Revenue Acceleration Using Data and AI with Mark Kilens from Drift

In this episode of Selling in Asia, join us as Tom Abbott sits down with Mark Kilens from Drift to find out the best conversational sales practices, how to speed up the qualification process, and to take a sneak peek at Drift’s Revenue Acceleration model.

Mark Kilens is Vice President of Content and Community at Drift, a Conversational Marketing platform that unites chat, email, video, and automation to remove the friction from business buying. As a revenue acceleration platform, they help create and close more revenue opportunities faster than ever before with their innovative dynamic chat function. 

Our mission is to use conversations to make business buying frictionless, more enjoyable, and more human.

Drift

Mark Kilens leads the content, community, learning, and development teams. He also oversees Drift’s editorial and L&D functions, Drift Insider, and HYPERGROWTH events. Before joining Drift, he served as Vice President and Founder of HubSpot Academy. So join us, as Mark shares his vast knowledge and expertise on topics such as:

  • What Is Conversational Marketing?
  • What Is Conversational Selling?
  • Conversational Selling Best Practices
  • Drifts Revenue Acceleration Model
  • Speeding Up The Qualification Process
  • Common Mistakes in Conversational Selling
  • The Results Drift Has On Companies Success

What Is Conversational Marketing?

Drift coined the term Conversational Marketing, which they describe as “a one-to-one approach to marketing that companies use to shorten their sales cycle, learn about their customers, and create a more human buying experience.” Essentially adopting a personalized, real-time approach that is somewhat similar to a chatbot – the number one marketing tool for B2B sales. 

What Is Conversational Selling?

Conversational marketing and conversation sales bring you as close as you can to the buyer. You can use the data that you have about the buyer already in your CRM or your marketing automation system as part of the experience they’re having with you across all of the digital channels they’re engaging with you with. 

Conversational Selling Best Practices

Create A Dialogue

Your goal is to create a natural conversation, not a pitch! Creating a friendly dialogue allows both parties a chance to see whether this is an opportunity worth pursuing – taking off all the usual awkward initial pressure. Obviously, at this stage, it’s crucial not to make any assumptions about your customer, not even why they’re here – remember your priorities lay in finding out your customers’ needs, objectives, and decision making authority.

Prove Your Integrity

All good Salespeople will know that people only buy from know, like and trust, so it’s imperative to be genuine, open and solely focused on your customer. By using techniques such as active listening, you’ll build trust quicker – which will hopefully result in a satisfied customer.

Have Cues But Don’t follow a script

Open with prompts or questions, why? Because Conversational Selling is a vast step away from traditional selling methods. It’s all about the customer’s satisfaction with the entire process, at no point do they want to feel like they’re talking to a robot. So by following a natural conversational flow, you’ll uncover your potential customer’s needs in a way that builds stronger trust and connection.

Drifts Revenue Acceleration Model

revenue acceleration
Drift’s Revenue Acceleration Model

Drift has developed their own Revenue Acceleration Model. Below we lay out the key parts of their model.

1: Engaging Website Visitors

Stage one of accelerating your revenue is engaging your website visitors. Regardless of whether you’re B2B or B2C, more people are going to your website to learn about your business, brand, or buy something. It’s that simple.

The average website conversion rate is 1% to 3%. So When the numbers are that low, it’s telling you that your website is a bad experience – primarily because customers can’t find things.

You need to engage customers so you can help them find what they’re looking for and optimise your website to increase conversion rates.

2: Target the Right Buyers

At this stage, we’re considering who’s visiting your website and we start looking at the data. So, the implicit and explicit data you have in your marketing automation system and the data you have in your CRM is invaluable to personalize the web experience for all of those different types of buyers – depending on which channel they’ve come from, what company they’re from and what content they’re exploring on your website. 

3: Accelerating Deal Cycles

In the 3rd stage of revenue acceleration we’re helping the marketing and sales side accelerate deal cycles. Really it’s about equipping your Account Executive team with Conversational Sales and Conversational Marketing. 

Stage 1 and 2 are both inbound and outbound. Which means you can do both of those stages and should do both those stages with the combination of Sales Development Representatives, Business Development Representatives, inbound marketing, and all the other types of marketing involved with conversational marketing and sales.

But, at this stage, it’s about not only how do we make sure that the Account Executive, Sales Developments, and Marketing Teams are performing well and executing together. 

More so, how do we use AI (Artificial Intelligence) in Stages 1 and 2 to now further optimize the different interactions and touch points of the customer experience and lifecycle using the dialogue manager. These tools are used to say to the visitor, “Hey, thanks for coming back to the website. Have any questions about pricing? Because you’re on the pricing page and you’ve been there only once.” The AI will be able to respond just like a human because it’s learned from human conversations that it ingests into the model and it can start to get smarter over time. 

There’s so much we can unpack with this stage, but it’s about the AI, it’s about the alignment and execution together. Ultimately, it’s about how can we ensure that an Account Executive, is extremely equipped to connect with the buyer no matter where they are coming from and what page they’re visiting. The end goal insuring that you don’t miss a chance to take an opportunity and turn it into a customer.

4: Deal Insights

Stage 4 is where we explore Deal Insights. It’s taking the information that the conversational marketing and sales solutions are collecting as part of our revenue acceleration platform.

Information in the form of data that tells you the experiences that you built, either by using chat or email. Or, the metrics that help you reach your goals (ultimately, revenue or opportunity creation), and lastly the data on what is helping the customer do the same and the ones that are not. 

Half of the gold in automation and AI is the insights. The other half, is how fast it can get you, that customer, or that business to the right outcome. It’s both things. So it’s fair to say at this stage, it’s about making stage one and two even more powerful.

5: Transforming Customer Engagement

At this stage of the Revenue Acceleration cycle, it’s about truly changing how you engage across the entire spectrum of the customer lifecycle and using the data to inform product strategy.

This is completely different. You now have access to:

  • Conversational Data
  • Relationship-based data
  • The questions they asked during the sales process, onboarding process, and renewal stage.
  • Their Product Usage.
  • How much they’ve purchased.
  • How they’ve grown because of our product.
  • Their demographics and firmographics.

Now, you’re using AI to make those experiences better across stages 1 through 4. Adopting this approach across those four major channels of communication and how we just live today and communicate is also about product strategy and product development.

“This is where Amazon is amazing. Look at Amazon. They’re using all this data to make products that their consumers want.”

Mark Kilens

Common Mistakes in Conversational Selling

Any good salesperson knows Net or Gross retention is so crucial to an excellent CRO. Now that we are seeing the rise of customer marketing, some of the revenue team should now be marketing and sales, and their revenue team should be marketing sales and customer success. That’s how we think about it. That’s how we define a revenue team.

Those three teams together work to accelerate revenue because most businesses are either subscription-based, SaaS-based or have some way to expand customers. However, you should still use your customers to attract other potential customers.

If you’re not growing customer value and delivering that value, ideally, you could have significant problems by not exceeding their expectations.

Speeding Up The Qualification Process

What automation can do to lead qualifing is take away the transactional sales development. It’s constantly considering the question of, “how can we make sure that the buyer’s moving through the sales milestones and they’re buying on our terms?” We don’t want them to control the sales process, we’re dictating it for them. Which is obviously only achieved in a very personal and delightful way!

The Results Drift Has On Companies Revenue Acceleration

Over 50,000 businesses use Drift today to generate more revenue, shrink sales cycles, and make buying easy. Check out some of their happy customer reviews.

We’re now getting more qualified leads than before. Our SDRs are having more qualified conversations, and we’re driving nearly 30% more MQLs.”

Ben Battaglia, Director of Marketing, Lessonly

Read Drift’s full article about their Revenue Acceleration model here

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