A human approach: harnessing conversational marketing in B2B
By offering businesses the opportunity to connect with their customers and prospects in a more human way, conversational marketing drives engagement and increases the likelihood of moving prospects along the sales funnel. It’s therefore no wonder that this approach has increased in popularity in recent years.
Encompassing everything from live chat to chat bots, conversational marketing is fundamentally about having real, authentic discussions with consumers, removing obstacles from the buying process, and tailoring your marketing approach to your customers’ responses. With only 43% of people answering cold calls, and the average email open rate falling to 20%, it’s clear that businesses need to talk to buyers in a different way.
Winnie the chatbot
As an AI-powered chatbot, ‘Winnie’ has been designed to help website owners make a more informed choice about which hosting provider to go with as they create their site. Developed to help make setting up a website as easy and intuitive as possible, Winnie is a perfect example of how conversational marketing can ensure that buyers are recommended the most appropriate products and services for their specific requirements.
Winnie helps users narrow down their choices, depending on the type of website they’re setting up and their budget. It then points them in the direction of suitable hosting packages. Since launching on Facebook Messenger, Winnie has achieved a 72% CTR of users clicking through to an affiliate hosting provider, proving that chatbots can be an incredibly effective tool – both for the consumer, who is searching for this valuable information, and for the seller, who can ensure that their products are being seen by the most relevant audience.
So conversational marketing sounds pretty good, right? But which B2B businesses have successfully implemented a more ‘conversational’ approach into their marketing strategy? Here, we’ve compiled two examples of effective conversational marketing tactics in B2B:
1. RapidMiner: Replacing contact forms
Instead of engaging with every single visitor to its website in person, data science software platform RapidMiner chose to automate the entire process. By screening every incoming enquiry via a chatbot, the business was able to completely automate its lead qualification process. In fact, it replaced every single lead capture form on the site with a chatbot, even for gated content such as whitepapers. The chatbot in question would ask the website visitor a series of qualifying questions, and then automatically funnel the best, most relevant candidates to a real sales representative.
This allowed RapidMiner to scale conversations and filter out the best leads for immediate conversion, rather than via an email sequence that could often take weeks. Its strategy was a complete success: the business managed to capture 4,000 new leads with this method – adding more than $1 million to its entire sales pipeline.
2. Tradeshift: Using live chat to engage
Digital B2B network Tradeshift connects 1.5 million buyers and sellers, in 190 countries, with more than $500 billion in annual transactions. With this type of activity, Tradeshift needed to streamline its sales process, as it took an average of 21 days to qualify a good lead. The Tradeshift team discovered that the contact forms sitting on their website were acting as a bottleneck: people were filling them out, but the ensuing qualifying process could take weeks, normally over email.
Tradeshift added a live chat feature to the company’s marketing site, which allowed interested leads to reach out directly to sales representatives. Relevant leads could be qualified immediately, and leads were also able to return to the site and talk with the same salesperson, building the relationship even further. As a result of this activity, Tradeshift has now increased its sales opportunities by 32%, and decreased its average 21-day qualification timeline to just three days.
Ready to take the leap?
Whatever the overarching goals of your marketing strategy, conversational marketing can be revolutionary for your business. By engaging in these types of conversations with potential buyers, businesses will not only remove obstacles from the sales process, but also shorten the overall sales cycle and create a more personal buying experience. Embracing new technologies like chatbots and live chat could help your business achieve these goals and stay one step ahead – so, are you ready to start the conversation?
Would you like to find out more about conversational marketing and how it can revolutionise your sales and marketing functions? Download our guide today for top tips and insights into conversational marketing and discover how real-time customer service can be transformational for your business’ results.