How demand gen leaders use Conversational Marketing

Curious about demand generation? Visit the Qualified Blog to get an inside look at how our resident demand generation expert uses conversational marketing services to achieve success.

How demand gen leaders use Conversational Marketing
Megan Guy
Megan Guy
October 23, 2020
min read
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Here at Qualified, we help our customers maximize their marketing and sales efforts by powering real-time conversations with their buyers. But we don’t just talk the talk. We’ve used our own tools to create a number of Conversational Marketing experiences on our site—and we’re reaping the benefits.

That's why we're launching the Qualified on Qualified educational blog series. We've learned a ton along the way, and we're itching to share our insights on Conversational Marketing Services with beginners and experts alike. This is the first of many posts that will showcase how our resident Conversational Marketing Services experts use Qualified to drive real demand generation impact.

To kick things off, we sat down with Sarah McConnell, Qualified’s Head of Demand Generation, to discuss how she uses Qualified to connect with prospects. Sarah has an extensive background in building demand generation programs from the ground up, including implementing Qualified at a previous job. In fact, the experience provided so much value that she chose to join the Qualified team!

Here’s what she had to share:

Q: How is Qualified valuable to you as a leader in demand generation?

A: In my previous job, I worked in demand generation for a cybersecurity company. We used a competing Conversational Marketing service, but weren’t getting the results we wanted. We decided to try Qualified for a full sales cycle. I onboarded it, implemented it, and was blown away by the tool. I was particularly impressed with how well Qualified integrated with Salesforce, which was the biggest pain point with our previous tool.

When I interviewed for my role at Qualified, the team shared their lead-to-opportunity conversion rate. I remember thinking that must be a lie because of how high it was. But it was spot-on. The conversational approach really is that powerful when you effectively engage your customers with the right message when they are showing interest on your site.

Qualified provides a ton of value for teams of all sizes because it allows them to create a large number of customer experiences for all their persona segments. In my previous work, we wanted to make the user experience more personalized to increase conversions, but that required making new, hyper-segmented landing pages. As a small team, we didn’t have the resources to do this effectively.

Thankfully, investing in Conversational Marketing Services changed that. Even though we didn’t have the bandwidth to create multiple customized landing pages, we could still give customers a VIP personalized journey through chat experiences.

Qualified's Conversational Marketing platform powers personalized website journeys through chat experiences

Since Conversational Marketing Services and sales go hand-in-hand, we knew that if our reps were having conversations with prospects when they show genuine buying interest, our conversion rates would go up—which is exactly what happened.

Q: You have dozens of experiences set up in Qualified. Which are the most valuable?

A: We have about 80 different experiences that run at any given time, but our “competitive differentiator” bot is tremendously valuable. Since Qualified is relatively new to the market, we need to explain to our prospects what sets us apart.

A lot of my day-to-day is spent watching Qualified’s website visitor live view to better understand how people interact with our website. We noticed that people who were doing competitor research stayed on the site for a long time.They were after information, and they perused our site until they got it.

We tried to route these visitors to a salesperson to answer their questions, thinking this would be the best experience, but they would usually bounce as soon as a human was routed into the chat. We hypothesized that these prospects were still at the top of the funnel, doing research, and simply wanted resources.

In response, we created a competitive differentiator experience that used Qualified’s chatbot to offer quick bullet points about who we are, what we provide, and what sets us apart from our competitors. At the end of the experience, we offered to connect them to a rep if they wanted to learn more, but even if they don’t, we’ve at least provided them with the type insights they’re seeking during their research phase. Since launching this new experience, we’ve noticed prospects are less likely to bounce and are engaging with the bot at a higher rate.

Qualified's Conversational Marketing platform allows you to quickly showcase your competitive differentiators using a chatbot

Q: How does Qualified leverage chatbots vs. live chat?

A: The decision to use a bot or route in a live sales rep depends on what we know about the prospect. We want to minimize the time a sales rep spends in conversations with prospects who aren’t a fit for our business or are early in their buyer journey. 

In practice, this means that if a prospect is at the top of the funnel, or we can’t identify who they are or what company they work for, they interact with a chatbot so we can gather more information on them. But if they are showing advanced intent signals—like visiting our pricing page or watching our product demos—or are on our target account list, we want them routed to a person for a VIP live conversation as quickly as possible. The key is to use data from your CRM—like Salesforce—plus intent signals to inform whether a visitor should receive a chatbot experience or be routed to a live sales rep.

Qualified's Conversational Marketing platform is built to deliver both chatbot and live chat experiences

Q: How do you use Qualified to enhance your paid media strategy?

A: Conversational Marketing Services makes it easy to customize the user experience when someone visits from a paid campaign without the heavy backend work of setting up unique, personalized landing pages for every campaign or segment. 

This is possible because Qualified seamlessly captures and stores visitor UTM parameters, so we can easily see which paid media campaigns are performing best right within the Qualified platform. If someone clicks on a Google Ad, leaves our website, and then later returns, Qualified still has the original channel they came from cookie-ed. When the visitor does convert, Qualified will automatically identify the right first-touch attribution and push it into Salesforce for future reporting. This helps us gauge which paid media investments are most effective, all the way down to the campaign or ad level.

Qualified's Conversational Marketing platform improves your paid advertising campaigns by delivering personalized website experiences

Q: Which Conversational Marketing metrics do you measure? 

A: Every company is a little different. Many companies use leads generated and MQLs, but one of the key metrics we look at is the number of conversations started with Qualified (which is when someone engages in a live chat or chatbot experience). 

For us, a metric like “Conversations Started” is a great indicator of performance because it’s more closely tied to intent to buy, but at the end of the day, our focus is on influenced pipeline and closed-won revenue. These are the metrics most demand gen professionals are held accountable to, and my job is to use metrics like Conversations Started as leading indicators of how our marketing campaigns are resonating and if they are ultimately driving revenue for the business.  

Q: How do you benefit from the power of Salesforce?

A: It was one of the first things I noticed about Qualified, even before I worked here. I rarely think about Salesforce as a separate tool because the Qualified integration is that seamless. Perhaps the most important feature is that through Qualified you can track marketing campaigns directly in Salesforce. Take a paid media campaign, for example. If a customer came through a paid media campaign and engaged with our experience, it’s simple to add them directly to a Salesforce campaign right in the Qualified chatbot.

This integration makes reporting so much easier. In my experience, most B2B companies use Salesforce as their main system of record, so as a demand gen leader that’s where you live because that’s where all the data lives. The previous Conversational Marketing Services I used lacked that seamless integration, and I would constantly have to refer to multiple platforms to measure progress. This created a ton of manual work and a lot of room for error. With Qualified, that is no longer an issue.

Qualified's Conversational Marketing platform seamlessly integrates with Salesforce for advanced reporting functionality

Sarah’s Advice for Getting Started

We asked Sarah to share advice for anyone getting ready to launch a Conversational Marketing strategy. Here’s what she said:

  • Map out your experiences first. Document your personalization strategy, as 79% of companies that do will exceed their revenue goals. This doesn’t have to be over-engineered. Simply plot the experience out on a whiteboard (we love using Miro!) before you create it in the builder. This exercise helps you identify blind spots before you commit to anything. The plan will be in place when you’re ready to take it live.
  • Align marketing and sales around active campaigns. I hold weekly meetings to make sure sales reps are aware of our current marketing campaigns. This keeps salespeople informed of the messages we’re putting out in the market and the types of campaigns that are driving prospects to our website. This is also the sales team’s opportunity to give feedback on what’s working well and what’s not resonating as strongly, since they are getting prospect feedback from the frontlines. Conversational Marketing inherently smoothes the handoff between marketing and sales, and these weekly meetings further reinforce the alignment.
  • Answer customer questions before you push the sale. At Qualified, we’ve found success in offering support and assistance rather than pushing a visitor to answer questions or schedule a meeting. Customers seeking information aren’t necessarily ready for the hard sell. Tailor the Conversational Marketing experience to the customer’s position in a sales funnel. You’ll stand a much higher chance at meeting them at eye-level and retaining their interest.
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