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Using conversational marketing to grow your IT business

(Image credit: Image Credit: SFIO CRACHO / Shutterstock)

Could your sales and marketing teams be doing more to attract better B2B prospects for your business to work with? Chances are, they could. For many CEOs and senior managers looking to accelerate their growth and work with new commercial partners, how they identify and approach prospects is key to reaching the next level. Statistics show that their teams may not be on the same wavelength as them though…

According to Think With Google, 71 per cent of B2B researchers start their planning with little more than a generic web search. They also highlight how researchers perform as little as 12 searches on average before engaging with a specific brand’s site.

While there isn’t a specific number of searches you should or should not be making, these statistics seem to suggest that a lot more planning could be done before teams reach out to prospects; certainly if you’re targeting much bigger fish as part of an Account-Based Marketing strategy

Similarly, HubSpot points out that B2B companies that blog more than 11 times a month have almost three times more traffic than those who don’t blog or only do so once a month.

Holding back on your content production strategy is one of the worst things you can do when you’re looking to attract key decision makers though, with 96 per cent of B2B buyers wanting content with more input from industry thought leaders. For those that feel they’re lagging and can do better when attracting B2B prospects, inbound marketing is one of the best ways to shape up. For those looking to supercharge their growth, though, there’s little more effective than conversational marketing.

For those who have never heard of it, conversational marketing, or chat marketing, is an effective way to interact with prospects and leads by starting conversations with them as soon as they visit your site via a chat interface. This can be especially useful if users are visiting the site outside of office hours or if the team is tied up in meetings. It’s also how people are becoming used to interacting with brands online – even in a B2B environment.

So how is this different from the web chat brand unsuccessfully positioned on their websites 5 years ago? The market is ready. Chat, be it Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat or Viber is now ubiquitous. It’s part of our communication psyche. Instant communication is what we expect of our friends and family. Instantaneous is what we want from our brands too.

According to research found in the 2017 State of Conversational Marketing Report, responding within the first five minutes of a lead reaching out to you is crucial to engaging with them successfully. Any later than five minutes and your chances of getting in touch with that lead decrease tenfold. After 10 minutes, the odds of qualifying that lead reduce by a staggering 400 per cent.

Growing - practically

The benefits of operating chat marketing properly can be astounding. Even if you or a member of your team are unavailable to talk with a prospect when, say, they visit your site late at night, choosing the right software will help you to create scripts that converse with them, encourage them to leave their contact details, and even book meetings with you at a later date. The influx of chatbots now means those one to one conversations become possible at scale, opening it up to one to many.

Drift is one of the leading conversational marketing software platforms out there. It pioneered the term in its current guise, and its technology is helping over 100,000 companies across the globe reduce lead times, increase lead quality and allow sales and marketing teams to converse with prospects as soon as they arrive.

Since partnering with Drift in April, we’ve seen some fantastic results for our own business as well as for our clients. In a nutshell, we’ve seen a 15 per cent increase in new clients and cut our sales cycle by 33 per cent. Meanwhile, since trialling the software for one of our clients, 28 per cent of their sales have come through Drift leads and we’ve also cut their lead costs by five. We’ve also helped clients generate up to £500,000 (or $700,000 USD) of revenue and made customer conversions 45 per cent faster than traditional static leads.

In a world of tough corporate competition filled with people seeking instant gratification, offering clients a speedy response is not only a plus, it’s imperative for business growth and progression.

So, how can implementing a conversational marketing strategy and working with chatbots help grow a B2B business in practical ways? Here are just some of the benefits it can provide:

  • Instantaneous contact: A point we’ve already touched on briefly, but implementing conversational marketing software can offer other benefits when you’re looking to talk to the leads that matter to you most. Push notifications can alert you on your smartphone, for instance, when a prospect you’re looking to do business with visits your site, allowing you or a team member to approach and talk to them instantaneously.
  • A personalised approach: At the same time, software can allow you to personalise messages to your target accounts when a B2B decision maker visits your site. What sounds better - having someone you’ve liaised with professionally for a while visit your site, then get turned off by having to fill in various forms? Or greeting them warmly by name and getting straight to the point of the matter while they’re there and ready to do business?
  • A wider approach: No matter what your current inbound approach is, conversational marketing can be implemented alongside it to begin to converse with your leads as soon as possible. If you’re already practising B2B marketing, platforms such as Drift can work alongside others such as HubSpot, Terminus and others to enhance its impact and accelerate your overall growth strategy. Faster client engagement equals quicker conversions, which speeds up sales and in turn, positively impacts scale.

Though inbound is still the number one marketing philosophy, so many are still tied to traditional lead generation methods such as waiting for prospects to visit a site, fill out forms, nurture them through emails, qualify them, call them and close the sale.

Conversational marketing, particularly when it comes to B2B, can cut a lot of that filler out, putting you directly in front of B2B leads. That way, you’re in a position to talk about how you can help each other out, deliver them further information, book meetings and generally grow and close the lead. It’s good to talk, after all.

Rich Wood, managing director, Six+Flow (opens in new tab)
Image Credit: SFIO CRACHO / Shutterstock

Rich Wood is managing director of Six+Flow, an inbound marketing agency based in Manchester (UK).