It wasn’t always like this. There was a time not too long ago when forms were stacked to the ceiling and conversational marketing was just a far off dream.
Now with thousands of companies relying on conversational marketing every day to help them qualify and close more leads, the need for best practices has never been greater.
So we wanted to devote a day to conversational marketing and showcase how leaders at its forefront are leveraging conversational marketing to drive real business results.
But we couldn’t do this on our own.
We needed a dream team.
So we joined forces with DigitalMarketer for the first ever Conversational Marketing Summit.
A squad of some of the brightest stars in the sales and marketing world assembled (virtually) to share their tried and true tips on how conversational marketing can grow your business and drive revenue forward.
And I was lucky enough to be among the over 6,000 marketing and sales people who signed up.
Our VP of Marketing, Dave Gerhardt was the host for the day and he set the stage by saying that his only goal is that viewers walk away having learned one lesson.
But given the number of incredible speakers at the event, I couldn’t possibly keep it to just one. So thanks to the brilliant marketing minds of Sarah Nelson, Marcus Murphy, Ryan Deiss, and Adam Schoenfeld, (with the occasional sprinkle of wisdom from our very own DC and DG), I was able to compile this list of my FOUR biggest takeaways from the Conversational Marketing Summit.
1) Conversation MUST Be The Goal
As DC explains in his introductory remarks, “Conversation is the fastest path to revenue.”
Conversations are VITAL to every business, yet so many businesses are making it hard for them to occur.
To that end, Adam correctly points out in his own session that your goal when marketing by email should be to encourage REPLIES not clicks. Personally, I’ve found this tip to be extremely useful in my work writing email copy at Drift. My intention when writing is never to sell something to someone. I simply want to start a friendly dialogue and begin forging a professional relationship.
2) The Conversation Has To Be Real
This is my personal biggest takeaway from the Summit.
And it’s the most important lesson I’ve learned in my time at Drift. No one wants to be sold to, or have their inbox overflowing with automated emails.
Now don’t get me wrong, automation has its place and definitely makes life a lot easier. But it has no place in conversations. We’ve become so reliant on automation that we’ve forgotten that the point of marketing is to make real connections with customers. That’s why there is a misconception that email marketing is dying. The problem isn’t with email however, but with USELESS email, as this tweet from Adam’s presentation shows:
— Anya Ciecierski (@AnyaCWMktg) September 25, 2017
So what’s the solution? It’s very simple, according to Sarah. We need to make marketing real and human again.
As Ryan notes in his session, humans are relational beings. The highest converting sales medium is face-to-face interactions. Why? Because we’re human! We want to talk to someone. Whether it be a face-to-face interaction, either in-person or digitally, or over the phone, we crave actual human connection.
The same can be said of email marketing. Emails need to be written with a personal touch. Now this doesn’t mean that you need to draft 100,000 distinct email copies. But just write every email as if you’re speaking to a friend.
I know firsthand that when you sincerely try to make a real connection when marketing to someone, the response rate is infinitely higher.
3) Conversation Can Be The Great Equalizer
Marketing and sales don’t have to be at odds. Conversation can be their great equalizer.
We know from DC that conversation is a direct path to revenue. So if sales and marketing adopt the shared metric of conversations, then they can ultimately work together to increase revenue.
Now I know what you’re thinking: “Easier said than done.”
And you’re right. But it’s important that sales and marketing teams understand that they are codependent.
Marcus makes the analogy that history’s greatest composers often didn’t play their own music. Rather, they used the world’s best musicians to make the music come alive. The same can be said of the relationship between sales and marketing. The marketer can write a beautiful story, but they need a sales rep to tell it the right way for it to have the desired impact.
4) The Funnel Model is Dead
As Ryan aptly points out, the tragic flaw in this model is that it inherently encourages a large number of leads at the top, and very few conversations at the bottom. Worse yet, it taught us to celebrate this wasted potential!
So how do we make the most of the leads that are coming in? We get rid of the funnel.
My sincerest condolences to any believers in the funnel; it had a good run. But the rise of the digital age all but ensured its demise.
Customers today have a power like never before. Gone are the days where marketers could determine a message and decide exactly when, how, and by whom that message is going to be received.
The modern customer buying process is now in the hands of…wait for it…the customer.
Customers have an entire world of products, opinions, and reviews right at their fingertips. As a result, we, as marketers, can only control the message to an extent. Conversation is more important than ever because it allows us to reach the customer throughout their buying process, and build a relationship with them, rather than force a message on them.
And Everything Else You Missed
Ok first off, there were a ton more sessions than what I mentioned here.
So if you want the chance to find your own takeaways, you can check out the recordings of the entire summit right here.
Secondly, I would come across as incredibly hypocritical if I didn’t encourage you to reply! So shoot me an email at email@example.com and let me know your thoughts and what lesson(s) you took away from this post.