How Smartling Modernized Their Buyer Experience with Drift

75%
Increased meetings booked
2X
Conversion of leads engaged on website in first year
86%
Increased Drift conversations

The Challenge: A Seller-Centric Website Missing Out on Qualified Buyers

New York-based Smartling is a leader in translation management software and translation services. Their solution makes it easy for brands to connect with their global customer base by translating all of the words that power professional and consumer products like websites, mobile apps and software services.

In today’s global economy, the benefits Smartling can provide to businesses are obvious. But back in 2018, Smartling hit a roadblock: While they knew their platform could provide tremendous value, it simply wasn’t resonating. To quote Smartling’s Director of Brand and Communication, Adrian Cohn, “We recognized that our brand experience wasn’t a competitive advantage and we knew that it could be.”

Adrian has a somewhat unlikely background for a Smartling marketing leader: Customer Success. But as improving the buying experience becomes more crucial, his path will become more common among forward-thinking marketing teams. Because these days, being able to craft a message isn’t enough: In order to get that message to resonate, you need to be able to understand the behavior of your customers.

“When I joined marketing, my priority was to fix our product messaging and brand experience. It was also painfully obvious that our challenge was beyond messaging: The buyer experience was old-fashioned. Our website was stuck in 2010 and was too old school. Hard to navigate. Forms everywhere. Complicated buying process. We spent a lot of time developing the website with very little return.”

And the data backed it up. Taking a look under the hood, Adrian realized that despite Smartling’s considerable website traffic, people weren’t filling out the forms on their site.

I knew a form wasn’t the way anymore. We had to modernize our web experience and make it easier for potential customers to connect with us.”
— Adrian Cohn, Director of Brand and Communication at Smartling

Adrian made the decision to focus on completely rebuilding and refreshing Smartling’s website. In a little over a month he launched an entirely new website – new content, a refreshed brand position, and not a single form in sight. Instead, Smartling.com relied 100% on Drift’s conversational marketing platform to drive real-time, one-to-one conversations.

Here’s how Adrian explains it:

Smartling buyers now had choices. They could pick their own path. By engaging people immediately and eliminating forms, Adrian was, as he puts it, “Confident this experience would make it more likely for interested people to share their contact information.”

And he was right. Smartling doubled conversion of leads engaged on their website with Drift.

Fast forward to a year later. While conversations were up, Adrian still saw an opportunity to drive innovation for the buyer experience. There were three major problems:

  1. Conversations weren’t consistently leading to booked meetings.
  2. Incorrect answers or if SDRs couldn't respond fast enough, buyers would leave (fast for Adrian is 90 seconds btw).
  3. Smartling was losing interested buyers during offline hours.

“Our team is only available for about eight hours a day in most regions. There was an entire period of time people wanted to talk to us, and we weren’t there for them.”

That’s 16 hours a day of lost sales opportunities, 112 hours a week of people showing up to the website, and leaving because they didn’t get a response.

Simply put, Smartling saw an opportunity to maximize every business opportunity by connecting in the moment with qualified buyers, no matter the time of day or the team’s availability.

The Solution: Removing the Friction From Buying

Adrian’s next step was to bring in Drift Automation.

“Having a competitive advantage at every touchpoint in the customer lifecycle is advantageous. We needed to create an even more seamless experience for buyers to get them to engage with us all day, all night, ‘eight days a week.’”

Adrian had a vision for what this experience could be.

“I thought about how frequently I use search – via Google and on websites – to answer specific questions immediately. How could we replicate that, and make the experience even better through the familiar experience of chat? Our interested buyers were coming to the Smartling website and searching for answers – I wanted every question someone had to become a conversation with Smartling through Drift.”

That’s exactly what Adrian and the marketing team did with Drift Automation. By learning the most common questions and the best answers, every conversation with Smartling through Drift Automation was like speaking to Smartling’s most qualified expert, only faster (like 90 seconds faster), and more frequently. Smartling went from engaging people eight hours a day, to having conversations with potential buyers 24/7.

No more wrong answers, no more waiting.

Drift Automation answers questions faster than a person, and is able to book a meeting faster than a form. We are now giving interested buyers what they want, when they want it, on their terms.”
— Adrian Cohn, Director of Brand and Communication at Smartling

Adrian also gained valuable and unexpected insights from Drift Automation.

“You learn an incredible amount about what your prospects and customers are looking for in the conversation data from Drift Automation. We didn’t have a ‘plans page’ on Smartling’s website and we wanted to have better conversations with our buyers about pricing upfront. After reviewing the conversation data, we realized that 150+ people each month were asking about pricing and packaging, and withholding this information at the entrypoint to our brand was not simplifying the buyer’s journey.”

With this insight, Adrian built the pricing page using the learnings from the conversation data and designed it in a way that addressed exactly what potential buyers were asking. “This became part of our top level navigation, and a key converting page for our website.”

The MQL is Dead.

Conversations are transforming the Marketing Funnel

The Results: Through an Improved Experience, Smartling More Than Doubled Conversations and Meetings with Interested Buyers

The numbers tell the rest of the story. With Drift Automation, Smartling has:

  1. Increased meetings booked through Drift by 75%
  2. Increased Drift conversations by 86%
  3. Doubled the conversion of leads engaged on the website in the first year

For Adrian, simplifying the buyer’s journey is paramount. Website visitors can bounce for so many reasons – a page takes too long to load, the website is hard to navigate, specific questions aren’t being answered, or the form might be too long.

“With Drift Automation I know questions are answered the way they should be answered every single time. We are communicating with people in an innovative way. I know we are creating a helpful, consistent experience for every single visitor to our website, 24 hours a day. That moment when someone comes to the site, and easily gets what they were looking for from Smartling, without having to pick up the phone or fill out a form – that’s where the magic is.”

I LOVE Drift. The tool is incredibly intuitive and has made our website conversion points more conversational, empowering our SDRs, and driving better quality engagement with website visitors.”
— Jennifer Consaga, Sr. Digital Marketing Manager at Smartling

Whether someone is doing preliminary research, booking a meeting, or coming back and booking a meeting later, Adrian shares, “If we didn’t have Drift Automation, we wouldn’t be able to engage with people the way we do now – and the brand experience would regress.”

Smartling’s modernized website experience enabled by Drift continues to drive multiple hundreds of conversations every month, which turn into qualified meetings for Smartling’s sales team.

And ultimately Drift delivers on the competitive advantage and brand experience Adrian knew was possible.

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