Do you ever feel like you’re working hard but still down about your job? Do you get stressed out about lead generation and the hand-off of leads between Marketing and Sales? If this sounds like you, you’ll want to check out our webinar: A Marketer’s Guide to #SelfCare
Here at Conversica, we believe the key to getting off of the Demand Gen roller coaster starts with self-care and using an AI Assistant. These assistants help you ensure that every lead is managed well and that more MQLs are passed off to Sales.
In this self-care webinar, Brian Anderson from the Demand Gen Report, Jill Marguette from Trifacta, and Gloria Ochman from our team at Conversica come together to teach you how to achieve Demand Gen zen. Here’s a look at some of what you’ll discover in this webinar:
Scoring Leads vs. Engaging Leads
Demand Gen Marketers are great at – you guessed it – generating leads. However, because they are generating such a high quantity of leads, they’re now tasked with figuring out which leads need more engagement. That’s where lead scoring comes into play. But it isn’t an exact science.
Lead scoring estimates the likelihood that any given lead is a good match for your products or services. Yet it is still just a guess whether the lead is a good fit and ready to buy. As a result, the Sales team has to sort through tons of leads and they only end up qualifying a small percentage of them.
Optimizing Pipeline Management
With so many leads to manage and confusion around what to do with them, many companies end up dealing with their pipeline poorly. They often aren’t following up with leads quickly enough or making enough touches.
This lack of pipeline management means that a lot of leads fall through the cracks. Ultimately, that’s what keeps Marketing professionals up at night. How can they bridge the gap? How can they ensure that follow-ups are happening for the leads they provide?
The Solution: AI Assistants
AI Assistants can take the pressure off Marketers by engaging and following up with leads (thus increasing Demand Gen Zen). A Conversica AI Assistant follows up with leads and gets meetings scheduled so that your team can focus on what they’re good at and passionate about. Letting Marketers do what they do best, and letting your AI Assistant handle the rest, is the key to having less stress at work.
Once you start using an AI Assistant, implementing this tool to reduce the number of mundane tasks you do is just the beginning. AI Assistants can help you unlock the full potential of your team and bridge the gap between Marketing and Sales.
Want to dig a little deeper into how self-care plays a role in your success as a Demand Gen Marketer? Click here to check out our A Marketer’s Guide to #SelfCare webinar.
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
In a bylined article today in Digital Enterprise, Conversica CMO Rashmi Vittal shares some results from a recent survey we commissioned. The research results from this survey on Sales and Marketing alignment indicate that alignment between these teams is lacking. However, in her article, Vittal offers tips for how Sales and Marketing organizations can bring these disciplines together to meet shared goals.
Collaboration is Key
People are one of the most important business assets, but no one is an island. Organizations must enable collaboration between their people and among their teams. Only by enabling collaboration can these organizations facilitate the exceptional teamwork that is found at the best companies.
Cross-functional collaboration in particular is important. Different people and groups come to the table with complementary skills, and when organizations bring together those talents to create effective strategies and processes, everybody wins.
Tight Alignment Brings Increased Performance
When considering the relationship between Sales and Marketing, when tight alignment is found between these two groups, businesses excel in performance. Fortunately, both Sales and Marketing teams at many businesses have a deep desire to be aligned. Conversica’s recent survey results illustrate this. A fair share of respondents view their Sales or Marketing counterparts as partners.
- 54% recognize their need for people and teams in the other discipline.
- 50% know Sales and Marketing are working toward the same company goals.
- 38% in Marketing said there’s perfect synergy between Marketing and Sales.
- But only 27% of the Sales folks see things that way.
While the above numbers indicate some Sales and Marketing team members are very optimistic about cross-function alignment, the numbers also state that many others are clearly not.
- 68% of Sales said relationships with Marketing are good but could be better.
The results of this Conversica commissioned survey indicate that the main source of the tension between Sales and Marketing involves timing. Many view Marketing as more strategic and focused on the future, while Sales people are sometimes described as lacking an adequate attention span. The survey suggests that Sales people care more about the here and now than do their Marketing peers.
These stats behind points are further broken down below:
- 58% of Sales respondents said the top cross-function tension is timing
- 33% of Marketing staff members agreed
- 25% of Marketing people said Marketers are more strategic
What can executives do to help their teams work together to achieve company goals? The answer starts with building trust and opening channels of communication to foster greater collaboration and transparency. Failure to meet targets is a shared responsibility, and team members from both sales and marketing – or any other departments, for that matter – must understand that.
When businesses establish processes and tools to build trusted relationships among Sales and Marketing, they enable such understanding. That can translate into building better relationships and experiences for prospects and customers. In fact, we’ve seen that solutions based on AI, like Conversica Conversational AI Assistants can help Sales and Marketing teams align cohesively.
- 93% of Sales people and 87% of Marketers felt AI can help improve relationships between these teams.
- 57% of Marketing pros said AI already has made working with Sales better.
AI Assistants can help improve Sales and Marketing relationships in the following ways:
- Relieve the tension between Marketing and Sales because 100% of leads are followed-up in a two-way, personalized, human-like conversation.
- Identify Marketing funnel “hand-raisers” faster and those at risk of abandoning before it’s too late.
- Take on a significant portion of the routine, but important, repetitive tasks that come with lead follow-up, freeing Marketing to focus on delivering excellent experiences and freeing Sales to focus on building trusted, high-value relationships with prospects.
- Make both Sales and Marketing departments more efficient and effective.
- Improve morale on both Sales and Marketing teams.
Read Conversica CMO Rashmi Vittal’s full byline article in Digital Enterprise.
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.
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.
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).
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.”
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.”
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.
Randy Frisch, CMO, President & Cofounder, Uberflip
- 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.
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.
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.
Fundbox is a fast-growing fintech startup based in San Francisco that is quickly changing the way small businesses secure funding. It’s about time, too, since the lending industry has remained unchanged for the most part since the 1950’s. How do they do it?
Check out this podcast featuring Vengreso CMO, Bernie Borges as he interviews Fundbox Head of Sales and Support, Basile Senesi, on how they challenge traditional underwriting standards to provide personalized customer experiences. By harnessing the power of AI – specifically through data science and automation – Fundbox is able to serve clients who may have previously been unqualified for funding and give them much needed access to credit.
Even if you’re not in the finance industry, this podcast is worth a listen — you’ll learn how AI is helping businesses across the board make the customer experience more human.
If you’d like to check out other Vengreso podcasts, be sure to check out Victor Belfor, Senior Vice President of Channel Sales and Business Development at Conversica, talk about how to be a modern marketer in the age of data and analytics.