Meet Brian Adam. Brian is the Director of Marketing Operations at Talkdesk, the fastest growing Contact Center as a Service provider empowering companies to make customer experience a competitive advantage.
For Brian and team, implementing Drift opened up a new way to engage potential buyers faster, decreasing their lead to opportunity time from 14 days to just 9 days.
But when Talkdesk first implemented Drift, they had a problem.
The Talkdesk sales development team was trying to convert all conversations into phone calls right away.
This happens with sales reps new to conversational selling. SDRs are trained to get leads on the phone as fast as possible. So regardless of the channel, they are going to steer conversations towards the phone.
When this happens over chat, however, it can create a bad buying experience.
Brian and team realized this approach wouldn’t work. So they trained their SDR team how to build trust with people on chat before proposing next steps.
Sounds easy, but changing sales habits is far from easy.
Here’s how they did it and in the process turned Drift into one of their best sales channels, decreasing their lead to opportunity time by 35% and influencing over $3 million in pipeline.
So why did Brian decide to choose Drift in the first place? There were three main reasons:
Talkdesk’s main Playbook engages website visitors and tries to understand their intent in visiting their website. The first step in conversational marketing is to engage and understand your visitors.
Here’s the opening question from Talkdesk:
There are several paths a visitor can follow here, but let’s focus on the first two buttons, because those are the two that get directed to the sales team.
“Demo please” = Identify who is ready for a demo and book it NOW
“I want to talk to sales” = Identify who wants to talk to sales right NOW
For someone visiting Talkdesk’s website, those two buttons mean two very separate things. But to an SDR every new lead is a potential meeting. If a phone call is more likely to yield a meeting, the SDR team is going to push a phone call.
“One of the things we noticed is that as soon as our SDRs were directed into a conversation they would often suggest let’s hop on a call. And I would see the conversation just die immediately because the buyer wasn’t interested in a call,” said Brian.
This is common. That’s what SDRs are trained to do. Get someone into a meeting. Sometimes SDRs are paid on trying to get their prospects into meetings.
But Brian knew he needed to train his SDR team to have conversations NOW instead of pushing people away by trying to get them on the phone.
“We said to the SDR team ‘Hey, our phone number is on the website, there’s a whole bunch of forms on the website and there’s also this option to chat with our bot, and this web visitor chose to chat. Since chat is the channel they picked, you need to stick with that channel until it makes sense to jump into another one.’” Brian explained.
Because in reality, after having an actual conversation on chat, the SDRs were far more likely to book a meeting. It all boils down to building trust. If the SDR team could accurately answer questions, give their potential buyers enough information, they were more likely to jump to take next steps like booking a meeting.
And after being trained by Brian and his team, that’s exactly what the SDR team did. They started booking more meetings and creating opportunities from the conversations they were having in Drift.
In fact, since adopting Drift, Talkdesk has influenced over $3 million dollars worth of opportunities and booked over a 1,000 meetings for their sales team.
One problem the SDR team faced in handling conversations that the bot started, was understanding what the person chatting in wanted.
To help the SDR team identify what type of experience the visitors was expecting, the Talkdesk team set up Tags in Drift.
Tags can be applied to a conversation by the bot based on someone’s response to a question. For instance, when someone visiting the Talkdesk website says they want to talk to sales, a tag was applied to that conversation “wants to talk” that’s visible to the SDR.
So now the SDR team would know how to handle the conversation immediately after being routed in because they’d see the tag. And once they skimmed the conversation, the SDR had all the context they needed to engage with the lead.
And this also helped the SDR managers coach their teams.
Using filters in their Drift inbox, the SDR managers could review every conversation for their team using tags. That way they could give each SDR feedback on how they approached the conversation making sure SDRs were answering questions and building trust before proposing next steps.
How SDRs Should Be Compensated With Conversational Selling
This approach leads to another question: how do you compensate your SDRs?
Talkdesk doesn’t pay their reps on meetings, because they know that a quality conversation doesn’t have to happen in a meeting anymore. Talkdesk pays their SDRs on creating sales accepted opportunities.
Brian like most marketers, gets hit up all the time by other companies trying to book a meeting with him. There are many cases where those inquiries are disingenuous, he can tell someone is just trying to book the meeting to get paid, regardless of if you are a good fit or their product will actually help you.
This is what Talkdesk wants to avoid. And because their SDRs are paid on quality conversations instead of meetings, they can make sure this never occurs.
In the last year, Talkdesk has:
Conversational Marketing is all about breaking down the walls and having meaningful conversations with real people on their terms. But it’s hard to engage with people on their terms when you push next steps too early.
It’s more important than ever to own your traffic so that you can not only increase the exposure of your products and services, but so you can also engage with your site visitors when they are ready and have the highest level of intent.
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