Win Over – and Keep – Prospects with Predictive Engagement

You’re a true digital marketing expert. You did an amazing job optimizing your omnichannel campaign strategy – including SEO keywords that significantly increased your landing page visits. But, for some reason, you’re still struggling to increase your conversion rate. In this three-part blog series, I’ll share easy-to-implement tips that can help you convert your marketing dollars to sales revenue faster while supporting your customers. It’s called predictive engagement and it’s easier than you think.

Leverage the Short Window at the Right Time

Attracting prospective customers and inviting them to visit your landing page is hard. All of today’s “digital noise” makes it a challenge for your marketing voice to be heard. Even when you attract customers who show clear intent, the average online sales conversion rate remains as low as 2.9%. That means 97% of your marketing budget might never convert.

Collecting insights, stitching together identities and building profiles definitely help you gain a better understanding of prospective customers. But it’s no guarantee of a successful sales conversion.

As an old friend of mine said, “If you’re 98% through a sales cycle and very close to selling something, but you end up losing, it’s the same as losing the deal at the beginning.” It’s actually even worse. All that time and effort was spent, and you end up with the same result: nothing.

There are reasons why such a large majority of online leads don’t convert. It’s likely because the prospect was:

  • Wrongly qualified
  • Not yet ready to buy
  • Missing some key information needed to make a decision
  • Lacking support to complete the buying journey
  • Just hesitating and needed a gentle push

And here’s the challenge: According to a recent Statista survey, US visitors spend an average of 3.36 to 10.16 minutes on eCommerce websites. In most cases then, you have a very short window of opportunity to meaningfully engage potential buyers before they leave without a trace.

It seems easy — just engage prospects during this six-minute window. But there’s another issue: Which prospect you should engage when – and how? It’s the same challenge when you have an existing customer who might be lost on your self-service portal.

Popping up a chat offer for everyone without context could be more annoying than helpful. It might even turn away prospective buyers from their original path to purchase.

Content offers or knowledge nuggets might be the right response to some buyers or customers seeking support, but without 1:1 personalization, they can be counter-productive – like context-less proactive chat offers.

How Predictive Engagement Makes a Difference

Think about why you buy from a good sales rep or why you’re satisfied with your trusted car mechanic. It’s probably because they listen to you first, understand your needs, then present to you their best offer or answer in a fully personalized manner. And they are often doing it in a “conversational way.”

Good sales reps engage only when you need help, when you’re hesitating or when you plan to leave. They observe and listen first, then ask only relevant and meaningful questions so they can match their best offer with your needs. It’s easy for them because they see what you’re doing and how you behave. In this way, they understand when you need support.

Think about how different your online shopping or self-service experience could be for the hundreds or thousands of prospects or customers who are completely alone when browsing your website. Observing and supporting all of them individually isn’t feasible without artificial intelligence (AI). No one has unlimited human sales and support resources.

Imagine using a predictive engagement AI that follows all the contextual journeys of prospects and customers. It connects your best sales or service rep to the most relevant buyer or customer at just the perfect moment. Imagine that all the relevant observations the AI makes are available for your sales or service reps so they can seamlessly continue the engagement based on full history and contextual awareness.

Think of the savings with predictive engagement when your sales teams don’t waste time engaging with visitors, researchers or prospects who aren’t ready to buy. And they won’t disturb those who are on track toward a purchase without support. Now imagine support resources engaging with those considered future prospects and delivering exceptional customer experience to maximize their lifetime value. Imagine the outcomes when your sales experts spend their valuable time converting true prospects, rather than reclassifying wrongly qualified leads they should never have seen.

As part of predictive engagement, bots answer customers questions, clarify prospect intents and keep buyers engaged. And when human support is needed, your sales or service reps can jump in and:

  • Resolve prospect or customer concerns
  • Deliver personalized advice
  • Answer complex questions
  • Support buyers to finish the purchasing transaction
  • Satisfy high-value customers just like in person

Increasing Conversion Rates and Improving Customer Experience

Remember: 97% of your website visitors might not convert, and many customers have a subpar service experience. Ask yourself:

  • How many of your prospects could have been saved?
  • Can you deliver more great customer experiences?
  • How much churn can you avoid?
  • What can you learn from your customers’ and prospects’ issues?
  • How much additional sales or lifetime value you could gain?

You might not know without predictive engagement. Reporting and analytics tools give you insights into what happened yesterday (or a minute ago), but they can’t tell you what you need to do now.

When the train leaves the station — or a prospect leaves your website — it’s already too late. It doesn’t matter if you were late by only a minute, an hour or a day. The opportunity is lost.

To capture a customer’s moment of need and engage them in real time at the right time with the right resource is one of the most important digital capabilities needed to increase your conversion rate and maximize your customers lifetime value.

In my next blog, I’ll show you how to engage your prospects by working smarter — not harder.

Want more? Download our free ebook, “Drive more sales through your website,” to learn more.

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