Simplify lead management. How AI improves sales funnel handling

Anna Sopova
Sales and marketing
24/05/2023

Thanks to advanced AI technologies, companies have the ability to automate many of the processes involved in acquiring and qualifying leads and guiding them through the sales funnel. Learn how to streamline lead management and why you should bet on solutions using conversational AI, like voicebots. 

The lead management process encompasses the entire lifecycle of a potential customer. From the moment they become interested in a product or service to the moment, they become an actual customer. It's a long process and often its course depends on the industry. Still, in general, it includes such stages as gathering information about potential customers, qualifying them into selected groups, as well as building relationships and lead nurturing (by providing interesting and valuable content). At the end of the process comes the purchase, and in order to get there it is essential to skillfully manage leads at each stage.

A leaky sales funnel

Managing a sales funnel involves a number of challenges. First of all, you need to maintain the pace of the flow of potential customers, i.e. ensure continuity and efficiency. Here, therefore, it is important not only to communicate adequately (in B2C it will be mainly providing relevant information, and in B2B to build relationships), but also to monitor the process effectively. Finally, lead qualification requires careful data analysis and determining which leads are most valuable to the company. With massive campaigns, this means analyzing hundreds or even thousands of prospects. Improperly qualifying leads can make our funnel "leaky" and lose valuable contacts.

To improve the lead management process, marketers and salespeople use various technologies and tools (such as CRM and marketing automation platforms), and recently artificial intelligence solutions have also joined this repertoire. Through advanced data analytics, machine learning (ML) and the use of language processing technologies (NLP), companies can increase the efficiency of their operations, primarily to seal their funnel and increase conversion rates.

How do AI tools support lead management? 

Lead management consists of several stages, and at each stage we can use AI to increase the effectiveness of activities: 

  1. Acquiring leads – in the first stage, i.e. when acquiring people who may be potentially interested in a purchase, the challenge is to attract attention in the first place. AI tools can, using data analysis (purchase history, behavior, preferences) suggest better-tailored offers and create customized recommendations. Chatbots and voicebots, for example, also work well at this stage, allowing convenient interaction with users, answering their questions and prompting them to provide contact information. Voicebots, in particular, are a good fit for consumers, as the phone call still leads the way in customer service. This is confirmed by the Gladly survey, in which phone calls ranked first (63% of votes), ahead of e-mail, chat or texting.
  2. Qualification of leads In the next step, the acquired leads should be carefully examined to determine which leads are most valuable to the company. The challenge at the lead management stage is to properly define the qualification criteria and properly classify each lead. This can be a very time-consuming and costly task, especially with mass campaigns and those that require ringing up leads. Correctly entering data into the CRM after contacting a potential customer is also a challenge. Unfortunately, overworked salespeople often make mistakes in classifying leads or skip updating data in the CRM altogether. AI tools help in both areas, for example, voicebots (i.e., virtual voice assistants) can ring the contact database, conduct a qualifying call, and enter the result of the call into the system, so that salespeople are already contacted by pre-classified leads.
  3. Lead nurturing and relationship building at this stage, in B2B business, you should start building relationships with potential customers. In both B2B and B2C, the challenge is not only to match the communication channels, but also to accurately match the offer to the audience's needs, as well as to maintain ongoing contact. AI tools can help prepare and distribute better-tailored materials (e.g., personalized newsletters or product recommendations), chatbots and voicebots can answer questions, remind about promotions and provide special offers (e.g., for birthdays).
  4. Sales – The final stage is to convert potential customers into actual ones. The challenge at this stage is to maintain high-quality customer service, which can be improved, for example, through intelligent contact center automation. AI tools can generate customized offers based on data analysis, and react to customer behavior to facilitate purchases. An example of this is the use of voicebots in e-commerce to recover abandoned shopping carts. When a customer leaves a product in the shopping cart, the voicebot can call and offer an additional benefit: a discount or free delivery, which will motivate to accomplish the transaction.

How to use voicebot to qualify leads? 

You will find many tools for improving sales and marketing processes, including lead management. You should be especially interested in those that use conversational AI, as they provide friendly communication, build trust and a positive image of the company. An example of such a solution are the voicebots mentioned earlier. Virtual voice assistants are programs that use natural language processing technologies (NLP) to understand human speech and provide an appropriate response, providing interaction similar to contact with a live human being.

AI-voicebots are widely used in the field of lead management due to the fact that they perfectly automate the handling of leads, while ensuring effective and friendly communication. Voice bots provide: 

  • immediate response to potential customers who leave an inquiry in a form they call back within a minute and provide answers, take instructions to change an order, etc.;
  • automation of qualification of potential customers they call potential customers and conduct a conversation, asking the same questions a salesperson would ask, and then enter the result into the CRM;
  • personalizing communications with potential customers they allow you to set up automatic, customized communications based on preferences.

AI-voicebots in practice 

Our customer examples perfectly demonstrate how voicebot can streamline the process of lead management and lead qualification without the need for additional employees. 

The first is Foxford, a company that runs a language platform. Thanks to Apifonica's voicebot, the company successfully processed more than 7866 leads acquired through a Facebook campaign. The voicebot successfully contacted 68% of customers, positively qualifying 64% of them. Calling within one minute of filling out the form, it conducted a brief conversation and pre-qualified them for the appropriate group, asking questions about their language proficiency level and preferred dates. Thanks to the automatic qualification of leads, the team saved as much as 291 hours of work (amounting to more than EUR 5000).

Read more: [Foxford case study] How to reduce the cost of online advertising with AI tools? 

Another example is the staffing agency WeeGree, which wanted to optimize its Facebook Ads campaigns. By implementing Voicebot, it was able to integrate the lead form into its Facebook Ads account and automate the pre-qualification of leads. This contributed to a 4-fold increase (to 34,185) in the number of leads processed by Voicebot within a year of implementation and allowed recruiters to contact only pre-qualified leads anymore.

Why should you opt for Apifonica's Voicebot?

AI-voicebots are excellent tools for efficient and friendly automation and sales support. There are many solutions on the market, however voicebots from Apifonica stand out in several aspects: 

Quick and easy implementation

You can have your voicebot even in a few days! Apifonica offers a voicebot with basic functionality that can be configured and implemented almost on the spot. For a more advanced AI voicebot with extensive conversation scenarios, the implementation time is 3 to 5 weeks. This allows you to quickly benefit from a tool that will increase conversions. 

FREE 14-day pilot program

If you're still unsure whether voicebot will be the right tool for you, it's worth taking advantage of the pilot program. It allows you to test voicebot for 14 days for free and see if it meets your expectations. 

Excellent understanding of natural language

One of the Apifonica voicebot's greatest strengths is its almost flawless ability to understand natural language. Thanks to machine learning, voicebot can understand every customer. You can rest assured that your clients will be served professionally and efficiently. 

Integrated with any CRM/ecosystem

Another advantage of voicebot from Apifonica is its ability to integrate with any CRM, also via Zapier or Make. Apifonica's solution is also integrated with more than two thousand services, such as ecosystems from Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Calendly.

We offer a FREE 14-day pilot
Test our Voicebot!