The Conversational Sales Formula

A Drift Guide to Help You Generate More Pipeline, Improve Sales Productivity, Engage Target Accounts, and Accelerate Your Business’s Revenue

Drift's Conversational Sales Formula

Prelude – Welcome to the Revenue Era

When you ask marketers what’s most important to them, they’ll tell you about traffic and leads. Ask the same question of sales, and they’ll say meetings and bookings. Ask it once more to the customer success team, you’ll hear about customer health and retention.

Underneath all those metrics lies a common foundation: customers and revenue.

But despite this common goal, your core go-to-market (GTM) teams are not aligned in how they operate. Today’s organizations are held back by three key challenges:

  • Sales and Marketing do not share the same goals.
  • Websites are built for marketing, not selling.
  • Buyers and sellers can’t connect in real-time.

To build a business tailored to the modern Revenue Era, your GTM teams must act as one unified revenue organization. You must transform your website from converting leads to driving revenue. And you must engage your buyers immediately – and in the exact way they want, at the exact time they want.

You drive that change with Revenue Acceleration. This fresh approach powers your organization, touching all stages of the customer journey, from the moment someone first interacts with your business to the ongoing relationship they have as a customer.

There are two components to Revenue Acceleration: Conversational Marketing and Conversational Sales. Together, these two solutions deliver real-time personalized engagement and accelerate deals. They help you provide a unified customer experience and grow your revenue.

Introduction – Buyers and Sellers Need Control

Long before online shopping changed everything, the luxury department store chain Nordstrom revolutionized the in-person buying experience.

From the moment you set foot in a store, you were treated like a VIP. A personal shopper guided you from one department to another. A stylist helped you pick out clothes. After you made a purchase, instead of sliding your bag across the counter, the salesperson walked around and personally handed it to you.

But the revolution wasn’t limited to the buyer’s side. The seller’s role and experience evolved, too.

While data and insights are hard to capture in-person, Nordstrom’s eCommerce platform generates quite a bit. If a customer spent an hour browsing the website’s jewelry section and skipped right past clothing, it knew to nix loungewear recommendations to focus on necklaces. That personalization runs deep – from the emails that land in your inbox to the ads you see.

Equipped with deeper insights, Nordstrom built trust and deepened its relationship with online shoppers.

Stores like Nordstrom set a new standard for customer and seller experience – and not just for consumer-facing businesses.

Today’s B2B buyers expect companies to roll out the red carpet. Sellers expect their employers to give them the tools, data, and support necessary to act as a personal shopper.

While B2C businesses like Nordstrom can leverage both in-person and eCommerce strategies, their B2B counterparts must rely solely on the latter. To keep up with skyrocketing expectations, you need to rebuild your sales process in a way that allows buyers to buy how and when they want to.

Everything from your website and communication channels to your sales process and onboarding must be nothing short of excellent.

That’s where Conversational Sales come in.

Conversational Sales gives your sales team a healthy pipeline of qualified opportunities and the real-time visibility, insights, and communication channels they need to prioritize target accounts, be more productive and win more business, faster.

With Conversational Sales, sales can immediately recognize prospects from existing customers, personalize their engagement, and tailor their pitch to create value and deliver the experience your customer expects.

In this book, you’ll discover the Conversational Sales Formula you can use to visualize, plan, and implement in your business. By the end of the book, you’ll learn:

  • What Conversational Sales is and how it works
  • How to accelerate revenue with Drift’s Conversational Sales Formula
  • How to optimize Conversational Sales for maximum ROI

The Pain: How B2B Businesses Have Let Their Buyers Down (And How to Fix It)

Buyers expect the Nordstrom treatment when shopping for new technology, services, and solutions. They expect a personalized, supportive, and immediate experience.

Nearly half of the buyers we polled in a recent survey said they expected a response within five seconds from a chatbot. One-third levied the same expectations for phone or video.

But B2B businesses have let them down.

Sales teams shepherd prospects down restrictive sales funnels. Buyers are at the mercy of forms, and little happens in real-time. Instead, buyers have to wait for a sales rep to reach out. There’s no transparency to the process. Buyers don’t have control, and it feels awful.

It’s no better for sellers.

For sales teams, data is fractured and siloed. There’s no 360-degree customer view. There’s no window into the marketing work going on behind the scenes. Supporting buyers is a hassle. Sellers lack control. They fumble their way through with a fraction of the insights and access they need, which drives buyers away and gnaws at employee engagement – hurting your revenue along the way. Indeed, studies show that CX laggards grow revenue six-times slower than industry leaders, and lax sales processes leave 28% revenue growth on the table.

Your Qualified Pipeline Dries Up

For those in charge of sales development, evaluation is brutal. You’re measured daily, sometimes hourly, on the volume of qualified meetings and opportunities you pass to your account executives. As your sales organization grows, so do your targets.

Account executives (AEs) feel the pain, too. Crunchbase estimates that 61% of an AE’s pipeline comes from marketing and sales development. It’s up to the AE to fill the deficit. Like their sales development colleagues, they endure the same demanding quotas and shrinking timelines.

If a team misses their sales development target, they might buy lists. That's a short-term fix and it’ll come back to bite you. The leads will be less-than-ideal, and reps will waste time on conversations that go nowhere.

Aurelia Solomon, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Drift

If sales reps devote their days to picking through low-quality leads, they won’t have time to invest in their best deals. That can seriously hurt your conversions. One solitary instance of poor customer experience will drive away 25% of your prospects.

With your good leads gone, you’re left scraping the bottom of the barrel, passing inferior leads on to your AEs. Organizations with poor pipeline performance grow 15% slower than their competitors.

Your Sales Productivity Tanks

Traditional outbound selling is like driving at night with your headlights off. You turn the wheel one way and hope the road follows. You hit the gas and pray there are no obstructions up ahead. For outbound sales reps, that blind hope will feel familiar.

Both SDRs and AEs pour time and energy into finding and developing leads without knowing if their buyers are interested or even in a position to buy.

“From an old outbound perspective, reps are totally in the dark the entire time,” explains Tate Knapp, an Enterprise SDR at Drift. He explains that reps often lack essential data, information, and context. In some cases, all sellers have to go on is a name and an email address.

Sales teams that leave reps to drive in the dark tend to have poor sales productivity. A famous study from Harvard Business Review discovered that organizations missed out on productivity improvements of up to 200% through lackluster sales processes, such as non-scientific buyer targeting and ineffective sales training.

Your Sales Cycle Gets Longer

Sales productivity comes from spending more time on qualified opportunities. When reps don’t have access to opportunity data, they can’t separate the red hot buyers from the time-wasting tire kickers.

conversational sales formula for b2b

Both SDRs and AEs invest their time at random. Each interaction fails to deliver more value; each sales play influences the buyer a little less. Sales cycles get longer. As weeks turn into months, buyers change their priorities, and sellers become frustrated. What should have been a smooth-flowing sales experience becomes frustrating and annoying. While some leads do convert, most fizzle out, leaving the seller with nothing to show for their hard work.

Your Brand Suffers

All across the economy, technology is commoditizing. One CRM looks like any other; project management platforms feel the same; the leading payment gateway is only slightly better than its competitors. With less and less to distinguish products, your sales process is your primary point of differentiation. How you sell becomes a direct reflection of your brand. Depending on how you perform, it can be a boon or bust for revenue acceleration.

How well the salesperson treats a buyer is super important to determine whether a buyer becomes a customer. Sometimes, people buy for the sales experience more than the product.

Mark Kilens, VP of Content and Community at Drift

Treating your sales process simply as a transaction rather than an enjoyable experience alienates buyers and impedes your growth. Indeed, organizations with middling customer experience scores grow their revenue at half the rate of CX leaders.

Your Customer Growth Stagnates

Aligning and actioning sales, marketing, and customer success is an eternal challenge for organizations. Ideally, your three revenue-generating departments will dovetail perfectly, with each process from one team supporting the others’ efforts.

But that’s not always what happens.

Often, these teams can’t communicate effectively and don’t put their customers first. They maintain separate reservoirs of data and silo their workflows; they use different technology stacks and speak to each other only when necessary; they pass off accounts and buyers as if they were footballs. This division causes friction and finger-pointing. Considering 70.1% of the average organization’s revenues come from existing customers, that puts a significant amount of revenue at risk.

Indeed, studies suggest that organizations that fail to align and action sales and marketing sacrifice 10% or more of revenue per year. That figure doesn’t even consider the increased losses sustained by customer success misalignment.

Building a Better Sales Experience for Buyers and Sellers

Your job isn’t to sell. It’s to help customers buy. Buyers want trusted advisors, and the experience you give them can make or break the sale.

The key is to adopt a way of selling that empowers your sellers while granting control to your buyers. You do that with the right Conversational Sales formula.

conversational sales formula for better buying experience

The Solution: Making Every Selling Second Count with the Conversational Sales Formula

Consider these two different buying scenarios:

The first involves Tricia, the head of product at a high-growth startup. After reading about the company’s latest successful fundraising round, an account executive with a prospective vendor reaches out to ask if she’s experienced any automation challenges while scaling. Tricia’s existing automation tools feel lackluster, so she takes the meeting to learn more.

The second buyer is a junior-level developer named Todd. He’s struggling to keep up with his workload, but he can’t figure out why he’s falling behind. He does a quick search for “good tools for developers,” stumbles on your website, and reads through some of the high-level marketing material. Eager to learn more, Todd requests a demo.

Clearly, these two situations are different. In Tricia’s scenario, the interaction is outbound – she has a budget and the authority to make purchasing decisions. She’s also identified her crucial challenge. Todd’s situation is the polar opposite. It’s an inbound interaction, and here, the buyer lacks any purchasing authority and doesn’t fully understand the specific problem for which he’s trying to solve.

Despite their differences, many sales processes will treat both buyers in the same way. Sellers don’t have insight into the four Ws that brought visitors to their site in the first place: Who, Where, What, and Why. Without that information, they will push the buyers towards annoying forms and rigid sales processes.

But with a Conversational Sales framework, we can do better than that.

We can – and should – individually engage each buyer based on who they are, where they are in the buying journey, what prompted the engagement, and why they (and you) are interacting.

By thinking about these things, sellers can build deeper relationships with buyers in a more human, authentic, and personal way. They learn to act like a Nordstrom personal shopper, not a generic sign at the front of a big-box store.

Because when we deliver a great buying experience, the rewards are tremendous.

Make Everyone a More Efficient Pipeline Generator

In the past, sales teams piled lead generation demands on marketing and Sales Development Reps (SDRs). That pressure is draining and unproductive.

Using an actionable Conversational Sales framework, you empower your sales reps to build their own pipeline more efficiently. It shares the burden of lead generation throughout your sales organization.

For example, instead of waiting for buyers to come to them, AEs can take initiative. Using a Conversational Sales solution, they gain visibility into when buyers are online or active and can drop into conversations, engaging with them in real-time.

Make Every Selling Second Count

Sales reps would be ecstatic if every lead they worked led to a great deal. But in practice, that’s not typically how things pan out. Some are red hot, while others are ice cold.

For reps to get the most bang for their buck, they need to know where to invest their time. Conversational Sales formulas align qualification throughout your organization. Everyone from marketing through to sales understands who your ideal buyers are – and the platform grants you the ability to identify them.

Instead of guessing which opportunities are best, your sellers can see their potential upfront. Once they pick the right leads and select the right tasks, their productivity skyrockets.

Conversational Sales removes the challenge of connecting with buyers after they fill out a form. Instead, you engage with them on the channel of their choice – when they want to talk to you. That increases your connect rate, meeting booked ratio, and, eventually, your revenue.

But Conversational Sales doesn’t just help sellers work harder. It also helps them work smarter.

By removing friction from the buying experience and creating an enjoyable experience for the buyer, each touch goes a bit further. When you align and action your sales process with your buyer’s wants and needs, you hit the gas on your deal cycles.

Turn Your Sales Experience into a Competitive Advantage

Conversational Sales lets reps meet buyers on their terms – their channel, their schedule, their purpose. Buyers like that sort of control. When you hand it over, their experience gets a whole lot better.

It transforms your buying process from something purely functional to a point of differentiation from your competitors.

Instead of being an anonymous part of the customer journey, it evolves into something your customers love and talk about. Suddenly, your sales process is also a brand differentiator, generating attention, and new referral opportunities.

conversational sales framework

Transform Your Customer Experience

Using the right Conversational Sales framework, you unite your revenue-generating teams behind a single goal – revenue. Instead of pulling towards different objectives, you align marketing, sales, and customer success to ensure they work together. An actionable Conversational Sales formula pushes these teams towards a shared goal.

You share information about buyers and customers between teams. When a buyer or customer moves from one team to another, they take all their context and background with them. Instead of starting from scratch, you’re building on the work that’s come before.

You better understand your potential and existing customers, which allows you to cultivate deeper and healthier relationships. With Conversational Sales, your interaction doesn’t stop when a customer signs up. Instead, your conversation keeps going.

By aligning their expectations with your sales process, you can deliver a personalized experience to accelerate revenue from renewals and expansions.

Accelerate Your Revenue

It’s easy to focus on the individual benefits of Conversational Sales – how Tenable improved their pipeline generation, or how RapidMiner helped their sales reps improve their productivity. But focusing on the specifics risks missing the bigger picture.

Conversational Sales frameworks hand control to the two most important players: your buyers and your sellers.

It revolutionizes how buyers interact with businesses. Instead of fumbling through complex websites and lengthy forms, buyers can engage with sales how and when they choose.

conversational sales framework for revenue acceleration

And it empowers your sales reps, too. Old sales methodologies handed sellers a lead’s name, email, and phone number, and left them to fill in the blanks. Conversational Sales lifts the curtain on buyers. It collects the Who, Where, What, and Why, and gives it to the seller. Armed with information, sellers can deliver a personalized, supportive, and tailored buying experience – precisely what buyers want.

Ultimately, these benefits combine into a single foundational improvement: Conversational Sales accelerates your revenue.

The Conversational Sales Formula: Who, Where, What Why

Back in the 1980s and ‘90s, when the idea of “inside sales” was just in its infancy, sellers were flying blind. Sellers had many questions – who do I sell to? Who’s a good target? Where do I find them? How do I grow the relationship? – but few answers. Without modern tech to guide them, they resorted to a scattershot approach.

“When I was a BDR, I literally had a Yellow Pages phone book,” recalls Armen Zildjian, VP of Sales at Drift. “I felt like a door to door salesman. It was a super inefficient model.”

When the digital era arrived, things improved. Sellers gained new access to buyers and took on evangelizing roles. Buyers weren’t aware of their challenges. It was the seller’s job to educate them and sell the right solution.

We held the answers. We were telling, teaching, and pitching. It was still inefficient. Sellers spent a lot of time trying to uncover a lot of things.

Armen Zildjian, VP of Sales at Drift

Starting in the mid-2000s, control shifted from the seller to the buyer. Organizations began creating and publishing educational content to market their businesses. Suddenly, buyers could educate themselves without the need for a seller. With information at their fingertips, buyers completed 57% of their purchase before talking to a sales rep.

Conversational Sales Formula: Who, Where, What Why

Today’s salespeople hunt for clues their buyers left behind. They search for digital fingerprints and footprints to understand buyer intent. They learn how to engage and build a relationship before the conversation starts.

The customer revolution ripped up the rulebook again. Companies like Nordstrom taught buyers to expect more than just a transaction – they created a buying experience that’s supportive, personalized, and enjoyable.

You can no longer expect to move buyers through your own self-serving internal sales process. Executing a sales process is what your job used to be. Now your job is to help people buy. You are their tour guide, recommender, and trusted advisor.

But to do that, you need to know your buyers better than they know themselves. You do that with the Conversational Sales Formula.

the conversational sales formula

The Conversational Sales Formula details the four Ws that brought a buyer to your site: Who, Where, What, and Why.

The Who unpacks the individual. Is this a complete stranger you know nothing about, the decision-maker from one of your target accounts, or an existing customer?

The Where investigates their position in the sales process. Is this the first time they have thought about a challenge? Are they comparing a final shortlist of options before committing?

The What is your trigger. It’s the action that prompts you to do something – a buyer opening an email, downloading an eBook, or chatting with your bot. It’s a window into your buyer’s mind, revealing what they’re thinking about right now. Alongside the prompt, there’s another consideration: What is the seller going to do next?

The Why is the product of three considerations that came before it. By combining Who, Where, and What, you’ll understand two things. First, Why a buyer has contacted you. Perhaps they want to compare your product to one of your competitors or learn more about their challenges. Second, Why are you engaging with them. Are you angling for a new meeting? Perhaps you’re trying to expand an existing account?

Turn Understanding into Action with the Conversational Sales Formula

The Conversational Sales Formula is powerful for analysis. Using this formula allows sales teams to study their buyers and unpack who they are and what they want out of your conversation. But the formula doesn’t teach you what to do next. You know who you’re talking to but not how to talk to them. To take that next step, you need the Conversational Framework for Sales.

The Conversational Framework for Sales

When it comes to selling, it’s not about you. The number one objective behind Conversational Sales is to help your buyers. Conversational Sales focuses on your buyer’s goals first.

You do that by empowering your sales reps. You give them the tools, technology, and trust they need to break free from restrictive sales processes in order to deliver a personalized VIP experience to each and every buyer.

It’s the fastest way to build trust and credibility with buyers and turn them into customers. Use the Conversational Sales Formula to create more opportunities, learn who to focus on, and understand what matters to buyers to move them through their process faster with a better buying experience.

To make things easy, we’ve boiled it down into what’s called the Conversational Framework. There are only three steps you need to remember:

  • Engage
  • Understand
  • Recommend

As you’ll see in the next few chapters, the Conversational Framework is flexible. Whether your SDRs are reaching out to brand new website visitors, your AEs are building relationships within target accounts, or your AMs are chatting with existing customers, this is all you need to supercharge your sales.

But before we dive into the implementation, let’s get to know the framework a little better.

conversational sales framework


Connect and Respond

The Conversational Framework takes a sledgehammer to stock forms and rigid sales processes. Whether inbound or outbound, you’re engaging buyers on their channel of choice – chat, email, SMS, video, or voice.

A one-size-fits-all solution like a traditional website that relies on forms doesn’t work when the nature of each customer’s path to purchase is so unique. You need to be immediately responsive with a more dynamic buying conversation that’s based on the individual buyer’s specific pain point, not what you’re trying to sell.

Rob Stevenson, Director of Performance Marketing at Zenefitss.

But your communication channel is just the start.

Conversational Sales means engaging with buyers on their terms – their channel, their schedule, and their purpose. Your interactions aren’t pushy sales pitches. Instead, you have helpful, authentic, and proactive conversations. You’re listening to what your buyers need and responding thoughtfully. It’s a genuine conversation.

By engaging your buyers when their attention and intent are the highest, you maximize engagement and grow your pipeline by talking to potential buyers earlier in the sales cycle.

Of course, even the largest sales teams have gaps in their coverage. That’s where smart AI-powered chatbots come in. Instead of pushing buyers towards a callback, your intelligent bots and workflows can engage buyers autonomously, learning about their challenges and understanding intent before passing them over to a human rep.


Qualify and Influence

All sales are built on understanding. The seller must empathize with their buyer’s challenges, pain points, and goals. The buyer must unpack the solution and evaluate its potential. It’s a process that begins from the first interaction and unfolds throughout the sales cycle.

Today’s buyers are conditioned to expect everything on-demand. They can order products on Amazon and receive them a couple of hours later. They can request an Uber and see it roll up in a couple of minutes. And they can instantly stream movies and TV on Netflix. That expectation of immediacy is bleeding into the B2B space.

Nearly half of all buyers expect a chatbot or live chat response within five seconds. One-in-three expects the same via phone or video call.

The traditional qualification process takes hours or even days of work by an SDR. But today’s customers aren’t willing to wait that long. With companies scrambling to respond fast enough, frustrations with unresponsive brands are ballooning.

“With the best intentions of responding to more inquiries, SDRs would frequently take two, or even three (or four or five or six) chats at a time,” says Rob Stevenson, Director of Performance Marketing at Zenefits. “But can you have multiple deep, meaningful conversations at the same time in real life? No. It doesn’t work well on chat either.”

conversational sales formula - understand

Conversational Sales relieves the burden on your sales organization. Use automated bots and workflows to understand your buyers. Ask questions, use signals, and tap into other data sources to understand each buyer and what they care about.

This formula is actually a two-way conversation. The days of sellers lecturing buyers are long gone. Sellers still have to explain their solutions, showcase services, and demo products, but buyers need time and space to ask their own questions. They must deepen their understanding and broaden their perspective.

As the conversation unfolds, you’ll understand who is ready for a sales conversation. When the time is right, your sales reps drop in. They’re the captain of the conversation, directing the discussion and influencing the buyer’s decision.

While your sellers focus on red hot buyers, your Conversational Sales platform handles the others. Whether a visitor should be talking to support instead of sales, or if they’re just not a good fit for your product, you can make sure they end up in the perfect destination.


Drive and Persuade

In this step, your sales reps are driving the conversation forward. You’re providing a valuable solution and persuading the buyer of its value through a consultative approach, a challenger sales motion, or another sales methodology.

“We quickly realized the value of having actual conversations with people while they were on our website – chatting with them in real-time when they were most interested in hearing from us,” explains Georgi Mirazchiev, a marketing specialist at Bynder. “Eliminating the time delay between a prospect’s inquiry and our response became our guiding principle.”

Once sales reps connect their calendars, you can automatically book meetings for qualified buyers directly from conversations. Your sales team will appreciate waking up to calendars full of high-quality meetings.

But meetings, demos, and sales are just three possible outcomes. Recommend whatever’s best for the buyer – a tip, an idea, a next step, a piece of content, or someone to connect with.

With the Conversational Sales Formula, you make the first move. You reach out and interact with potential buyers before they come to you. You learn about their challenges and goals. You drive the conversation forward and persuade the buyer to take the next step towards conversion.

But making the first move is just the start. Effective sellers stay proactive throughout the sales process. They continually search for opportunities to engage, persuade, and move the conversation forward. By remaining active on their buyer’s preferred channels, they drive the deal across the finish line.

Applying the Conversational Framework in Sales

The Conversational Framework is simple and straightforward: you engage, understand, and recommend. Regardless of whether you’re rolling out a simple Conversational Sales trial to a small SDR team or doubling down across your entire sales organization, the Framework stays the same.

But the Framework alone doesn’t teach you how to roll out Conversational Sales. To turn theory into action, you combine the Conversational Framework and the Conversational Sales Formula. Together, they deliver outstanding conversational experiences.

Stage 1: Engaging Website Visitors

Let’s say there’s an HR executive at a mid-sized fintech company on the hunt for a new benefits platform. You can probably imagine how he would begin his search: He heads to Google, types in “best modern benefits solution,” and clicks the first link for a business we’ll call

The website loads, and it looks like the exact solution he needs: It supports HR, payroll, and benefits – perfect. He just has one lingering question. That’s when the chatbot pops up in the corner of the screen. He types a quick message, asking whether Perx is well-suited for fintech companies.

Unbeknownst to him, the chatbot whirs into action. It assesses the HR executive as a buyer and determines he’s a good fit. Then, it pings an SDR, who drops into the conversation a few seconds later.

“It’s great to meet you! My name’s Quinn,” she writes. “It looks like you’re interested in whether or not Perx is a fit for finance firms like yours. We work with a bunch of great traditional finance and fintech firms. What issues are you having with your current benefits management solution?”

Just like that, he’s speaking to a human SDR. She’s unpacking his pain points, workshopping how her solution can help, and suggesting the executive arranges a demo as a next step. He agrees to the demo. The next day, an AE walks him through his future benefits platform, showcasing all the features, functionality, and added extras it offers.

You’ve just experienced the first stage of the Conversational Sales Formula: Engage.

Engage Website Visitors

The first stage of Conversational Sales is all about generating new meetings. When a prospect shows high intent – say, they land on your website or attend a webinar – your sellers should reach out and provide a friendly introduction to themselves and your company.

conversational sales formula engage website visitors

As soon as someone arrives on your site, you’re engaging them, understanding their challenges, and recommending a solution. You take a functional buying process and turn it into something personalized and enjoyable.

That first flash of interaction must be eye-catching. It’s there to capture your buyer’s attention and engage them in a conversation. To turn boring messaging copy into something that pops, you’ve got tons of options.

Whenever possible, personalize your messages by using the buyer’s name, company name, title, or location. In some cases, you might also try more than one outreach. If one introduction isn’t working, try something else. Mention their behavior. If they’ve downloaded an eBook, read a blog, or chatted with sales before, work that into your message. Finally, end your introduction with a value-driving question. Give your buyer a clear way to push your conversation forward.

It’s an ambitious goal, especially for the very first stage. But Conversational Sales doesn’t set sellers loose without any guidance. Instead, you use the Conversational Sales Formula to design an outstanding personalized experience for your buyers.

But you can’t roll out the Conversational Sales Formula as is. You need to tweak it slightly depending on who your buyer is, where they are in the buying journey, what prompted the engagement, and why they (and you) are interacting. Each tweak is a different use case, and for the first stage, there are nine.

conversational sales framework

It might seem like a long list, but don’t worry. You don’t need to launch with them all. We don’t recommend you use every single play for every single touchpoint – but they’re there for you whenever you think they will be most effective.

You can generate great results from a handful – and even that is getting ahead of the game. Concentrate on rolling out one or two that are best suited to your buyers and their context. Once you’ve perfected them, return and pick out a few more.

Let’s take a look at a few of the best-performing use cases.

Frequent Flyer (Chat)

Remember how modern buyers are completing 57% of their purchase decision before talking to a sales rep? Although they’re not talking to you, these buyers are still interacting with your website. They’re reading your blogs, checking out your feature pages, and poring over your pricing options.

While sellers would traditionally have sat back and waited for buyers to come to them, Conversational Sales approaches things a little differently.

Because you can see who’s on your site, you can identify visitors who come back time and time again. We call these people frequent flyers. Let’s take a look at the Conversational Sales Formula for an in-depth look at these buyers.

conversational sales formula

Once you know who your frequent flyers are, you can wait until they’re active on your website and drop into the conversation. Let’s see how that interaction plays out using the Conversational Framework.

Engage: Connect and Respond

  1. Greet the visitor upon their return to your website.
  2. Catch up with the visitor and touch base on updates.
  3. Leverage insights regarding previous interactions.

Understand: Qualify and Influence

  1. What is your pain point?
  2. What interests you about the solution?
  3. How does this align with your goals?

Recommend: Drive and Persuade

  1. Pitch a solution in accordance with the buyer’s areas of focus.
  2. Schedule a call for a tailored look at how we can help.

Content Recap (Email and Video)

As with the Frequent Flyer use case, you’re tapping into buyer behavior data, specifically the content they’re consuming on your site. Let’s dig into the buyers in more detail.

conversational sales formula

Unlike Frequent Flyer, this use case is designed for when you’ve missed the buyer on your site. By the time you’ve highlighted them, they’re offline, so you can’t chat in real-time. Instead, you leverage their content consumption as a way to open a conversation via email or video.

Here’s how you do it.

Engage: Connect and Respond

  1. Articulate your thoughts on the content that was consumed
  2. Share your response to the content
  3. Point out relevant pieces of the material

Understand: Qualify and Influence

  1. Ask value-driving questions to uncover more information
    • What brought you to check out this material?
    • What are your goals?
    • What inspired the research on [x] topic?

Recommend: Drive and Persuade

  1. Leverage the content to pitch a solution
  2. Schedule a call? to understand how Drift can help with the topic

Chat to Zoom (Chat and Video)

A huge amount of our communication is non-verbal. We speak volumes with our facial expressions and deliver nuance with our body language. Although chat is an immensely powerful communication channel, it leaves a lot of meaning on the table.

When their rapport allows it, reps are often better moving buyers from live chat to Zoom for a deeper, richer, face-to-face conversation.

Before we dig into the practicalities of switching channels, let’s learn a little more about your audience.

conversational sales formula

Here’s how you manage the conversation while switching channels.

Engage: Connect and Respond

  1. Introduce yourself and the brand
  2. Understand the intent behind the buyer’s research

Understand: Qualify and Influence

  1. Identify the buyer’s current workflow
  2. Define the buyer’s pain point
  3. Suggest a live video conference for a deeper dive

Recommend: Drive and Persuade

  1. Present insights.
  2. Articulate value from a high level
  3. Book a meeting to continue the conversation

The Conversational Sales Formula in Action

Although Conversational Sales is a more natural way to sell, it’s a significant departure from the rigid sales processes of old. That can feel unusual, especially for highly experienced sellers who are used to existing processes and methodologies.

To show you how it works in practice, let’s drop in on one of our customers.

We’ll explore their challenges and learn how the Conversational Sales Formula supercharged their sales efforts in just a few months.

How Lessonly Doubled Meetings in One Quarter

When Ben Battaglia took over as Director of Marketing at Lessonly, he set an early goal of reducing the amount of friction on the site.

“It used to take a lot of steps to talk to a human, or it was clunky – your experience of talking to or scheduling time with a human was less than ideal,” Battaglia explains. “[W]e sought to streamline and remove friction from the buying experience so that a site visitor could talk to a human and get what they needed faster.”

Battaglia rolled out Drift, and several Conversational Marketing plays. Site visitors could suddenly speak to someone with a couple of clicks. It cut through Lessonly’s old high-friction user journey and created a VIP experience for every visitor.

But that was just the start.

After his initial success, Battaglia convinced Lessonly’s sales leaders to adopt Drift, too.

They retooled Drift for Lessonly’s account-based marketing campaign, rolling out Conversational Sales to outbound commercial and enterprise SDR teams.

If a buyer who already had an assigned sales rep landed on the site, Drift sent a notification to that rep, who then launched a conversation. This was a way to proactively engage the buyer instead of waiting for them to make the first move.

Drift has shaped how we think about the sales-marketing partnership. SDRs became part of marketing about a year ago, and Drift has been a perfect tool to help us unify the two teams so that we can tie together what we’re doing with the SDRs using Drift. It’s brand new that all SDRs are using a chat tool, and so we’re excited about the impact it can have.

Ben Battaglia, Director of Marketing at Lessonly

With Conversational Marketing and Sales working in partnership, Battaglia doubled Lessonly’s inbound meetings and boosted outbound performance. But the change was more than tactical. Battaglia says Drift’s conversational approach has permeated every element of Lessonly’s sales and marketing strategy.

“We’re realizing the importance and value of conversations, and that’s helping us grow and become a better team,” he says.

Turning Conversations into Deals

The first stage of the Conversational Sales Formula is designed to generate new meetings. But the conversation doesn’t stop when you confirm a meeting date on your calendar. Conversational Sales keeps the conversation going, helping you turn meetings and demos into closed deals.

In the next chapter, you’ll see how Conversational Sales can deliver a more supportive and personalized experience for your target accounts.

Stage 2: Targeting Potential Buyers

After becoming frustrated with the limitations of her existing performance management platform, a marketing leader we’ll call Lucy decides to look for a new solution.

She scours the market and narrows her choices down to two. A sales rep from a company called PerformNow – Lucy’s preferred option – has even emailed her a few times to gauge her interest, but the two have yet to connect.

She needs to make her decision soon, so she heads to PerformNow’s website to double-check their pricing. As soon as she hits the pricing page, PerformNow’s revenue engine kicks into gear. It knows Lucy is a target account. It knows her buying intent is high – she’s on the pricing page, after all. So it fires a notification to an AE.

A few seconds later, Lucy’s cell phone rings. She recognizes the number as PerformNow and picks up.

“Hey, this is Tate calling from PerformNow,” says the caller. “I know you weren’t expecting my call, so I’ll keep this brief. At PerformNow, we work with marketing leaders like you to improve their performance management using AI-powered technology. I’ve had your organization on my radar for a while now, and have a ton of ideas for management strategies specific to your team. Do you have any availability on Friday to take a closer look?”

Lucy agrees and books a meeting. The meeting goes well. Tate shows off PerformNow and demos how he’d use it to manage her marketing team. It’s impressive. Lucy gets off the call feeling great about PerformNow. A couple of weeks later, she signs up and rolls out PerformNow across her marketing org.

Welcome to the second stage of Conversational Sales: Target.

Target Potential Buyers

In the first stage of the Conversational Sales Formula, you proactively reach out to all website visitors, throwing open your doors and giving them a warm welcome. When you reach the second stage, your focus shifts slightly. Here, it’s about separating your target accounts, delivering a VIP buying experience, and turning introductory conversations into qualified sales opportunities.

It’s important to make your approach as granular as possible. You deliver the best experience to potential buyers when you can speak to them as individuals, tailoring your communication to their circumstances, challenges, and goals. That’s where a Conversational Sales solution comes in.

Instead of siloing your buyer demographic, firmographic, and behavioral data, Conversational Sales puts it all at your sellers’ fingertips. You can zoom into individual buyer behavior and highlight content engagement, professional wins, or unique challenges. When that’s not possible – or when you need a broader view – you can zoom out and focus on the company.

b2b conversational sales framework

With an average of six to 10 stakeholders per deal, target accounts are ripe for multithreading, which involves engaging multiple decision-makers on the buying side. Instead of limiting their conversation to just one person, conversational sellers reach out to individual contributors, managers, and executives, cultivating buy-in across an organization.

As in the first stage, you design engaging conversational experiences using the Conversational Sales Formula. By tweaking it based on who your buyer is, where they are in the deal cycle, what triggered your interaction, and why they’re contacting you, you create highly effective use cases. At Drift, we have eight use cases we use every day:

drift conversational sales framework

Again, you don’t need to implement all eight plays immediately. Prioritize the ones that are best suited to your buyers. Once those are running smoothly, add additional use cases that best complement your business. Let’s take a look at the three of the most effective use cases:

Red Carpet (Chat)

Marketing and sales invest huge amounts of time and resources to attract target accounts to their websites. But after someone lands on your website, a lot of marketers and sellers step back. They leave buyers to explore on their own without any guidance or support. They don’t even say hello.

The Red Carpet use case fixes all those mistakes.

Before digging into the conversational experience, let’s learn a bit more about your target buyers.

conversational sales formula

This use case triggers when a target buyer visits your website from a specific UTM, such as email, social, or paid search. It’s a rare opportunity to chat in real-time when someone’s intent is high. That’s why you don’t treat them the same way as any old website visitor. You roll out the red carpet and greet buyers with a personalized experience and account-specific messaging.

Here’s what that looks like.

Engage: Connect and Respond

  1. Use an engaging and personalized opening
  2. Reference relevant content or past conversations
  3. Name-drop colleagues from the account
  4. Use thought-provoking questions to prompt conversation

Understand: Qualify and Influence

  1. What brought you to our website today?
  2. What is your role at the company?
  3. What are your biggest challenges this quarter?
  4. What results are you trying to drive?

Recommend: Drive and Persuade

  1. Schedule a demo for a deeper dive into how your solution can help

Face to the Name (Email and Video)

There’s a reason why “People Buy from People” became an overused sales cliche – it’s true. People connect with people, not faceless companies. They trust people, not marketing messages. They buy from people, not sales pitches.

You see this often with target accounts. A buyer can be the perfect fit for you, and your product can be the ideal solution for them, yet they don’t bite.

Before we dive into the fix, let’s get to know this target account a little better.

conversational sales formula

When a pitch is stalling, it often comes back to that age-old sales cliche. But does your buyer really know who you are?

Creating a tailored video for a target contact is a great way to introduce yourself, capture their attention, and start a real conversation. Instead of relying on your product, put your face and personality front and center.

Here’s how you do it.

Engage: Connect and Respond

  1. Greet the buyer by name and leverage other personalized details.
  2. Introduce yourself with a friendly greeting.
  3. Share the purpose of your outreach.

Understand: Qualify and Influence

  1. Articulate your ideas and solution recommended.
  2. Use value-driving questions to prompt a response and uncover details.

Recommend: Drive and Persuade

  1. Schedule a demo for a deeper dive into the topic.

High Intent Cold Call (Voice)

In the past, most of the sales process was opaque. But modern technology provides insights that can supercharge our cold calls.

Cold calls, in most cases, are just that – cold. But tapping into real-time behavioral insights allows your sales reps to warm up their outreach. This play helps you call your buyers while your solution is top of mind.

Here’s a snapshot of your audience.

conversational sales formula

Your contact has seen your outreach. Their interest is piqued. They’re on your website after your demo to do some research on pricing and implementation. Now’s the time to reach out and drive the conversation forward.

Engage: Connect and Respond

  1. Introduce yourself with a friendly greeting.
  2. Mention why you called.
  3. Set expectations for the call.

Understand: Qualify and Influence

  1. Uncover details about what prompted the website visit.
    • What were your thoughts about [campaign] or [outreach]?
    • What are your current objectives?

Recommend: Drive and Persuade

  1. Continue the conversation on a video call later in the week.

The Conversational Sales Formula in Action

The second stage is exciting. It’s all about expanding your focus and finding new ways to implement Conversational Sales in your sales process. As you’re about to find out, with a sprinkling of creative thinking, you can create some exceptionally unique – and impactful – use cases.

How Tenable Created Opportunities 3X faster

In 2018, Matt Mullin recognized that Tenable’s target account sales strategy needed help. The cyber exposure company was focusing on Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) at Fortune 500 companies. But leads were fizzling out before its sales reps had converted them into opportunities.

“We had a heavy dependence on email marketing,” says Mullin, Senior Director of Global Marketing Operations and Technology. “But there was too much crowding with this approach. Sales folks everywhere could email the same people we were targeting in mass and in bulk.”

Without any coordination between sales reps, conversations became messy and deals became confusing. Conversions suffered and revenue growth lagged. Mullin knew he could update the antiquated approach – but he needed an opportunity. When Tenable brought in a new VP of marketing, he sensed his chance.

He shared the idea of using the Drift platform to deliver more high-quality MQLs that the SDR team could more quickly turn into closed business. He got the greenlight and got to work on making the changes Tenable needed to close more CISOs.

Mullin began by setting up Tenable’s most senior SDRs on Drift. Performance improved overnight.

They knocked it out of the park. We instantly saw our conversion rates go up. Drift became one of our highest converting programs. Really, you could pick any metric that you wanted and there was positive movement.

Matt Mullin, Sr. Dir. of Global Marketing Operations & Technology at Tenable

With SDRs immediately engaging with interested people through Drift Chat, Mullin saw their median response time drop to less than 60 seconds. This was a marked improvement, but he knew there was more opportunity to get more out of Conversational Sales.

The next lever in Mullin’s strategy was automation. To capture any traffic Tenable’s SDRs weren’t able to reach, he deployed Drift Automation to supercharge their already improved SDR chat strategy.

Using Conversational Sales, Tenable’s SDRs delivered opportunities three times faster. Not only that, but they also boosted conversation quality by 30% and doubled conversion rates.

Mullin believes the improvement is down to transparency and opportunity.

“No matter how many times somebody fills out your forms, goes to a webinar or does all of this other stuff, it becomes a black hole on the backside,” he says. “If you’re not able to talk to them immediately, then there’s a good chance you’re never going to talk to them. We are having so many more conversations in an environment that’s becoming harder and harder to reach people. When people are raising their hands, we’re actually there to listen, something we couldn’t do prior to Drift.”

Hitting the Gas on Deals

In the second stage, you learn how to expand Conversational Sales into new audiences – key target accounts, demo audiences, etc. But once you turn those conversations into opportunities, you’re faced with a familiar challenge: how do you drive those opportunities forward towards conversion? Find out how in the next stage of Conversational Sales: Accelerate.

drift conversational sales framework and formula

Stage 3: Accelerating Deal Cycles

Picture this scenario: A regional manager at a large national chain joins a buying committee to help select a new inventory-management tool. Her manager instructed everyone on the committee to find three possible providers and share them with the group.

She finds three options quickly and begins digging into each. She reads about features, pricing, integrations, and support. As she learns more, one provider starts to sound better and better – let’s call it StoreTracker. She books a demo with their sales team and posts an update on your buying committee’s Slack channel.

One of her colleagues, who we’ll call Jane, Googles StoreTracker and starts reading through its website. Behind the scenes, StoreTracker’s site recognizes Jane as a part of the retail chain. It alerts the AE assigned to the account and encourages them to reach out.

After a few minutes, a chat window pops up.

“Good morning!” writes the AE. “I’m Eliott, your main point-of-contact at StoreTracker. I’ve had a great conversation with your colleague already. What brings you to the website today?”

Our original regional manager listens as Jane types away at her keyboard, chatting back and forth, and telling her more about StoreTracker. Suddenly her one-to-one interaction is a multithreaded sales conversation.

Say hello to the third stage of the Conversational Sales Formula: Accelerate.

Accelerate Your Deals

The first two stages of the Conversational Sales Formula are about getting conversations started. In the first, you’re aiming for new meetings. In the second, you’re crafting opportunities. But even when everything goes perfectly, there’s a long way to go to close the deal.

You’re in the deal; you’ve had conversations. Now in the third stage, you’re stepping on the gas, accelerating towards the finish line.

It’s time to think about buyer roles: Who’s your champion? Who’s your coach? Who’s your decision-maker? You’re clearing the fog that surrounds each account, learning who you need to win over. By identifying each role, you can deliver conversational experiences tailored to each.

More broadly, you can remove any points of friction from the buying experience, allowing buyers to glide from one stage to the next. At the same time, you can help your sellers work more efficiently, boosting sales productivity.

In stage three, we recommend these nine plays.

b2b conversational sales formula

Again, you don’t need to roll out Conversational Sales with all nine plays. Select the ones that best fit your buyers and lead with them. One use case used at the right time with the right buyer is more than enough to get your deal moving.

Let’s take a closer look at a few of the most effective use cases.

New Stakeholder Update (Video and Email)

The average B2B deal has six to 10 stakeholders. Each of those stakeholders is like a new plate that you have to keep spinning. When someone new enters a conversation, it’s tempting to sideline them and focus on the relationships you already have – but that’s a mistake.

Complex sales rely on multi-threading. When a new stakeholder emerges, it’s your job to get them up to speed as quickly as possible.

Before we talk about how you can do that, let’s get to know these stakeholders a little better.

conversational sales formula

With the New Stakeholder Update use case you’re going wide in the account, updating every stakeholder. You’re providing enough context and information to get everyone on the same page.

In doing so, you turn a disorganized collection of buyers into a cohesive buying committee.

Engage: Connect and Respond

  1. Introduce yourself and explain your relationship with other stakeholders.
  2. Ask what brought the buyer to look into your company.

Understand: Qualify and Influence

  1. Ask value-driving questions about their goals and pain points.
  2. Collect insights about their role in decision-making.

Recommend: Drive and Persuade

  1. Send information to update the buyer on the business case.
  2. Schedule a call to connect based on the buyer’s involvement in the decision.

Personal Website Follow Up (Video)

Today’s buyers have a world of information at their fingertips. They can watch product demos on YouTube, read service reviews on Medium, and browse thought leadership articles on corporate blogs. For sellers, keeping tabs on the kinds of content a buyer consumes can be a massive boon.

Let’s say a buyer begins exploring topics you haven’t covered yet. Instead of waiting for them to raise the subject with you, take the conversation to them and keep them informed.

That’s where the Personal Website Follow Up comes in.

But first, a little on your target buyers.

conversational sales formula

When a buyer checks out a feature that they aren’t familiar with, it’s an opportunity to educate them. Record a quick video articulating the feature or solution and send it to them. You could even build a custom demo specific to their business.

It’s a simple way to educate a prospect on an area of the solution you haven’t touched on yet without scheduling another full demo. It’s also a great way to open up a conversation about this area of the product.

Here’s how it works.

Engage: Connect and Respond

  1. Analyze website behavior and measure intent.
  2. Acknowledge behavior and the state of the sales cycle.

Understand: Qualify and Influence

  1. Explain the feature or solution that the buyer has begun to look into.
  2. Articulate the value of the feature or solution.

Recommend: Drive and Persuade

  1. Apply the feature or solution to the buyer’s current business case.
  2. Suggest a use case for the buyer.
  3. Guide a follow-up conversation.

ABM Pricing Live Convo (Chat)

After running a demo, a lot of sales reps will sit back and wait. But Conversational Sales empowers sellers to stay alert for more engagement opportunities.

One such opportunity arises when a buyer jumps onto your pricing page after you’ve demoed your product. It’s a sign they’re seriously evaluating your solution – and a great time to reach back out.

Before digging into the conversational experience, let’s take a quick look at your audience.

conversational sales formula

Your goal is to remove the friction from your pricing conversations. Meet the buyer where they are. Engage them in real-time when pricing is top of mind.

Engage: Connect and Respond

  1. Use website behavior and previous conversations as context.
  2. Offer help and assistance.
  3. Identify key questions or concerns.

Understand: Qualify and Influence

  1. Identify pricing concerns.
  2. Understand what prompted the website visit.
  3. Gather information about internal conversations.

Recommend: Drive and Persuade

  1. Drive a follow-up conversation with the buyer and team of decision-makers.
  2. Send a contract with confirmed next steps.

The Conversational Sales Formula in Action

The third stage is a little different than the two that came before. You’re not creating new leads or opportunities. Instead, you’re doing more with the conversations you already have. You’re stepping on the gas and accelerating your deals.

To see how it works in practice, let’s take a trip to Centage’s sales org.

How Centage Cut Its Sales Cycle by up to 80%

Kory Wagner started small. As VP of Marketing for Centage, Wagner rolled out Drift with an open-ended marketing play on a few pages of his company’s website. Within the first week, a website visitor engaged with the bot, which led to a phone call. A week later, an account executive closed the deal.

That small experiment started Centage on the road to conversational excellence.

From its basic implementation, Wager pushed Drift out to new marketing functions – paid search landing pages, referral sites, blog posts, and Centage’s homepage. With a broader application, he says he “really saw the potential.”

Searching for new applications, Wagner convinced a handful of Business Development Reps (BDRs) to trial Drift. It didn’t take long for Centage’s sales leaders to see how well it was working. Instead of fumbling through forms, buyers could hop on chat and instantly reach their BDR. It revolutionized Centage’s sales process.

But the best was yet to come.

Instead of passing off leads like a football, Centage’s BDRs simply introduced their AEs to the conversation and stepped back. There was no awkward hand-off – just a naturally flowing conversation.

Our AEs love what’s coming in from the business development team. These are buyers who have done their research. They have come in, raised their hands, and engaged in a personalized conversation. By the time an AE gets involved, the lead is further down the funnel, which means our account executives are having more effective conversations right out of the gate.

Kory Wagner, VP of Marketing at Centage

Centage’s sales team slashed its average sales cycle. Before introducing Conversational Sales, opportunities took around two months to close. With Drift in place, sellers landed deals as quickly as 12 days – close to a 5X improvement.

Buoyed by his success, Wagner has continued exploring new playbooks and opportunities for automation.

“It can only continue to improve the customer experience,” he says. “Everyone likes to have choices, and buyers are no exception. By building our process around opening things up for them instead of trying to force them along a single, one-size-fits-all path, we’re able to demonstrate our commitment to a customer-centric sales approach.”

Alignment and Action with Marketing

Effective sales teams accelerate revenue by making the buying experience unique and personal to each customer. But they can’t do it alone. To engage buyers and accelerate deals, sales reps need to cooperate and collaborate with their marketing colleagues.

This goes much further than traditional alignment. Sales and marketing don’t just need the same goal. They need to act together, so their work complements and supports each other.

In the next chapter, we’ll explore how to build and act on foundational alignment and learn how the specifics change throughout each stage of the Conversational Sales Formula.

conversational sales formula

Align and Act with Marketing

In the revenue era, customer journeys have become more complex than ever before. Buyers today manage their own research and reach out on their schedule.

One-size-fits-all forms are a thing of the past. Instead, people use the communication channel of their choice: chat, email, SMS, video, voice, or a combination of all of five.

In this environment, companies can’t stick to a rigid sales process. They must be flexible, agile, and ready to adapt their approach to their buyers’ needs. That change requires deep cooperation between sales and marketing.

Teams and processes are more interconnected than ever. Companies that adopt the revenue operations mindset will be the ones that find ways to evolve and optimize their end-to-end revenue process. This agility, evolution, and team cohesion is a competitive advantage.

Kyle Coleman, VP of Revenue Growth and Enablement at Clari

With Conversational Sales, your sales and marketing teams don’t just align to the same goals. They coordinate their processes and act together as one united revenue team. They deliver a seamless experience that flows from a prospect’s first touchpoint through their entire buying journey.

When your go-to-market teams begin to act as one, the pay-off is enormous. According to a study by SiriusDecisions, companies that align their revenue teams experience 15% higher profitability and 19% faster revenue growth.

Aligning marketing and sales starts with relationships. Two faceless teams can’t work together – but people can.

conversational sales framework

“Forge close relationships with whoever works in marketing operations,” advises Laura Adint, VP of Sales Operations at Drift. “Working extremely closely with your marketing ops or marketing leadership counterparts helps you optimize for people, process, and technology.”

But building close working relationships is only the start.

As you progress through the Conversational Sales Formula, the relationship between marketing and sales changes. Although your goal of alignment remains the same, how you achieve it changes between each stage.

Stage 1: Engage

In the first stage, your goal is to find qualified visitors to connect with your sales reps. But what does “qualified visitor” mean?

“As a sales and marketing team, the most important definitional thing that you have to agree upon is: what should get through the top of the funnel?” Adint explains. “You do that by defining what an interested person looks like.”

That may sound simple, but with multiple stakeholders at the table, it’s more complicated than you might think. You need to engage leaders from demand generation, sales ops, and sales development and help them reach a consensus together. What does a target account look like? What does “hand-raising” mean? Do you treat high-intent buyers from target and non-target accounts the same way?

Setting these definitions is crucial. It helps your marketing team work out where to invest their resources. It ensures the unqualified tire-kickers don’t deluge your sales reps. And it produces a better experience for your potential buyers. Those that need a human agent speak to someone immediately. Those best served elsewhere get diverted to content or a self-service resource.

Stage 2: Target Potential Buyers

Sales is like a relay race, especially with target accounts. Marketing bursts out of the blocks, SDRs take the baton down the back straight, and AEs sprint home over the line. Just like a real race, your GTM teams need to know who’s running and when.

Alignment means knowing who's taking the lead with your target accounts. Make sure you've got clear rules of engagement. Marketing and sales must be in alignment over who's in the lead position to communicate with each buyer.

Laura Adint, VP of Sales Operations at Drift

When you don’t have that alignment, chaos ensues. Account executives can get within an inch of the finish line only for a marketing colleague to introduce a new prompt or question. Suddenly, your buyer is distracted, and the deal is delayed – or worse. But when you agree on a unified strategy across all your GTM teams, everything flows effortlessly.

Stage 3: Accelerate Deal Cycles

In the third stage, you’re stepping on the gas, accelerating deals towards the finish line. While late-cycle strategy focuses on sales, marketing also has a large role to play.

“There are certain things marketing can do to speed up the buyer’s journey,” says Adint. “It’s an encouragement function. Think about what kinds of events, materials, and actions help people while they’re in the middle of the funnel.”

drift conversational sales framework

Even if marketing is not the team leading the communication, they can still influence the deal in the background. Content like case studies and customer stories are invaluable assets for sellers – but only if they can access them.

The success of this partnership largely depends on your feedback structures. Sales reps need a way to tell marketing which assets are working and which ones are falling flat. Without a feedback loop, marketers are flying blind, producing content they think – or hope – will help.

At Drift, we foster a close working relationship through weekly check-ins. Each meeting provides an opportunity for analysis and improvement, ensuring both marketing and sales are improving every week.

Building Alignment and Action

Alignment between marketing and sales won’t happen overnight. Kate Adams, VP of Demand Generation at Drift, describes it as “a tried and true partnership.” That sort of cohesion takes time to develop. Marketing leaders need to learn to trust their sales counterparts. Sales leaders must adapt their strategy for marketing.

“[GTM] teams need to stop pointing fingers and take ownership around the revenue process and their role in driving that process,” she says. “They need to identify strategic gaps and help one another bridge those gaps.”

Progress will be slow at the start as once siloed teams begin cooperating and coordinating. But don’t let a slow rate of change dishearten you. Once your marketing and sales teams start to experience the value in alignment – higher-quality buyers, stronger targeting, faster improvements – the rate of adoption will grow, as well.

Get Started Today

The sales landscape has evolved. Companies like Nordstrom taught buyers to expect more from buying. Purchasing a product or service shouldn’t feel like a dispassionate check-out experience. It should be supportive, personalized, and enjoyable.

Sellers have changed, too. They’re no longer the door-to-door salespeople of the 1980s. Nor are they the information gatekeepers of the mid-aughts.

Today’s sellers are the natural complement to freshly empowered buyers. They’re personal shoppers and consultants. They shape their approach to their buyer’s needs, challenges, and aims.

Or, at least, they should.

But here’s the thing: Most sales teams haven’t adapted to this new reality. Instead, they soldier on with dated sales processes and ideologies. They work harder and harder for results that remain resolutely flat. That isn’t sustainable.

But as you’ve now seen, there’s an alternative.

Conversational Sales gives your sales team a healthy pipeline of qualified meetings and the real-time visibility, insights, and communication channels they need to prioritize target accounts, be more productive, and win more business, faster. It accelerates your revenue by empowering your sellers and creating unforgettable experiences for your buyers.

Harness the Power of Conversational Sales

Learn how to deliver exceptional B2B buying experiences with the Conversational Sales Formula