Everything You Need To Know About Drift
In the first of a series of conversations Tim Butler talks to James Ski, Partnerships Manager at Drift to find out everything you need to know about Drift.
You can watch the interview below but we've also included a transcript of their conversation if you prefer reading to watching.
By the way, did you know we offer a Free Drift Audit? If you want to find out how to make the most of your Drift Platform why not claim your Free Drift Audit with full Report today and ensure your Drift is set- up to work as effectively as possible for your business.
Everything You Need To Know About Drift
Full Conversation Transcript
Tim Butler - Today we're joined by James Ski of Drift and we're gonna be talking all about Drift and what is Drift and why people should be using Drift to improve their sales and marketing, so welcome James. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your position in Drift.
James Ski - Thanks for having me Tim super excited to be with you this morning. I've been really looking forward to interacting with you in this way as I've seen some of the quality work you've already putting out there, so really grateful to be here and excited to get started. So I've actually been at Drift about seven weeks now but we've landed in the UK to significantly grow the Drift business across the UK and Europe. And my specific responsibilities are focused on building the Drift partner ecosystem across Europe, so my day-to-day is interacting with wonderful folks like yourself and understanding how we can support your business in driving better outcomes for your clients and that is what I'm intending to do day-to-day and I look forward to spending the next few years doing it.
Tim Butler -Excellent, so you're fairly new on the Drift journey because we've been partners now for I think a couple of years. Obviously Drift have got big plans then for Europe have they?
James Ski - Absolutely, I mean they've come here with ambition and intent, so to give you an example of that in the last seven weeks alone almost 15 of us have joined virtually here in the UK and we expect to probably double that headcount in the next year alone. So we are very committed now to the region and we've really been grateful for early partners like yourself, Innovation Visual, who have contributed to educating this market. Now what we really hope to do is accelerate our growth in the region by providing local resources and working more closely with our partners like yourself and to drive those outcomes for our clients.
Tim Butler - Brilliant, brilliant. Well, I although thank you for saying that we've been educating the market I think it'd be great to actually talk about Drift from a very basic level 'cause some of the people watching this video won't have heard of Drift, so just give us a quick rundown actually what is Drift and what is it designed to do?
James Ski - A great question. So fundamentally Drift is focused on improving the buying experience for your buyers when they're visiting your website, so what that means is you think day to day the amount of traffic individual people that are coming to visit your website and landing on different landing pages across that website. And what Drift provides is the ability to accelerate the conversation from the website through to a sales person, so we are a complete revenue acceleration platform. We start the conversation on the front end of a website typically with a Chatbot that recognizes when someone lands onto the website. At that point we are creating a conversation either via a programmed bot Artificial Intelligence via our virtual selling system or a human interaction. And that human interaction or the bot or the virtual sending a system immediately can identify what you're looking for and how you can be more helpful and at that point what we want to do is connect the prospective individual on the website straight through to the buyer and based on their needs and what they're looking to achieve that day. So Drift is basically improving the buying experience, improving the buying journey by creating conversations with the prospects and creating intimacy and immediacy. Today's world we expect to get hold of someone immediately, we're used to having conversations via chat we don't wanna have to wait for someone to call us back, we don't wanna have to wait for someone to send us an email follow up, we want to instantly get that information and that's what Drift improves, those conversations and speeding up the time it takes for someone to learn about what information you've got about your company.
Tim Butler - I love that phrase use revenue acceleration platform, I think that's a great terminology there. So Drift is would you say Drift is most focused on the aspects of website performance and conversion there is that its focus or is it across the whole buying journey?
James Ski - I think the origination Drift started there on the website. We need to be on the website to create conversations and interaction and we created a category called Conversational Marketing that we're going to more detail later. From there it evolved though, so yes the first action is enable Drift on your website, so you can start having conversations on different landing pages based on the intent of people visiting that site. But this is a complete platform that will connect also with your existing marketing technology, so maybe that's a Marketo platform, Eloqua, Pardot or HubSpot and it will interact with those systems so that it completes the full personalized Asian journey. So not only is the interaction happening on the website but your sales people are empowered with information that they've not had access to before, so with a Drift sales seat a Drift sales person can see when a prospective target customer an account is on the website and then they are enabled to I've create a personalized video, so we have Drift personalized videos now you can create a video and immediately share the fact that you've noticed an individual's been reading a particular white paper or they've been on the website. Or you can take it that next step further and integrate with maybe an outreach or a sales loft sales enablement platform and send them a personalized email. It's a complete journey now and that's why it's positioned as a full revenue acceleration platform. And ultimately what we are improving is alignment between sales and marketing to drive a better revenue outcome for the business but drive better experiences for the buyers that are engaging with you on your website.
Tim Butler - So it sounds like those better experiences are coming from personalization, so you're able to then identify individuals then that are on the website and so what this will actually Drift will actually tell the sales person who's in conversation with that person that they're on the site then.
James Ski - Yeah, so it's incredible actually and this is what I was excited about Drift as an outsider having interacted with Drift on many sites and have great belief in what Drift is bringing to the world of marketing and sales. But when you start to actually become a user of Drift I know immediately Tim after we've interacted where you've gone onto our Drift website, what you're looking at on the website. And if I notice maybe that you're stalling I can immediately have a conversation with you and interact with you. But maybe you started to 'cause I know you work hard building Innovation Visuals, so maybe you're actually doing work on a Saturday and I'm resting up watching Netflix. But there would be an automatic bot that would notice that you're on the website sees that you're interested but maybe you can't get access to the information actually you want to interact with a human, so we could then have a virtual assistant which is artificial intelligence that would have a full what would feel like a human conversation with you. But then at this point you're like actually I wanna get into more depth and I wanna speak to James when he's back after the weekend, so what the Drift bot would do is we'll ping you with my calendar in the conversation and say Tim go ahead and book a meeting with James and his diary for when he gets back into work on the Monday and that's that full experience and interactivity. And when you start to see that happening every day I'm getting notifications that my diary is getting booked up without me having to do any work and from a sales professional's perspective it's incredible.
Tim Butler - I think we'll come back to that sales efficiency thing but you've talked and you mentioned a couple of times the AI aspects of Drift. Now I know that Drift actually holds patents in AI and did it acquired, it acquired some technology out of one of the U.S. universities, didn't they? I mean I think that's interesting can you tell us a bit more about the use of AI and where that's come from?
James Ski - I'm not the absolute expert on this in terms of my understanding being here in the last seven weeks, but a couple of key things have happened. So we recently had one of the product leaders for Einstein from Salesforce joined Drift as our chief product officer. We also have this painting that was acquired as a result of an acquisition with some experts from MIT in the U.S. and our artificial intelligence is completely unique in terms of how a human interacts with the AI. What's unique for Drift is that over the last five, six years our bots have had billions of conversations with potential prospects, customers, humans. And as a result of that we've analyzed these billions of conversations and conversations have a typical flow in terms of the next step can I help with you sir some information? Yes please. What are you looking for? I'm looking for a specific white paper. But that's okay when you've got a pre-determined playbook or room but what if the question has a different context that someone hasn't pre-programmed, so maybe the question goes off contangia and someone says oh I'm actually looking to know when the next Drift event is can you point me in the right direction?
Well a pre-programmed playbook isn't prepared for that question whereas our artificial intelligence can draw on its experience and provide a contextual personalized response and continue that conversation. So in nature it's learning all the time and the experience is really, really interesting because you can almost ask any question completely unrelated to Drift or our services or whatever your prospect site sells and that might be farming equipment, that might be software, that could be professional services and the Drift AI will enable a two-way contextualized conversation which is really powerful and it differentiates us from anyone in the market globally and it's very much powering our growth at the moment.
Tim Butler - Wow, that sounds super impressive. I think we should if you can just actually explain what a playbook is because I imagine there's probably a few people watching this video that don't understand why a normal playbook is as in not AI.
James Ski - That's a fair question! So a pre-designed playbook, basically that means creating a conversation based on the route you want a visit to take on your website, so tools and workbooks that are available on our site you should check out the conversational marketing blueprint which helps you understand the journey from who is the visitor, where are they spending time on the website, what action do you want them to take and where are they gonna go next? And so for example the playbook is the route that you need to program for them to decide, so for example let's say someone's on your buying page, so they've got high intent they're curious about the cost of the service or the product that you're offering. And so naturally you would expect on that page they're gonna ask you a question about some features. Well with a playbook you need to have prepared responses and questions that are pre-written based on what you predict would happen on that site, so the playbook basically is a conversation with questions that you are programming that you are designing in the back end of Drift. Versus AI which is automatically being able to predict and come up with his own answers without programming that playbook from what we call a decision tree, so a yes no answer or a process which will take you to a different outcome.
Tim Butler - Okay, that's a really good explanation I think that's really handy for everybody. Sort of taking that concept of designing these playbooks because I think the majority of Grip users are still using playbooks rather than the AI version because that's you've got to re you've got to scale with normal playbooks first is my understanding before you can even dive into the AI version, so in terms of that design of conversation should we say in these playbooks is this where the role of partner agencies comes in? I mean 'cause I know Drift are very big with working with the small number of partners like Innovation Visual in the UK how do you see partner agencies helping the end users get the most out of Drift?
James Ski - We are very committed to the park partner ecosystem we estimate about 50% of our business in the emir region will be driven from partner relationships. And the reason is that agencies are experts and they deeply and intimately understand the landscape that a customer is working within, so for example we're experts on Drift, we're experts on the functionality, we're experts on specific use cases related to Drift but we don't intimately understand how Drift should interact with your Marketo instance or your instance of Salesforce and other personalization campaigns and maybe you're working with some intent platforms that are off the kind of typical use case, so for us we've been very selective working with great agencies like yourself Tim, Innovation Visual to help clients unlock more value in Drift. So from a product perspective and the way we position it Drift it feels easy to get up and running and see results in terms of implementing it on the website. But to get amazing return on investment over a period of time six months, a year, two years, three years, that's a journey and in fact we have a kind of a revenue acceleration maturity model which takes clients on that journey. Ultimately though it's the partners our agency partners that can hold the hand of the client get the most out of the relationship with Drift because they know our team they understand what is possible and really evolve the outcome. Because also we want naturally for you to use more Drift but the agency is helping you drive more outcomes, how can you be more efficient? How can you be more effective? How can you convert more of your traffic? All that knowledge and insight all those outcomes you as a agency are accountable to and Drift is gonna be another part of that solution and naturally our expectation is our Drift partners are also experts, so they're certified in conversational marketing, they're certified in conversational sales, they're certified in writing playbooks and that gives them the expertise to be able to enable this and help you the client drive more outcomes.
Tim Butler - Well, that's great. And I think you touched on efficiency and earlier on as well we were talking about speeding up the sales cycle but also making the sales the marketing and sales process as a journey more efficient. Now I mean I've heard you talk and we've talked to clients and potential clients about actually how Drift positions itself around this efficiency piece, so can you explain a bit about how Drift allows companies to generate more revenue faster with the same resources?
James Ski - Yeah, so typically still in B2B we see many, many websites that are designed based on a lead form capture. So the expectation is someone visits your intro in your website they've shown interest and then you force them to answer seven, eight, nine I've seen ten plus questions on a traditional form.
Then what happens once you've entered your information in that form and you get off on the rest of your day that goes into your marketing automation platform and at some point it gets rooted to a salesperson and at some point that sales person responds and gets back to you. By that time you've either made a purchase somewhere else or you've completely forgot about that interaction, so all of that time, time completely kills any type of deal and it is a horrible experience for today's and business consumer on the website. So what Drift does immediately is it creates that intimacy, so we know who you are maybe you've come back to our site. We immediately pop up and start having a natural conversation with you for example hey thank you for coming back to the website Tim. Really enjoyed the fact that you were able to experience our last Drift event, what's brought you back on today? Oh hi James I'm actually I'm ready to buy I'd love to just speak to a salesperson. Boom calendar pops up or boom salesperson pops up and you're immediately interacting with someone. And the bots already pre-qualified you, so another challenge a lot of companies face is actually a huge proportion of that traffic is not valuable to the business or the sales team.
Maybe they're job seekers, maybe they're just doing research, maybe they're students, maybe it's a support query, so we can also help filter out those so-called leads and unqualified conversations, so that the sales people are only getting what they need to move the business forward and that just dramatically reduces the sales cycle and it dramatically improves the experience and for the B2B buyer interacting with your site.
So we're giving salespeople better leads they're having leads that are pre-qualified the leads are hotter because of the timing factor, so they're more ready to buy they haven't forgotten about it because it hasn't been a day since they filled out a form. And then because we've got this narrower focus on people who are already showing the intent you should be able to close the deal faster, so your delivery rate is a salesperson should mean that you can do more revenue in a smaller amount of time. So that there's multiple ways that Drift is generating revenue faster and with less people or more revenue with the same people that's really what we're saying.
Tim Butler - Yeah that's absolutely right. So your growth goals might continue year on year top down from your executive leadership. The marketing budget may not be increasing, your head count for sales may not be increasing, well how do you drive better results?
James Ski - You need a piece of technology and Drift is completely unique from the perspective that it can demonstrate return on investment quicker than any sales or marketing platform I've seen before. And I've had the good advantage to be involved early on in LinkedIn being directly employed by LinkedIn involved in understanding sales navigator and how that transformed the ability for sales people to connect with their potential prospects. We've also seen how sales engagement technologies have evolved. And all of these tools are hugely valuable and you have to understand that best of breed stack. I have not seen a platform that increases revenue as rapidly as Drift does and that's why this is mega exciting and that's why it's incredible to see how many of your clients are already interacting with Drift and implementing it into their workflows.
Tim Butler - Wow I mean that's really good, and I know that Drift has really got a sweet spot within like the SaaS market but Drift isn't just for SaaS companies, is it?
James Ski - Yeah correct, so those may be listening you know SAS is software as a service software company selling software. One of the things that I've been really encouraged by is learning about all the different use cases. If you have a website with significant monthly traffic and I'd say kind of 10 000 hits per month then you are trying to improve how many prospective customers you're capturing for your business then Drift is something that you can enable today. Really ultimately if you are providing some kind of service or product that could be in any industry then Drift can offer value to the experience on your website.
Tim Butler - That's excellent. Okay and just I mean obviously you're aware that we're a HubSpot platform and a HubSpot partner and we've been using that we're also partners with technologies like Google and Microsoft for example. Drift does integrate, doesn't it? With other technologies and it takes data from different places and can exchange data is that that's something that's gonna continue and how do you see that working for the end user?
Tim Butler - So when you describe the end user you're talking about the buyers experience, So the customers using Drift to enable their sales and marketing functions.
James Ski - We can completely appreciate that you're gonna have an existing CRM like HubSpot or Salesforce in your organization and it's highly likely that you will have an extension of HubSpot from a marketing automation perspective or you'll be using something like Marketo, Eloqua or Pardot and you're heavily invested in that from a lead routine perspective a personalization perspective a target account ABM strategy perspective but you need to tie all that together. So what Drift is gonna be able to do we're fully invested to make sure that the data and the insights that you're gaining from prospects interacting with Drift on the website is fully integrated into any one of those other platforms and so we would connect Drift with the marketing platform into your CRM and allow you that complete transparency across all those technologies that cycles through. So for example you may be sending out a campaign via your email platform your marketing automation platform and then you can connect the fact that they've clicked a certain link landed on a certain part of your website and then had a Drift conversation and all that data and all that insight will be available across your platforms.
Tim Butler - Brilliant, brilliant really good. Well I suppose the thing people will be wondering is how easy is it to get started with Drift if they've got excited about watching this video and understanding more from you what's the process in terms of getting started with Drift?
James Ski - Well the first process would get straight on the phone with yourself Tim or pop an email or go to your website. What's the experience that you want to do to interact and learn more? Well, yeah you are the buyer we're talking to now, right? So how do you wanna learn more and what steps you wanna take? And then ultimately as you understand what outcomes what's the business case here? What are you trying to achieve in your business growth this year and why is Drift gonna be helpful? You will quickly understand with Tim and his team's help the quality and the capability that Drift along with additional strategic expertise and how that's gonna drive better outcomes. And so you could get your first playbook up and running within seven days, what that doesn't mean is that you're going to immediately see all of the results that's gonna take you 90 days, six months and someone holding your hand. And what I know well is that Tim and the team will be able to hold your hand alongside Drift and our team to ensure that you've got a successful outcome by enabling it. But in my eye I mean the takeaway here is really if you are still using forms on your website, if you are still making it difficult for those interested buyers to interact with your sales team, if you're still getting missed opportunities it's time to join the revolution I would say and get Drift into the business and get started.
Tim Butler - Love that, love that that's what a great way to finish up by saying let's join the revolution it's time to join the revolution that's change I'm a big believer in everything's gotta change. What got you to where you are today isn't necessarily gonna get you to where you wanna go tomorrow, so yeah let's get people joining the Drift revolution I think James that would be yeah that would be perfect.
James Ski - Let's do it well I've enjoyed this conversation Tim and I'm really enjoying the content that you're putting out and how you're supporting our growth strategy in Europe, so excited to have more conversations with you.
Tim Butler - No it's great. I think it's been really good super helpful you know what we'll do another one in the not too distant future. I think we need to deep dive a bit more into a few more things, so yeah brilliant thank you James appreciate your time.
James Ski - Have a great day cheers.
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