Hilarie Williams is the Integrated Partnerships Manager at the Argyle Group, a B2B marketing firm. Hilarie and the Group as a whole aim to create an environment where B2B leaders across functional areas can get together to share best practices through in-person and online events, content, executive thought leadership, and more.
The company was a natural fit for conversational marketing, which Hilarie says they got started with to answer questions from would-be event-goers and readers. From there, they realized live chat was working so well they decided to expand their use of conversational marketing from a support offering to a full-on sales engine that would ultimately scale to every team at the Group.
“As millennials move up in their careers, they’re looking for information quickly. They want to be able to engage and say, ‘I have a couple of questions specifically about this, and I don’t want to wait for someone to reach out to me in a week or three days once some lead form gets processed. I want to let you know what I’m interested in and what I want, and I want to speak with somebody within the next 24 hours,’” said Williams.
Since implementing Drift company-wide, Hilarie says it’s been instrumental in engaging with accounts that had previously gone cold and cutting down the team’s time to close. What’s more is that their initial use case – answering support questions – is still very much in play.
“Conversational marketing gives us everything we need and touches on every pain point we’ve had,” she added. “In fact, we use both Drift and Intercom (for support), and we recently took a closer look at sales cycle length. We found that Intercom takes the typical 21-45 days to close a deal. This is pretty standard for us. But then we looked at the time to close for Drift, and it’s in the 7-14 day range. So not only is Drift helping us have conversations with more qualified leads, but it’s also helping us close deals faster.”
Closing Deals Faster with Conversational Marketing
To close new business, which for the Argyle Group consists of mainly membership, event sponsorships and conference organization, Hilarie looks at standard ROI metrics like lead quantity, quality, and engagement. And since implementing Drift, time to close has been reduced by about a third.
But as with anything, change wasn’t overnight. Hilarie had to lead the team through change management for them to really see the benefit and impact Drift could have on their bottom line and overall sales processes.
“Change is really scary, especially when you have a sales team that’s been with the organization since pretty much the beginning. But once the team realized, ‘Oh, I can see if one of my accounts is online. This is really cool.’ Or ‘I like that I have immediate access to prospects when they’re not responding to my emails,’ they quickly got on board,” said Williams.
Little by little she was able to win the team over. And almost immediately they were closing deals through Drift. A major reason for that? The fact that site visitors were actually engaging with the team. Prior to installing Drift, the Group’s form abandonment rate was around 76%.
“People are there, they start to fill something out to download a prospectus and then we would route the lead traditionally and we just weren’t getting anywhere,” said Williams.
But with Drift, that’s all changed. Response times are lightning fast, which has led to more closed deals. And to ensure they give their largest target accounts the VIP treatment, Hilarie has Drift set up to notify any reps when certain companies hit their site.
“It’s important to get notified when somebody from one of these accounts is online so we can greet them personally and say, ‘Hi, I’m here. If you have any questions let me know, as you’re browsing around,’ so they know that there’s a person on the other end. And that makes all the difference,” she noted.
But for Hilarie and team, regardless of what company someone is visiting their site from, no lead is a bad lead. “If they’re here, they’re doing the work, they’re looking for the information – and it’s our job to give it to them.”
With conversational marketing, that’s all possible.