Lead Generation 1.0
Traditionally sales have always involved a lot of back and forth, lots of untimely calls and far too many forms to fill out by potential customers to state what they need. Old school sales took weeks even months and were very ineffective.
Cold calling was at the center of this, disregarding customers needs and imposing disruptions. And as soon as a customer walks in the door, we hand him forms to fill out.
Designing forms and getting prospects to fill them out is a difficult task. Not only time consuming but often also a step where we loose a great portion of leads.
These sales models have no space in a customer centric strategy and so the market has been testing new approaches.
Meet Drift, Pioneer of the Customer Centric Approach to Lead Generation.
We see examples of this rising everywhere, in interesting ways the idea is to concentrate on customers making their lives easier. Microsoft included in 2015 the “Customer Love” parameter and, if this is clear for marketers, why isn’t it as clear in lead generation for sales? Though a bit behind, there has been advancements in this field. Take for example, Drift.
Drift is a sales platform for companies’ websites to optimize traffic received. It is trying to change the process of lead generation by introducing automated messaging conversations and Artificial Intelligence instead of the old-time go-to Forms. This new system claims to improve potential customers experience, generate better leads, and accelerate the sales cycle. Its David Cancel’s fifth startup, and he has just raised $32 million Series B funding in this quest to close sales deals faster.
He has an extensive career as an advisor and investor in different startups as well as having founded Performable and Ghosterly and having been Chief Product Officer at HubSpot when they acquired Performable.
Drift doesn’t create tools for marketers. It creates tools for customers that marketers will be able to manage efficiently. At Drift they realized this was the flow we are forcing buyers to go through:
It seems pretty clear that in this age of customer-centricity, this flow makes close to no sense at all. Filling out forms before even starting a conversation doesn’t seam right and neither does following up when sales reps feel like it.
Messaging Apps for Sales
Drift states that 9 out of 10 consumers want to be able to talk to businesses via messaging apps. And what is more, there is the key in improving efficiency and customer satisfaction in the sales process.
“Everyone has been using messaging for support, and no one has used it for sales and marketing,” says CEO Cancel. “We thought that if everyone’s default is now to use messaging in their personal lives, that would be the way we’d buy online.”
They have already serviced 50,000 businesses that mostly pay between $300 and $4,000 in monthly fees for these sales tools. Automated conversations replace forms and engage with customers asking questions to determine fit and pricing. If a given customer had spoken to a sales rep, he or she would be able to take over the conversation and chat live to close the deal. This process is supposed to reduce what can easily take weeks to a couple of days.
One customer generated $600,000 to its sales pipeline in just its first two hours using the software, and in their website you can find another quote from ThirveHive claiming they can now book demos in 10-15 minutes thanks to Drift. Amongst their clients you can find Mixpanel, LeadPages, Segment, AdRoll or WeWork.
Stepping into the Age of Lead Generation 2.0
Lead generation 2.0 generates stronger bonds with customers by using the latest technology and the vast amount of information available and optimizing it to interact with customers on their terms. Its technology relies on messaging apps as they are have surpassed social media in terms of active users and generates higher engagement. It means real-time interactions, higher efficiency and precise data analysis and segmentation.
Entering the ecosystem of marketing and sales automatization software’s like Marketo, Eloqua and Salesforce Marketing Cloud; are new players and new tools within them that are attracting plenty attention in creating a better alternative to traditional lead generation. “If it looks like a spreadsheet in the cloud, Salesforce has built the paradigm,” Cancel from Drift says. “We’re trying to build a fundamentally different object, and that’s conversations.”
We are excited to see all the ways in which automatization and AI can impact in improving sales funnels and specially, improving customers lives.