There’s an enormous shift happening within sales and marketing organizations, and you probably don’t even realize it:
The tools you use every day are becoming more connected to one another and capable of the kind of intelligent exchange of information that’ll make your life as a marketer way easier.
Over the last 5 years, we’ve been a part of the rise of the first wave of cloud based integration platforms. It started with IFTTT and Zapier, who created easy ways to connect hundreds of tools together with event-based workflows. Suddenly, marketers could automatically make sure leads from any source were sent into the right drip campaigns, and records were created in any CRM.
Thanks to Zapier and IFTTT, you can finally say goodbye to manual CSV uploads. Booya!
But, I get it–marketers want more. That’s why this category has continued to grow with the addition of more complex workflows through multi-step Zaps, MuleSoft (recently acquired by Salesforce for $6.5B) and other new players in the space.
Now, a lead can be whisked between drip campaigns, data warehouses, CRMs, Slack notifications, and much more. And it can all be done through easy point and click without having to ask engineering teams for anything.
And that’s just the beginning. These tools move us one step closer to automating the boring tasks sales and marketing teams have endured for years.
But there are still some kinks to work out. For example:
- Marketers still have to spend time defining specific workflows, and often battle with tools that aren’t designed specifically for them, wasting precious time.
- Wave one integrations only go one-direction, meaning important contextual data doesn’t sync back to marketing tools, often resulting in non-optimized marketing messages.
- These integrations are based on structured rows of data, but today’s marketing data is often chat-based and unstructured, so they just aren’t compatible.
Why the Second Wave of SaaS Integrations Will Benefit Marketers
Today, we’re in the middle of the rise of the second wave of integrations.
Why should you care? Because the tools marketers use every day are about to get even more integrated with one another, making it easier to move quickly and drive growth.
Point Nine Capital coined a term for these type of invisible integrators–they called them “SaaS enhancers”.
And many SaaS enhancers are focusing on improving sales and marketing workflows. Clearbit, which Drift integrates with, is a great example. If you connect your Salesforce account to the Clearbit Enrichment service, your records are automatically kept up to date. No need to even design a workflow, it just works.
Drift has created some other great SaaS enhancers, too. The Drift Slack integration makes it easy for sales and marketing teams to flex their conversational marketing skills right inside of Slack. One click, and you’re up and running, saving you time by reducing context switching.
At BubbleIQ, we’re laser-focused on becoming a second wave SaaS enhancer for customer support teams to help them bridge the gap between sales, marketing, and support. We started with a deep, two-way integration between Zendesk and Slack, making it dead simple for customer support organizations to keep sales and marketing teams in the loop on support tickets. Sales and marketing teams can easily see customer support conversations of key accounts so they can understand the customer voice and increase retention.
After that, we started evaluating other tools we could integrate with to allow customer support teams to better collaborate with sales and marketing. When Drift launched their developer platform, we immediately saw a great opportunity to build a bridge between sales, marketing, and customer support through the power of Drift’s conversational marketing tools.
Since many prospects’ first interaction with a company is through Drift, they will often come back to Drift once they’re a customer to ask questions and get support. Some of these simple questions can be handled by a sales agent, but typically they are handed off to customer support. Many of Drift’s customers use Zendesk Support to manage customer support tickets, so the Drift conversations need to be sent into Zendesk.
We launched our app as one of the first apps on the Drift Platform, enabling a simple slash command that takes a Drift conversation and pushes it into a Zendesk ticket. Users have loved the ability to push conversations into Zendesk, giving them more metrics on customer conversations and ensuring that sales, marketing, and support are in sync.
The Holy Grail for Marketers: Intelligent Routing (Wave 3)
Now, integrators are working on completely removing the need for a team to set anything up at all. Instead, tools will just be connected, and the right data will be passed to the tool it is needed in, like magic. I repeat: You’ll never need to manually move data between tools, ever again.
Drift is already making this happen with Playbooks. Leads can be routed to the right person based on Salesforce data, and then the lead can book a demo in that person’s calendar.
For BubbleIQ, our vision of the future is that when a message comes into a Drift conversation that should be sent to Zendesk, it will just send to Zendesk automatically when the conversation is closed. The most important conversations will be quickly surfaced and stored in the right place.
Think about all of the time you waste manually defining workflows and moving data between systems every day. Soon, that will all be free time that you can use to keep running experiments and growing your funnel.
This and much more will be made possible by deep connective glue, sophisticated machine learning algorithms, and some special sauce. And we’re incredibly excited to be a part of the revolution.
Fletcher Richman is co-founder and CEO of BubbleIQ, which helps growing customer support teams
ensure tickets get solved quickly by connecting they use every day.