Hey there, I’m Scott 👋
I’m a business development manager at Drift, working closely with our outbound sales team to generate new business for the company.
Which means I’m using Drift every day to sell Drift to other companies.
Yes, I’m in the product constantly.
But my job also involves a lot of research and prospecting. I’m combing the web for news about my target accounts and writing cold emails and LinkedIn direct messages to see if I can engage a prospect at the right time (and with the right offer).
And that’s how it goes for the majority of B2B sales reps today. We spend our days prospecting, trying to find companies that we think would be a good fit for our product. We’re all relying on thorough research and a carefully crafted email to reach a buyer who’s, well, ready to buy.
If only it were that easy.
It’s no secret that the so-called “tried and true” sales strategies are interruption-based. Meaning a sales rep interrupts the prospect’s day, hoping to make a connection. But it’s just not working like it used to.
Think about it. If one of your target accounts visited your site, would you know about it?
For most B2B sites, the answer is no. Because most companies rely on forms to understand who has been on their site. And today’s buyers don’t want to fill out forms.
The way people buy has fundamentally changed.
I’m not saying sales reps should stop doing quality research or spending time on outbound. Both are still key components of an outbound sales strategy.
But they’re not enough on their own.
Conversational ABM can help with that. Think of it as a proactive approach to starting a conversation with your top prospects. Here’s how it works. After you’ve identified your target accounts you create personalized messaging (e.g. with account-based ads) in order to get in front of those accounts. So instead of casting a wide net in the hopes of filling your funnel, account-based marketing helps you narrow your focus to spend time with the companies you know would be a great fit for your product or service.
And with Drift, you get notifications when people from your target accounts are reading your emails or visiting your site so you can start a conversation. That way, you’re always ready to jump in and start conversations at the best time possible – when people are actively engaged and showing interest in your product.
The end result is a VIP experience for your target accounts. With conversational ABM, you’re no longer forcing people from your target accounts (a.k.a. your best leads) to wait for a response. You get to roll out the red carpet for them and use messaging to engage with them in real-time.
And guess what? It works.
I’m going to share a real sales experience with you – how Drift helped me engage with one of my top 50 target accounts. An account I’d already researched extensively and tried to make contact with four or five different times…and still wasn’t able to gain any traction.
I felt like I was hitting a wall.
And then one day, I got a notification that someone (we’ll call him Tom because I’m not able to share his name publicly) from the company (we’ll call it Applinks) was on Drift.com and they wanted to chat with us. It was a textbook example of conversational ABM in real life. I couldn’t believe my luck. I jumped into the chat right away.
Here’s what happened next.
Editor’s Note: The following conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity. Names have been changed to respect the privacy of the participants.
ABM in the Wild
Since Applinks was one of my target accounts, I set up a playbook in Drift to recognize when someone using the company’s IP address came to our site. That way, anyone coming from Applinks would be greeted with a personalized message. And this personalization worked for Tom – it’s actually what piqued his curiosity. He wanted to know how DriftBot knew the name of his company, since he had never visited Drift.com before.
Now I have to add – at the time of this conversation, all I had to go off was Tom’s IP address. I knew he was chatting in from Applinks. But there was nothing on him in Salesforce.
But I knew that if I continued to be helpful and answer his questions, I could keep the conversation going and gather some more intel about Applinks.
Research Pays Off
Since Applinks was my target account, I’d already done a ton of research on them. This was my chance to share what I knew (and what I noticed) about the company.
Help First, Sell Later
I could tell Tom was interested in how everything worked together. And I knew it was his first time on the site, and first experience with Drift. So I knew I needed to be as helpful as possible to get him to understand the product and how it could have a big impact on his own company.
Give a Real Life Example
Within 15 minutes of chatting with Tom, I was able to get him to agree to a demo of Drift. But I didn’t stop there. I could tell he wanted to know how everything worked behind the scenes, so I shared a little bit about what the experience was like on my end as a rep.
Making It Easy
And the best part is how easy it all was. Easy for Tom to get answers to his questions in real time, from a real person. And easy for me to respond and show some value in a helpful way. And it all happened in less than 30 minutes!
Four Takeaways for Sales
Ultimately, I was able to engage with Applinks and get into an account that (for all my previous attempts) had proved impenetrable.
Here are four things that made the difference:
- I’d reached out to several people at Applinks, but Tom wasn’t one of them. He told me that he had been doing research for a talk he was giving, and Drift’s report on chatbots was mentioned in an article he was reading. So he decided to check out our website. And thanks to Drift’s ABM strategy around our target accounts, I got a real-time notification that one of my prospects from Applinks was on the site and ready to talk. All I had to do was click on a notification, and I was talking to one of my dream leads. Even better – they wanted to talk to me.I wasn’t interrupting their day.
And since Tom was an ABM account, he didn’t have to go through the bot, he was routed directly to me when he told the bot he had a question.
Talk about a frictionless experience.
- I had a conversation with him. I wasn’t trying to sell to Tom immediately. My first priority was to provide value to him – to help him get answers to the questions he was looking for. Because helping really is the new selling.
- Research does pay off. Had I not done all my prior research on Applinks, I wouldn’t have been in as good of a position to talk to Tom. But because I knew a lot about the company and their business (and had screenshots to prove it) I was able to establish credibility in a short amount of time. You never know what’s going to drive someone to your site. But doing the research ahead of time is something that can only help you when they do come your way.
- This last one is a big one. None of this would’ve happened if we didn’t have Drift on our site. We gave Tom the option to ask a question. It wasn’t a static form that would make him fill out all his information and go through the whole sales process (or worse fill out all his information and then never get a response back).
Tom even told me that himself.