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Illustration of an orange speech bubble wearing headphones with a microphone speaking to a customer. Using chatbots to improve sales blog post.

How to Use Chatbots to Improve Your Sales

TJ Kiely

Oct 3, 2023

The rise of chatbots and conversational AI is proving to be game changing for sales and marketing teams.

According to Drift’s State of Conversational Marketing report, 55% of businesses say that an online chatbot helps them collect higher-quality leads.

More recently, another report found that 99% of businesses using chatbots have increased their lead conversion rates by at least 10%.

Chatbot market growth rate by region

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The use of chatbots online as a communication channel jumped a whopping 92% between 2019 and 2020, and that momentum is sustaining.

Let’s explore why chatbots are becoming an essential tool and how you can use them to improve your sales.

Table of Contents

Tip: Learn more about social media bots.

What Is a Chatbot?

Chatbot definition: A chatbot is an artificial intelligence program that mimics human conversation via a chat interface. Users can “chat” with the program and receive text-based responses in a way similar to instant messaging a human on a website or app.

Chatbot AI programs offer quick and responsive support to users without human intervention. Companies can integrate AI chatbots into websites, social media accounts, messaging apps (like Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger), and voice assistants. They can handle multiple conversations simultaneously, allowing sales teams to interact with more leads at scale.

A website visitor can type a question into the live chat bar, and the AI chatbot will generate a response. Chatbots can also handle more complex workflows, such as scheduling appointments, issuing refunds, or escalating cases to a human. 

Overall, AI-powered chatbots give sales and marketing teams a cost-effective way to engage customers and provide round-the-clock support.

Tip: Learn why 2023 was the year of AI chatbots

Chatbot Examples

AI-enabled chatbots are creating an exciting new landscape in tech. Let’s look at a few examples of chatbot companies and creators moving this technology forward.


The ChatGPT language model has taken the lion’s share of the larger chatbot conversation in recent months. Offered by OpenAI, ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence platform designed to answer questions or provide information in a contextual sense.

GPT-3 has been trained on one of the largest datasets of its kind, making it a powerful force in conversational AI. It provides automated real-time responses to queries and can be tailored to a range of use cases. Its most recent successor, GPT-4, is poised to be even more potent.

Tip: Read our Guide to ChatGPT for Marketing and PR, learn how to use ChatGPT for PR agencies, and take a look at the most helpful ChatGPT prompts for marketing.

Microsoft Bing

Microsoft’s search engine Bing launched a revamped experience that includes a new chat feature. Powered by OpenAI, the new feature aims to provide users with more thorough answers directly on the search engine results page instead of having to comb through multiple websites.

It also offers interactive chat, which allows users to keep refining their queries until they get the information they need.

Virtual Assistants

Virtual assistants like Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google Assistant have been around for ages now, but they’re seeing a boost in quality thanks to AI chat. These “OG” chatbots are voice-based interfaces that can provide contextual information on demand.

How Do Chatbots Work?

Chatbots use natural language processing (NLP) algorithms to understand users’ queries and provide accurate responses. They rely on a combination of existing data and machine learning to formulate these responses.

Many chatbots operate on a rules-based approach. For example, a rules-based chatbot might provide several options to choose from, then provide follow-up options based on the initial choice.

Others are more open-ended. The chatbot will search for keywords within the query to provide the appropriate response.

Natural language processing and machine learning allow chatbots to better understand the user’s intent. Then the chatbot will deliver what it deems the best answer based on existing data and past experiences. 

As the user refines their input, the chatbot can “learn” more about the why behind the query and improve its results over time.

Advantages of Chatbots in the Sales Process

Sales is a very personal, high-touch process for many companies. It’s valid to consider that a bot might not have a place here, given the lack of empathy and warmth compared to a human. But the reality is that, while it won’t replace your human salespeople, a bot can provide real value across all stages of the sales funnel. 

Here’s how:

Creating optimal customer experiences

The customer experience is key to growth. McKinsey research notes that companies that get personalization right drive 40% more revenue than average companies. What’s more, customers expect personalized offers and interactions from businesses — and 76% get flustered when companies can’t deliver.

Nonpersonalized communication

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AI chatbots can help to drive personalized experiences simply by giving customers what they want when they want it. Users can take more control over their experiences and connect with companies at their convenience.

Reduce time and costs in the sales process

The sales cycle can be a lengthy ordeal, especially when customers are asking routine questions whose responses could be automated. When sales agents have to respond to these inquiries, they’re taking time away from potentially hotter leads or other activities that could lead to revenue.

Using chatbots to do some of the heavy lifting allows agents to refocus their time and effort. Providing timely information that could move the sale forward can reduce the overall sales cycle time, not to mention associated costs.

Tip: Our Meltwater Sales Intelligence Suite can also help you reach your sales goals.

Provide 24/7 customer support

Sales don’t happen only during business hours. When you have an online business, customers can discover and buy from you at all hours of the day and night. And when they’re ready to buy but need a little push toward the checkout, your chatbots can help you capitalize on those opportunities.

Meltwater messaging

A chatbot application allows you to connect with your high-intent customers around the clock across multiple channels. Buyers explore your website are at their highest moment of intent, which is a great time to engage with them in a personalized conversation.

Engage more customers at scale

Unlike your human sales team, chatbots can engage in multiple conversations at once. They can field various inquiries without losing the context of each conversation.

Bots can also do that, but in a timely manner, with no risk of lag time. If your salespeople ever wished they could clone themselves, this is truly the next best thing.

Get inside your customers’ heads

With every engagement with a chatbot, your chat technology will help you learn more about your customers. See how they’re interacting with the bot, the questions they’re asking, the products or services they’re looking for, and other insightful nuggets. This data can be a goldmine of information to create more personalized experiences and improve customer service.

Generate more high-quality hand-raisers

Chatbots are increasingly being used as lead generation tools. They can capture customer data upfront and send it to your CRM, as well as help you score and qualify leads based on their actions and queries. This helps sales teams know where to focus their efforts.

How have chatbots increased companies lead generation volume?

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When you have leads with high purchase intent, the bot can send them straight to a live person to help seal the deal.

Fight against customer churn

Improving sales can also take the form of reducing potential losses and churn. Chatbots can help here by offering customers incentives to stay instead of canceling their service.

For example, your chatbot can provide help and suggestions, offer a timely resolution to a specific problem, or even provide a discount on services. And when appropriate, your chatbot might even try to upsell the customer if another product or service might better meet their needs.

6 Ways to Use Chatbots to Increase Sales

With these benefits in mind, let’s look at some examples of how to use online bots to improve sales and revenue.

1. Immediately greet website visitors

Unlike humans, robots don’t need sleep. That’s why their main advantage (according to consumers) is providing ongoing, 24/7 customer support. Chatbots can immediately greet website visitors and serve as a guide at any part of the journey. It’s similar to being greeted when entering a store, making customers feel seen and heard.

At the very least, chatbots can instill a strong first impression. And when the customer is ready to engage, they’ll already know how to do it.

2. Answer Frequently Asked Questions

When customers need a quick answer to make a decision, chatbots can help tip the scales in your favor.

Bots can be trained to answer common questions and direct users to additional resources on your website, such as blogs or FAQs. This allows your sales team to avoid using their time to answer the same questions over and over. It also helps your customers buy with confidence while leaving a lasting positive impression about their experience.

Positive aspects of using a chatbot

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A chatbot API gives you the flexibility to adapt your chat technology to your needs. Rather than settle for a ready-to-use, out-of-the-box solution, you can customize your chatbot to suit your specific use cases, sales workflows, and available resources.

3. Provide product recommendations

Chatbots can step into the role of the salesperson by offering personalized recommendations and upsells. Based on a user’s actions and queries, the chatbot can also review chat histories to see which products have already been recommended.

As a further advantage, AI-driven customer profiles get better with time. The more data the chatbots collect, the more information it has when comparing future interactions and outcomes. Chatbots can predict which products a customer will purchase based on past profile data.

4. Offer on-the-spot bookings

Successful sales hinge on timing. Sales teams need to be able to strike while interest is high. For companies that rely on bookings and appointments, chatbots can help secure these on the spot.

Customers can immediately and seamlessly schedule a reservation or appointment with little to no friction. The chatbot collects some information upfront and does the heavy lifting for the customer, ensuring they won’t need to search elsewhere for their needs. 

This automated process can be useful for webinars, restaurant reservations, spa bookings, hotels, and any type of service appointment.

5. Support customers in multiple languages 

Digital technologies have made it easier than ever to do business across borders. But customers in other countries may need some help beyond Google Translate to buy from you with confidence. 

Chatbots can be programmed to offer support in a customer’s native language. This makes your interactions feel more personal and tailored to their needs. You can substantially increase your potential customer base simply by providing resources and support in multiple languages.

6. Remind customers to complete a purchase

Similar to abandoned cart emails (which are highly effective), chatbots can nudge customers to complete a purchase once an item is added to the cart. Chatbots can send automated email reminders or on-screen alerts to let customers know they haven’t finished a purchase. They can also check in with customers to see if they have additional questions. 

Chatbot data may also reveal where most customers are losing interest or dropping out of the funnel. This can be useful in learning how to improve your product presentation or the user experience.

How Meltwater Helps You Make the Best Use of Your Data

Meltwater turns data into usable insights to drive your strategy forward. Data is everywhere, and we’re committed to helping you make sense of it all in the context of your business. Learn how when you request a demo to see our sales intelligence solution.