A market collision is coming. I’ve been evangelizing this very concept above since October of 2018, and with empirical evidence and key market drivers below, we believe these two thriving spaces are coalescing in rapid approach.
Why and who should care?
When it comes to Digital Engagement, there are few markets in 2019 that have greater impact on the B2B sales process than Chat and Sales Engagement. Organizations are continuously seeking better methods of engaging their prospective customers, eliminating buyer friction, and arming sales teams with more intelligent and sophisticated technology. No matter the industry, vertical, segment or geography, competition is fierce and those who master digital engagement hold the upper hand.
According to a 2018 McKinsey and Company Study, “B2B Sales are on the verge of a revolution”. In my opinion that moment has arrived. McKinsey also states that “radical changes in buyers’ preferences, with buyers being more content-driven, technically savvy, and comfortable engaging via digital channels, has led to the rise of a new breed of sales leaders who bring technical expertise and a strategic mind-set.” I’ve had several meetings in the past week with well-respected CEO’s and sales leaders in the Atlanta technology market and one thing is clear. The sales tech stack is at the forefront of revenue strategy and it continues to evolve in significance.
With digital engagement evolving, why are the markets coalescing and what are the facts? Whether macro or micro shifts, I always seek three data points to ensure validity:
- Does contemporary buyer behavior support the shift? And secondly,
- Is there a legitimate, tangible and practical market need?
- Are there revenue protection or erosion implications across both markets?
The answer to the above questions are a resounding YES.
Sales Tech Stack and Buyer Behavior
Buyer behavior and sales engagement (digital) are at the forefront of the market shift. I recently quoted on LinkedIn, that we officially live in an “on-demand society” with instant gratification at the forefront of consumer behavior. Although some studies have shown millennials to be more patient than expected, buyers as a whole, regardless of generation, are increasingly less patient and expect services, answers, product delivery and results immediately. “Right Now” is the new standard, as difficult as it might be to deliver. As mentioned in the recent Ramble AI Chatbot article, conversational AI, Chatbots and digital automation are being stretched to meet changing buyer behavior which leads to the next data point regarding the market convergence.
Sales Engagement Needs a New Channel
As it relates to the Sales Engagement space, although vendors vary on functionality and platform strategy, they are all centered on two core channels of communication: 1. Email and 2. Phone. Email Sequences, Cadences, Phone Dialers, and Predictive analytics provide immense value to sales organizations, especially the SDR, LDR and inside sales functions. They rely on these tools for process automation, consistent messaging, data science, and overall prospect engagement. So what is the legitimate, tangible and practical market need that supports my theory on market collision? We’ve established that buyer and consumer behavior are pushing the limits of “on-demand” and “instant gratification”, which is why Email and Phone are no longer sufficient for prospecting and sales enablement. This new era of buyers, B2B & B2C, are more likely to chat for the initial contact. Chat and Messaging are the natural evolution to phone and email and provides more immediate communication. Chat allows prospects to engage at the moment of interest, and also provides what I like to call “a soft landing” that phone and email no longer offer. Chat captures hesitant, privacy focused buyers by removing friction at each point of engagement, that traditionally escape the top-end of the funnel and every potential interaction. Ultimately, chat & messaging align sales engagement with prospect behavior and greatly reduce friction in the sales process. You might be thinking….”but Chat is typically an inbound communication medium and Sales Engagement typically outbound?”. You would be correct with that assertion, but the paradigm is shifting and there’s a missing piece.
"Chat captures hesitant, privacy focused buyers by removing friction at the point of engagement, that traditionally escape the top-end of the funnel and every potential interaction. "
Outbound Chat: White-Label & Single Click Chat (SCC)
Traditionally, Chat & Messaging are built on the premise of the “Code Snippet” deployment. Embed Chat on your website and invest heavily to ensure your buyers and customers are arriving at the correct location. Companies spend millions on marketing and sales campaigns to drive traffic to their website, so it’s critical to deploy a chat metaphor that captures lead activity on the website, versus the archaic “Web submission form”. Buyers want to talk right now, without having to provide personal information. That’s the traditional “inbound” methodology – of course predicated on the outbound investment that triggered the inbound lead.
So what is outbound Chat and where is the intersection with the Sales Engagement space? Using Chat in the Sales Engagement space isn’t possible without an atypical underlying chat architecture. In addition, that "atypical" metaphor is critical to evade clunky integrations. Enter Ramble Chat. Ramble has a patent-pending technology referred to as Single Click Chat (SCC). SCC isn’t predicated on the traditional chat deployment via a corporate website for inbound lead activity. Its unique architecture enables businesses to deploy chat and messaging anywhere in the digital universe, from any device or location, to help organizations meet their buyers at the very moment of interest. Engage prospects where they are, not where you want them to be (on your website). Since Ramble’s SCC can embed chat anywhere, including email campaigns, signatures, sales proposals, and market campaigns - the use case opportunities are endless and provide a new lens of which to look.
Ramble makes outbound chat possible and the ability to supply SCC via a Chat Container opens up a critical element that makes the merging of spaces more likely.
So what is a Chat Container? A Ramble Chat Container (chat engine) isn’t just another white-label product. It empowers Sales Engagement, CRM’s and Marketing Automation platforms with a unique ability to extend chat via their existing SaaS and PaaS. It creates a third channel of communication to supplement Email and Phone, that can be organically distributed and propagated to individual users or clients within each respective system. It can be client hosted, or Ramble hosted, and provides unparalleled control of the user experience, engagement ROI, and cohesiveness into the existing architecture. Yes, much can be done through third party API’s in this area, but the end result is but a fraction of the ultimate chat functionality littered with compromises in the customer experience. At the end of the day, it’s all about the customer and that will always take precedence.
To wrap it up – do I proclaim to be prophetic or provide 100% confidence that this coalesce of markets is guaranteed? No, of course not; however, we have enough data, ongoing communication with leaders of both markets, and respective clients asking for the functionality that provides a high level of confidence that the Sales Engagement and Chat space are prepping for collision. Might I add – this is a great thing. If it provides value to the customer and meets a growing need, why would you bet against it?