3.2: How Drift for Sales Helps Sellers at Every Stage of the Funnel (Holly Xiao)

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This is a podcast episode titled, 3.2: How Drift for Sales Helps Sellers at Every Stage of the Funnel (Holly Xiao). The summary for this episode is: <p>It's no secret that today's buying cycles are complicated. </p><p><br></p><p>7-10 stakeholders...countless reviews...it can be hard to keep track of it all. </p><p><br></p><p>That's why we set aside time this season to learn more about how the Drift for Sales product helps keep the buying cycle moving as seamlessly as possible.</p><p><br></p><p>Holly Xiao, Group Product Marketing Lead at Drift, joins Sammi on the show to explain how the Drift for Sales product can be used for inbounding, outbounding, and managing a deal. </p><p><br></p><p>In this episode, you'll hear Holly's opinions on the need for a balance between the art and science of selling, how specific insights can help inform deal cycles, and why personalization should be a priority.</p><p><br></p><p>You can connect with Sammi on Twitter @sammireinstein and @DriftPodcasts, and Holly on LinkedIn.</p><p><br></p><p>Read up on Drift's Really Good Sales Plays: https://drift.ly/sales-plays</p>

Sammi: Hey, this is Sammi Rheinstein and you're listening to Conversation Starters. On this show, we talk all about bringing conversations back to B2B marketing and selling, because if there's one thing we know about doing business in the revenue era, it's that the best customer experience wins.

Elizabeth: Season three of Conversation Starters is brought to you by Really Good Sales Plays a landing page built to inspire your sales team, whether they're inbounding, outbounding, or managing a deal. These plays are proven to generate pipeline and close deals so you can celebrate more wins. Check them out at drift. ly/ salesplease. Now to the episode.

Elizabeth: I don't think it's any secret when we say that buying cycles have gone longer and there's a lot more people involved. Even just the other day, I was the buyer in a sales cycle and the account rep was reminding me of all the people I need to loop in on my end. And I was like, " You're so right." There's just so many pieces to the puzzle these days. It's complicated.

Sammi: It's true.

Elizabeth: So with all of that said, at Drift, we've been innovating on the Drift for Sales product a lot in the past month. You may have seen a lot of collateral coming out recently about how Drift for sales can help with inbounding, outbounding in deal management. So every piece of the selling puzzle.

Sammi: To break it down a little bit further, we are having a Holly Xiao inaudible on the podcast. Holly is the group product marketing lead for conversational sales at Drift. I'm excited to talk with Holly about how conversational sales fits into and accelerates every stage of the buying journey.

Elizabeth: Wait, but Sammy, one last thing. A conversation starter to get going. In the world of events, you, especially pre- pandemic, where no stranger to attending events. And I've heard rumors who may get a Sammy on the streets again soon. So with that said, what are some of your event pet peeves?

Sammi: Pet peeves? Look, I know events is about getting leads and generating pipeline, but you don't always have to be selling. If you come to-

Elizabeth: It's not a hard sell.

Sammi: Like don't start with the hard sell. Start with the relationship building and then we can get there. But if I'm just getting a coffee or I'm not at a booth.

Elizabeth: You're just getting lunch, don't sell me your software.

Sammi: I can see right through it. Just start with the relationship building and then naturally if you weave it in, I'll come to your booth if I'm interested. But not everyone is a seller going to these things. Not everyone is your right buyer, either, of the attendees that are there. So I would say that's my pet peeve.

Elizabeth: Okay. Let's see what Holly's is.

Sammi: Holly, thank you so much for coming on Conversation starters.

Holly: Yeah, of course. Thank you for having me. I'm really excited to be here in person chatting with you.

Sammi: In person. I know. we haven't had a guest in person for conversation starters in any of our seasons, so this is really the premiere of that. Elizabeth and I are in person doing the intros and outros, but first guess person to person interaction.

Holly: Well, I'm honored to be that first guess and hopefully I don't mess things up.

Sammi: So in season three, we are starting conversation starters with a conversation icebreaker. And you recently have been starting a lot of conversations at conferences. In person is back and hybrid is back and event season is in full swing. So my icebreaker slash conversation starter for you, Do you have a conference pet peeve?

Holly: I think it's really funny when somebody comes to the booth and instead of just grabbing a few swag things, they come back multiple times and grab handfuls of pens or notebooks. and it's like, " Hey, you can do it. You don't have to pretend like you haven't been here before." But that has happened a couple times and it's totally fine. But I think it's really funny how that happens.

Sammi: That is really funny. I mean, Drift swag, Drift merch is good.

Holly: Yeah, it's good merch.

Sammi: It's good merch. So honestly, if I was someone I would at least try to put on a baseball hat and come back.

Holly: Or put glasses on. Yeah, it's like, hey, I promise I haven't been here before.

Sammi: That's so funny. Yeah. Okay, I'm going to ask you two conversation starters. Because I feel like I can do that. Because we're coworkers.

Holly: Yes.

Sammi: What is your go to conversation starter at a conference, whether you're starting conversations with a prospect who's come to a booth or just general networking?

Holly: So at this past conference that I was at, we actually had sprinkles at the booth. It was like Drift Brand Sprinkles, and I think that was actually the best conversation starter we've ever had. just because we were like, " Oh, what are these?" And they're like, " Oh, these are sprinkles." " Why do you have sprinkles?" " Yeah, well it's for conversation starters. We're having a conversation now." And that was honestly one of the best pickup lines in a way, and the best swag we've ever had, at least in my experience here at events.

Sammi: Oh, I love that. It's kind of like on LinkedIn, scroll stoppers when you see a post that makes you stop scroll scrolling. It's like at a conference when you see something, why do you have Sprinkles? That's a great one.

Holly: Yeah, Sarah did amazing with that and a lot of parents came by the booth too, because they're like, " Oh, can we take some sprinkles from our kids?" So it was really awesome.

Sammi: Okay, well diving in, Holly, can you give a little bit of an introduction to what it is you do at Drift.

Holly: Yeah, so I am on the product marketing team and I lead our product marketing for conversational marketing and our conversational sales solutions. So just a lot of how do we go to market, working with product, and really being the voice of the customer to make sure that we are building the best, most impactful products for our marketers in sales.

Sammi: Great. So conversational sales is part of what we call the conversation cloud. Can you give our listeners just a little bit more insight into what Conversation Cloud is and how it aligns an entire go to market organization?

Holly: So Drift Conversation Cloud, that is the product that we sell. and as you know, it's all about starting the right conversations at the right time in the right place. So we're really all about breaking down the silos across marketing, sales, and service to really help these teams align on the customer journey. So having the right conversations at the right time in the right place with the right conversation is throughout the customer journey. It's not just presale when they're trying to do their own research online. It's not just during the sales process and it's not just for support when the customers come back. So yeah, I think what's been really unique about Drift and our Conversation cloud product, because we really do help across that entire customer journey to make sure that businesses are creating one of the kind experience for all of their customers no matter what stage they're at.

Sammi: And you mentioned Drift for Sales is part of Conversation Cloud. So what is a TLDR version of Drift for sales?

Holly: Drift for sales, I would say TLDR is the best way to build quality pipeline faster. So we really help sales seems be more productive, so meaning more efficient, more effective in their outreach and inbounding to build quality pipeline.

Sammi: So Drift for Sale, I love the message of Quality Pipeline and creating pipeline faster. And right now in today's world, I think it's a prevalent message. We're seeing a lot of different things where people have to do more with less. How do you see Drift for Sale sort of helping with that do more with less?

Holly: So it's a noisy market out there. I'm getting bombarded, I'm sure everybody's getting bombarded with a lot of emails, a lot of calls, so it's really hard to stand out from the noise. There is more competition than ever before, and especially with economic shifts in the trends right now, it's really hard to get businesses to buy new tools and solutions. So it's even harder for sales reps to do their outreach and outbounding and to actually connect with somebody and have conversations. So Drift for Sales is really about breaking through that noise through personalization, through relevant conversations to essentially earn the right to start those conversations and to continue those conversations.

Sammi: I love that. Earn the right. Because at the end of the day, buyers have so many choices and their inboxes are flooded. so how can I grab that attention and earn the right to have that conversation with you? I'm only going to have conversations with people who I feel like are understanding my needs and really personalizing to me.

Holly: Exactly.

Sammi: So every sales team is a little bit different. Their structures are different, territories. At Drift, I used to be on the consulting team, so I got a little bit of the behind the scenes into routing, and it's just crazy how everyone has things just separately configured and the different teams and everything. So what are the use cases for Drift for Sales that these teams can utilize?

Holly: So Drift for Sales, we really support three of the core use cases for sales, which are inbound qualification, outbound prospecting, and deal management. So we really started by building the product for inbound sellers and qualification, and then we really started pushing and building more products for outbounding. And most recently we did offer a new feature for deal management as well.

Sammi: Very cool. So I would love to dive a little bit deeper into each of those use cases. So you mentioned inbound, outbound and deal management. So let's start with inbound. What does that look like on a daily basis? How are you using Drift sales for inbounding?

Holly: Yeah, so Inbound is really unique and it's really what Drift created, which is how do we live on your website, how do we create these live chat experiences? But I think what's unique is that we offer both the live chat option and the automation to really help businesses scale. So the inbound piece is when somebody comes into the website, let's say that they are ready to have a conversation with sales. Basically a sales rep will get pinged the minute that person is on the website and we'll be able to start that conversation with them live to say, " Hey Sammy, I see that you're on the pricing page, can I help you with anything?" So that's one way to do it. We also know that more than 50% of chats happen outside of work hours. So we help with automation and we help qualify those leads that are coming in so that they can book a meeting with a rep for the next day or whenever they want to help you build quality pipeline faster and more of it.

Sammi: And I think that's a really important point that you bring up is Inbound Chat isn't just about being there, and that is of course an important part. It's still maintaining, having the right conversation. So it's not just, " Hey, I'm Sammy, I'm your Drift SDR." It's using those contextual elements and saying, " Hey, you're on the pricing page, pricing's confusing, I'm here to help." So maintaining that level of personalization.

Holly: Exactly. Yep, That's right.

Sammi: And for outbounding, how do you think about Drift for sales for outbounding?

Holly: Yeah, so we offer a suite of different features. So we have Drift Prospector, Drift Video, a lot of different tools to help reps know who to reach out to and when throughout the entire sales cycle. So for Outbounding, a lot of reps have 100, 200 different target accounts that they need to go after, and it's really hard to prioritize, should I be prioritizing this account today or this other account? So Drift, essentially asks as your radar to tell you, Hey, this company is really interested, they're at high intent so that you should reach out to them. And it's almost like a to- do list of, okay, I'm going to start my day first 20 minutes of my day, and I'm just going to out do outreach to these top 10 20 companies because they were the most engaged. because you know what pages they've engaged with when they engage with it to help understand intent essentially.

Sammi: So it's really from Outbounding instead of just cold calling a hundred people in a day, it's understanding who should get that message and with what message should I really be contacting them with.

Holly: Exactly. And through which channels.

Sammi: Yeah. So it's sort of taking the blinders off. It's giving you a lot of visibility at the end of the day.

Holly: Exactly. Yeah.

Sammi: And just generally, you have been in this sort of conversational sales space. How have you seen outbounding shift and priorities for sellers, shift

Holly: Priorities for sellers? I think before sales looks very different. I've never been in sales, I can only tell you what I'm hearing from the market and customers, but sales has changed significantly in the last five years. Before it was really about maybe you send a mass email out to 200, 300 people, and maybe you'll get a few bites from that. but today, consumers expect a lot more. They expect immediacy, they expect relevancy. And so Drift is really about helping sellers create these hyper personalized messages so that they can have those relevant conversations and create interest in a way because generic messages are not going to do it anymore. People want relevancy, and that's really what Drift helps give sales reps to give customers. If that makes sense.

Sammi: That makes total sense. So we have, someone has landed on my site and I've reached out to them and I've booked a meeting, or I've used really contextual messages and I've sent out Drift videos or emails, So I've used my inbound and outbound tactics. I've gotten someone in the deal cycle now, how as a seller can I use Drift for sales to move that deal along?

Holly: So we have different tools to help you move do that. So we have Drift Video, which is I think one of the most versatile tools that we have, and it really can be used for the entire sales process. We have people who use it to help jumpstart those conversations by sending personalized emails through LinkedIn, through email to again, earn the right to start a conversation. We also have people who used Drift Video to set up a meeting of like, Hey Sammy, we're about to meet tomorrow. Here's a quick video to talk about the agenda and what we'll go through. You can also use it for follow ups. Hey Sammy, I know we just had this meeting just FYI, here are the next steps. Be on the lookout for X, Y, and Z.

Sammi: I'm also curious in deal management, one of the things that a lot of sellers may have to combat or an obstacle is just the amount of people involved in a deal these days. How can sellers make sure that they are creating personal relationships with the buying committee?

Holly: We know that the sales process more complex and convoluted than ever before. And on average there are now between seven to 10 stakeholders on every single deal. So it's really about identifying who is even part of the buying committee and building those relationships and multi- threading with them. And so Drift offers a way to, I hope you understand, okay, who are the people involved by knowing who is on your website so that you can basically get a gist of who's part of the buying committee. You can do the outreach again with Drift video so that you can introduce yourself and build that relationship and start those relevant conversations.

Sammi: Great. And Holly, you've talked before about the shift from the art of selling to the science of selling. Yeah. Can you explain to me a little bit more of what that shift is?

Holly: So the art of selling is really about building relationships. And the science of selling is really about the insights and the data around how do sellers sell. And I will say that doesn't mean the art is selling is no longer relevant today. I think relationships are very much so important today, but there has been a shift where instead of just building those one- on- one relationships, it's also about the insights. And insights are very different from data. Data I think, tends to overwhelm reps of if you have too much data, same thing with sales leaders, but insights is really those actionable key pieces of information that's going to tell you, again, who should I be engaging with? What should I be saying to them? And how do I keep the deal momentum going in the most efficient and productive way possible?

Sammi: Can you give us an example of using insights to move a deal along?

Holly: Let's use Drift video as an example. So let's say I send you a video and you are a new stakeholder that's in the buying process, and I'm introducing myself and say, " Hey, Sammy, this is Holly. I spoke with Bob yesterday. Here are the next steps." And so when you watch the video, what happens is that I actually get a ping and alert in real time to say, " Hey, Sammy's watching your video." And from there I can say, I can go into the video page, I can live chat. You can also live chat me if you have any questions. or directly book another meeting. So if you're like, " Hey, I actually want to learn more about next steps." You can book meeting directly on the video landing page, which I think is a huge benefit for a lot of sales reps.

Sammi: And I mean, that makes a lot of sense. You mentioned earlier it's a noisy market. People have a lot of inbox fatigue, and they're switching tabs all the time. So as a seller, if you can capitalize on their intent and capitalize on the now and start those real time conversations, then it's a win for the buyer and it's a win for the seller.

Holly: Exactly. And that's what Drift is all about. We're all about having those realtime conversations no matter where they are in the customer journey.

Sammi: So something that we talk a lot about on the show, and we've had SDRs and AEs on, and we've had AEs and CSMs on to talk about the handoff. and essentially making sure that there's a really seamless transition between, let's say, an SDR to an AE or an AE to a CSM. So making sure that the customer is at the forefront of the selling process and then the customer relationship. How does conversational sales fit into that? How can sellers use Drift Drift for Sales to really make sure that there is that seamless transition?

Holly: Yeah, I would say it's really all about context. It's about, okay, how has this person engaged with in the past? What are the different conversations that they've already had? And I think that's so important for the handoff because Drift, we are a buyer obsessed company. We're all about putting the buyers first, and it means not having them have to repeat themselves. So it's like if I'm already talking to an SDR, let's say I had a chat with this person. I don't want to say the exact same things to the AE who's responsible for our account. So yeah, I think that's really the power of drift, of providing that insight, that context to help you seamlessly transition and have those handoffs.

Sammi: Yeah. And no one wants to feel like they're being talked to for the first time if they've just gone through this year long... hopefully it's shorter, but yeah, long selling process, then they feel like they have to re- explain themselves. So I think that that context in making sure that it's still that really buyer first, customer first experience is really important.

Holly: Exactly. And it definitely expands throughout the entire customer journey, even if you are a customer, having that context of like, " Oh, what were you interested in? How can we help?" Is so key. And again, helps to break down the silos across the go to market teams.

Sammi: Holly, we just had an October sales launch, so I'm going to give you a little bit of a chance to plug it here. Can you just briefly run through what happened at that launch and what's new?

Holly: Yeah, so we have a lot of new features that came out for Drift for Sales, and they're really around inbound. Again, qualification, outbound prospecting and deal management. So essentially all of these features together will help your reps increase productivity, again, meaning helping them increase efficiency. How do you have more effective conversations to ultimately help businesses build quality pipeline faster?

Sammi: Awesome. And Holly, if people want to connect with you or learn more about DER sales, where can they go?

Holly: Yeah, definitely LinkedIn. So it's just Holly Xiao, so X- I- A- O, but I would love to connect with anyone who has any questions. Awesome.

Sammi: Thank you so much, Holly.

Holly: Thank you.

Elizabeth: Holly just gave a lot of information in a short amount of time, about nearly every aspect of Drift for Sales. So we hope you got something out of it. But if you want to dive into any of the products, learn a bit more about them, feel free to click the link in the show notes. It's drift. com/ conversational- sales. Again, long URL, so linked in the show notes. But we hope you enjoyed and have some new strategies to implement in your sales inbounding, outbounding, or deal management tomorrow.

Sammi: See you next time.

Sammi: Thanks so much for listening to Conversation Starters. If you liked this episode, please leave us a six star review by clicking the link in the show notes and hit subscribe so you never miss another one. You can connect with me on Twitter at Sammy Rheinstein and follow all of our shows at Drift podcasts.


It's no secret that today's buying cycles are complicated.

7-10 stakeholders...countless reviews...it can be hard to keep track of it all.

That's why we set aside time this season to learn more about how the Drift for Sales product helps keep the buying cycle moving as seamlessly as possible.

Holly Xiao, Group Product Marketing Lead at Drift, joins Sammi on the show to explain how the Drift for Sales product can be used for inbounding, outbounding, and managing a deal.

In this episode, you'll hear Holly's opinions on the need for a balance between the art and science of selling, how specific insights can help inform deal cycles, and why personalization should be a priority.

The Highlights:

  • (5:49) What Holly does at Drift
  • (6:25) What is the Drift Conversation Cloud?
  • (7:23) The TLDR of Drift for Sales
  • (8:04) How Drift helps sales teams do more with less
  • (10:18) Drift for Sales for inbounding
  • (11:51) Drift for Sales for outbounding
  • (13:18) How priorities for sellers have shifted in recent years
  • (14:31) Drift for Sales for deal management
  • (15:32) How sellers can create personal relationships with the buying committee
  • (16:18) What the shift from the “art of selling” to the “science of selling” looks like
  • (17:15) How insights can help move a sales deal along
  • (19:11) How Drift for Sales helps create a seamless SDR <> AE handoff
  • (20:39) What Drift released in its October Sales launch

Like this episode? Let us know by leaving a review!

Read up on Drift's Really Good Sales Plays: https://drift.ly/sales-plays