How To Use Chatbots To Turbocharge Your Sales Funnel

Chatbots are all the rage these days. It seems like almost every marketer I know is experimenting with Facebook Messenger bots. While the jury is still out on social bots, having a chatbot on your website is absolutely worth exploring. In fact, not only are they worth exploring but they may be the key to turbocharging your sales funnel.

My tool of choice isĀ Drift. I first signed up for Drift about a year and a half ago when I needed an easy to use live chat tool for a side project. The interface and ease of installation made me fall in love. But, my experience stopped at live chat.

When I joined TrainedUp earlier this year, we needed a live chat tool and decided to go with Drift. What we didn’t know at the time is how useful it would become to our sales funnel.

What I love about Drift is it allows you to create chatbots that are actually effective at qualifying leads. We’ve been using their latest feature called Playbooks since they announced it and there is no way I would go back. It allows me to set up a simple chatbot that asks website visitors a series of questions to see whether or not they are qualified for a live demo and then automatically schedules the demo for me without the lead ever leaving our website.

It’s amazing to watch the chatbot work its magic.

A Peak At Our Workflow

When someone lands on our website, the Drift chatbot waits a couple of seconds then pops up with an introduction saying that it’s there to help potential customers figure out if our product is right for them or not. It then asks them a question about their job title. We use this as a catch all and don’t differentiate based on what their job title is, it just helps to get the conversation started.

Next, our bot asks them about their team size. Then, based on what their team size is it either offers them a live demo if they meet our qualifications or it offers to let them watch a pre-recorded demo if they’re below a certain threshold.

The live demo scheduler is fully automated and the lead never has to leave the website. They put in their email address and the chatbot shows them available time slots based on our Google Calendar availability. If you’re managing a larger team, you can also have the bot automatically round robin the leads or assign meetings based on geographic location.

A Frustrating Experience At First

We did have some mistakes early on that caused a lot of frustration. When we initially launched our chatbot, we offered the demo to every person who talked to the bot, no matter their team size. It looked like it was working great. We had a ton of demos scheduled, but our no-show rate increased dramatically. Over 2 days I had 6 out of 9 demos not show up with zero communication. It was frustrating to say the least.

I spent a day analyzing all the no-shows and found that the lead’s team size dramatically impacted whether or not they showed up for a demo. Almost without exception our no-shows had a team size of 25 or less.

With that in mind, we restricted the bot from offering a live demo to lesser qualified leads. It was a move that I honestly didn’t have a lot of confidence in. But since then, we’ve had just as many demos scheduled. We’ve also found that these prospects are, for the most part, highly qualified and very interested in our product.

And by offering a pre-recorded demo to leads who are not as qualified, we still open up the door for them to purchase our product. The hand off feels natural and doesn’t give them the impression that they aren’t good enough to speak to a real person.

A Look At Our Numbers

Our main chatbot targets new visitors to our homepage. Currently, 25% of those visitors are engaging with the chatbot. Of those that engage, 15% go on to schedule a demo translating to an overall conversion rate of about 3.5%. Not too bad.

We’ve also found that roughly 20% of people that engage are not qualified enough to schedule a live demo.

*One caveat here is that we do still offer anyone the option of scheduling a demo by clicking on a CTA that schedules a demo no questions asked. We do this because the lead is showing intent rather than going along with the flow of our general chatbot.

With 25% of people who visit our website engaging with our chatbot and 3.5% converting to demos, I’d call that a huge success. By the way, for those that are curious we’re currently converting 40% of attended demos to paying customers within a month of their demo. Of the remaining prospects, only about 10% are hard no’s and the rest are still being marketed to.

With those numbers, it’s easy to see why Drift has been such a valuable tool for us.

A Customer Centric Approach

Our customers love engaging with the bot and it shows with our numbers. Instead of a single CTA on a page, we can now offer each customer a different solution based on where they are in their buying cycle.

If they need nurturing, we can capture their email and add them to our list. If they have questions, we can instantly connect them with someone to talk to. If they want a demo, our bot is there to schedule it.

It’s truly focused on the customer.

An Imperfect Solution

I will say that there are some things about our current workflow that aren’t perfect. For instance, one of the things that I would love to do with Drift would be to offer a specific lead magnet to a segment of potential leads who do not qualify for a live demo.

While, I can get their email from Drift, there is currently no easy solution for me to segment these contacts and tag them in my email marketing software, ActiveCampaign.

If Drift were to add in this ability to their existing Zapier integration, it would be phenomenal. This would allow me to take what we can do to the next level.

*From what I’ve been told, this will be worked on, but for me it can’t happen soon enough.

The current solution would be for me to have the chatbot provide a link to a landing page, but that breaks up the flow of conversation and is less effective.

Email Is Still Important

We do still heavily rely on email for parts of our sales funnel. For instance, after a lead has finished their demo they’re added to an email automation that helps push them towards a purchase. This automation is tied to their deal stage in our CRM and ends as soon as they purchase.

We also use email to nurture leads through a traditional marketing funnel. However, through this email funnel we are working to move them to the website where they would progress to the bottom of our funnel by scheduling a demo with our chatbot.

I still see email being a highly valuable tool in your marketing tool belt in the years to come. However, I do believe that hyper-personalization is also a huge part of a customer centric marketing approach. But, that’s a topic for a different blog.

Should You Use A Chatbot In Your Sales Funnel?


It’s at least worth experimenting with. For us, the pay off is there. With the chatbot we get more conversations, which leads to more qualified demos, which leads to more closed deals.

Chatbots are a part of a new wave of customer centric marketing. You can choose to wait a few years and play catch up. Or you can choose to get ahead of the game now. Either way, a change is coming and the upside is huge if you can get in front of it.