I’ve spent a lot of time talking to B2B marketers about Drift and Conversational Marketing lately, and there’s one question that most of them share:
“Is Drift going to increase the number of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) or just shift them to another channel?”
And the real answer is, well – neither.
Because it’s all about QUALITY and SPEED. Not QUANTITY ?
The B2B marketing paradigm that we all grew up with was built for quantity, not quality and speed.
It was built in a world where vendors have all the control, not buyers. With vendors in control, the common B2B buying experience was defined by gates, forms and slow hand-offs between funnel stages.
In fact, every “best practice” was tailored to flood your database with names – gated content, lots of broad topical pages ranking in search, lead forms, email blasting…the list goes on.
We already know that this approach leads to a slow (and crappy) experience for both buyers and sellers. And it only makes sense that marketing automation providers push this paradigm because they use the number of contacts in a customer’s database as their economic engine.
But now, buyers are in control.
They don’t like to wait.
The new paradigm, led by Conversational Marketing, is about engaging your best buyers, on their terms, with the best experience.
It’s account-based, personalized around intent and engagement, contextual, human, and real-time. It’s NOW.
It gets the buyer to the next step in minutes rather than weeks.
It allows your sales team to spend time with the best leads – the people who are a good fit and who want to talk.
- Speed: Faster time from engaged demand to customer
- Focus: Getting your reps engaged with the buyers who are most likely to close
- Experience: Creating a better experience for both buyer and rep
And that’s ultimately the goal of Conversational Marketing. It’s not meant to increase MQLs, but rather drive conversation qualified leads (CQLs) and opportunities – both of which provide faster paths to revenue.
And we’ve seen this first-hand at Drift. We run our entire business on the platform. It boils down to this: Leads that come in as CQLs convert into opportunities 4 to 5 times higher (!) than any other source.
?THAT is the story of Conversational Marketing.
It gets you speed and quality because the intent is higher to begin with. Reps are connected NOW to people who are ready to buy NOW.
For Andrew Racine, who headed up MongoDB’s install of Drift, Conversational Marketing has:
- Increased total messaging responses by 100%
- Increased net new leads by 70%
- Increased opportunities by 170%
- More than doubled messaging-influenced pipeline
And while this is surely impressive, it’s not just about converting already likely customers at higher rates. Conversational Marketing helps generate conversations with prospects who would have never filled out a traditional lead form.
“We needed a messaging tool that could scale with our business and increase the volume of our conversations, leading to the increase of our pipeline and Sales Accepted Leads (SALs) — the metrics my Demand Generation team are measured on.”
– Andrew Racine
Imagine this: In the Venn diagram of “website visitors, sorted by willingness to convert on a particular CTA”, there are 3 circles:
- Visitors who will never convert no matter the vehicle (form, chatbot, live chat)
- Visitors who will always convert no matter the CTA
- Visitors who will engage with / convert via chat / a bot but who wouldn’t convert on a form
For the vast majority of Drift customers, there is an overlap in the latter two but that overlap is not 100%. Or, in other words, yes, site visitors who would have filled out a form may be “cannibalized” by a bot and choose to engage with / convert on that instead; but there are also almost always site visitors who wouldn’t have filled out a form, but who will engage with and convert via a bot.
By giving our customers a way to engage their prospects on the prospect’s terms when they are on their site, Conversational Marketing helps generate conversations that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.
It all goes back to increasing conversation qualified leads. Because we know they convert.