Marketing

How Conversational Marketing Drives Qualified Leads

A lot of people in marketing believe it’s all about increasing marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and that anything apart from this should play the second fiddle, they tend to downplay driving conversation qualified leads (CQLs). But what we are seeing with conversational marketing is that driving CQLs and opportunities provide faster routes to revenue.

You will be very correct if you say that conversational marketing is account-based, personalized around intent and engagement, contextual, human, and real-time. Where you will hit the brick wall is if you decide to base on the research carried out by Altera Group which found out that 97 percent of marketers said the ABM approach yielded a higher return on investment, to think purely in terms of increasing MQLs.

Quite unlike what we used to have in marketing, the revolutionized customer expects answers right now. Unfortunately, most of the tools we have been using in marketing were built for later.

You would have to fill out a form so someone can contact you later. Book a time so a sales rep can give you a demo later. File a support ticket so someone can give you help later.

According to findings by Drift, B2B marketers will spend $4.6B dollars on digital advertising in 2018, driving potential customers to a traditional landing page with a lead form so someone from the company can reach out later.

Why go for later when it can be done now?

Conversational marketing is fashioned in such a way as to connect you instantly with people who are ready to buy now — and the result is a better experience for potential customers which means a lightning-fast sales cycle, and ultimately more revenue now.

It gets the buyer to the next step in minutes rather than days or weeks. Conversational marketing allows your sales team to spend time with the best leads, the prospects who are a good fit and who want to talk.

What are the outstanding benefits?

  • Speed: The engaged demand gets to the customer very fast.
  • Focus: Reps are engaged with the buyers who are most likely to be converted.
  • Experience: Creating a better experience for the buyer and the rep.

And that’s ultimately the goal of conversational marketing. It’s not meant to increase MQLs, but rather drive conversation qualified leads (CQLs) and opportunities, both of which work together to provide faster paths to revenue and the ultimate return on investment (ROI).

How is this possible?

Conversational marketing is built around live chat. According to a study, 2 billion messages are exchanged between people and businesses monthly, 1.2 billion users are on messenger, 65 million businesses are conducted on Facebook, and 20 million businesses respond to messages.   

The modern-day customers want to be attended to when, where, and how they want it. With the large volume of messages that are generated on a daily basis, it’s absolutely impossible for humans to handle the traffic and where they do it can never be when, where, and how the customers want.

Research by Harvard Business Review found that organizations are too slow to follow up on sales leads. 24 percent of companies take longer than 24 hours to respond. What’s more, a whopping 23 percent of companies do not respond at all. You have a very small window to successfully convert a lead.   

This is the ground for the evolution of a chatbot (sometimes referred to as a chatterbot), programming that simulates the conversation or “chatter” of a human being through text or voice interactions. Gartner predicts that chatbots will power 85 percent of all customer service interactions by the year 2020.

Chatbots tend to streamline interactions between people and services, thereby enhancing customer experience. At the same time, they offer companies new opportunities to improve the customers’ engagement process and operational efficiency by reducing the typical cost of customer service.

According to Researchgate,  the main factors that motivate people to use chatbots are:

  • Productivity. Chatbots provide assistance or access to information quickly and efficiently.
  • Entertainment. Chatbots amuse people by giving them funny tips, they also help killing time when users have nothing to do.
  • Social and relational factors. Chatbots fuel conversions and enhance social experiences. Chatting with bots also helps to avoid loneliness, gives a chance to talk without being judged, and improves conversational skills.
  • Curiosity. The novelty of chatbots sparks curiosity. People want to explore their abilities and to try something new.

Without technological input, it would have been virtually impossible to achieve the feat of conversational marketing driving qualified leads. Humans have the potential to be inconsistent which chatbots are primed to overcome.

Humans do go on holidays for a long period of time, take breaks to eat and attend to other social responsibilities, can be incapacitated by illness as well as other frailties. All these will hamper the now angle on which conversational marketing thrives.

With conversational marketing, you’re creating a fast lane for your best leads. Not only does focusing on CQLs make the buying process simpler for your future customers, but it also compresses your team’s sales cycle.

Leads that come in through live chat tend to have a higher velocity. So you’re able to solve the problem or meet the needs of the request in real-time.

By integrating conversation marketing, you skip the form, initiate a conversation in real time, and learn more about your customers while simultaneously improving their experience.

Capturing someone’s email address and relentlessly attacking them with nurturing campaigns doesn’t work anymore. They want real-time conversation which you can give them with conversational marketing.

You can keep your same qualifying rules. Switching to CQLs doesn’t mean changing the way you work. You can keep all of your lead qualification rules exactly the same — now you’re just making them actionable.

Photo Credit: The Brian Solis Flickr via Compfight cc

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About John Ejiofor

John Ejiofor is a curious life-researcher, whose quest to finding answers to life's pertinent questions has led to founding Nature Torch. This blog aims to debate and explore many questions about our earth -- including those a lot of people are uncomfortable with asking. He has been published on some of the internet's most respected websites, which you can find online.
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