B2B Demand Generation: chapter Conversational Marketing

Conversational Marketing allows organizations to build strong relationships and enable great digital experiences with customers and buyers through real-time digital conversations.
Written by Eric Jan C. Van Putten, VP of Marketing on 25.11.2020, 08:25
B2B Demand Generation: chapter Conversational Marketing

Having an automated playbook, combined with coverage by sales & marketing enables the web visitor to interact and convert. Where the playbook and/or bot can run 24/7 to answer questions and move people through the funnel, offering positive touchpoints along the way.  

When done right, conversational marketing can contribute to a better customer experience. Ranging from the ability to chat with a company representative to by-passing webforms and getting the asset by simply leaving your email address in the chatbot. 

In addition, playbooks can route conversations to the right teams, ranging from locations to departments in the company. This way the right sales team or customer support can become instantly available if needed.  

In this blogpost we will cover how conversational marketing, with a focus on the chatbot, can help drive a better browsing experience and bottom-line results. I will cover some technologies that are available today and how they can be applied. 

Benefits to Marketing 

When applying playbooks you are enabling automated conversations with your visitors and have them flow in predetermined paths into the desired outcomes you are after. This can range from offering experiences based on pages where the interactions have started to pushing return visitors into the next phase of the funnel. 

But what are playbooks really? They are all but intelligent. They still are simple workflows based on IF THIS THEN THAT functions. But even with this relatively simplistic approach great benefits can be achieved.  

By creatively using chatbots in combination with playbooks you can offer campaign page visitors a shortcut to the content. Instead of populating numerous fields on a webform, why not use the chat functionality and offer the simplicity of leaving their email address in the chat and the bot supplies the asset instantly. Offering the visitor a win, and a better experience overall.  

The more marketing and sales centric driven chatbots also offer IP tracking functionality. Allowing the teams behind the chatbot to monitor which business is on the website, to potentially pro-actively reach out to the visitor through the chatbot. Or when the visitor chooses to connect via that chatbot additional IP based information can be made available into any connected system.

Read out related blog on IP tracking →

Personalized B2B Ecommerce Experience 

The ability to recognize the visitor and having an integration with your CRM system allows the solution to route visitors to the owning sales and/or account manager to connect with the visitor if necessary. The account manager can work with the visitor in offering a great personalized shopping experience by jointly work on getting the cart filled with the right articles. 

And depending on the implemented ecommerce solution the account manager can even impersonate the visitor and pre-fill the cart for the visitor, offering a seamless and highly personalized customer experience to the B2B ecommerce customer.

Read more about the future of ecommerce in this blogpost → 

Solutions 

There are many solutions on the marked that offer a wide range of features and functionality. When choosing the right solution for your business I would highly recommend looking at the requirements. Where are you as a company, can you utilize complex technology, or is a whatsapp chat enough? Think about the data integrations and their impact on complexity for maintenance, utilization and budget.  

That said, I would like to highlight the following solutions: 

Drift.com 
Probably pretty much the market leader on conversational marketing, although they are now calling themselves a Revenue Acceleration Platform. To which I have to admit is not a bad classification.  

They offer great functionality that is easy to implement and get started with. Integrate your Office 365 environment into your website with a simple plugin and/or a couple lines of code. Build playbooks in minutes and you can be up and running in a matter of hours.  

Intercom 
A close competitor to Drift.com, offering similar functionalities against a slightly lower price point. When considering Drift.com I would highly recommend to also shortlist Intercom.  

Cognigy 
A whole different level, but they differentiate themselves as a complete package for companies that also have call centers. Their ability to have voice, chat, message and whatnot is truly impressive. They are going to launch a more plug-and-play friendly solution that could be hugely interesting as their machine learning algorithm can be a long-awaited game-changer in the market.  

Whatsapp integrated solutions
Then there are the whatsapp integrated solutions, certainly not bad, but a lot simpler than earlier solutions. They offer the ability to connect with real persons instantly and start a conversation. That kinda is it – with a price point that matches the simplicity this can be interesting if the amount of conversations is relatively low and the organization wants to get started with conversational marketing. 

Performance

Not all companies are alike and significant testing is highly recommended. Give it time, have a testing roadmap and define what success looks like. For instance, an uptick in your conversions, positive engagement experiences and opportunities and revenue will be outcomes when done right.   

An additional step to consider is to have the chatbot as a ‘new’ contact opportunity to the potential buyer. In their journey they are interacting with your website and ecommerce environment, offering a chat is often perceived as a lower threshold to overcome compared with making a phone call, keep the potential customer in their comfort zone. The performance of this channel, when supported and commitment by the right team can be one of the best there is.   

The cost from the solution, the cost of time invested on a daily base can be significant and should be tracked to report on and make a decision if the ROI is where you like it to be. And in this analysis don’t discard the positive customer experience to quickly.  

Conclusion 

Conversational marketing, aka chatbots allow the organization to offer an additional way of communicating with the potential customer. Most solutions allow to get started in a matter of hours. Integration into the website, CRM and office 365 and/or Google Business doesn’t take much more than a few lines of code and/or selecting the right app and a couple of logins.  

But there is an element of cost associated with all this, ranging from the reoccurring subscription cost to maintaining the solution and constantly optimizing the integrated solutions. Keeping a good eye out on what this delivers the business is highly recommended and solutions like these are not for every company.  

With that said, it is my experience that solutions like these, when manned correctly, drive business and offer improved customer experiences.