“That is the real promise of the bots: an army of automated agents, collaborating to work for you, unleashing huge value for consumers and entrepreneurs.”  -Kemal El Moujahid, Facebook, via Techcrunch

 In our previous post, we discussed how the bot revolution will improve your workflow and team productivity, automating routine tasks so you can focus on more complex matters that need your attention. This time around, we’ll look at the whole gamut of automated processes, including bots, commands, and other nifty integrations, and how they help salespeople collaborate better to provide better customer experiences.

 As the lines between organizational processes blur, cross-departmental workflows are fast becoming the norm. We have seen how chat apps are taking over social media apps as the prefered mode of communication. In effect, the chat space is on its way to becoming the organized home for all your sales, CRM, and marketing efforts.

 Allow me to elaborate-

Fireflies.ai is a chatbot that data mines audio conversations to automate note taking, so sales reps don’t spend time on tedious data entry. In fact, the founder claims that it can boost a sales rep’s ROI by 30K per year.

 Now consider Marvin, Racetrack‘s chatbot that acts as a consultant of sorts, providing tailor-made assistance based on your business model. This chatbot is aimed at delivering software tools for CRM and sales to small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) in the real estate, hospital, and education sectors.

 Why chatbots?

Unlike mobile apps that require repeated downloads and signups, the chatbot interface is far more unified, because all your sales and marketing efforts take place on a single chat platform. As various experts have concluded, chatbots are also cheaper to develop than mobile apps, owing to the fact that they are server based. Not to mention, chatbots are largely regulated by the script you create. They can be deployed across social media platforms with very little modifications required.

 According to the experts over at TechCrunch, chatbots influence customer engagement in three ways: customer service, content consumption, and productivity or transactional engagements.

 Which leads us to the next question:

 Why chatbots for your CRM?

 Customer engagement and support continues to remain one of the most crucial areas of business spending. Gartner Inc. predicts that customer relationship management (CRM) spending will reach $36.5 billion by the end of 2017.

 Consider the somewhat tedious aspects of a CRM rep’s workflow- recording customer data, creating reports and addressing FAQs. Automating these areas can go a long way in improving his or her sales contribution. While there are CRM chatbots designed to address these work processes, we are more interested in how the said CRM rep can collaborate better with his colleagues and streamline his sales team’s efforts for further business productivity and cohesion.

 We’ve zeroed in on two focus areas when it comes to improved collaboration for your sales team:

 1. Automating your workflows, so you never miss a customer call or meeting

 Your CRM, data-intensive as it is, should evolve at the same pace as your customers’ needs, providing faster, more efficient and personalized solutions. It goes without saying that the faster your communication channels with colleagues are, the faster you can convert. By automating this aspect of your workflow, you will never miss a customer call, webinar, or scheduled meeting.

2. CRM alerts to keep track of your leads’ activity

 Ok, so you’ve geared your CRM resources towards providing faster, more efficient communication channels and thoughtful, insightful customer responses. All signs point to your customer engagement rates doing well. However, your sales productivity boils down to the number of qualified leads you have generated. Is your CRM software capable of tracking and updating you with the latest insights on your leads’ activity?

 If not, equip yourself with automation tools like notifications that help you identify and track qualified leads, and close deals faster. This way, you can focus your campaigns on those prospects that will generate you more revenue.

 Now that we have discussed some of the areas where chatbots and CRM intersect, let’s dive in and see how Zoho makes use of its CRM automation software.

The Zoho CRM bot makes sure we never miss a customer call or meeting. 

 By subscribing to this bot, it fetches information from your Zoho CRM account and notifies you with reminders of all scheduled customer calls, meetings and webinars, right within your Cliq chat window.

 

By enabling channel alerts, we are notified when leads become qualified. Notifications will be sent to our Cliq sales channel every time a prospect passes our qualifying criteria.

If you set your qualifying criteria as $50K, your sales channel on Cliq will send you notifications regarding prospects whose revenue is above $50K, and have signed up for your product.

We use the slash command ‘/zcrm leads value’ to fetch and access the latest lead information from Zoho CRM within our Cliq chat window.

 Using slash commands such as  ‘/zcrm leads value’, /zcrm contacts value’ and ‘/zcrm deals value’, you will have access to all data pertaining to leads, contacts and deals, without leaving your Cliq chat window.

 These are just a few of the many ways automation tools like chatbots can reduce friction in your CRM workflows, improving your customer relations. We have all had experiences where the bot may not completely understand the nuance of our request. As the technology backing these bots improves, so will your bots, leading to improved customer engagement metrics and lead generation. As Cliq’s platform gears towards further developer-friendliness, bots such as the Zoho CRM bot will become more robust and intuitive.

For businesses, the suite of tools that automation software provides is paydirt. They equip you with the means to collaborate effortlessly, automate those aspects of your workflow that may be mechanical, and focus more time and energy on what matters— people. With chat becoming your de facto medium for business collaboration, your sales efforts will be cohesive and geared to engage customers in a seamless, almost effortless experience with your brand.