Really good conversations are at the heart of building authentic relationships with our customers and buyers. It’s the most important tool in our sales arsenal to engage prospects in communicative methods like in-person meetings, phone calls, tele- and video conferencing calls before they can move forward on any deal. So why is it that quality conversations are overlooked on your website and prospects are diverted to fill out forms, and exchange a couple of emails before actually speaking to them?
Now that we have your attention, let's talk about conversational marketing.
At Insent, we define conversational marketing in two ways:
A marketing channel that enables real-time communication between the buyers and sellers to provide content and critical buying information that would accelerate the buyer's path to purchase.
A marketing channel that lets you speak to your prospects and customers so you can win business faster.
Basically, conversational marketing allows you to turn traditional marketing into interactive two-way marketing. All our traditional marketing programs aim to generate conversions that will eventually lead up to a sales conversation. However, conversational marketing starts with conversations and helps our buyers buy from us easier than ever before.
There are a couple of applications in conversational marketing like live chat, chatbots, voicebots, audio conversations, but the most common one being chat on your website.
Here's a real-life example:
You work at ABC Company and you get 1000s of visitors on your website everyday. You don’t actually know who’s on your site to buy, who’s looking for more information, and who’s just looking for a job while they’re on your site.
You could use your marketing automation platform to figure out web activity thereafter, but the magic is in the instant qualification and connection that conversational marketing platforms provide.
If you can alert your sales team in real-time when highly engaged buyers are on your website, they can strike up conversations instantly and help the buyer progress in their journey.
Aside from your high-value buyers, you also don’t want to lose sight of website visitors who can turn into future buyers, so greet them when they arrive on your site and help them navigate to the content they’re looking for.
The goal of conversational marketing is to be human-first and value-focused.
Here are a couple of websites who use conversational marketing really well for top of the funnel leads by being value-driven:
Welcome to the era of always-on communication
The way people communicate in life, let alone in business, has transformed significantly over the years. The modern buyer is not only accustomed to the real-time, instant communication that the WhatsApps, Slacks and Facebook Messengers of the world deliver, but expect the same always-on communication in their B2B buying journey.
Your buyer expects that modern consumer experience in their B2B buying journey
Today’s consumers demand instant answers, and that’s why companies have expanded their contact tools from just toll-free numbers to email support and now live chat. Real-time conversations are the best way to give your buyers what they need right away.
Plus, in today’s digital era, buyers are well informed before even talking to a sales person.
For years, B2B marketers have functioned with the perspective of sellers. In fact, we’ve built marketing strategies, buyer journeys and sales processes all with that in mind. But what if we can shift that thinking and put our buyers first?
Gartner research discovered that when B2B buyers are considering a purchase, they spend only 17% of that time meeting with potential suppliers, of which only 5% is spent with any one sales rep.
They’ve got the tools and resources to evaluate your product review sites and product comparisons, so when you finally manage to get their attention—learn to keep it.
This is where conversational marketing enters. They don’t need additional layers of friction to speak to a real person who can help accelerate their journey.
The whole experience in conversational marketing is focused on the buyer’s intent and their path to purchase. Your buyer’s journey should understand the intent of the prospects and continuously deliver informative content for every stage of their evaluation.
Think of it this way, with the rise of Netflix, Amazon and Spotify, more and more customers are expecting that 1:1 personalized experience. So why bother with the redundant forms on your site when you can skip right ahead and speak to these prospects immediately.
Don’t keep your buyers waiting; be the first to respond
With the average response time amongst companies being 42 hours, it signals a lot of time wasted. Time that can be better spent nurturing a lead into a deal. According to a study by Hubspot Research, 82% of consumers rate an immediate response as important or very important when they have a marketing or sales question. Which is exactly why 78% buy from the first responder. Buyers who are in-market to purchase a solution aren’t just inquiring with you. They’re likely submitting sales inquiries with multiple solution providers, so being the first to respond and amaze a prospect is critical. It’s why you need conversational marketing in your acquisition and engagement strategy. It can increase your speed to lead and accelerate existing opportunities while your competitors are still using age-old day-long tactics to connect.
Why now more than ever? 2020 forced the shift.
2020 brought upon a complete shift in the current paradigm of marketing and sales. We are living in a digital vacuum—which has put us on a short term 100% dependency on a digital buyer journey. We’ve all seen the direct impacts of it and the digital shift it forced us to adopt, some sooner than later. So as you transform your business to be more digital-friendly, you must also connect with your buyers while they're online.
No one likes playing the waiting game, especially when you can get results at the touch of button. Conversational marketing and chatbots are your next step to bring in-person conversations to the virtual space. While you may not be able to see them, you’ll still build relationships via real-time chat, similar to how we stay in touch with our family and friends via WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.
When your customer wants to speak with you, make it happen instantly. Strike while the iron is hot with real-time, contextual and scalable conversations. Trust us when we say it's bound to spike their interest.
Aatharsha is the Digital Marketer at Insent. She loves creating B2B marketing experiences that help marketers stand out from the crowd and fill their funnel with qualified buyers.