Using AI-powered solutions can optimise engagement with early-stage buyers

Let’s not beat around the bush: the traditional sales funnel model is no longer relevant.

B2B businesses have their work cut out as the AIDA model to guide a single prospect to purchase just doesn’t work anymore. Instead B2B marketers have to connect and convince entire teams involved throughout the buying cycle.

Forrester’s Steven Casey shared some very powerful insights in his recent report about how AI-powered solutions can optimise engagement with early-stage buyers and in particular how properly oriented bots and VAs can help B2B marketers remove friction from the earliest stages of the buying process, automate administrative tasks, and enable sellers to be more consultative.

Synthetix are delighted to have been included in this research and could not agree more with the insights. Synthetix CEO, Peter McKean’s thoughts is iterated in Forrester’s conclusions.

Interest in chatbots for customer service, or “Virtual Agents” is growing exponentially as AI-powered automation gains user acceptance thanks to bot technologies like Siri and Alexa normalising conversational interaction. The current generation of Virtual Agents are able to unlock functionality that previous bots could not, now that cloud-based SaaS CRM and marketing platforms have become widely adopted. Cloud services tend to feature comprehensive API interfaces, which enable bots to personalise the dialogue with their customers and to solve account-related issues. This means that modern bot platforms finally have the technological potential to meet customer expectations – something that bots of the past rarely did.
But Virtual Agents are as much about methodology and psychology as they are about technology. When we reduce them down to their technological barebones, you’re left with merely an IVR and this is where so many new bot deployments go wrong, even in 2018. The proliferation of simple, commoditised bot platforms has delivered powerful tools into the hands of developers, but this is analogous to the early days of Desktop Publishing, where software packages such as PageMaker and even Microsoft Publisher were made available to almost anyone, resulting in a slew of terrible amateur publications with terrible typography and horrible clip art in the wrong aspect ratio!

That’s where we are with bots – poor design, bad dialogue and confusing interfaces.

Synthetix offers many digital engagement tools with off-the-shelf configuration, but not chatbots. Those, we build to order, taking the time to capture the primary business objectives and goals for the technology and leveraging the skills of the most experienced chatbots designers in the world – Synthetix has been building chatbot Virtual Agents for customer service since 2001. We’ve developed a framework for chatbot development that enables customers to think about it less like software configuration and more like on-boarding a new employee. We guide customers through making the right choices to ensure that their bot deployment is successful from day-one and only gets better over time.