you and I are always like, no. The way to do that is to always have in ubiquitously called action, ubiquitously form. That’s always there, no matter where you are in the website so that you can dive as deep as you want to go and then once you’ve satisfied whatever questions you think you can answer and you’re ready to talk to somebody, then you fill out the web form and that does create it like a slightly higher quality of quote unquote lead. But it’s still to your point, like it’s still a clunky, inefficient process because you cannot solve for the fact that there’s no single happy path. That’s one thing I think I’ve learned. Like you cannot create a path on your website that like everyone’s like, oh, that’s exactly what I needed. It does not exist. Everybody is different and everybody approaches asking questions differently and so like how do you solve for that? And that’s where I think chatbots were like coming into the equation, which is really interesting to me.

BR: Yeah. Just kind of a guided experience. Yeah. If you want to see how frustrating like a web experience or finding your way around or finding what you need is just put something like hotjar on your website and just take a look at a couple of the videos and you’ll just see like, oh my gosh, like it. It’s entertaining for sure. So before I leave the web for that, just want to. If there’s any question as to whether or not something’s broken, you can look at all the hacks and work arounds that are here. And I think web forms are particularly interesting because I’ve seen myself using all of these workarounds and hacks to the point that if, if one or two of these things that I use don’t work, I probably won’t fill out the form completely. So that’s things like auto fill in your browser, password managers and social sign in, like if those don’t work on a form or I can’t get through it by doing that.

BR: And having one of these tools do like 80 percent of the work, I will probably not log into that site or would probably not fill out that form. And if it fills it out poorly then I got to go back and edit it and correct it or some of them don’t even recognize the filled form being filled out of there. So. So if you want to, if you want to convince yourself that Web forms are broken, uh, just think about your own behavior and I would guess that you probably use a lot of these things again to muddle your way through this obligation to use web forms. So definitely.

MC: Yeah. And one of the worst offenders, like to your point, which is to say that even if it’s something you really need, these type of negative experiences will still force you for not doing it. So like maybe it’s not need or want is perhaps a better, a better verb, but the. So I love reading the news, right? Rather consistently. I’m a fan of the Wall Street Journal, The Wall Street Journal’s single sign on. So if you get, you know, if you were to like the drudge report or something, a real clear politics or like wherever the grab a piece of news and there’s a Wall Street Journal column or article and you click on it, it puts a paywall in front of you. I’ve paid the Wall Street Journal four times now for subscriptions, right? Like not, not four times like I’ve canceled, paid again, canceled, paid again, and now I’ve totally quit because no matter what I do, I cannot create an experience where I pay them the money I’m supposed to pay them. And then I want to be able to click on a link anywhere and go to the website and read the story. Every single time they do that, they made me fill out a web form. It fills out the password, doesn’t matter. And so that broken experience results in like, by the way, I don’t read the Wall Street Journal anymore.

MC: Okay. And that would be a thing that’s critical information for living to me personally. It’s like I would really love to do that, but they’re poor form experience every single time I go through it has now made me like I’m okay. I guess I’ll have to seek my news elsewhere. And like how silly is that? I totally agree with that. Like if you don’t think web forms are broken, just pay attention to how you have to live your life online and like you’ll, you’ve, you’ve come to understand and to suffer through more than you think you have

BR: for sure. Okay. So let’s dig into for the last bit of this and what, what can chat bots offer here? Um, and so I think at the high level I just kind of tried to throw some things down here, but all the things we’ve talked about right is just having a more human experience, being able to start the conversation as a customer in a way that gets you to the right starting point. So I was actually, even when I was looking at some of these chat bots, I kind of evaluated them. It was nice to, I think often even as digital marketers, our assumption is when somebody comes to the website they’re ready, they want to buy something from us. Right. And when I was starting the conversation with some of these and I was evaluating some of these different software, um, my starting point was, hey, I’m evaluating this and I want to make sure you have a bot component to your live chat thing.

BR: So I asked that question, right. Had nothing to do. I wasn’t there to buy anything I wasn’t going to. But, but being able to ask that question, that’s a different starting point was like invaluable just to be able to. Otherwise, I would’ve had to spend 20 or 30 minutes, um, you know, hunting and pecking on their website to find something that in a matter of seconds, um, I found out didn’t exist. Right. So yeah, totally. So that’s, that’s human experience and just being able to know where to start. And that kind of leads into the second piece is to improve that research and decision port support experience. Because we know from looking at analytics, I’m almost never is that first visit the conversion visit, right? That almost every client in every vertical, every industry has to do some level of research. That could be for a multitude of reasons.

BR: That could be just because I’m mortgage is classic for this, right? I want, I know I need to get a mortgage in order to buy this house that I want, but like I’m intimidated because I don’t know what the mortgage process is. I don’t know what a mortgage is. And the last thing I want to do is talk to a loan officer before I’m fully equipped to make sure that I’m not going to like take it in the shorts when I get this mortgage. Right? So just to get. So, so one end of the spectrum is just to get confident enough to know what my requirements are and this can be applied to software to like, you know, I could go into, let’s just take live chat. I could go into all the live chat and I have a small team. I don’t have somebody to sit there and man a live chat.

BR: Well, so one of my fundamental requirements is like I need a Bot involved, right? I need somebody, I need a piece of software to help me. But until I do that research, um, I don’t know if they meet the requirements. So that researching phase is super critical. The other end of the spectrum that we work with all the time with larger B to B, c type clients is oftentimes to make an expensive software decision. Um, there’s a committee involved. So I’ve actually got to go and collect a bunch of stuff, um, and so just filling out a web form and having a conversation with the salesperson is not going to help me gain the resources and the link and the page or maybe the download that I need to hand into my committee or my boss to support this decision that I’m advocating or this purchase that I’m advocating. And so, um, so I think chatbots, uh, can help, uh, with that sort of messy middle before you get to a place where you even need or want to talk to a salesperson.

MC: Yeah, I totally agree. But to your point, this is going to, I think if you’re committed to the work that the chat Bot requires of you. So I just want, I just like jumped on drift website. Like while we were talking, just like, you know, I was. So I’ve been addressed website like a million times, just so everybody knows drift is like, um, you know, would you call them the leader in the Chat Bot space so far? Like there’s lots of people doing it but they see them. I don’t want to corner the market, but they’re the, they’re the innovators the loudest and the most effective with their message. I would definitely say that. Yeah. I don’t think their technology is necessarily so fundamentally different by the way, from like an intercom or um, you know, some of the other, some of the other live chat companies that have added the chat Bot to their repertoire of products.

MC: Um, but yeah, anyway, so yeah, they’re the loudest. I think that’s a great way to put that. So I just jumped down here and of course the, you know, the first thing that the bot recognizes which a web form would never recognize, right? It’s like I’ve been here before. Yeah. It’s like the first thing it says to me is, hey, there, you’re back. What’s up? What an awesome experience. That was like, Hey, and then I clicked on it and then there’s two questions. It’s like, do you want to buy this or like, you’re just checking this out again. And I said, I’m just checking you out again. And the Bot says to me, okay, cool. And it’s got questions for me, but I think, you know, something you mentioned at the beginning, which is really important. Someone had to build all that. That’s not, this is not a ai, this is like if this, then that almost, you know, behavioral triggered email marketing logic, a real time, real time email is the way to think about chatbots scenario in your head, um, which is hard. That’s really hard to do. And if you don’t do that right, then your chat Bot will fail miserably. And now, by the way, which I find really interesting is this is stalled out and a real person is now coming into me like a real salesperson sees that I haven’t answered the question yet, sees that I’ve been here a bunch. They know what company I’m involved with. And so like I’m a nice prospect being from nutshell. Um, and, you know, and now I’m talking to a real person

BR: and that’s a huge advantage to most of us would implement a technology like this. Don’t have a call center or you know, a chat center or whatever you want to call it. Um, so this does give you the ability as you saw there, um, to kind of if you do have availability, if you do have a salesperson has availability or there’s some sort of trigger that, that tells you that this profile is more attractive than another, it allows you kind of a seamless way to filter through that and still give a good live chat experience, but filter through that so that your salespeople can know what’s the best use of their time. Right. So they jumped in there because they somehow filtered it or they somehow understood that, hey, you know, if Mike has been there, you know, you can only kind of conceive of how this works, but hey, mike has been here three times, so he’s got a more important are hotter than another prospect or I know where he’s coming from or I know the particular company and that it fits our, you know, our particular target. So, um, yeah, I think that’s, that in itself is a huge advantage, is not to have to man all those conversations and still have an effective personalized engagement and kind of, you know, the third on my list is to help qualify and filter those leads. So using the Bot and those questions and that if then logic, um, to keep the person in engaged and walk them through a journey to help you understand, you know, what’s the best way to help them, right. Um, I think that’s a huge piece.

MC: It’s a huge piece. It’s a lead scoring piece, right? It’s like something that’s crms technically should, should do in one way, shape or form, whether you’re measuring your leads who are based on certain behaviors or where they are in the pipeline or you know, or whatever that’s going to be. But the other thing which I think some sales team is they sent, they say to themselves like, every lead is an opportunity. That’s not true. That’s really just, that’s fundamentally incorrect. Every lead is not an opportunity. If you have, if you have a thousand person sales team and you can afford to track down every lead that comes to your website and whatever else, like maybe every lead is a quote unquote opportunity. If you have such a large suite of products that you can serve any type of person or business, then okay, then maybe every lead is an opportunity, but chances are even with, you know, with a chat Bot that you need to find out whether or not like what you offer is actually good for that person.

MC: And we talk about that in a nutshell here a lot. There’s lots of different people that can use a crm, right? Like, and like, and I, I would tell you that it’s valuable for almost any business owner, but for some people, if you’re only working 10 leads a month and like in your, a solo preneur or whatever else, like do you, could you use nutshell effectively? Sure, of course you could. And I would encourage you to try it. Um, and then maybe you know, by paying attention to what’s in your crm over time, like you’d build a database and like there’s, you know, you can mine it for aged leads and all the things that you and I talk about all the time bill, but like, but is that necessary for you today? No, no. If you could put, if you could write all the leads that you’re working on a piece of paper from memory than like you’re probably not, you’re not where you need to be to leverage the crm and like I want you to know that I don’t want you to waste your time setting up a sales automation pipeline in nutshell when you like, you just don’t need to do that.

MC: Like, that’s not so even allows you to provide good advice to the opportunities that aren’t opportunities and create a better experience for the customers you don’t sell to which in turn is good for your brand. So like I think people sometimes what I love about the Chat Bot is that it, it starts to make some, some computer based decisions for you and your sales team that makes you more efficient. Sure. And whatever else, but your human instinct like doesn’t want to do like you don’t want to let any money fall off the table. The Chat Bot is much more calculating in that regard and it doesn’t think about it like that. You set the criteria and it does it for you and I really dig that part.

BR: Yeah, for sure. And I think one of the another big piece beyond qualifying and filtering and moving through and something that I experienced when are kind of testing these was optimizing that initial contact. So we spent a lot of time talking about that early on, but one thing that chat bots or even live chats if they had been correctly manned I think are really efficient at and the chatbots are better because they can. They can actually use some additional technology to kind of optimize that. But it is when that person is ready to connect, you make that initial contact very efficient. So as I went through the, the chat, the Chat Bot versions of these tools, if I said I wanted to see a demo or I wanted to have a meeting, then they immediately popped a scheduling opportunities, hey, here’s three days, okay, you picked a day, okay, here’s some, some open time slots.

BR: Um, I get, I grab a time slot that works for me. Um, and then automated the email, automated the follow up, put it in my calendar, you know, does all that stuff that again, a web form, what do you do? Hey, I want to meet with you is all you get out of that web form. And so even we’ve kind of tried to automate this. So like if somebody contacts Kalydeco, you know, that I kick out an email that has the calendly link and allows them to kind of look at my calendar and book something. So we kind of do that. But man, to be able to do that right in the chat while that person is interested in communicating with you and have all that setup I think is hugely critical because there’s some of them that has like an instant call, but I think a lot of times people go to a website and they have no intention of talking to you at that moment.

BR: They want to talk to you. Right. And that’s why they fill out a web forms. It was like, Hey, I want to talk to you in the future. You come chase me down and make it convenient. But with the chat you can say, okay, I don’t want to talk to you right now. I’m busy, but boy, you’ve already set up the calendar appointment. So I think there’s huge value in just that component of a chat bot is just making that initial contact and scheduling an appointment is critical. I mean, if people hire whole call centers just to schedule appointments and now you’ve reduced that to a chat, you know, so

MC: to a chat, to a chat by the way that again, not to repeat myself a bunch, right? But to a chat bot that is also at the same time allowed so you don’t have to offer that appointment to everyone.

MC: So like one, I don’t know if you have this challenge, right? But we do, so nutshell, it gets over a thousand leads a month. Right? And we have a pretty small sales team here and so the idea that we can contact every single one of them is ludicrous.

MC: Um, but that being said, is that the way we use calendly as well? And it’s in our drips, like if you come and sign up for a trial, then the first email you get is like, Hey, want to talk to us? Like I’m glad you’re trying the software, but like why don’t you connect with us? And so no qualification has happened. So I mean, so you could become, we could be talking to anybody, whereas the Bot and allows you to say only offered that appointment capability to the people that answered these questions in this way, which is again, you have to be efficient with your time because 90 percent of the people that are gonna be listening to this. I imagine her not, you know, quicken loans. So you don’t, you don’t, you don’t have a thousand person call center. There’s like waste everybody’s day on a power dialer. Like making sure that you call every single day

BR: person to figure out what the deal is. Well, and I would say, and this is just anecdotal experience, but I think you would agree with this is probably the people that are going to, you know, most of the people you’re going to do on that need to be filtered out because a lot of them we have the student, depending on what the company is, like our ai company, they got a bunch of people that fill out the form just because they want a gee whiz talk about spotify and ai. Right? And that’s not a lead, right, but those are the kind of people that are going to come into your funnel if you don’t have any sort of filtering process. So there’s a huge, huge advantage to being able to, to offer that filtering process right up front ahead of the opening of your calendar to them.

MC: Totally, totally agree. I’ve got one question for you because I know where like at the end here and we gotta we gotta wrap up a little bit. So one of the things that I found most interesting is do you think um, so by drifts example, they built their chat Bot right? And then they killed every web form on their website. It’s like the only way to engage the company on drift.com is to talk through the Chat Bot have to, that’s where you fill out any information. There’s no, there’s no form to fill out. Would you be prepared to do that as a lead generator to like fundamentally abandoned the form because it’s kind of like being in like out in the, in the world and like someone’s like, hey, take all your clothes off. Like, I promise you, it’s going to be warm. You’re like, oh, I don’t know about

MC: that. Maybe I should at least keep my pants on, you know, like, so the. Do you think you’d go whole hog into this and give it a try and risk all? Or do you think that there’s a way to, you know, to like test one or the other? I mean there’s obviously wait, it’s one or the other. Sure. So yeah, so here’s my opinion on this as based on a philosophy I have about, um, sort of the digital space. So, um, so I would say that ideally, and conceptually that sounds like the best idea because that I am convinced that if you go through the Chat Bot experience and specifically something like drifts and intercom or even hubspot’s got a hub, but if you go through that, you will have a better experience as a customer and you will be. Your needs will be fulfilled better than what I can do with a web form.

BR: Even the most innovative web forms that we’ve done. However, if I was tactically going to make a decision or you know, um, for my website, I would not do that and here’s why, because it would violate my philosophy of the web particularly, and even your mobile devices or just the digital spaces is consumers are conditioned, their behavior is conditioned by patterns that they see over and over and over and over again. And so one of the patterns that has just been drilled into all of us is if I want something, I’m particularly depending on the industry. So if you’re going to go get a mortgage, you like, you know, you got to fill out that loan app. You got to fill out that form. So right now the state of the consumer behavior sort of ingrain this is that I’m a web form is how you get information from a company.

BR: And so to take that away, um, and there’s not enough prevalence of chatbots or even live chat on websites, I think a large portion of your vision of the population would come to your website and not even understand that process. Even despite the interruptions and the popups that they happen. And the Dean and all that stuff, I don’t think they would understand this is where they get their information from. And so I would definitely still use the form and then probably over time understand the preference. Um, and then as. But I think ultimately to answer your question, ultimately I think the web form we’ll probably get killed. And I think there’s actually, this is, I think chat bots are a little bit of an intermediary step, uh, to um, I think we’re going to be. I think websites in general are going to be disintermediated by conversations by literally voice interfaces and there will still be graphical components of that because you want to show him stuff and you want to support them when you even see this with, you know, ai assistance and these voice devices, like they’re all putting screens on them, right?

BR: Because they want to show, you know, oftentimes the request requires you to see something. Like, it’s hard for me to have some kind of. Right. I mean, I might want to buy toilet paper, but I probably have a preference as to what kind and I might want to look at what kind of doing there. So even simple stuff like that. So. But I think, yeah, I think the way we design websites, I think the way that we, we capture engagement and new leads is going to fundamentally change. And I think the Chat Bot is, is actually as we see it today, the text based messaging app is maybe a component or maybe an intermediary step to something that’s a lot less that’s, that’s, uh, um, you know, even closer to that zero Ui as they call it. So anyway, that’s why I see that vision by the way, where you’re talking about, it’s like you show up on a website, we, if we can recall it, that in the future, right? Like, I dunno a digital property I suppose, and you’re automatically engaged by a converse conversational ai computer, right? That just starts talking to you, who are you? What do you need, how can I help you? And as you’re doing that and it’s listening to you than the images on the website almost become like this look book thing that just mirror the conversation you’re having. Um.

BR: Oh, go ahead. Oh No, I was just going to support that. Even our site, like if you came to Kaleidico, like you’re probably your first question is like, do they know anything about financial? Have you ever built a financial services website? Like that would be a first question, but in order to find the answer to that question on our website, you’re going to have to. It’s not an ideal, right? But if you just ask that question and then maybe click on website design and then portfolio and then like category portfolio, financial services and which is by the way, totally logical way to organize your website. Like how else would you do it? You don’t like, there’s no other way to do that because you just don’t know what the person needs when they get there. So like you have to start like, okay, you know, it’s always, it’s the Seo thing, right?

BR: It’s like, okay, here’s my website on comic books. Okay, here’s adventure comic books. Okay, here’s think that’s one of the website is going to go away too because we have actually contextually we’ve already organized things properly for things like Google assistant to figure out where those things are more efficiently than you as a user can through our our interface, so I actually think we’ll continue to structure data like that and what’s going to happen is instead of going there and you the, the, all that weight being unusually user to go find it, you’ll just ask the voice assistant to go find it for you and Google will already know where that page is. They already know where you know our page on quizzle is right. I’m far. They probably know it better than I know where it is because they’ve got an index and they can find it quickly and so I mean you even see this behavior happening now, like if somebody wants something, I think this is happening a lot more than we even understand is people don’t go.

BR: If they want something from me, Kaleidico, they don’t go to my website. They, they google the information they want and they say I want it from Kaleidico. Right. Or they google that information. Like, I mean half the time if I want to find a page on my website, it’s easier for me to actually google search and use their. I, I was just gonna say that. So this morning I was looking for something a nutshell. Right. And like we know we’ve got a lot of content on there obviously and like I found myself integrating nutshell unbounce integration because I was looking for that page because we just built a new page and like I couldn’t remember the exact url and then it shows up number one result because at least we know what we’re doing and like I was like, man, I had that same thought. I was like, Geez, I’m using Google, like to define things in my own house, like that’s on your phone assistant on your phone and you’ll start asking google to go find that page for you and then show it up on your phone.

BR: Right now if I can do my computer, that’s there’s going to be a form factor that changes here, but I’m like, why wouldn’t you do that on your computer? Like just you told me how to ask for that thing. That was so much easier than you pulling up Google, put it in the search, all that nonsense. Anyway, so that’s. Okay. So the last thing I want to do to wrap up, just as kind of support everybody that’s out there that’s listening is to Kennewick. Give you some, and this’ll all be in the show notes, but give you some base of understanding of where you can kind of investigate these things or think about them. I’m, I’m gonna, I’m gonna. Categorize these all in sort of the chat bot solution space for two reasons. One, um, I think even the ones that aren’t sort of true chatbots, I think they’re going to have to get there.

BR: So I’m going to tell you what the full spaces. Um, and then the second thing is, I think it’s interesting to kind of look at the variety of solutions in this sort of conversational space, if you will, to just kinda get a full picture. So let’s go through them real quick. So true chatbots, and again, if you, if you know something, I don’t, I would love for you to comment back to me. Send me a tweet, send me an email or whatever to bill@Kalydeco.com to tell me more. Right? So that we can, we can support you guys better. True chatbots drift intercom. And I was surprised with this one. Hubspot kept popping up in the comparisons and they do truly have a hub hub bought. So it doesn’t surprise me, hubspot’s trying to eat the world in all of these kind of sales enablement spaces.

BR: Um, so that’s uh, that’s interesting, but drift point solution intercom probably got a fuller range of other things. It does. And then Hubspot, it’s just one in an ecosystem that they’re creating, but they all seem to do essentially the same thing. And so they’re kind of at the same state. So I would look at all three of them, um, one that is this and I think actually something I’m going to try out because even for B, two B, I think it’s interesting in its many chat and it actually helps you create a facebook messenger Bot and one of the things I’m seeing a lot of, so it gives you kind of the same feature set and you’re building the same sort of interaction. But one thing I’m seeing a lot is people are building communities on facebook, even in the B to b space, uh, especially for expertise.

BR: Like there’s marketing, you know, facebook groups, closed groups and stuff like that. So I think they’ve got what’s called settled a win for anybody who wants to go check it out. So this is an easy way to kind of grab that facebook piece, right? Um, and, and maybe make it easier and cheaper. I don’t, I don’t know. Anyway, I’m going to check that out. There’s the, that may be a solution that I wasn’t even aware of that. Um, okay. I think every single lead that I have for my farm through facebook chat, so like you’ll find this early, so I still have a for the listeners that don’t know, I have a small horse farm, we board horses and when we need to fill spots, I don’t have a website or anything else, we just have a facebook page and I just run the ads that pushed people to the, to the facebook chat and I’ll have 15 to 20 leads inside of a week with spending, you know, 80 bucks.

BR: There you go. Yeah. No, I think facebook chat, we did a lot of that one the in the mortgage market. It’s definitely a huge piece. It’s a manning issue still. But um, but yeah, there’s, there’s definitely something to be had there. Okay. So another thing we talked about the current state of the market of filling out that web form and kind of chasing them down has a lot to do with email. Um, so I found out an interesting company called Converse Seneca that actually kind of puts that, bought that intelligent bot part and maybe there is some ai actually in here. Um, to doing that, um, that email process and so there are actually, um, seem to be kind of doing the, the Bot thing, but they’re doing it via email and trying to have that follow up conversation. So I didn’t do a lot of research but that one seemed very interesting in kind of that lead nurturing space, but using a similar sort of concept.

BR: And then we’ve got the old school folks, um, which I’m shocked because none of these are doing this well and I don’t know why, but oh, Lark snapengage live chat. They’re still relying on the old fashion like staffing and maybe that’s just the size of their market and the people that they have as customers just won’t let them make that pivot. But um, I would watch them because I would think they would have to do this at some point. And then there’s kind of the old fashioned customer service and support. Huge, awesome companies and desk. Uh, I think again, you’re going to have something going on there. All they’re buying up nearby. I’m out to sea. I would see them buying up a smaller Chat Bot company, right? Because like they just bought base crm and now zen desk sell right to like Zen desk is in the process of building you a full suite of small business products, uh, on a single platform, much like a sage or a, you know, Zoho is kind of doing but better. Yeah.

BR: No, I pick up a sleep debt. All right. We’re going to wrap this one up. As always, love to hear your comments and suggestions and we want to see on the next one and tell us how we can support you as a marketing director and cmo. Stay on top of those trends. Till next time we’re out of here.

MC: Adios.

About Bill Rice

Bill Rice is the Founder & CEO of Kaleidico, a digital agency. Bill specializes in providing law firms, attorneys, banks, and emerging technology clients with lead generation strategies enabled with content marketing, SEO, PPC, and email marketing.

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