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According to  research performed by McKinsey (McKinsey AI Adoption Survey, 2018) in 2018, about 20 to 30% of businesses use conversational marketing in one way or another. Conversational marketing is also known as chatbots. The full McKinsey report can be found here. See some results from the report below:

Conversational marketing might be a relatively new thing, the market picks it up very fast! This can be seen in a recent Gartner research, and in which the published the ‘Gartner Hype Cycle for Digital Marketing and Advertising’. This cycle shows a lot of digital developments and indicates for example that conversational marketing is being adopted before considering tactics like predictive analytics and data-driven marketing.

Source: Gartner

So you’re using a chatbot and have adopted conversational marketing. What’s next?

When you’ve started using chatbots, you’ve probably found out that you’re going through a maturity cycle with your organization and prospects or customers. You’ve made your first flows (or Playbooks) and realize some results in creating CQLs (Conversational Qualified Leads). You might even have started in experimenting with conversational pages. These pages replace your ‘old-fashioned’ forms, that were used for gated-content by pages that have bots on them. We have experienced amazing results with these pages: up to 4 times the conversion we got before, when using forms. Check-out an example of a conversational page on our website here:

Drift has recently published a conversational marketing maturity model. In this 4-phase model, the adoption of different conversational functionalities over time is shown. Within a year you’ll grow from implementation to full adoption (or mastery):

Why integrate chatbots and marketing automation?

The model above shows adoption of ABM (Account-Based Marketing) during the expansion phase. During this stage, you’ll start integrating your marketing automation platform and your conversational marketing platform. But why would you even bother integrating the two? We’ll give you 3 reasons why:

  1. Unified prospect and customer view: when a prospect starts a conversation through the chatbot, you’ll probably like that info being stored in the same location as the other customer data. Usually, this is your marketing automation platform which on its turn is connected to your CRM. The info from the conversations can then be used to segment and build personalized communication flows.
  2. Follow up leads after chatbot conversations: CQLs will start coming in when you’re using chatbots. In some cases, meetings with sales will be booked online, but more often the conversation is taking place during a customer discovery-phase. This means they’ll need to be followed up later on by email. That’s where you need marketing automation! Within systems like Marketo or Act-On, you’ll build lead nurturing flows, especially in B2B.
  3. Adopt an Account-Based Marketing Strategy for up and cross-selling: within B2B you’ll probably work with named accounts. These accounts are segmented within your marketing automation platform on dedicated lists. In these lists data like purchasing history, customer status/level, named account executive and other details might be stored. This data can now be used in personal chat flows. The chatbot software will recognize the customer based on its behavior that was stored in the marketing automation platform (like Marketo or Salesforce Pardot). Next, you’ll be able to give this customer a red carpet treatment. Give them the fastlane to specific departments, suggest relevant content and products and realize cross selling opportunities. Wacth the video below for a 1-minute explanation:

Not all integration between chatbots and marketing automation are equal!

When you’re about to integrate a chatbot solution and your marketing automation platform, the first thing you’ll have to do is select the right conversational platform. G2Crowd has published the Conversational Marketing Grid on their website

Based on the grid above you’ll probably want to proceed with one of the leading platforms:  Hubspot, Intercom, Drift and Conversica. All of them offer a connection to marketing automation, it is however very important to realize that there are different kinds of integrations! Based on the reasons (as mentioned above) that you’ll want to integrate the 2 systems for, some platforms are better than others. In general there are 2 different integrations available:

  • 1-way communication integration (sometimes through Zapier): Conversica and Intercom both offer this integration method. All data from the chats are being collected and sent to the marketing automation platform. The way Conversica explains it on their site:
  • 2-way communications between chatbot and marketing automation: a better way of integrating, is a 2-way synchronization. This integration will enable you to use the data stored in Marketo or Pardot (like recognizing the visitor) for personalized conversations. You surely want to give you dream customers a red carpet treatment, right? Watch the video below:

Want to start using marketing automation and chatbots?

Marketing Guys helps companies succeed by using a KPI-based framework and the right marketing technology solutions. So, if you’re thinking about adding chatbots and marketing automation to your martech stack, we need to talk! We’re serving international customers with our multi-lingual (English, German and Dutch speaking) team.

Want to find our more? Plan a video meeting or start a chat. Prefer to give us a call? We’re ready for you at +31337370250.