How Conversational Marketing Helped This Company Cut Its Sales Cycle from 8 Months to 45 Days

Ed Breault

Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post from Drift customer, Aprimo. Have a conversational marketing success story you want to share with our audience? Email Gail Axelrod here

Not many companies make it back from the dead. When one does, it’s almost always because the organization had the daring and grit needed to completely reinvent itself. The transformation usually includes an overhaul of the product, but it’s also equally important to thoroughly deconstruct and modernize how the product is sold. After all, you can make the best product in the world, but if you don’t have an effective way to get it to the people who need it, you won’t last long.

Aprimo is one of the rare companies that has successfully made the journey from six feet under to the top of the world. While our brand and product have about twenty years of history behind them, we consider ourselves more of a two-and-a-half-year-old “restartup.” Ours was a Cinderella story with a tragic twist. In the late nineties, we pioneered the marketing resource management space, grew like mad, and were eventually sold in 2011 for a very nice price of about $525 million.

Unfortunately, a few years after the sale, the brand flatlined as it was completely pulled out of the market. It seemed there would be no happy ending for Aprimo.

But then, in 2016, we resurrected the brand, restarted everything from the product to the way we marketed it, and began to build the business back up. Today, only a few short years later, we count 25% of the global 100 in our customer portfolio, including enormously respected brands like Bank of America, AT&T, CVS Health, LEGO, Mondelez, and many more.

A critical part of Aprimo’s transformation was around how we marketed our product to our newly rediscovered audience. More specifically, we gave ourselves an edge by using Drift to better engage prospects via conversational marketing.

Be Careful What You Wish For

It’s the problem everyone wants—too many prospects banging down your door. Our team did a ton of heavy lifting to regain our audience, and it paid off. Big time. After investing time and effort in campaigns, events, content marketing, and SEO, global awareness of our brand rocketed. We were gaining traction in the Americas, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia. Our inbound traffic was screaming.

The tragedy was that we weren’t there for our prospects. Our conversions sucked.

We hadn’t been able to optimize either our micro or macro conversions. Because of the global nature of our audience, inquiries were coming in at all hours. We couldn’t keep up with the volume. We couldn’t sort the good traffic from the bad. The customer experience was suffering, and we were losing business opportunities.

We realized that we needed to do more than modernize our buyer journey within the digital space. We also had to bring our sales experience up to speed with buyer expectations. At the time, we were using static forms, which was creating friction and hurting our response time. With the volume of inbound we had, a traditional approach clearly wasn’t the answer. We needed to take a holistic look at the buyer’s journey and re-architect the entire experience around how they wanted to consume content and make a purchase. Our exploration of the problem uncovered a need to bring conversational marketing into the mix.

Conversational Marketing to the Rescue

After some experimentation, we’ve landed on a hybrid solution that combines some forms with Drift conversations. We use forms mainly for interactions where prospects would expect them—contact us, demo requests, and content downloads. We apply Drift as an optional layer (or second net) to these form-based interactions, giving site visitors a way to streamline their communication and get into a conversation right away instead of waiting for a response by email or phone.

We use Drift throughout the buyer’s journey on our website:

  • Homepage: Our Drift bot, Mobi, helps guide visitors through the page content so they can find the specific information they need more quickly.
  • Product Pages: Mobi helps drive content consumption by asking leading questions and—toward the end of the conversation stream—provides an easy-to-access option to connect a prospect with a human for further conversation. As an alternative to speaking with a human, Mobi also offers to guide prospects to an interactive product tour.
  • IPT Pages: As part of our global inbound initiative, we’ve also introduced Interactive Product Tours (IPTs) so customers can see our product in action. Alongside these, we’ve utilized Mobi as a personal concierge to book appointments and also answer any questions about the tour right on the page.

We’ve also incorporated Drift into our organization-wide implementation of the challenger sales method. This unique application of the software uses Drift to reframe the prospect’s problem by following the specific choreography of the challenger framework—the warmer, the reframe, rational drowning, emotional impact, the new way, and your solution. We are using the challenger method across our entire sales flow, including our whole web and inbound experiences. Starting the challenger choreography within Drift gives us the ability to create a consistent and cohesive conversation that pulls through seamlessly into the sale experience.

Fastest Close Ever

All the best comeback stories end with a decisive win for the transformed hero, and the Aprimo story is no exception. It didn’t take long for us to realize the very tangible ROI of using Drift to streamline and modernize the way we engage with our prospects.

Soon after implementing Drift, we had our fastest close since we re-launched the business. Our typical sales cycle takes about 8 months from initial contact to signed deal. With Drift, we were able to reduce the sales cycle to only 45 days.

Drift helped the prospect self-select their way to the content that was most relevant to their needs, qualify the prospect based on what matters most to our business, and quickly and easily connect the prospect to one of our BDR folks. Because Drift gave us the ability to interact with the prospect in real time, they stayed engaged through each step of the process, and it took us only about ten minutes to get them scheduled for an initial sales conversation.

Ultimately, that Drift-enabled interaction led to a $180,000 sale that was locked down in record time.

It goes to show that it’s not just the content of your conversation that matters. The method of conversation also plays a big role in how things turn out. Being able to provide real-time guidance and engagement made a big difference in this sale, which we expect is only the first of many to be positively impacted by our use of conversational marketing.

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