We always talk about how tech buying today is a full-time job. But what exactly does that mean?
According to Forrester’s 2021 B2B Buying Survey, today’s buyers have an average of 27 interactions throughout the buying journey. And that’s not a short email or five-minute phone call — we’re talking meaningful interactions.
Multiply that by the number of vendors your buyer is considering, and you can start to picture how confusing, time-consuming, and stressful the modern buying experience is.
As sellers, we owe it to our buyers to make buying as easy as possible. So it’s no surprise that Forrester Research’s New Tech: Conversation Automation Technology for B2B Marketing and Sales, Q2 2022 report is all about conversation automation technology.
Conversation automation technologies, such as chatbots and virtual assistants, are platforms that automate conversations throughout the customer journey. They enable companies to meet buyers where they are and lead with value in every interaction.
According to Forrester, here are the three ways conversation automation technology is taking the B2B world by storm ⛈
1. Delivering Customer-Obsessed Conversations
Run-of-the-mill greetings, gated content, and generic sales pitches — B2B buyers are more than used to these sorts of impersonal experiences.
But that’s the opposite of what they want.
In 2021, we found that buyer expectations for quick, personalized experiences grew by 26%. Rather than being treated like a deal to be won, buyers wanted to have genuine interactions with sellers, in their own time and on their terms.
Conversation automation technologies offer buyers a channel where they can do exactly that. Through conversations, buyers can access the information they need quickly and easily, which ensures that they gain relevance and value from every interaction.
What’s more, conversations offer a human touch that is missing from your standard form-heavy website (and don’t even get me started on clunky navigations). Instead of forcing visitors to fill out forms and wait for a response, you can answer questions, register people for events, and qualify potential buyers naturally and in real-time.
And the best part? The conversation doesn’t have to end after you’ve answered a question or delivered a piece of content. You can continue to learn about your buyer, gauge where they are in the buying journey, and set yourself up for the next interaction.
In short, conversation automation technologies put your buyers in the driver’s seat so you can easily deliver customer-obsessed experiences at scale.
🤖 Unlike other AI solutions, Drift’s Conversational AI lets visitors drive the conversation to find answers to their questions, and guide them to the right outcome based on their intent. The result? A more personalized experience at each step of their journey — from researching to meeting with sales to getting help from customer support.
2. Connecting Your Revenue Engine
Imagine you’re deciding between several vendors for a new product. One of the companies has wowed you with their easy and attentive buying experience, so you decide to go with them. But once you’ve closed the deal, it’s like they’ve dropped off the face of the earth.
Isn’t that a nightmare?
According to Dimension Data, 81% of companies now consider customer experience a competitive differentiator. And the key to a delightful customer experience is consistency.
Conversation automation technologies allow you to roll out an audience-centric conversational experience with use cases for marketing, sales, and customer service. With conversations at the center of your revenue engine, you can streamline the process of turning site visitors into buyers, buyers into customers, and customers into advocates.
Through automated conversations, you can ensure that your revenue teams are interacting with the right people at the right time by providing self-directed experiences to site visitors who are unqualified or not yet ready to buy, as well as customers who have low-level support questions.
Not to mention that conversation automation technologies help your sales team better nurture accounts to the next buying stage (which is crucial, considering Forrester’s finding that more than 80% of B2B buyers say purchases include complex buying groups). Now, you can use automation to notify sales when a buying group member is on your website and improve the precision and scale of future sales outreach.
By incorporating conversations into the whole buyer and customer journey, you will never have to treat your customers like strangers. Instead, you can treat potential buyers to a consistently engaging experience and build the foundation for a great partnership.
🤖 With Drift, customers grow revenue more efficiently, because they can deflect unqualified leads and customers from getting to your sales team and deflect low-level issues from your service team so they can focus their time on priority prospects and customers. This way, you’re spending time with the highest-value, highest-intent buyers.
3. Creating an Audience Insights Feedback Loop
With B2B buying becoming increasingly complex and with more competitors showing up every day, you need an effective strategy to hook in your buyers and get the conversation rolling.
And the secret to that is knowing your buyers better than they know themselves — Salesforce found that 66% of customers expect sellers to understand their unique needs and expectations.
Conversation automation technologies not only allow you to scale human-like interactions, but they also provide you with a gold mine of conversational data that you can use to inform and improve your interactions with buyers and customers. With built-in integrations, you can leverage these insights to prioritize outreach and send personalized recommendations.
🤖 Conversational AI gives your buyers the power to express themselves in their own words and get a response in real-time. Conversational AI uses machine learning and natural language processing to create a feedback loop that automatically improves the accuracy and relevance of its responses so it can have better conversations with buyers.
Plus, conversation automation platforms provide access to these insights so that you can build them into your conversations and campaigns, such as adding industry-specific lingo to a landing page, creating content to address a FAQ, or sending a personalized message to a VIP account.
With all these conversational insights at your fingertips, you’ll have no problem creating a conversational experience that shows your buyers that you’ve been listening to them and that you’ve been taking notes 📝
Ready to Embark on Your Conversation Automation Journey?
In their 2021 State of Demand and ABM Tactic Survey, Forrester found that 58% of global B2B demand and account-based marketers are already using conversation automation technologies.
Feel like you’re missing out? Then we’ve got you covered.
In their landscape overview of 18 providers, Forrester named Drift a late stage vendor of conversation automation technology for B2B marketing and sales in their New Tech: Conversation Automation Technology for B2B Marketing and Sales, Q2 2022 report. And we believe that means we have a lot to offer.