What is Conversational Marketing?

Conversations have always been at the heart of our most authentic relationships. Whether it’s a business deal or a personal connection, they are a driving force to solidify a foundation of trust. 

Enter conversational marketing — the new paradigm to tackling your business deals and converting prospects in minutes.

What is Conversational Marketing?

Conversational marketing is the strategy of leveraging 1:1 engagement between you and your customer in the form of real-time conversations. It is a marketing channel that enables two-way communication between buyers and sellers to provide critical buying information that accelerates their path to purchase. In simple terms — speak to your prospects and customers immediately and witness faster conversions. 

Many people conflate conversational marketing with chatbots. While chatbots are a form of conversational marketing, they are just a small part of the entire conversational marketing realm. In reality, it encompasses a variety of forms from live chat, chatbots, voice bots, to audio conversations.

The Problem with the Current B2B Buying Process

Let us first identify the problems with the current B2B buying process. This will help provide context to how conversational marketing is the smartest solution for your sales and marketing efforts.

Problem #1: One-way communication

In the last few years, people have been wired to communicate over synchronous conversational apps like Whatsapp, Wechat, Facebook Messenger, and iMessage. They all send and receive messages almost instantaneously and make us feel like we’re having the next best thing to a face-to-face conversation. 

But businesses haven’t necessarily been leveraging this mode of communication in their buying process.

When a prospect lands on a B2B website, oftentimes the only available mode of communication between the business and the prospect is asynchronous: email or some kind of web form. 

Problem #2: Pushy marketing

The other major problem in B2B marketing is pushy messaging, which includes asking for email or spamming the whole page with pop-up ads. And while these practices might seem like the best way to grab a user’s attention, they are only hurting the user experience. 

Additionally, much of this pushy content tries to engage with a website visitor at the wrong time. Why would someone want to sign up for your newsletter before reading any of your content?

Your marketing will always feel irrelevant and intrusive when it is not driven by your prospects. 

Problem #3: Long wait time

Oftentimes, one has to go through a series of questions on the website form before the actual conversation starts between a salesperson and the prospect. 

This process is neither convenient for prospects nor businesses, as there are typically long waiting times in getting a response from either side. 

With conversational marketing, businesses can be a step ahead and easily eliminate these problems in the buying process. 

Benefits of Conversational Marketing

In order to successfully adopt the process of conversational marketing into your business strategy, you need to understand its three main attributes. 

1:1 Engagement 

1:1 engagement means having a buyer-led conversation with a business where the focus is not just to market your product or provide self-assertive content to the buyer, but instead help them in their buying journey

The knock-on-the-door marketing conversation where businesses ask visitors to sign up or download a piece of content is long gone. Instead, visitors want to be heard and need someone who can understand their pain points and guide them to the best possible solution. 

To do this, they need to have a real conversation with someone from the business. But companies are making it hard for their buyers to reach them. An email conversation takes time and prolongs something that could be a quick fix. 

Real-time conversation

Customers today expect everything in real time. Look around you; we all are equipped with various conversational apps that we use every day.  

Whatsapp, Wechat, Facebook messenger, and iMessage are all examples of conversations happening in real time. But when it comes to having a conversation with a business, we are forced to rely on asynchronous modes of communication. 

What if you walked into a showroom and asked a question to one of the employees? What if they didn’t answer your questions, then asked for your email and told you to expect a reply in the next two days. Sounds ridiculous, right?

With conversational marketing, this asynchronous mode of communication will be replaced with real-time communication. 

Businesses can easily leverage the habits of people having a real-time conversation through a chat.

Buyer controlled process

In today’s digital era, buyers are well informed in advance of speaking with a sales rep. Having a number of review sites and product comparisons at their disposal, today’s buyers don’t need to experience obtrusive content from sales and marketing teams. 

In conversational marketing, the buyer has complete control over the buying experience, so much so that they define their call to action.. 

The whole experience in conversational marketing is focused on the buyers’ intent and consent. Any good conversational marketing solution should try to understand the intent of the prospect and get their consent to provide any informative content.

FAQs on Conversational Marketing

1. What are the best practices for conversational marketing?

Like any new channel you introduce into your workflow, you need to refine your strategy and resources to adapt successfully. With conversational marketing, you need to focus on prioritizing your buyers, integrating with your existing marketing automation and CRM platforms, and leveraging a combination of human-first and chatbot applications.

2. Does conversational marketing integrate with my existing workflows?

Conversational marketing is meant to fit right into your existing workflows without any hassle or disruption. With its ability to integrate seamlessly with your current integrations — marketing automation, CRMs, and collaboration tools —  it becomes easier for your teams to adopt it into their current workflows.

3. How do I combine both human-first and chatbots to scale for optimal customer support?

Nothing is better than having your best sales rep talking to your prospect. But they are human, after all. Sales reps can’t be available for 24/7. 

You can program your chat bot to set meetings with sales reps when they aren’t immediately available. With ZoomInfo Chat, you can establish set office hours for your team to be available to respond to requests. The moment they go offline, deploy the bot to collect all relevant data from visitors and book meetings so that you don’t miss any incoming opportunities.

4. Do I need to get rid of all the forms on my website?

Conversational marketing accelerates your lead capturing process. With our form-based acceleration, you can sync all your lead capture forms to your bot, so that the moment a lead fills out a form, your bot engages and continues the conversation.