On this episode of THRIVE—sponsored by Workamajig—Kelly talks with Dan Murphy of Drift about having meaningful interactions with prospects and how that leads to higher sales. They discuss how live chat and AI-based web technology can qualify prospects on your site and send them through the correct funnel.
EP 25: Immediate Conversations, Not Forms, with Dan Murphy
Kelly: Welcome to another episode of Thrive. We’re about to dive into something really interesting today.
We are going to talk about the importance of Immediate Conversations, Not Forms, when it comes to qualifications of prospects on your website. So, super geeky conversation is about to happen with Dan Murphy and I am really excited about it.
Dan actually runs Demand Generation over at Drift. Drift, if you don’t know about it, it’s the leading conversational marketing and selling platform. I have personally used it on my site for the better part of the year now. I absolutely love it. I love the mobile app that it comes with it so I can reply to people even when I am not in front of my computer.
Obviously, you are going to listen and watch the show but if you want to check it out while we are talking, you will just go over to drift.com/thrive. I’ll put that in the show note as well and I’ll probably repeat it at the end. So Dan thank you so much first of all for being on the show. I really appreciate you coming on today.
Dan: Thanks for having me. I am excited to be here.
Kelly: So, we were chatting a while ago and you mentioned that you guys recently put together this really in depth lead response time study or report and really focus on the B2B sector. So I want to have a high level overview of that report and what did you discover?
Dan: Sure. So what we did was it’s called the secret chopper experiment or report. What we did was we actually went and surveyed 512 B2B SaaS companies. We were checking for lead response time and so that is a new metric a lot of marketers are not familiar with it. But basically lead response time is how quickly does your business reach back out and have a conversation with the lead when it comes in and express some sort of interest for you. Whether it is through a live chat, where it’s your form, through a contact page, whatever.
What we found was a couple of years ago actually, I should back track and say Harvard Business Review and insideSTL.com put together this really interesting report that said that a lead is ten times less likely to ever talk to you if you don’t response to them within five minutes. That makes sense too because in this day and age, I think most of us feels as buyers but as buyers we are empowered. Right? We have all these knowledge and all these information in our fingertips. What happens is people have options.
There’s a lot of competition and if you do not hear back from a business you disappear, you end up going somewhere else and finding your solution whatever job you are trying to get done. But it was really interesting to find this like ten times less likely to ever talk to you, if you within this five-minute window and so we really want to test that. We want to take that data and try that out. We found some really interesting stuff about how businesses lack quick response time.
Kelly: Was it across the board like you just found that people were just not responding. I mean, forget about the five minutes. We’ll talk about that in a minute but was it like a couple of hours? Was it a couple of days? What were the overall findings?
Dan: Yes, first one, 90% of the companies didn’t hit that five-minute mark.
Kelly: Not surprising though, right?
Dan: No, it is not surprising. In the world of most companies doing forms and lead nurturing and lead scoring and all these stuff going on at the back end, most companies don’t have that it when it comes to that. Within five minutes they can reach back out and have a conversation with you and decide they’re ready. But we’ve also really got entrenched in this world where as marketers, we feel like we have to do all these leads scoring, we have to all these back end stuff and has to take time to figure out if someone a lead would come in is worthwhile to talk to you. And that’s kind of a shame because you are going to lose a lot of opportunities. So, 90% of the companies do not meet that five minute sweet spot. 58% of them actually never responded to us at all.
Dan: 58%, yes.
Kelly: Oh my God.
Never responded or whatsoever.
Kelly: That’s awesome.
Dan: The interest was true like we would go on a website and go on live chat, try to talk to them. We would go on and try to send a contact request form on their contact page whatever, trying to engage and trying to look like a legitimate interest in their business. Fifty eight percent of them…the majority of them never responded whatsoever and we were counting off a few days. I think I don’t have the exact number in front of me but most of them fell between …or the ones that did responded would fall between like a two and seven-day period of when they actually followed up on us.
Kelly: Oh my gosh. That’s pathetic.
Dan: Yeah. And if you think about it too like people like you and I, we just go on Amazon when we need something. I’m talking with the consumer. This is different a bit…but if you think in a way we buy, we just go on, like I was like on last night my phone. I need an air conditioner. It’s getting hot here in Boston. It is going to be humid soon and so I just went up to my phone and before I went to bed, I searched A/C units. I read two or three reviews and decided this is one for me, I pressed order and I’m done. It is going to show up in my front door and all my work is done. That’s the world I live in as a B2C buyer. So if I’m buying B2B, I expect a similar approach. So that’s what data shows.
Kelly: So, inside of the study, and the reports and all these findings, how did the response time correlate to the actual close rate because obviously pre-qualifying someone and getting them into okay, this checks out, this is the quality lead for me or quality prospect, we turn this into an opportunity. We actually close them. What is the correlation from that initial response time to the actual close?
Dan: At Drift, that would actually be a great follow up report and give everyone some depth there and survey other companies. It’s harder obviously to look at every other… we can’t look at 512 companies’ opportunity to close, right? But at Drift, we find that majority of our business, the majority so over 50% happens within months. So, create and close is what we call it. A lead comes in at the beginning of the month or half way through the month or whatever, we end up being able to close that deal within 30 days.
So, we have definitely seen that and we’ve seen that some of our customers… I can’t site of a very specific one. Like the idea is on top of my head, the one that has that like middle to bottom of higher conversion. We’ve talked, I’ve been a lot of different customer calls where they say they have that because real time messaging, when you empower someone, you give them the option to use messaging versus email or phone call. It really empowers the sales rep as well because the buyers are much more likely to jump on real time messaging and follow up after a demo or after a sales call and have that conversation.
Kelly: Right for sure. So, there are a lot of agency leaders, managers watching or listening to this. I know I am going to have a couple of emails after this show. They’re going to be like come on, five minutes really? Like we’re running a service-based business, our clients are running probably service- based businesses, how do you expect us to actually get back to someone in under five minutes. Are there best practices that you kind of throw out there?
Dan: Sure. We started with messaging. We were at our very beginning at Drift like really just a live chat to our website, human to human real time conversations. But we realize how do you scale that? Like exactly the question you have. Like how do you scale that? How can you do this five minute window? That doesn’t sound reasonable and the solution is chat bots.
The solution is giving someone, a chatbot in our world isn’t this powerful AI engine that can do crazy machine learning and understand where you’re coming from and give you real time answers to very detailed questions. A chatbot is just something that interacts with you and says hey, like either one that provides you with some information based on your knowledge base. So with Drift, you can connect your knowledge base drift and look through and read all your documentation and try to provide answers to someone who is looking for something.
Two is booking real time meetings. When someone comes in as a B2B buyer, they are looking for something, you can actually have a chat bot on your website to interact with someone. Ask a couple of qualifying questions and if they’re qualified, it will book a meeting for that person right away with the right sales, do rerouting; it’s smart enough to look at the right sale reps or say this person is coming from Microsoft, let’s send them to Johnny, coz Johnny owns the Microsoft account or whatever. And what we found is and you might think, okay, it’s great for the business. It’s great for the sales rep but does that help the buyer?
Well, the buyer actually likes that because when you’re coming on a website, you have this intent, you’re evaluating, you’re looking for something, you’re some sort of a serious buyer. If you are going through the motions here, you’re looking at the right pages and in Drift, you can configure it in any way you want really. You can identify okay, this business is going to be the solution for me. How do I get in touch with them?
If you can just book a meeting as a buyer and say, okay, now I know at this point in time, in two days from now or three days from now or week from now, I have a meeting with them. I’ll get all my answers. Then I will be able to lay it all out here. I will put it in my schedule. That solves our problem for the buyer as well in terms of getting the answers as quickly as possible at least they have that time set, saying, okay, we this is when we’re going to dive into this and I am going to explore this option more.
Kelly: Right. And then the pre-qualification questions that you are talking about, obviously those have to be completely customizable. Every business is different so you run them through. Do you find that the prospective customers or clients are more willing to kind of go that route rather than talking to someone either on the phone right now? Meaning that they take the step to dial in or if they know that they are interacting with an actual human on a live chat, like do you know what those differences are or what the preferences are from the customer standpoint?
Dan: Yeah. I think we’re moving into a world where there’s phonophobia. I have it myself. I don’t know what it is actually. But there was this huge, huge spike in robo-calls. I don’t know if you’ve experienced this but…
Kelly: Yes, for sure.
Dan: Yeah, like there’s just, there’s like the FTC or FCC or whatever the commission is. They are looking into it like this is a big thing. I don’t answer my phone anymore from random numbers but if it’s my mom, my girlfriend or my friends I’ll answer it but other than that, I don’t answer the phone ever.
Kelly: And even your mom is calling, you don’t pick up the phone, right?
Dan: My mom is yeah, hopefully mom is listening to this, but sometimes I’m a little busy and I got a lot of things to do so I just call her back.
Kelly: I am just actually kidding. If my mom is listening to this, I am totally kidding too.
Dan: Yes, you got me on that statement. I think we are moving into this world where the phone is a less likely outcome. And so, I was a customer before I came to work here in Drift and I installed Drift and built the process for our sales team, implement them and start using it, train them on it, and kind of build this new way of selling. And when we were first trying it, it was just our marketing team that was on Drift. It was only us having conversations. We didn’t open it up right away to everybody or entire sales team. We have about 25 reps.
What would happen is we would be honest marketers talking to these leads and the sales reps, I would ping them on Slack and say, hey, your lead is on the website right now, I am talking to them right now. Do you want to come over my desk and know talk to them. And they were like, oh my God and they could come over and I can’t tell you how many times I had this one sales rep come over to me like, I have been calling them for weeks and they haven’t responded to any of my phone calls and now they are on live chat. What the heck?
Well, that kind of make sense. Especially in a technical sale like engineers, mechanics, like most people like IT, you don’t want to talk to people on the phone. We’ve seen a lot of traction on that too for nontraditional sort of a marketers sales person might be more likely answer the phone like the engineer or scientist or something like that or IT person. But regardless, it actually works very well for those markets in terms of giving them real time messaging. It’s that their pace and their leisure, they have the power to start and end conversations. They can continue them through email once they are off the website. It just adds a lot more flexibility to them. So we’ve seen a lot more traction. I don’t have specific data and say, oh we see 70% more…
Kelly: Any total is fine.
Dan: Yes, totally, anecdotally, I mean, and that’s why like 90% of our customers are like this is why they do it because they can’t reach you on the phone. And so having real time messaging on the website and then having a great team to all the different parts of platform, which is email and all these other things gives that a lot more power.
Kelly: I mean, to me, that makes a lot of sense because really what are you doing at the beginning of the relationship or I should say just the beginning of the process. You are sitting there as the customer. You are not ready to jump in to marriage, right? Like you got to court a little. So you want to do your due intelligence, maybe you want to chat, whatever it is, and then maybe book that appointment. So it’s just kind of like run before you walk and I think that’s a really good point to touch on and drill onto people that, that’s how our human behavior has evolved over the last five to ten years.
Dan: Yes and I just want to add and say that one of the other parts about conversations, which are better than forms or the buyer likes more is that they can be anonymous in a conversation. They can ask a very specific personalized question that matters to them whereas with the form, you are identifying your first name, your last name, your phone number, your first born child, your social security number, I mean, to the extent that…My last company we had 12 different questions in our form for any entrance into our database you have to answer 12 questions. So, with chat, it just gives a lot more opportunity for people to come in and ask anonymously before they are to identify themselves before they give their email address and everything. Just go right in and ask their specific question.
Kelly: I guess the next step or the next question would be if there is an agency that wants to implement Drift, try it out or they want to do that for one of their clients, is the next step to essentially like what would you recommend? Are you talking about ripping out all their static forms and putting Drift in place or what is the best practice from your standpoint?
Dan: Sure. Yes, it’s a great question. I went through this again as a customer and we basically, we’re doing the old way of B2B marketing, which is forms and lead scoring and email nurture and all that stuff. I would not recommend just ripping it all out and just replacing. I don’t think many marketers’ first inclinations are going to be oh yeah, I am just going to rip everything out tomorrow. You’ve got to start small. You have to start somewhere.
I think empowering your sales team with conversations in your website, you don’t realize until you turn it on, who is on your website, what they have to say, what they’re interested in, and when you give them that avenue, that’s not filling out of form and not identifying all these information about themselves, they take it.
We at Drift before I even got here, we lived in the old world of forms; we were doing forms. We had about 2% conversion right about the traffic and now about 20% of our traffic has conversations with us. Just a lift in overall, every single conversations they identify themselves, sometimes anonymous but because of specific things like IP checking, we can generally know who they are. We can do stuff like, we have an integration with Clearbit and with Clearbit, you can actually …it takes a big and rich data library all these B2B companies across the worlds and has your IP address. So when a certain company comes to you anonymously, you can identify and say oh, that’s IBM. They are on our website right now… because we are looking at the IP address.
We’ve seen a lot of these like we’re just looking at some the other day actually when one of our customers replied and they said like, oh my God, I didn’t realize all these companies are on my website. They probably always have them but they just don’t want to submit a form and they don’t want to sign up for trial, they don’t want to book a demo yet, they don’t want to go through this form.
They are there and they are looking but we didn’t know who they were until you help us identify them using Clearbit and Drift. And a lot of them will end up having conversations and we set up good quality. VP or a CMO or a CFO or whatever might not come in your website and sign up for the free trial because they are not going to be the ones using it. But they might come on as astute buyer and they might just want to ask a couple questions and then conversations and chat because you got options.
Kelly: Right, awesome. Well, I know you put together a very generously offer for our audience. So, if you guys want to get a free lead bot trial for 7 days, you can just head over to drift.com/thrive and they’ll pop up show notes for you.
Dan, great conversation. I really, really appreciate you coming on the show and happy to talk in the future as Drift kind of evolves.
Dan: Great. Thank you very much for having me. I appreciate it.