<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=2006193252832260&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

3 Min Read

3 Proven Ways to Automate the Top of Your Funnel with AI

Featured Image

Wondering how to get started with AI? Take our on-demand Piloting AI for Marketers Series.

Learn More

AI plays a major role in the never-ending quest to generate more qualified leads. 

AI can now automate complex, manual tasks like lead qualification and meeting scheduling, no technical skills needed.

In this post, I’ll walk you through three different use cases for AI to automate the top of your marketing funnel.

We'll look at the use cases today for:

  • How to use AI to increase your lead generation
  • How you can automate qualification of those leads
  • How AI can help convert more qualified leads to sales opportunities

1. Generate More Leads with AI

The use of AI for lead generation has been exploding recently. It makes sense since there are so many different ways to generate leads.

Website Lead Capture with Chatbots

According to builtwith.com there are over 100,000 websites using one of the top five chatbots today. 

Chatbots provide an easy way to book sales calls or capture lead contact information 24/7. Leading chatbot vendors include Drift, HubSpot, LivePerson, Landbot, Manychat, MobileMonkey and the company I work for: Exceed.ai.

pasted image 0-1





















Chatbot Playbooks

There are quite a few ways to go about creating your chatbot playbook or script. The script is really a decision tree where the conversation goes in different directions based on the lead’s responses.

Most chatbots ask a question and offer a few answer options (as buttons) for the lead to choose from.

A few helpful links to get you going with your own chatbot playbook:

AI Lead Generation Services

Offsite lead generation is another service automated by AI.

These services use content and outbound campaigns to generate leads and set up meetings. Today, companies like bant.io use AI to better target leads and deliver better results.

First, you identify your optimal customers. Then, algorithms analyze the traits of these customers beyond firmographics. These services will then find lookalike leads and predict which are likely to become qualified leads. (Notice that Facebook's lookalike audiences for ad targeting does exactly that with great success.)

Some of the companies that do this include:

Discover New Leads Based on Buyer Intent

Wouldn’t be great if you could get a list of companies that are in the market for the service you’re offering?

AI-powered buyer intent signals can help. Buyer intent monitors content about a topic, like marketing automation or human resources, and tracks the IPs consuming the content. Once they know the IP address, they match it with the company known for using the IP.

Then, AI predicts which companies showed buying signals and scores them by how likely they are to buy. Intent data gives better targeting for outbound and ad campaigns.

Some companies offering these services include:

2. Optimize and Automate Lead Qualification

Once you’ve gotten the leads into your funnel, the next step is to qualify them.

Automating lead qualification increases your capacity to engage leads, moving more of them down the funnel towards sales.

One way to qualify leads is through lead scoring. The downside to this is that you need to wait for a lead to self-qualify through engagement. The other way to qualify is by having sales engage leads, but they can only contact so many leads per day.

AI sales assistants (aka email bots) can conduct human-like conversations with leads. This completely changes the way companies can scale their funnel. The bots ask qualifying questions and hand over leads to sales based on the answer.

pasted image 0 (1)

Caption: Example conversation with the AI sales assistant (right) answering a lead’s question and following up with a qualifying question.

This can also be done with chatbots by inserting qualifying questions into the chat script.

By automating your lead qualification, you can get more MQLs to convert to SQLs and avoid wasting your sales team’s time on unqualified leads.

Some companies that offer automated lead qualification:

3. Scale Lead Follow-Up and Meeting Scheduling

Every minute you wait to follow-up with a lead lowers the odds of the lead converting. 

Once again AI assistants like Conversica, Exceed.ai, and SalesWhale can be used for immediate follow-up with every lead.

Automated Meeting Scheduling

You'll want to schedule a meeting for your sales reps with leads once qualified. Scheduling meetings is often a headache for reps and a hole in your funnel. Just check with your sales team to see how often lead go silent at the scheduling stage or how many times they follow-up with leads who no-show for meetings.

AI tools like x.ai, Zoom.ai, Exceed.ai and Drift can all schedule meetings with leads into your reps' calendars. Automating appointment scheduling saves a lot of time for your sales reps and ensures they talk to more leads.

Related Posts

How to Use AI to Train Sales Reps

Mike Kaput | June 13, 2023

Sales role-play and coaching drives better sales rep performance, but few sales leaders have the time to properly train and coach across a large team. Now, AI can help.

How to Chat With Your Data and Instantly Visualize It With AI

Mike Kaput | August 1, 2023

What if you could chat with your data (just like you do with ChatGPT), and instantly analyze and visualize it? That's the promise of AI tool Akkio.

You Won’t Believe What It Takes to Create a Voice Assistant’s Personality

Elizabeth Juran | July 15, 2021

AI-enabled voice assistants like Siri, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant are known to answer silly questions along with their proper functions. Learn about the teams developing these personalities.