Drift Sales Seat

Drift Sales Seat can activate SEP sequences in Outreach.

Revenue Acceleration vendor Drift announced a pair of new services last week. I covered Fastlane, its new webforms/chatbot hybrid service yesterday. Today I’ll be discussing Sales Seat, Drift’s entry into SalesTech.

Sales Seat alerts reps when intent and engagement signals have exhibited buying activity.  Drift monitors the website, SEPs, MAPs, and CRMs for buying intent.  Sales Seat is Drift’s first sales product and helps reps with timing, messaging, and discovering the buying committee.  Sales professionals can reach out with personalized messages via chat, email, or video, based on intent and engagement.

Sales Seat is integrated with Outreach, letting reps create sequences from the service.

A mobile app notifies reps, supports conversations, and lets reps record and send Drift videos.

A Chrome extension displays all conversations happening in Drift, monitor engagement (e.g. email opens and clickthroughs, page visits), and drop calendar information in Gmails. Reps can optionally bcc Gmails to their CRM for tracking.

Drift Profile Page

The Drift Profile acts as an online business card with a link that can be dropped into emails and social media messages. Recipients can chat with the rep or book a meeting. The profile contains the rep’s title, location, a short bio, headshot, phone, and social links. The chat supports default messages to display when the rep is available and when not.

“Sales success is all about engaging today’s buyers on their terms: Digitally and immediately when they express interest,” said Drift Chief Product Officer Leo Teneblat.  “With Fastlane and Sales Seat, Drift customers can ensure their best buyers and highest intent visitors receive express treatment without overloading the sales team. Not only that, but sellers have context to engage buyers with a personalized experience on the exact topics they care about in the moment they’re expressing interest.”

Here’s How to 6x Your Chance of Booking a Meeting,” Gauri Iyengar, Drift Blog (April 13, 2021).

According to Drift, reps are six-fold more likely to book a meeting if they engage with a buyer during the first hour.  Thus, immediately transitioning webform submissions into chats and notifying reps that high-scoring prospects are engaging with the company dramatically increases the likelihood of converting a lead into a meeting.

Sales Engagement vendor XANT has found similar numbers from rapid response times while noting that companies are slow in delivering and prioritizing inbound leads.

“Not all accounts are created equal. Your target accounts should receive the most personalized and high-touch buying experiences. Account-based marketing lets you create this experience while engaging with VIP buyers and connecting them to sales. By cutting through the noise, you can close more deals – faster,” blogged Drift Product Education Marketer Gauri Iyengar.  “When it comes to booking meetings, there is literally no time to waste. Speed is essential to not just set up a meeting but to turn that meeting into revenue.”

The pair of services was released to early adopters that enjoyed an 82% increase in meetings booked, a 77% jump in opportunities created, and a 67% rise in pipeline influenced.

Drift Announces Fastlane Webform / Chatbot Hybrid

Revenue Acceleration vendor Drift rolled out a pair of sales enablement tools to facilitate rapid qualification and lead routing: Fastlane lead forms and Sales Seat intent and engagement alerts.

Drift Fastlane transitions a webform into an immediate chat for high-scoring visitors.

Fastlane combines traditional lead forms with chatbots to create “conversational forms.”  Prospects fill out a lead form with contact information enriched, scored, and routed to the Drift chatbot for high-scoring leads.  Thus, high-scoring prospects immediately move to sales rep conversations from the website.

Low scoring leads are passed to nurture or “other automated activations.”

“As a result, sellers can focus on high-converting buyers while routing lower-priority leads to nurture campaigns or other automated activations,” wrote Drift.  “The net outcome results in more qualified sales pipeline, an efficient workflow for sales reps, and overall revenue acceleration for the organization.”

If the buyers are too busy to speak immediately, they can schedule a meeting through the chatbot. Likewise, if the rep isn’t available for chat, the bot can schedule a meeting after collecting additional prospect intelligence.

It may seem odd that a firm that is a #noforms proponent would choose to begin offering forms, but not all marketers are ready to eliminate forms. 

“For most marketers, it’s the number one source of leads that they drive for their sales team.  And if they didn’t have that, sales teams would be on the hook to create nearly all of their own pipeline – which is very inefficient.  So we realized we had to do more.  We have to support our customers in every way that they work. From the inbound motion that relies on forms to the outbound motion for customers who can’t rely on marketing alone to hit their numbers.”

CEO David Cancel

There are also scenarios where a form makes more sense than a bot.  Registering for a webinar works better as a form than a bot as it is transparent about the requisite data entry.  Likewise, enabling forms with optional bots increases their flexibility and value.


Continue to Part II which discusses Sales Seat and the importance of rapid sales responses for inbound leads.

ZoomInfo Workflows Enhanced (Part III)

Continuation from yesterday’s article about ZoomInfo Workflows (Part I).

ZoomInfo hinted at an even broader vision of automated lead qualification and workflows in a recent blog that listed four categories of qualifying data:

Source: ZoomInfo, “How To Automate Lead Qualification for Increased Response Rates,” March 8, 2021 Blog.

ZoomInfo does not support programmatic advertising, chatbots, or Slack notifications, so there is significant running room for product development, particularly around expanded intent.  For example, a recent study by XANT found that inbound lead response rates decay quickly, but reps fail to respond promptly, and many fall between the cracks.  The study analyzed three years of inbound leads at over 400 companies.  XANT looked at 5.7 million inbound leads and found that 57.1% of first call attempts took place after a week or more, and only 0.1% of inbound leads were responded to within five minutes.  However, firms that responded within those first five minutes had an 8X conversion rate versus later return calls.

“Maybe we simply didn’t realize what we were leaving on the table,” wrote XANT.  “Maybe we over-rotated on targeted ABM strategies at the expense of speed-to-lead.  Marketing automation shouldn’t replace meaningful and quick sales engagement.”

XANT proposes a second problem that slows lead response times: the manual assignment of leads to individuals, resulting in two sets of delays – the lead routing process and the sales reps’ ability to respond quickly when a batch of leads is handed to them.

Tying inbound leads (emails, webforms, chatbots) to workflows is the next step beyond enrichment.  It allows for immediate lead scoring, assignment, and routing decisions, speeding up the response rate while determining each lead’s best course of action.  The Trigger / Filter / Action methodology for intent and event-based leads fits perfectly with these other inputs.  Furthermore, Chatbots and FormComplete often gather a few extra qualifying details that would be filter inputs.

“There is perhaps no greater need than for sellers to be calling on the right people at the right time,” said SalesTech analyst Nancy Nardin.  “Fortunately, the level of accuracy and timeliness of data has improved by leaps and bounds with the emergence of AI, and improved data collection, cleansing, and enrichment.”

XANT: Inbound Lead Response Rates

In March 2011, the Harvard Business Review published “The Short Life of Online Sales Leads,” which discovered that companies were slow to respond to sales leads, and there were considerable benefits from rapid responses.  The study is often cited, but there was little subsequent data to determine whether these issues and opportunities still held.  Fortunately, XANT recently replicated the study, looking at three years of inbound lead response and contact rates.

The new study analyzed 55 million sales activities at over 400 companies.  XANT looked at 5.7 million inbound leads and found that 57.1% of first call attempts took place after a week or more, and only 0.1% of inbound leads were responded to within five minutes.  However, firms that responded within those first five minutes had an 8X conversion rate versus later return calls.

“Maybe we simply didn’t realize what we were leaving on the table,” wrote XANT. “Maybe we over-rotated on targeted ABM strategies at the expense of speed-to-lead.  Marketing automation shouldn’t replace meaningful and quick sales engagement.”

XANT proposes a second problem that slows lead response times, the manual assignment of leads to individuals, resulting in two sets of delays – the lead routing process and the sales reps’ ability to respond quickly when a batch of leads is handed to them.

“Leads sit, go cold, and revenue slips,” warns XANT.

To address the slow response problem, XANT added a shared record option to their Sales Engagement Platform.  The goal is to work every lead with named accounts properly routed and other leads delivered to a shared pool with priority leads immediately offered to reps.   XANT provides AI tools and a rules-engine to auto-assign leads from target accounts and load others into a shared pool with prioritized leads labeled urgent.  The top-rated leads are then offered to the sales team on a round-robin basis, ensuring that all reps have access to top leads and that priority leads have rapid response rates.

“With records in a shared pool, reps won’t get bogged down or locked out,” said XANT. “High-performing reps can blow through their leads quickly and continuously draw from the shared pool.”

XANT describes Shared Leads as another robot that improves the efficacy of sales reps.

“Whereas many treat automation as a way to email spam, we treat it as an enhancement to improve engagement and sales,” explained XANT Head of Product Mark Littlefield. “The basics of Robots include auto-enrolling records, opportunity funnel progression, prioritizing tasks, triggering reps to customer events, performing reliable data entry, and a lot more.  With Shared Records, we’re bringing teams the flexibility to compile records into shared folders or automatically assign them to the right reps so they can accelerate their speed-to-lead and their time-to-value.”