Article | 5 min read

Conversational CRM is the missing piece in your sales strategy

Learn why conversations play a critical role in creating customers for life.

By Tina Gholami, Senior Product Marketing Manager

Published September 16, 2022
Last updated September 16, 2022

Humans and technology. Hollywood has long explored the relationship between the two, from synthetic intelligence in sci-fi movies like Ex Machina to androids living in alternate realities in HBO’s Westworld. In those films and television shows, technology is often depicted as being wildly disruptive, even malevolent.

While Hollywood gives us exaggerated stories for entertainment, it does offer a lens into how technology and methodologies can upend how we live. And that, of course, also includes the way customers buy products and how companies serve them.

Consumers have changed but businesses haven’t caught up

businesses haven’t caught up, people running

The fact that we’re in a digital economy and that companies are now more customer-centric is not news. It’s a trend that’s gained momentum over the past decade. What has changed are the expectations consumers have as a result of being forced to be completely digital over the past two years.

Zendesk’s latest CX Trends Report provided a glimpse into what consumers are thinking and feeling today. They want quicker, easier, more effective interactions with companies. According to the research:

  • 76 percent of consumers expect to engage with someone immediately after contacting a company
  • 72 percent of consumers expect companies to have access to all of their relevant information
  • 70 percent of consumers say they expect conversational experiences

Similarly, the general buying experience is more complex than it once was. Consumers are no longer okay with settling for a transactional exchange—they want an experience that includes the attention and personalization they would normally get in person, plus the expediency they’ve grown accustomed to from going digital.

Yet despite the signs, businesses are falling behind. Zendesk found that 90 percent of business leaders acknowledged their organizations have to do more to support conversational customer experiences. But there is a silver lining—enter conversational CRM.

State of Sales 2022

Learn about the most pressing issues facing sales organizations today, what the dawn of conversational CRM means for your tech stack, and how you can come out stronger.

What is conversational CRM?

Conversational CRM was born from growing customer expectations and the dominance of digital communication over the past decade. It brings together an ecosystem of technologies tailored around the customer—including enhanced UX, social messaging, AI, intelligence tools, and more—to support the end-to-end customer journey.

We see the result of conversational CRM all around us today whether it’s interacting with AI chatbots like Siri and Alexa, messaging with a virtual assistant, or online shopping. The concept might have once been considered a cool perk, but if trends have shown us anything, it’s that “nice to haves” are now seen as fundamental. If businesses today want to stay on top in an increasingly competitive market, they need to engage in more interactions with buyers that are comfortable, seamless, and emotionally satisfying.

Why should your sales team care?

Connecting with buyers is a fundamental part of sales. Whether closing a new deal or upselling an existing customer, every interaction is a chance to build rapport or turn someone off. And sales leaders know this. Our latest State of Sales report showed that 78 percent of leaders believe conversational sales will be important to their companies over the next year. But why are sales leaders excited to lean into conversational sales? Because it means more business.

  1. Improve efficiency to increase pipeline and conversions

    Sales is all about productivity and scale. And prospecting is the first and most tedious part of the sales process. If your company is able to automate basic prospecting or discovery questions, sales reps can spend more of their time focusing on activities that require a more personal approach. For example, being able to add a bot to your website that captures key information or does some of the qualification for you will open the door to more opportunities in your sales funnel.

  2. Increase customer retention and loyalty by enhancing the overall buying experience

    Acquiring new customers is exponentially more costly than keeping existing customers, and poor customer experiences lead to churn. According to our CX Trends Report, 61 percent of customers would now defect to a competitor after just one bad experience. And that number jumps to 76 percent after two negative experiences. So, it’s critical for businesses to make sure every customer interaction is smooth and not cause for shopping around.

    One way to do that is through emphasizing personalization and expediency in communication. Businesses that see a benefit to delivering conversational experiences reap the benefits—Zendesk research showed that 90 percent of consumers said they would spend more with companies that personalize the customer service they offer.

  3. Create better visibility to close more deals

    The customer journey is no longer linear. It’s a complex, omnichannel journey across multiple people, departments, and channels. Whether your reps are engaging with prospects in the initial discovery phase of a sales process or your account managers are maintaining the health of the account and renewals, one customer can result in endless back-and-forth communication. The important thing is to be able to have those conversations at any point, with the context and information to make the best decision for the customer. It’s only with this knowledge that your business can both retain lifelong customers and find opportunities to drive more incremental revenue through cross-selling or upselling opportunities.

How a modern CRM can help

Implementing a conversational CRM isn’t a pie-in-the-sky effort: With the right platform, your business can nurture (and automate) conversations with customers and prospects without being caught up in the complexity of it all. A modern CRM can help your business maximize efficiency while building those rich, long-term relationships that will be essential to success.

State of Sales 2022

Learn about the most pressing issues facing sales organizations today, what the dawn of conversational CRM means for your tech stack, and how you can come out stronger.

State of Sales 2022

Learn about the most pressing issues facing sales organizations today, what the dawn of conversational CRM means for your tech stack, and how you can come out stronger.

Read the free report now