By Rashmi Vittal
You painstakingly laid out a solid 2020 Marketing plan that demonstrates your ability to contribute to pipeline and revenue targets. You invested in tradeshows and events as a key part of your overall Marketing plan, and you are ready to shake hands and make deals.
But now, suddenly and unfortunately, uncontrollable events, such as the coronavirus (COVID-19), have put a stop to many of those eagerly anticipated activities, canceling Adobe Summit, F8, GDC, Mobile World Congress, SXSW and other events important to you and your business. You anxiously watch the news as more events cancel, as well as headlines about negative economic impact across the globe.
Determined to maintain your momentum, you quickly shift your plans and tactics from in-person meet-and-greets, to digital methods of growing pipeline. You spend more time and money on webinars, content syndication and PPC advertisements. You run a report to see if you can resurrect your recycled or DQed MQLs.
Despite your best efforts, you instinctively roll your eyes knowing that, even if you hit your ideal customer profile (ICP) on the nose, your Salespeople are not interested in working “those types of leads.”
What can you do? How should you adapt your plan and protect your numbers during these tough times?
As Chief Marketing Officer for Conversica, these are things I need to think about. Not only do I want to ensure the health and safety of my team, I also want to contribute to the financial wellbeing and business continuity of my wider organization. I’m not alone in this. Marketing leaders everywhere are thinking about the same thing.
But even during these tough economic times, there are ways for Marketers to adapt using an augmented workforce to grow pipeline, qualify leads and maintain positive collaboration between Marketing and Sales.
Adopting a Digital-First Mindset
In rapid response, organizations are already shifting to digital-first solutions — such as updated work-from-home guidelines, leveraging video conferencing and hosting streaming events for customers and prospects — to retain workforce productivity and business continuity.
For Marketing leaders, a shift to digital-first means re-allocating Marketing spend into digital programs and campaigns. Sales teams will naturally have concerns about the quality of leads in your pipeline.
To ease apprehensions about lead quality, Marketers would do well to adopt a digital-first solution that ensures diligent lead follow-up, no matter what the source is. Intelligent Virtual Assistants (IVAs) for lead engagement help elevate Sales-ready leads at scale. IVAs engage and qualify new and old leads by asking “are you interested in setting a Sales meeting?” in a human-like dialogue over email or SMS until an answer is obtained or the next best action is understood. This provides Sales teams an assurance of interest because the lead themself told your IVA that they are ready for a conversation or not.
Even as Marketers face widespread event cancellations or other economic challenges, you can demonstrate value in your digitally sourced leads by discovering hand-raisers sooner by leveraging a Conversica Sales AI Assistant to work leads in natural, two-way conversations to determine intent.
How an Augmented Workforce Can Help
The benefits of an Augmented Workforce — in which people and IVAs work in tandem towards the same goals — include driving team productivity and performance while accelerating revenue generation and top-line growth. By letting the IVA autonomously chase registrations and meetings, Salespeople are freed to focus on building trusted relationships and closing deals.
Use cases for Intelligent Virtual Assistants include:
- Driving registrations for your digital events including webinars and virtual conferences; as well as post-event follow-up to re-engage attendees. After all, digital events may become your key events as digital-first solutions become the norm.
- Qualifying low-scoring leads and pre-MQLs generated from content syndication or digital PPC. You’re already investing in these resources. Work these leads to the fullest.
- Reactivating dormant or cold leads. Don’t let prospects who previously expressed interest sit idle. Re-engage them to see if they are “in the market” and ready to talk.
Consider this example from Talend. When the next-gen leader in big data and cloud integration software augmented their workforce with Conversica Intelligent Virtual Assistants, they improved lead coverage and achieved a higher conversion rate. Talend focused their Sales AI Assistant on resurrecting recycled or DQed leads. The results were astounding as the Conversica Sales AI Assistant helped Talend win nearly $1 million in bookings.
As you can see, there is real value in seemingly low-scoring, digitally sourced leads; and IVAs are a resource for Marketers looking to take advantage of every opportunity.
Optimal Lead Coverage When You Need It
In order for Marketers to demonstrate the value of digitally sourced leads to their potentially skeptical Salespeople, it’s wise to adopt a solution that engages, identifies and qualifies leads at scale. After all, the best insurance against Sales indifference is qualifying that your leads are Sales-ready.
With economic anxieties and fewer opportunities available to connect with prospects in person, it’s important to maximize lead engagement and lead follow-up. With an IVA on your team, you will have a dedicated and reliable team member always available to pick up those leads and work them to the fullest.
The current economic situation calls for concern but not panic. Now is the time to take action and prepare your business during tough times and keep your momentum moving.