In the market for a new piece of software? Here, 31 marketers share which tools they adopted in 2018 and will continue to rely on in 2019.
Marketing | Jan 16
Dann Albright on October 16, 2018 • 9 minute read
Gabriel Marguglio, CEO at Nextiny Marketing, says that “we have implemented it on our website and with several of our clients who are seeing results already.”
HubSpot launched its free Conversations tool back in September, saying that, “Historically, brands have struggled to have these same kinds of natural, fluid conversations with prospects and customers at scale. HubSpot Conversations will give businesses the tools they need to do just that.”
And while HubSpot is entering an already crowded market that includes the likes of Intercom and Drift, they also have a sizeable install base of users that can drive adoption quickly.
So, how are things going? We wanted to know, so we polled some HubSpot power users to get their thoughts on HubSpot’s Conversations tool.
Most responses were favorable, with 66% of users rating their first impressions of the tool as “pretty good”, and 28% rating it as “very impressive.”
Conversely, 6% of respondents said of their first impressions of the tool, “it’s not great.”
Also, as we mentioned, the live chat/bot space has grown increasingly crowded. How does HubSpot’s Conversations tool match up to other products with similar functionality in the market?
59% of respondents say that it’s “comparable.”
Taking a harder stance, 12% of respondents say that it’s superior to other products on the market, with another 12% saying its inferior.
16% of respondents weren’t sure, citing the fact that they hadn’t tried any similar tools on the market.
Despite some flaws, “it has the promise to bring a unified support inbox into the CRM,” says Remington Begg, CEO at Impulse Creative.
Lastly, we asked users to share the primary use case (so far) in using HubSpot’s Conversations tool.
What’s interesting here is that while many marketers we previously surveyed are leveraging chatbots as a replacement to website forms, only 7% of respondents to our survey are using HubSpot’s new tool in this way.
36% of respondents say they’re using Conversations to improve customer support, a sign that HubSpot’s customer-centric, “there’s a better way to grow” positioning has taken root with some of its users.
Now, let’s get into the details. How are people using the Conversations tool? How effective is it? How easy to use and/or implement is it?
We learned all that, and more, from our latest research.
Editor’s note: Want an easy way to visualize your entire funnel (and deal stages) from HubSpot? Grab this free template and visualize your entire funnel, in real time, in just a few minutes.
“It’s so easy to set up a basic chat functionality on your website,” says Carina Duffy, HubSpot and inbound specialist at IMPACT. “I train all of my clients on using the conversations tool. My first impressions are that it’s easy to use and set up from a basic level.”
Duffy adds that things can get a bit more complicated for the non-technical marketer. “Where it gets dicier is setting up things like chatbots and routing – those pieces get a bit more technical and can be more challenging for the typical marketer to wrap their heads around. I haven’t run into any major hiccups with functionality though.”
Ease of setup was a common refrain.
Market Veep copywriter Michael Rand says it’s “especially useful for clients who don’t have the time or inclination to learn the complicated messaging processes of other CRMs.”
“Clients who were originally engaging with their customers through multiple channels love the fact that all their conversations are all in one place and are easy to review,” adds Rand. “Overall, Conversations is a great selling point. As a HubSpot partner, we believe it will help us sell the CRM more effectively to more skeptical prospects, which is a win-win for both us and HubSpot.”
Connor Jeffers, managing partner at GrowthPanda, loves easily tying conversations back to the CRM. “We have used Intercom and Drift in the past, but being able to tie an onsite chat experience directly into HubSpot for access within the CRM and leverage conversations to drive marketing communication is very exciting.”
“Within 24 hours of implementing it for one client, they had dozens of messages sent through their site,” says Adam Bockler, ONEFIRE content strategist.
HubSnacks head of growth David Bolton saw similar results: “Already had success booking discovery calls with HubSnacks as it appears on our website.”
(Author’s note: Want to set up a chatbot? Be sure to read these tips on writing great chatbot copy first.)
Those technically challenging pieces give Conversations a lot of versatility.
Jen Spencer, vice president of sales and marketing at SmartBug Media, says that the tool is great for helping users who have a specific question or need:
“The bot functionality allows us to qualify the conversation so we direct the user to the best resource, whether that be a page on our site, a simple text answer, or introducing the user to a member of our sales team.”
ROI Online creative director assistant Zach Morris emphasizes the multiple uses of the tool. “Clients really love being able to find answers quickly and book a meeting all in one spot.”
Keller Hawthorne, CEO of L7 Mixed Media, agrees: “I love the idea of being able to book meetings with website visitors automatically.”
Hermitcrabs founder Niranjan Reddy has already started using this functionality, saying that “prospects were able to set up meetings and check our calendars. I feel chatbots increase trust and save lots of time if done well. Since every website visitor has unique needs, having a more personalized conversation will give an in-person meeting like feel.”
“I’m particularly excited with how it can help e-commerce sites to drive more immediate sales with an immediate script to answer common questions,” says Alysha Dominico, founder of Tangible Words.
Rent Bridge co-founder Heather Park is excited about the tool for the same reason. “We are building out even more robust chatbots that will allow the customers of our clients to self-service at a much higher level while allowing our clients to close business at an even faster rate.”
Some marketers are already seeing great results with Conversations.
Julia Woodward, demand generation marketing associate at New Breed Marketing, received early access to the chatbot functionality.
“We decided to create a chatbot that would target anonymous visitors on our website,” said Woodward. “This would enable us to collect information about new visitors without forcing them to convert on a form and allow us to connect them with relevant information on our site. If a new visitor was super interested in New Breed and the services we offer, our chatbot could also route them to the appropriate SDR to accelerate their buyer’s journey.”
Adds Woodward, “In three months, [Conversations] has interacted with 77 contacts and generated 4 opportunities. That’s a 5.2% conversion rate while our average lead to opportunity conversion rate has been 2.8% this year. This means our chatbot has been 85.7% more effective at creating opportunities for us.”
It might not be a huge sample size, but that’s a remarkable improvement.
Revenue River director of operations Marc Herschberger has also seen solid conversion results. “We’ve been implementing a number of different playbooks within the Conversations tools for our clients that have allowed us to better engage very specific audiences on very specific pages with very specific conversion focuses.”
Adds Herschberger, “Thanks to these focused activities using the tool, we’ve been able to increase conversions and the speed at which sales are able to connect with prospects, all while staying within the global marketing and sales system that we’ve built out inside of HubSpot.”
That’s another thing that’s really valuable: integrating with HubSpot. Using a HubSpot-compatible tool to organize conversations and run chatbots simplifies your workflow.
For example, a few marketers wish Conversations was a better catch-all communications tool.
“It is more of a ticketing system where the clients contact you and the relationships start from there. What about if we receive an email from a referral? Will the Inbox be able to pick up that email? What about all our existing emails with clients? Will the Inbox be able to pick up those emails?” says Stan Tan, digital marketing specialist at Selby’s.
Nick Leffler, owner of Exprance, would also like more integration:
“It’s great to have chat conversations in one place and group emails in one place, but it needs to expand more into individual emails to include all conversations with my clients,” said Leffler. “If I can perform all my communications with leads in one spot (whether through chat, group, or one on one) then conversations would be the only place I’d ever need to go in HubSpot almost.”
“Notifications can get out of control unless you pay attention to unassigned and assigned users, but in general it has promise to bring a unified support inbox into the CRM,” said Remington Begg of Impulse Creative.
“It’s a good start,” says Kamil Rextin, owner of 42+, “I just wish the meetings [were] more deeply integrated into the bot. Currently, it shows up as a link and you have to re-fill your information to book a meeting.”
Several marketers suggested that Conversations is most useful for larger companies. Stan Tan thinks it’s best for companies with large customer bases that need a communication tool, not a relationship-building one.
Batzorig Begzsuren noted that Facebook Messenger integration is coming for Marketing Enterprise, which is meant for large companies.
And Sarah Ryan, head of marketing and communications at Smart MBS, says she “can see this type of tool integration working for larger companies to make lead qualification more efficient, but as a small niche B2B company with small but high-value leads, I am not sure this tool will be as beneficial.”
Overall, marketers seem very happy with Conversations. Some took a while to warm up to it, like Belch.io owner Tim Joyce, who wasn’t impressed until he integrated it with Slack.
“Now I can use Slack on all of my devices to communicate with users,” said Joyce.
Most marketers, however, praised the easy setup and use of HubSpot Conversations. It’s a great way to unify your communications and, if you choose, set up a chatbot.
It’s still a pretty new feature, so you’ll probably see regular updates with new features. But even as a newcomer, it’s turning heads.
Have you tried HubSpot’s Conversations tool? What did you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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