Blog: Conversica Named Marketo Tech Partner of the Year

We were happy to recently be named Technology Partner of the Year by Marketo.

This recognition resulted from our AI Assistant technology integration with Marketo. This Conversica-Marketo integration leverages the synergies between marketing automation and conversational AI to drive high-efficiency sales lead follow-up.

Conversica is a member of Marketo’s LaunchPoint partner program, which delivers seamlessly integrated, best-in-class partner solutions that solve business challenges. The focus of the Marketo-Conversica relationship is giving organizations the tools they need to maximize revenue.

Conversica customers expect us to serve them not only as vendors but as trusted advisors in their digital transformation, so we see it as our responsibility to invest in partnerships with leading technology companies like Marketo, as well as agencies and systems integrators, to best serve our customers. 

Keeping Great Company With LaunchPoint Partners 
While choosing companies to be named partner of the year, Marketo aims to highlight the top contributors in the LaunchPoint partner program. Past winners include other innovative companies including ANNUITAS and Oktopost. Simply put, these awards showcase powerful integrations that help businesses grow. Another business that was honored as a partner of the year for 2019 by Marketo is also a Conversica partner, DemandGen. DemandGen helps marketers drive results by transforming customer experience and engagement capabilities.

The partnership between Marketo and Conversica positively impacts the sales process for many organizations. Wyatt Tucker, Global Marketing Operations Manager at TIBCO and Marketo Certified Expert, describes his experience with the Conversica integration, “Through the use of Conversica and Marketo, we can ensure every one of our prospects is followed up with and gets the information and assistance they need as they research and evaluate TIBCO’s Connected Intelligence Cloud platform. As a result, we’ve improved the overall prospect experience and exponentially increased incremental pipeline in less than six months.”

Likewise, having our Conversica AI Assistant technology integrated with Marketo has achieved wide marketplace acceptance and our team was honored to receive the Technology Partner of the Year award from our colleagues at Marketo.

Driving Productivity With Prospects
Conversica’s award from Marketo highlights the value of conversational AI in sales applications. AI provides context and valuable information to sales reps when they need it. This technology drives productivity and empowers reps to know who to talk to, when and what a lead is interested in before a phone call ever happens. We’re honored to know that our solution has been recognized by Marketo and that the power of conversational AI is helping organizations interact with prospects.

Join us at Adobe Summit next week. If you plan to attend, you can schedule a demo with Conversica at: https://calendly.com/myconversica/conversica-adobesummit-demo

2019 Predictions: Conversica Partners Predict Sales & Marketing Trends for 2019

In follow-up to our 2019 Predictions webinar, we asked some of our partners to share their predictions for 2019. Conversica Partner Marketing and Sales leaders and C-Level team members at IMPACT, LeanData, Metadata, SnapApp, Uberflip, Vengresso and Vidyard share their top Sales and Marketing trends and predictions for this coming year.

Metadata

Gil Allouche, CEO, Metadata

I think marketers will break the status quo in 2019 by implementing 3 tactics:

  • Break the silos between their marketing automation technologies : every marketing tool is a public API that allows marketers to free their data from those tools into one place to see it all. No more switching around between tools.
  • Optimize their marketing operations and campaigns based  on real business KPIs (pipeline) vs vanity metrics (eg email opens, impressions). With technologies like Bizible from marketo or Datorama from Salesforce.
  • Leverage agile marketing and experimentation (vs waterfall approach) for everything digital marketing campaigns  —— this is the biggest one. So far marketing has been done in a manual form, testing only 3-4% of what’s possible. Using experimentation technology  (eg metadata.io) companies can (without hiring a single more person) go through thousands of different combinations and iterations to hone in on what exact campaigns work best for them. 

IMPACT 

Vin Gaeta, Director of Strategic Partnerships, IMPACT

For 2019 marketers trying to break the status quo, my belief is they’ll be changing how they approach content and the buyer journey by focusing on more video for human to human marketing and selling. To further that, my hope is they don’t shy away from the sometimes “scary” questions that always get asked – but rarely get answered (when they really should). Things like pricing, honest comparisons between their company and their competitors, and quite frankly why the prospect would find value in what they offer – rather than only talking about themselves (which is shockingly still a trend).

SnapApp

Seth Lieberman, CEO, SnapApp

“Marketers are going to blow up their lead gated content models in 2019.  They don’t work for anyone, not the prospect, not the marketer, and definitely not sales.”

“It will take all of 2019, but it will be the year that marks the tipping point where content marketing becomes just marketing.”

Vidyard

Tyler Lessard, VP Marketing, Vidyard

“2019 will see a big shift in how marketers use tools like video, chat and conversational content to build more authentic relationships and to personalize the customer experience. Gated white papers and clickbait will be replaced with un-gated videos and conversational chatbots to align with the shifting expectations of today’s buyers, offering new opportunities to expand reach and build human connections with audiences at scale.”

LeanData

Asher Mathew, VP Business Development, LeanData

Today’s customer wants, and demands, a personal – and even intimate – focus on nurturing the relationship. As a result, marketing strategies for innovative companies will revolve around what I like to call the 3 Cs: conversation, clarity and commitment. Let’s have a one-on-one conversation with our prospects to find out what they want, let’s provide clarity on what they need versus what they think they want, and then let’s get a commitment from the provider and the prospect to work together to meet joint goals and all-around success.

2019 will be the year in which marketers will use any and all data and technologies to search for the context to have the right conversation that will convert a prospect to a client or customer. Just like a hot referral vs. a warm or cool referral, this super-targeted approach adds immediate value because it shortens the time in the pipeline and enables more meaningful connections.

Uberflip

Randy Frisch, CMO, President & Cofounder, Uberflip

Personalization

  • In 2019, marketers will lean on content experience platforms to help them leverage intent data to serve the right content to each unique visitor at the right time. Consumers spend their downtime enjoying the hyper-personalized experiences of Spotify, Netflix, and Amazon and have come to expect this level of personalization when making B2B purchases too. Buyers’ expectations have evolved, and we have to give them a lot more than a one-size-fits-all experience if we want them to engage with us.

Focus on the experience

  • When content marketing first came to be, marketers neglected to think ahead and look at what they were actually going to do with all the content they were creating. Now, creation is only the first step in an organization’s investment in content. In 2019, marketers will place a heavier focus on creating content experiences that are designed to convert.

Vengresso

Bernie Borges, CMO, Vengresso

In 2019, marketers must stop thinking about marketing as the domain of their department – or their logo – and rather look to empower the sales staff to be trained and brand-compliant brand ambassadors. Marketers who think that salespeople don’t want to be marketers have asked the wrong question. Don’t ask sales if they want to be an extension of marketing? Ask Sales if they want content and the training and tools to share content with their buyers to start more sales conversations. Marketing in a silo doesn’t work in the connected age. See LinkedIn’s State of Sales 2018 report: “62% of decision makers look for an informed LinkedIn profile when considering working with a salesperson.” If Marketing doesn’t enable “an informed LinkedIn profile” they’re not doing one of the most needed things a salesperson needs from Marketing. After all, Marketing exists to help enable Sales as much as possible.

Want to see more AI predictions for 2019? Watch our fireside chat 2019 Predictions: 10 Ways Conversational AI Will Change The Way We Work.

Blog: 2019 Predictions – 10 Ways Conversational AI Will Change The Way We Work

By Rashmi Vittal, Conversica CMO

Last year, we saw the proliferation of AI-assisted technologies in our everyday life, from self-driving cars, to healthcare, to digital voice assistants in our homes.

But what can we expect to see for AI in the new year? In a recent fire-side chat, I sat down with Conversica CEO Alex Terry and Chief Scientist Sid J. Reddy to hear their predictions for the evolution of AI this year. Each of these Conversica AI leaders shared their forecasts for AI as it relates to B2B Marketing and Sales in 2019. We’ve captured some of the key points shared in our fireside chat in this blog. 

AI then and now

“A couple of predictions I have for 2019 is that you’ll see more powerful implementations of conversational AI, and more companies adopt AI in multiple departments,” said Terry.

We may just be at the start of 2019, but we are already seeing some of these predictions come true. According to Statista, 84% of enterprises believe that investing in AI applications will create a competitive advantage, while 75% believe that AI applications will create new business opportunities. While there are many applications of AI, one that is gaining a lot of traction is conversational AI.

What is conversational AI?

Conversational AI is the technology that enables people and computers to communicate with each other in a natural, two-way conversation. Some emerging use cases include chatbots that handle customer service requests, a virtual assistant that answers HR benefit questions, or a marketing AI assistant that sifts through thousands of leads to understand which people might be interested in your products and goods.

At Conversica, our flagship AI Sales Assistant helps companies create new revenue streams from their customers and generate more revenue. Last year, we released the AI Customer Success Assistant, which focuses on cross-selling and up-selling to increase retention and customer satisfaction. The release of the Customer Success Assistant aligns with a major AI trend we’re seeing now – companies implementing AI technologies in different departments.

Augmenting your workforce with AI

One of the key trends we’re already experiencing is marketers augmenting their workforce, giving their team the best tools to be successful. What is important to note is that AI isn’t replacing marketers, but rather helping them to do their jobs more effectively.

In marketing and sales, there’s a lot of routine work. Whether your lead is at the top of the funnel or close to closing, much of the work revolving around reaching out, engaging, and following up with leads can be automated. Conversational AI technology has come a long way in recent years, enabling humans and computers to have two-way conversations that feel more natural. More importantly, these conversations are personalized to the individual’s needs and solve real business problems.

We see 100% coverage on our inbound leads. We have assurance that all those leads are getting followed up on — not only consistently, but in a relevant, personalized manner that drives great customer experience.

Virtual assistants are getting smarter

The ability for virtual assistants to progress from that simplistic kind of chatbot experience to being able to handle complex conversations will be key for 2019. People want to interact with a smart assistant – and part of being smart is having the memory of past interactions with and understanding the context to move conversations forward.

Reddy spoke about some of the exciting advances in a new field of AI, called affective AI, or emotionally intelligent AI. He sees affective AI becoming a major theme in conversational AI to help interpret the emotional intent of the user. Whether it’s joy, sarcasm, humor, or something else, being able to determine the tone and intonation will further enable AI assistants to deliver personalized experiences and drive results.

Want to see more AI predictions for 2019? Watch our fireside chat 2019 Predictions: 10 Ways Conversational AI Will Change The Way We Work.

New eBook: Leveraging AI to boost lead generation and conversion

Artificial intelligence is on the minds of marketers now more than ever. Why?

Marketers responsible for demand generation know better than anyone else that it’s crucial to stay ahead of the curve with new lead generation tactics, and AI is where it’s at.

For lead generation, qualification, and conversion, AI fits seamlessly into the MarTech stack and solutions are only getting better, as the AI market is predicted to grow to $70 billion by 2020. The best AI solutions use marketing data to deliver powerful information about prospects and customers, as well as dig through data to find new prospects or suggest existing leads worth pursuing.

Advances in AI automate and optimize workflows for lead generation

The great news is that AI has advanced to a stage where off-the-shelf solutions are able to automate and optimize important workflows for lead generation and conversion for organizations of all sizes and all budgets. The power of AI comes in the form of a robust, personalized user experience that ensures you are targeting the right individuals at the right companies and determining which leads to pass on to sales.

Additionally, AI allows data across multiple sources to meet with business intelligence in one place in order to deliver measurable insights and actionable results. According to research by the Aberdeen Group, a market intelligence company, 61 percent of respondents reported lead scoring as the major driving force behind investing in AI. With AI, you can understand leads better, find new quality leads, and convert those leads into sales.

Download our new eBook, “Leveraging AI to Boost Lead Generation and Conversion Efforts,” and learn how to:

  • Assess organizational readiness for AI implementation
  • Understand how to use AI to solve the most challenging sales
    and marketing issues
  • Get started with AI

Leveraging AI eBook

How to increase your conversion rate in email marketing

Turning website visitors into customers is not an easy job. Your visitors have a limited amount of time and attention, and your competitors are vying for all of it. Email marketing is a proven method to increase conversion rate, but it needs to be done deliberately to optimize its impact and cut through the noise that your audiences encounter as they seek solutions to address their business problems.

How can you optimize your email marketing strategy to compel your audience to engage with your team at the right time and proceed along the path toward conversion? The following tips will provide a framework that you can use to evaluate your email marketing approach and revisit best practices.

Segmentation

In order to implement an email strategy that will increase conversion rate, you must start with segmentation. If your emails are sent to the right person at the wrong time, the chances of conversion are lower than if the same person receives a message at the right time in their buying process. Before you start sending messages at scale, segment the leads in your database to organize them by categories such as lead source, content downloaded, industry, or size of company. These categories will help you cater your content so that email recipients will be more receptive to your messaging.

Content

Once your audience is segmented appropriately, you can solve for the content piece of the email marketing equation. Content that is relevant and timely is of utmost importance as you take steps to increase your email conversion rate. Take time to create messaging that makes sense for its intended audience. If someone downloaded a specific white paper or viewed a video, reference that action in your messages to them. Ask them a question about their thoughts on the topic and offer next steps along the same line of conversation.

Create templates that use the recipient’s first name and company name—even reference their title where appropriate. This personalized approach shows that you’re genuinely interested in their process and their success as they evaluate solutions.

Also, use subject lines that are likely to be opened without using gimmicks or being disingenuous. Compelling subject lines should not leverage deception; no one wants to feel tricked into opening an email. You can use clever wording and show personality while being tasteful and in line with the preferences of your audience. Most importantly, realize that the subject line is a great opportunity to be direct and stand out from your competition.

Expected and readable

Do your email recipients expect to receive messages from you? Use the double opt-in feature on your email marketing software to avoid landing in spam folders. An unsubscribe link should be prominent because you want to have an engaged email audience. It is better for individuals to self-select out of receiving your messages than to have irrelevant email recipients. Keep your list fresh and active!  

From a practical standpoint, ensure that your messages are highly consumable. Formatting should not be an afterthought, but should be central to your approach as you create messages to send to your audience. To increase conversion rate, utilize email templates that are mobile-friendly and aesthetically appealing. Pay attention to the presentation of margins, white space, and embedded images. Make sure the aesthetic is consumable in plain text format, as well.  

Behavioral triggers

Use your marketing automation software to automate messages based on audience behavior. Set up triggers in your automation system that move contacts to different communication buckets depending on how they interact with your content.

Your leads will tell you what they want from you if you give them the chance. Discounts, customer reviews, or other offers are great methods to seek customer engagement. Automate their next step and the new segment as they take actions that let you know where they are in the buying cycle.

Sales enablement tools leveraging conversational AI, such as Conversica’s AI Assistant, can help improve lead scoring for leads in marketing automation software such as Marketo, Pardot and Eloqua, and are easily integrated with Salesforce.

Always be testing

If AEs and SDRs should always be closing, your marketing team should always be testing. A/B tests are extremely helpful to increase conversion rates because you will be able to drill down on the approach that is most likely to convert leads. Experiment with testing variables such as subject lines, day of week and time of day sent, and even sender name. If you are trying to make significant changes, conduct a bold test—for example, only send text-based emails. Let the results of these tests guide how you execute these aspects of your email marketing strategy to optimize audience engagement.

Parting thoughts

Email marketing is a key component of building a lead generation machine. By focusing on sending strong content to the right people and leveraging the power of your email and marketing automation systems, you can improve your email marketing efforts. In turn, you will learn more about your audience than the competition, which is what you need in order to increase conversion rates.

Leveraging marketing automation tools such as Conversica, Marketo, Pardot, Eloqua and Salesforce to manage email communications and lead scoring will help ensure that you are engaging the most important leads.

This is a learning process, so be patient and flexible as you find out how to best engage your specific audience. Your customers will appreciate your genuine attempts to meet them where they are in the buying cycle, and your approach should be met with great success.

Learn more about how to engage leads with AI.

Engage Leads with AI

 

 

 

Communication skills that will improve your sales success

Sales is an exercise in communication. Although sales is often considered a skill that a person is either born with or not, there are key communication habits that individuals can develop in order to improve their sales acumen. Communication styles are important—one must be able to convey enthusiasm and have some level of persuasiveness that motivates potential buyers to take the necessary steps to become customers. Although some may have natural abilities along these lines, only the salespeople who work on particular communication skills become high performers who can consistently achieve results in a variety of environments and market conditions.

Successful salespeople have the ability to listen, learn, and improve their communication skills to reach the highest levels of success in the field. Sales professionals of all levels, from sales development reps to sales managers, can benefit from focusing on specific components of effective communication to sharpen their performance and enhance results.

This post discusses the key aspects of the sales communication toolkit and how these communication skills can improve sales success.

Active listening

Do you practice active listening? Are you thinking of your next question, rebuttal, or pitch angle when the customer is introducing themselves or talking about their problem? If so, you are most likely not actively listening. This is a common mistake that many salespeople make.

Active listening means not only hearing the words being spoken, but also understanding the complete message being conveyed. One way to practice this would be to repeat customer comments and ask, “Is that accurate?” Another way to practice active listening is to ask questions based only on customer comments until there is an extremely clear understanding of their point of view or issue.

Understanding body language

Salespeople do not need to be mind readers, but they should certainly have some ability to read body language. Mirroring and matching body language, speech pacing, and eye contact can help put customers at ease and build a foundation from which to build rapport. Also, understanding physical cues that convey negative emotional states, such as discomfort or confusion, can help salespeople learn more about customer concerns and perspectives.

Assumptions and empathy

Assume nothing and ask as many questions as possible. Even if something seems obvious, asking the question allows the customer to answer in their terms. This helps you learn more about how they are thinking about their problem and what solutions they are likely to consider. There are scenarios in which errant assumptions cause misunderstandings that are costly to the sales process. Mistakenly assuming budget authority, timeline, or lack of competition in a deal can create negative consequences such as deals that do not close and unrealistic pipelines.

Asking questions instead of assuming also allows you to be more empathetic when speaking with customers. Letting customers describe their situations will create a better understanding of how they think and support communicating in the customer’s language. When customers sense that they are heard and understood as individuals with unique sets of circumstances, the dynamic between the buyer and the salesperson shifts to a more collaborative relationship which is helpful as the buying process continues.

Become a subject matter expert

Show that you are someone who spends time in your industry and is focused on being the best advisor possible. Do not be afraid to show customers and prospects that your interest in this field goes beyond your role as a salesperson. Follow published experts in your field and share their content with your customers. This will show your customers that you are someone they can look to for an informed opinion or fresh ideas. As you build this reputation, your ability to speak with confidence will make your guidance more compelling. In turn, you will be more effective as you lead customers through their important buying decisions.

Sales professionals were once information gatekeepers who were valuable as sources of product and technical information. Now, customers view this information as widely available and instead look to salespeople for advice and guidance. Those salespeople who are viewed as trusted advisors stand out and have success with a variety of buyer audiences.

Be genuine and honest

There are some teams where bending the truth or using trite expressions to try to convert customers is accepted. Although it might seem like these approaches could net short-term gains, these habits should never be supported in your teams. Salespeople are most effective when they are trusted and believed based on their valuable expertise and perspective.

Salespeople have the unique advantage of speaking to a variety of customers who have the same problem. This gives sales team members a wealth of understanding and knowledge of how people view the specific problem and the solutions available on the market. There is no need to use gimmicks or half-truths when speaking with customers about your solution, pricing, or the competitive landscape. In order to build trust and rapport that creates deep, long-term customer relationships, salespeople should be transparent and straightforward in all aspects of communicating with customers.

AI tools

As technology advances, many managerial and administrative aspects of the sales role are being automated. AI tools can now enable sales teams to conduct follow up activities at scale. These tools will persistently reach out to prospective customers and respond in a personalized manner. AI solutions do this by actually interpreting specific customer inquiries and responding to details, in a human-like fashion.

This use of AI in communications helps customers proceed to advanced stages in their buying process before even engaging your sales teams. AI helps your customer base become more informed and motivated before these prospects engage with your sales staff.

In summary

Whether  prospects are engaged by phone calls, web conferences, or in-person meetings, sales success depends on continuous improvement in communication skills. Sales professionals at all stages of their careers will also find that becoming a subject matter expert and adding technology such as AI to their prospect engagement process will help them be more effective, work better with customers, and ultimately close more business.

Find out how the Conversica Sales is an exercise in communication. Although sales is often considered a skill that a person is either born with or not, there are key communication habits that individuals can develop in order to improve their sales acumen. Communication styles are important—one must be able to convey enthusiasm and have some level of persuasiveness that motivates potential buyers to take the necessary steps to become customers. Although some may have natural abilities along these lines, only the salespeople who work on particular communication skills become high performers who can consistently achieve results in a variety of environments and market conditions. Successful salespeople have the ability to listen, learn, and improve their communication skills to reach the highest levels of success in the field. Sales professionals of all levels, from sales development reps to sales managers, can benefit from focusing on specific components of effective communication to sharpen their performance and enhance results. This post will discuss key aspects of the sales communication toolkit and how these communication skills can improve sales success. Active listening Do you practice active listening? Are you thinking of your next question, rebuttal, or pitch angle when the customer is introducing themselves or talking about their problem? If so, you are most likely not actively listening. This is a common mistake that many salespeople make. Active listening means not only hearing the words being spoken, but also understanding the complete message being conveyed. One way to practice this would be to repeat customer comments and ask, “Is that accurate?” Another way to practice active listening is to ask questions based only on customer comments until there is an extremely clear understanding of their point of view or issue. Understanding body language Salespeople do not need to be mind readers, but they should certainly have some ability to read body language. Mirroring and matching body language, speech pacing, and eye contact can help put customers at ease and build a foundation from which to build rapport. Also, understanding physical cues that convey negative emotional states, such as discomfort or confusion, can help salespeople learn more about customer concerns and perspectives. Assumptions and empathy Assume nothing and ask as many questions as possible. Even if something seems obvious, asking the question allows the customer to answer in their terms. This helps you learn more about how they are thinking about their problem and what solutions they are likely to consider. There are scenarios in which errant assumptions cause misunderstandings that are costly to the sales process. Mistakenly assuming budget authority, timeline, or lack of competition in a deal can create negative consequences such as deals that do not close and unrealistic pipelines. Asking questions instead of assuming also allows you to be more empathetic when speaking with customers. Letting customers describe their situations will create a better understanding of how they think and support communicating in the customer’s language. When customers sense that they are heard and understood as individuals with unique sets of circumstances, the dynamic between the buyer and the salesperson shifts to a more collaborative relationship which is helpful as the buying process continues. Become a subject matter expert Show that you are someone who spends time in your industry and is focused on being the best advisor possible. Do not be afraid to show customers and prospects that your interest in this field goes beyond your role as a salesperson. Follow published experts in your field and share their content with your customers. This will show your customers that you are someone they can look to for an informed opinion or fresh ideas. As you build this reputation, your ability to speak with confidence will make your guidance more compelling. In turn, you will be more effective as you lead customers through their important buying decisions. Sales professionals were once information gatekeepers who were valuable as sources of product and technical information. Now, customers view this information as widely available and instead look to salespeople for advice and guidance. Those salespeople who are viewed as trusted advisors stand out and have success with a variety of buyer audiences. Be genuine and honest There are some teams where bending the truth or using trite expressions to try to convert customers is accepted. Although it might seem like these approaches could net short-term gains, these habits should never be supported in your teams. Salespeople are most effective when they are trusted and believed based on their valuable expertise and perspective. Salespeople have the unique advantage of speaking to a variety of customers who have the same problem. This gives sales team members a wealth of understanding and knowledge of how people view the specific problem and the solutions available on the market. There is no need to use gimmicks or half-truths when speaking with customers about your solution, pricing, or the competitive landscape. In order to build trust and rapport that creates deep, long-term customer relationships, salespeople should be transparent and straightforward in all aspects of communicating with customers. AI tools As technology advances, many managerial and administrative aspects of the sales role are being automated. AI tools can now enable sales teams to conduct follow up activities at scale. These tools will persistently reach out to prospective customers and respond in a personalized manner. AI solutions do this by actually interpreting specific customer inquiries and responding to details, in a human-like fashion. This use of AI in communications helps customers proceed to advanced stages in their buying process before even engaging your sales teams. AI helps your customer base become more informed and motivated before these prospects engage with your sales staff. In summary Whether prospects are engaged by phone calls, web conferences, or in-person meetings, sales success depends on continuous improvement in communication skills. Sales professionals at all stages of their careers will also find that becoming a subject matter expert and adding technology such as AI to their prospect engagement process will help them be more effective, work better with customers, and ultimately close more business. AI Assistant helps businesses increase sales success.

Download the Conversica Sales Effectiveness Report eBook