Quarry is thrilled to announce a new MarTech partnership with conversational marketing platform Drift. Integrating chatbot-powered conversations within websites and content assets (more on that later!), Drift connects prospective B2B buyers with the right information at multiple stages of the buying journey to fuel engagement and drive conversion.
I sat down recently with Sara Pion, Growth Marketer at Drift, to go deep on conversational marketing, chatbots and whether human marketing and sales leaders still have a role to play in demand gen. (Spoiler alert: Of course we do.)
Interview has been edited for clarity and flow.
Q: What is conversational marketing, exactly?
SP: Conversational marketing is the fastest way to move buyers through your marketing and sales funnels, powered by real conversations. It’s about meeting the buyer where they’re at, and engaging with them when their intent is highest. It puts the buyer in the middle of everything you do, asking: How can we create an exceptional buying experience?
A chatbot should be an extension of your marketing efforts—and your brand.
A chatbot should be an extension of your marketing efforts—and your brand. Being able to create a mini version of your website experience in a conversation that gives people the information that they’re looking for in an easy-to-digest way is going to leave a good taste in your buyer’s mouth.
Q: How can chatbots fuel better and faster conversions?
SP: When you fill out a form, you have one thing you can get at the end, and it’s whatever’s being gated behind the form, whether it’s a piece of content or a demo or a proposal request. With Drift, you don’t have to go through one specific conversion path, like you would a form. Having a second point of conversion is wildly helpful.
With Drift, you don’t have to go through one specific conversion path, like you would a form.
The best-case scenario is when prospects go through your chat experience and leave with meetings booked with a rep’s calendar. [Q note: Yes, really! Calendar functionality is built right into the platform.] That’s not something that can happen with a form or natively with other web optimization tools.
That said, we’re not going to ask you to rip out your forms. We’re not going to ask you to think about marketing in a completely different way. You can get started by simply adding another layer—another way—to reach buyers.
Q: What role do us humans play in this brave new demand gen world?
SP: If you’re in B2B, you’re still selling to human decision makers. The way people want to buy from you is similar to the way they want to buy something off B2C websites because they’re used to that buying experience.
There is more data than ever out there. And we need to use it not to be creepy, but instead to inform the kinds of conversations you want to have, and create a tailored buying experience that suits buyer needs.
Bots are great at creating a narrow funnel, but they’ll never replace the human element of the sales process.
Bots are great at creating a narrow funnel, but they’ll never replace the human element of the sales process. What they can do is help facilitate the right conversation, with the right person, at the right time.
Q: I hear you can now put chatbots into content assets? (Whaaaa??)
SP: Yes! It’s called conversational content, and it’s great for big pieces of evergreen content, like eBooks. You’d have a PDF on the left, a bot conversation on the right. You’re there to answer any questions readers may have about that piece of content. Being able to get more juice out of every piece of content is such a win for content marketers who might not think they’re a part of demand gen.
Being able to get more juice out of every piece of content is such a win for content marketers who might not think they’re a part of demand gen.
Q: Any advice for marketers just getting started?
SP: At the end of the day, it’s not about a cheeky message or a bot saying that they’re a bot, but about making sure that buyers know that you’re there to answer any questions they may have. You’re there to be a tour guide to show them around the site so they can get the information they need. It’s about understanding how your customers want to talk with you, then ensuring you create an exceptional customer experience for them.
It’s about understanding how your customers want to talk with you, then ensuring you create an exceptional customer experience for them.
Want to see conversational marketing in action?
Experience Drift for yourself in this mini convo we created just for this post!