MQL is the abbreviated marketing qualified lead. The marketing strategy of the past decade heavily relied on that abbreviation to estimate the chances to increase the customer base. However, with the MQL approach in mind, nobody took potential buyers as persons. People coming to your online store don’t want to feel that. They want to be treated as real persons. They want to get their issues answered, and not be a ‘cash cow’ for your company. Recently a new approach has appeared that resolves the above concerns. It was called conversational marketing. Here we will talk about how to implement this newly-elaborated marketing approach, to build win-win cooperation with your potential buyers. But before embarking on the new strategy, let’s first define why MQL is now dead.
MQL vs MQA
After a lead comes to your company, a sales rep takes him or her over to convert into a customer. Once MQLs take an interest in your brand, they become MQAs (marketing qualified accounts).
MQAs are a collection of your ideal customer targets. They demonstrate engagement and readiness to buy. While the MQL term refers to one lead, the MQA means the entire account (or a company) ready to deal with you.
However, in terms of the sales department, MQA is more valuable. Sales operating with accounts deal with businesses that are more likely to buy.
“Lead measurement must start from when a buyer is ready to have a conversation with your team. MQLs distort lead measurement by focusing Marketing on generating new contact lists instead of delivering value to both buyers and the sales organization”.Marko Savic, CEO and Founder, FunnelCake
MQL vs CRL
Over the last few years, the demand-generation model transformed. A new approach called Conversational Marketing deals with Conversation-Ready leads. This approach makes a difference between core leads (or CRLs) and MQLs. Oracle was one of the pioneers who applied this strategy in their business. They significantly reduced leads sent to their sales teams. Instead, sales reps dealt with CoRes. This significantly accelerated the purchase funnel and conversion rates. Fewer leads resulted in more purchases. Why was that strategy so effective? Core leads were ready to communicate with the company as they already revealed their intention to buy. Core leads convert better.
How to craft your brand story to start your conversational strategy
Conversational marketing gains momentum. Lots of books have been published recently on the subject. One of those books, Build your BrandStory: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen, became a bestseller on Amazon.
There, the author put the emphasis on building conversation with customers. If you don’t have a clear message, your eCommerce store is bound to fail. He offers brand owners first, to resolve their client problem and introduce their brands as a savior that can help. Inviting customers into a story, companies need to understand that the brand is not the hero. Instead, the customer is the hero. That’s the only way to engage them.
The brand’s role is to guide the hero successfully through their challenges. Most companies waste enormous amounts of money trying to tell their story. The truth is nobody cares but every human wants to be invited into a story. They want you to offer them a vision of a better life. Craft a clearer message for your brand and then update all your communications.
How to build a conversational strategy according HubSpot
Last year, during a Hubspot marketing webinar, there were lots of words said about conversational strategy. One of the speeches was given by Kat Warboys. In her opinion, presently consumers are less patient. Customer expectations are higher than ever.
‘90% of consumers expect an immediate response from customer service representatives. They want you always on. Always there, knowing who they are. Always ready to help. 89% of consumers would like to use messaging to communicate with businesses. 48% of businesses are equipped to connect with customers through messaging’.Kat Warboys, HubSpot
In this light, it becomes clear that the quicker the answer is, the more likely a visitor converts to a customer. Here, we once again see the need to implement the conversational strategy as the fastest way to retain leads.
Kat gives some tips about implementing the conversational strategy on a website:
STEP 1: Define your goal (whether you want to attract, engage, or delight clients)
Goals for the ‘attract’ stage can be:
- To share information or content;
- Generate leads;
- Gather more context.
Goals for the ‘engage’ stage are:
- To connect with salesperson;
- To complete the purchase.
Goals for the ‘delight’ stage are:
- To improve customer support;
- To increase lifetime value.
Kat advises to think about how you can better help customers looking for support using one of the messaging channels:
- Chatbot for answering FAQs;
- Surface articles from knowledge base;
- Chat agents for complex cases;
- Face-to-face meeting via a video conferencing tool if further support is needed.
STEP 2: Choose the channel/tool – Messenger, WhatsApp, Slack, Onsite Chat, or bot
Once you understand which channel works better for you, do some research to estimate its effectiveness. You will need to answer the following questions:
- Can the chatbot help me to meet my goal?
- Is the chosen channel the one my audience uses?
- Can I integrate it with my CRM?
- Will you need dev support to build it?
- Is it easy for teams to adopt across business?
STEP 3: Build chat into your existing ‘tech stack’: CRM+Chat.
Finally, once an appropriate channel is chosen, you can go for integrating your CRM with a chat. Make sure your conversational channel is:
Integrating a conversational strategy: tips from Simtech
Let’s first make a reservation. We don’t advertise any service but only share our own experience.
Since, our company uses WhatsApp chats as an additional source to communicate with our customers we measure the effectiveness of their use as compared to conventional marketing channels.
It was found that:
- The open rate of emails is 31%, at this, only 0.7% of potential customers really read what we send to them;
- WhatsApp’s open rate is 74%, 17.2 % responded to the sent messages.
The research showed that this channel is worth implementing. But before you rush into integrating WhatsApp or another chat, try to understand what are the needs that chat usage covers in building communication with your customers.
We scanned conversations with our clients and revealed that the main reasons why our customers choose whatsapping with us are:
- Getting a quick and in-depth answer to their concern;
- Talking to a real person;
- Getting acquainted with the company to estimate the quality of service.
Quick and quality answer is what customers appreciate.
If you want to apply the same conversational marketing with your customer, you will need to ensure a quick and informative conversation.
Make sure you your sales team:
- Has a ready-made greeting template;
- Equipped with response templates with answers to typical questions;
- Always applies a ‘Just a second’ rule:
Instruct your sales reps to respond to clients almost instantly as timing is crucial. When in doubt, they can always ask for a second to specify the issue keeping the contact with the potential buyer.
- Reminds that customer is talking to a real person:
Your salesperson can use such a trick as ‘By the way, I am not a bot’ to keep the conversation more personal, show interest, and inspire trust. They should demonstrate engagement in conversation and attention.
Our independent research has shown that:
- 40% of our customers communicate through WhatsApp only;
- Conversion of MQL to MQA increased with personal communication through WhatsApp;
- All CRLs became repeat customers;
- The time to deal with closure decreased by 4 times.
There are a number of live chats available on the CS-Cart marketplace. You can check for our addon Real-Time Messenger that will allow your customers to securely exchange messages with vendors in real-time.
Alternatively, you can implement your CRM live chat – it is the least-expensive variant.
Or, you can implement conversational marketing gradually, in stages:
- At the first stage, create an FAQ page with a chatbot face. It will be just an FAQ page, but its design will make it look like a chatbot. Suppose, a user visits your product page and there is an option to connect with the seller of that product. The first initiation of messages will be done from the product page (via the CONNECT button).
- Each individual will have a chat menu in his ‘My Profile’ section. Once he or she clicks on the Connect button, the invitation is sent to the seller.
- The seller then accepts the invitation and starts communicating with the buyer.
- The users of the chatbot will be able to see if the other party is online or not.
- If somebody is not active on the chatbot, notification via email can be implemented. The chat system will alert when you are online or someone is browsing a product so that you could engage potential buyers and help them if needed.
Although chatbots are less personal, if you don’t have a dedicated person to help clients at the beginning, a chatbot will be a good solution.