Going Under The Hood Of How Drift Uses Drift With Monique Lemieux And Tim Ozmina
Going Under The Hood Of How Drift Uses Drift With Monique Lemieux And Tim Ozmina
A very common question we get is, “How does Drift use Drift at Drift?” So on this episode, we're going answer that question.
To do this, we called in the experts. Those experts, and our guests, are Tim Ozmina, Senior Conversion Marketing Manager, and Monique Lemieux, Senior Marketing Operations Manager. Together, Tim and Monique form the Marketing and Marketing Ops foundations upon which our Drift instance is built.
This episode isn’t an infomercial; it's a master class. In our conversation, we go deep on 3 very specific use cases that we actually use here at Drift, how those use cases go from idea to execution to measurement, and why Tim and Monique don’t look at Drift as its own separate channel, but rather a key ingredient and accelerant for all of their marketing campaigns.
Like this episode? Be sure to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review and share the pod with your friends! You can connect with Sean on Twitter @Seany_Biz @DriftPodcasts
Sean Lane: Hey, everyone. Welcome to Operations, the show where we look under the hood of companies in hyper growth. My name is Sean Lane. One of the most common questions that I get all the time is how does Drift use Drift at Drift? So I figured it's probably time that we actually answer that question. We recently released this go- to market guide for using Drift, and I wanted to go deeper with the people who actually make this thing run for our company. So on this episode, we're going to live up to our description of our show and truly go under the hood of how Drift uses Drift. To do this, I needed to call in the experts. Those experts and our guests today are Tim Ozmina, the senior conversion marketing manager, and Monique Lemieux, the senior marketing operations manager here at Drift. Together, Tim and Monique form the marketing and marketing ops foundations upon which our instance of Drift is built. And to be clear, this is not an infomercial, this is a masterclass. In our conversation, we're going to dive into three very specific use cases that we actually use here at Drift, how those use cases go from idea to execution, to measurement. And why Tim and Monique don't look at Drift as its own separate channel, but rather as a key ingredient and an accelerant for all of their other marketing campaigns. Before we get into the use cases themselves, though, let's get a sense for what Tim and Monique actually do here at Drift and their roles inside of our own implementation. Let's start with Tim.
Tim Ozmina: I am one of the guys behind the curtain for Drift for Drift, so I build our playbooks to help with some of the routing integrations, all that fun stuff behind the scenes in Drift. But then I meet with all of our different stakeholders within the business to make sure our playbooks are built out correctly, we're using the right language, going through copywriting, all that fun stuff. I'm the guy building those playbooks.
Sean Lane: Awesome. Monique, how about you?
Monique Lemieux: For me being in marketing operations, my role with Drift is really helping make sure that we implement the tool, the platform and supporting the team in launching their different campaigns, different playbooks, helping the team understand how we can best target different audiences using Drift on our site. And then also helping with the integrations for all of our other tools in our tech stack. So we're integrating with our marketing automation platform, our CRM, and doing a lot of reporting on the performance of those campaigns, so it's really just making sure that we have everything set up correctly, we have the tracking that we need, and then we have the data that we have to make decisions about what to do next.
Sean Lane: As Tim, Monique and I thought about this conversation, we wanted to make sure that we weren't just talking about theoretical, but rather the practical use cases that listeners could take away, and if they wanted to, copy and paste into own instances of Drift. So what we decided to do was pick three specific use cases and explore those together. And as we break down those use cases, we're going to answer three very important questions: Why is this use case helpful? How did we exactly execute the use case within Drift? And how do we measure whether we're successful or not? The first use case is greeting your target accounts, ruling out the red carpet and meeting them wherever they might be in the customer journey. Sounds reasonable enough, right? As we dig into this use case, you're going to hear a bunch of three letter acronyms, so I wanted to give you a quick glossary before we do. First, ICP, which stands for ideal customer profile. Those are the characteristics of the target accounts you're going after. Another one is CRM or customer relationship management. Many of you use a tool like Salesforce for your CRM. And lastly, MAP or marketing automation platform. These are tools like Marketo, Pardot, Eloqua, HubSpot. Okay. Enough with the glossary. Here's Tim on target accounts.
Tim Ozmina: When you're greeting your target accounts, they should be a target account for a reason. They should be an ICP account, they should be people you want to go after, and so making sure that you have those people actually within Drift and within an account segment, or you bring it in from a marketing automation platform and sync that list over, you want to be targeting these people because then you have all that information from things like your CRM, your MAP, whatever it's going to be, and you can use that firsthand data to target them. The second they land on your website, you can start rolling out that red carpet, which is a super cool experience because normally, you show up to a webpage and you're scrolling through, and it's like, okay, everyone gets the same experience. But how we're using Drift to greet our target accounts is, let's say someone from company A visits our website, we can say, " Hey, first name from whatever company." We can do really cool personalization that just starts the conversation off on the right foot and rolls out that red carpet.
Sean Lane: Is that different from the other accounts that come to the website? I would imagine if I were hearing that for the first time, I might say, " Yeah, but that personalization might be helpful for all of my accounts." And so what is different about the way we greet or treat those target accounts?
Tim Ozmina: Yeah. To get super specific, it's mostly along the lines of, with these target accounts, since they are ICP, these are accounts we want to talk to. We have such good talk tracks that we can actually provide to them, and so we can get very nitty- gritty in the details and get a lot more aggressive with that language. Versus let's say if they're a volume account or someone that doesn't fit our ICP, they're coming to the website and we still want to talk to them, but we don't know nearly as much about them. We might not have a specific talk track built out internally or working with our product marketing team. We still want to talk to these people if they want to do business with us, but obviously, our ICP, we have a higher win rates, all that fun stuff. So we have everything tailored towards the target accounts. And then we can try to use some of this personalization to the volume accounts, but normally, yeah, it's just the target accounts you can get a lot more specific.
Monique Lemieux: From an operational perspective, there's a lot of work that goes into identifying those target accounts to begin with. What we do is we look at all of our most successful customers and all of those accounts that we have who are using our platform and really seeing results from it. And we want to make sure that we're looking at common threads within those accounts and what are some other lookalike companies that have similar buying profiles, have similar company sizes, have similar tech stacks. And so we're narrowing in on specific accounts that we know are going to be successful if they use Drift, rather than saying, let me try to get everyone in this particular revenue range and anybody who's in that revenue range is automatically going to benefit from my product. That's never going to be always the case.
Sean Lane: Yeah. And I would imagine too, Monique, that the longer you have been refining that target, that ICP list, then the chances are that you're going to continue to get better at that definition. Is that fair?
Monique Lemieux: Definitely. It's never going to be the end- all- be- all of all of the accounts that could benefit from your product or your solution. That's just not going to be the case. And so I think the more that you get feedback about new customers who are entering your ecosystem, new accounts that are engaging with your marketing or engaging with your salespeople, having a really good feedback loop, I think, between your marketing and your sales, your customer- facing teams to make sure that you're giving feedback back to your marketers about what you're seeing in those conversations or what you're seeing on the website and how people are engaging with your materials, because it changes a lot over time.
Sean Lane: Got it. So Monique, Tim mentioned this idea of like there's a CRM and there's an MAP involved in this whole thing. Help me understand exactly how these things come together, because it's one thing to say, " I have a list of target accounts," it's another thing to actually make that a reality when it comes to this particular use case inside of Drift,
Monique Lemieux: Right. That's a great question. The way that we do this, it might seem simple, but it's very key to the whole process. When we, on the sales operation side or on the operation side, identify our list of ideal accounts that we want to go after, based on that phonographic criteria, based on their behavioral criteria, all we do is just tag them with a field on the account record in our CRM. So we say, " This account type equals target," and those are all of our target accounts. Then we can create an account view or an account report in Salesforce that links directly into Drift. So we create account views that say, " Give me all of my target accounts that are owned by a sales rep who have not turned into customers or don't have open opportunities." And those are my prospect accounts that I want to target with playbooks, try to get them to schedule a new conversation with us, talk to a sales rep about the challenge that they're having, or book a demo. So we create a list in Salesforce of that complete universe of accounts. And then there's an integration with the Drift product itself, where all you do is just MAP that list right in, and every night, it rethinks all of those accounts, maps over all of the attributes, and then that's what you use for your targeting criteria. So Tim looks at that account list and says, here are all of my accounts and directs that are tagged as targets, and I want to identify this subset of them or this group of them with this playbook.
Sean Lane: Okay. So to recap, first, you need to identify your target accounts in Salesforce, based on the ideal customer profile at your company. Then, you sync that list of accounts into Drift, and that's pretty much it. Well, kind of. We've put together the engine for the car, but we need some drivers. The bot will take care of a bunch, but Tim and Monique can't possibly meet all of these target accounts themselves. How do they go about getting the rest of the sales and marketing teams aligned on what happens next when the target accounts reach the website?
Tim Ozmina: There's definitely a lot of stakeholders involved. So first off, from a messaging standpoint, like I don't know everything how we should talk to every single person, so we have multiple people on the marketing team that can help build out messaging that we're speaking with. It's also going back to the sales team and making sure that they're educated and that they can respond to the right people with the right messages, basically every single time. And so when we think about, what are we actually greeting them with? There's also, depending on, okay, yes, we do get the target account list, but then where are they in the buyer cycle? Are they early on in their journey? Are they much later on? Are we trying to greet them and tell them, " Hey, we already know you know about Drift based on all of your web activity and what you've been researching. Let's try to get you in touch with a sales rep and book that meeting." Or is it someone that, yes, you're a target account, but maybe you've only come to the website one or two times, you're very early on and we just need to keep educating you and making sure that we're giving you a good site experience of not necessarily pushing you to sales, although yes, we would love for you to book a meeting. It might not be the right time. So figuring out whether or not we're trying to educate them or get them over the line to talk to sales or heck, they may be even already been talking to sales and there there's an open opportunity and we're trying to accelerate that opportunity. So depending on where they're at in the buyer stage, it's also going to depend on what type of site experience they see.
Sean Lane: And how did the two of you think about wrangling in all those different groups that Tim mentioned? Because eventually, yeah, you might have a lot of opinions, but it comes time to actually execute on this target account play that you're running or this use case that you're focused on. How do you bring these big groups together and how do you know that they're actually doing what you're expecting?
Monique Lemieux: It's funny you asked that because I was just thinking to myself how it can be a challenge sometimes just to get the marketing and the sales groups aligned on what the targets are, even when you have them tagged in your database. I think I've never worked at an organization where the first pass at this, the sales team has looked at the accounts and been like, " Yup, perfect. Those are my target accounts. I love them." It's always been like, " Okay, this is great, but where are actually my target accounts? Or, these aren't the accounts that I focused on? Or, where's this one?"
Sean Lane: Other companies not Drift, other companies. Yeah, I got it. I got it. I got it.
Monique Lemieux: Yes. Each earlier organization. But I think that's really the first step because there is no success that you're going to have with these specific accounts if the salespeople that you're sending them to are not aligned on what the message is, whether they're the right audience and whether they're going to go after them. So I would say the first building block, it seems so simple, but I would back up all the way and say, first, making sure that you get marketing and sales alignment on the strategy and agreement that these are the targets for us, these are the accounts that are going to benefit most from us because you need both of those teams in lock step. One is not successful without the other, it really has to be a holistic approach. So I would say that's number one. And then there's a whole lot that goes into launching the playbooks, launching the campaigns in Drift. Oh my gosh, what is this called? Your Drift team. Tim can talk more about that.
Tim Ozmina: Same thing. Monique, I'm actually really glad you brought up that point of getting the buy- in from both sides of like, these are your target accounts, because when it comes to Drift and having a conversation, the longer that conversation happens, the greater chance of someone dropping out of that conversation. So you want to keep it as quick and short as possible while also providing the most value. So what that means is, if these are targeted... Everyone agreed on these target accounts, so we shouldn't have to ask very many qualification questions to get them over to sales. We just need to make sure we're identifying them as part of a target account, and then we should be able to route to sales right away and we shouldn't have to ask like, " Oh, what are you trying to use Drift for? What's your employee size?" Whatever your qualification questions are to actually get them to sales, because you've already agreed, " We want to talk to this person."
Sean Lane: It's important to pause on Tim's point here, because this is what revenue acceleration is all about. We already know so much about this prospect and we've decided that they get this red carpet treatment. Don't throw away all that prep work by treating them like everyone else, the messaging, the routing, the actions should all be different. Otherwise, you're just creating a bad experience for the visitor and it isn't likely you're going to get the outcome that you want. We know why we would want to greet our target accounts. Monique and Tim have taught us how to do it. Last question, how do we know if it's working? How do we measure success at Drift?
Monique Lemieux: I get that question a lot. Not only from our customers, but from our prospects too, if I'm going to launch Drift, if I'm going to start using conversational marketing, how do I actually measure the effectiveness of it? Because it's a change in pace for marketers. I had never used conversational marketing before joining Drift, and so when I joined, I was like, " All right, there are no forms anywhere on the website. I love that. I love it. But realistically, how does it work? How do you actually get people into campaigns? How do you tag them with the channels that they got there?" Because a lot of that happens on the backend, in the form, and there is so much power behind all of the data that you have about how people are having conversations on your site that you want to make sure that you can take advantage of it. There are a couple of ways that we do this. The first is that Drift integrates directly with Marketo and Salesforce. We sync over all of our conversation activities and all of our meetings about activities to Salesforce, as tasks or events. And then we also send them over to Marketo. The nitty- gritty way that it works is that as soon as somebody has a conversation on our site, within a Drift playbook, as soon as that conversation closes, they sync over into Marketo, it creates a new lead or updates to the existing record. And then we use triggers in our programs to say, " Update these contact attributes or enroll this person in this campaign if they had a conversation with this playbook and they met this criteria." For example, if someone started a conversation and wanted to sign up for an upcoming RevGrowth event, that's one of our virtual events. They have a conversation on the site and they say, " Yes, I'm interested in registering, sign me up." They submit their email address, and then that syncs over into Marketo. And as long as somewhere in the playbook that person said, " Yes, I'm interested sign me up," it didn't just close the conversation, that person gets marked as responded in the Marketo program, syncs to Salesforce, gets marked as responded into the Salesforce campaign. And that's how we get the tracking in our Marketo in CRM. There's also something that happens at the same time, and this was unique to Drift. There is a package that we have installed in Salesforce that specifically sinks over all of the conversations and all of the attributes that happened within them. There's so much really cool data that you can use from a marketing perspective about the keywords that people are having within conversation, the number of messages they sent, how they're interacting with a bot or a live agent who is in the convo. There's so much cool metadata that you have there and having it all in Salesforce, it just nests right under the contact so you can, on the account, so you can just pull it right into all of your existing reporting and say, " Give me all of my opportunities that had a Drift conversation and all of the conversations underneath it." And then you can get into a point where you're looking at, " Show me all of my target accounts that had an opportunity, and then give me all of the Drift conversations underneath those opportunities." So I can say, " Are there particular playbooks that are a common thread in our close inaudible opportunities? Are we having longer conversations or more conversations with a subset of users within our database? And how do I double down on that success?"
Sean Lane: One of the coolest benefits of running Drift at Drift is that feedback from people like Tim and Monique, along with the feedback from our customers, it constantly drives change that makes a product better. The Salesforce app that Monique mentioned is a perfect example of this. We as operators within Drift felt this need to be able to tie our playbooks back to real results like meetings and pipeline. We advocated for that change and then boom, that feedback led to being able to do just that within the tool. So if you're fortunate enough to be a customer of your own company's product, make sure you cement your spot as customer number one and keep that feedback coming. And by the way, you don't have to have all of the extensive detailed triggers and tags that Monique has built, that's PhD level Drift. You can crawl and walk a little bit before you run and take advantage of that Salesforce integration and accomplish the vast majority of the reporting that you're looking to create. Okay, let's move on to use case number two. The second use case is registering prospects for an event or a webinar. This may not be a typical use case that people think about for Drift, but it's not really about Drift as a standalone medium, it's about how Tim and Monique incorporate Drift into all of their integrated marketing campaigns. Like our own company event, RevGrowth.
Tim Ozmina: RevGrowth is a big really cool virtual event experience that we put on probably around once a quarter. The goal is, we pick some really cool topics that are either really interesting in the moment or future thinking thought leadership. And we grab really good speakers to come and just educate like- minded folks. We're there to learn, we're there to engage. And how Drift plays a really cool part is, like Monique was mentioning, we don't have forums on our website. You can go to our registration page and you will never see a form. You go to everyone else's and you're going to see, okay, what's first name, last name, company, email country, opt in, blah, all this stuff. You can do all that within the bot. And what we capture is just someone's email address. And from there, yeah, we can enrich that data and we get those opt- ins and everything we need to. But from an actual registration experience, it's very frictionless. You click one button for the, like, save my seat, get my ticket, I want to register, whatever the CTA is going to be for that page. And then the chat bot pops up in the bottom right. From there, all you have to do is say, yes, I opt in, because obviously, we have partners that get involved, we need to make sure we get proper consent and all of that. And then we just capture email address. From there, once that conversation closes in Drift, that information passes over to Marketo and Salesforce, like Monique was mentioning. And then you receive all of your event information. You receive the confirmation email that has the add to calendar, your actual link to take you into the event. And then within the actual registration flow, which I'm a huge fan of because you can't get this in a form, is we can start answering questions directly in that conversation. So if you have a question of like, " Okay, wait, when was this event?" Yes, it is on the registration page, but you could still have this question. Or like, " Hey, is anyone going to be able to see or hear me during this event? What time zone is this in?" Any type of question that you actually have, like, who are the speakers? Why should I care about this? We can start answering those and have that conversation instead of just having a form on the website. And then obviously, because I'm a little selfish when it comes to Drift and I always add a next best thing, I never let someone just like, " Okay, here's your registration, see you at the event." It's, " Hey, while you're here, you're already on the website, you want to talk to someone either about the event or how Drift can help you XYZ?" So it's always another good spot to add that secondary or third CTA in there. Obviously, if they don't want to book a meeting, they've already registered, cool. Let's leave them with a really great piece of content that they can read before the event to either catch them up, get them up to speed or learn more about the topic.
Monique Lemieux: I feel like what you're saying, Tim, is so fundamental to the strategy of conversational marketing, which is to continue the conversation no matter where the prospect or no matter where the customer is, because that person is on your site, they're interested in an event, you're showing value to them with something that is going to bring them benefit in their career by having this great lineup of speakers, why would you not try to take advantage of that right away and have a conversation with that person while you're on their site and then take advantage of additional ways to continue that conversation? Because the confirmation email that person gets, the form that they fill out, those are all different ways of that person interacting with your brand or interacting with the assets on your website. And so how can you make it more personalized? How can you make it more conversational and better for them? What you're talking about, Tim, is, instead of filling out a form asking you to do a chore or having a conversation or answering questions, we're offering you additional value. And then there are also additional ways that we do this, it's not just that one touch point on the site. For example, conversational marketing doesn't just end at the chat on your site, it could also mean conversational email. So if there is a confirmation email, for example, that you send as a result. So you registered for this webinar, I want to actually say maybe you might be interested in this event as well. I can send a follow- up email to that person who registered for the event and say, " Hey, are you interested in registering for this other one too? We have RevGrowth in a couple of months and I thought you might be interested. Just reply yes to this email if you're interested and we'll get you automatically registered.
Sean Lane: Instead of me having to go to that page and click it and fill it all in again.
Monique Lemieux: Exactly, because the person is already there. They're already interacting with Drift through their email. You don't want to have to make them take another step because they're saying, " Yeah, I'm interested right now." You don't need them to fill out a form because you already have their information, if you've emailed them. So you can just say, " Hey, tell me if you're interested, I'll sign you up." And then the person replies back directly to that email, to that person at your organization and says, " Yep, sign me up." Drift email on the backend takes that human reply and says, " This was a positive reply, I'm going to sync them into the Marketo program and then send them the confirmation email for that event." So it's a really cool, very slick experience for the end user. And then it also helps make our lives as marketers easy too because you are not making any additional steps before that person gets into your campaign and does something that they wanted to do.
Sean Lane: And their life is easier too because they're not being asked to fill out a whole bunch of stuff all over again when they know and you know that the company already knows exactly who that person is and where they work and what their title is and all that good stuff, right? Tim, what's interesting about this approach, at least for me, is I hear when I talk to our customers and honestly, I used to think this exact same way too, I hear them say, " I've got my social channel, I've got my paid channel, I've got my organic channel, and then I have Drift." And it's its own separate thing where that's one option many, but the mutually exclusive with all the other things that you might have running inside of your marketing organization. But it sounds like what you and Monique are saying is that it shouldn't be looked at that way. Help me understand this as you guys are doing this every day.
Tim Ozmina: Yeah. It's one of those things where you think about Drift, and yeah, exactly what you're saying, we're spending all this money on our digital ads or making all these social posts, whatever we're doing, but at the end of the day, you're driving people back to your website, and Drift can actually be that glue that touches all of your different channels, all of your different campaigns that you're running and continues that conversation at your storefront, which is your website. And so it's one of those really cool things, instead of just saying, " Oh, we have Drift." It's," No, let's incorporate Drift into everything we're doing." And it should be a piece of every campaign structure that you're actually building out because you drive really cool social posts with really, I don't know, whatever the messaging is going to be, and you drive them back to the website. Why not continue that conversation, take some of that copy you already worked so hard to build, flip it into the bot and continue that conversation. You can even personalize and say, " Hey, looks like our social posts caught your attention." Or, " Thanks for coming all the way over from LinkedIn," whatever the next piece is going to be. So you can take Drift, have it be that glue that actually connects all of your different campaigns together, and then you never skip a beat in the conversation. They're seeing all of your messaging when they're out on social ads, emails, and then they're seeing that exact same type of messaging and conversation on the website.
Sean Lane: Tim's point here is that you shouldn't think about Drift as this separate highway of traffic that has its own guard rails up separating itself from all of the other traffic. Instead, we should think about Drift as an accelerant to move as many cars into the fast lane as possible, no matter what the campaign was or the channel was that dropped them off on that highway in the first place. This is the why. And just like we talked about with our target accounts example, I still want to understand the how for pulling off the Drift aspects of this RevGrowth campaign. What is the partnership between Tim and marketing, and Monique and marketing ops look like to execute this thing?
Tim Ozmina: This is something I can't take any credit for myself we've got a rock- star team of marketers here at Drift that luckily when someone rings the bell or the alarms go off, everyone jumps on and handles that situation. So when something like RevGrowth comes up, we have a stellar events team that starts planning these things out, but for most companies I would assume that maybe Drift isn't part of that conversation right now, when you're thinking about, " Okay, we need these promo emails going out this far ahead of the event. We need these digital ads to re- target these folks. We need to have a pre- webinar on this," whatever it's going to be, but making sure that Drift is part of that conversation is something that we are really good at internally. And so as soon as an event like this comes up, it's like, " Okay, cool. All of our registration is coming through Drift, so we need a registration bot that has X copy in there, making sure we touch on these topics. We can work with these teams to get that messaging, we're educating the sales team, or if they see these conversations coming in, they're now going to be able to respond in a very timely manner, but also with the correct messaging that actually is in line with the event." And so having just the overall conversation internally saying, yes, we know that this event is happening, let's get Drift involved because so much of the workflow comes through there And then when the handoff happens over towards Monique and marketing operations is all right, we're setting these things up and playbook, can you please make sure that all of this works and that we're reading everything correctly and we're getting proper attribution and all the other 100 things. And obviously, Monique and the team are all rock stars they jump on that
Monique Lemieux: And it's perfect right away every time. There is a lot of nitty- gritty on the backend, but the connection between Marketo makes it pretty simple. Usually, it's a matter of pulling in some custom activity in Marketo that says, do this or enroll this person in X if they've done this through a Drift conversation. So you can create smart lists and smart campaigns or reports based on any playbook name, any combination of specific web pages of the playbook was displayed on. And then we can also look at the tags that are on the back end of the conversation. This is something that I really like about using Drift is that I have the ability to, or Tim has the ability to add tags within certain parts of the conversation that say, " Once a person reaches this part of the playbook, do this." And for something like RevGrowth, it might be the case that we have multiple things that we might suggest that someone does. So if we have the virtual event and then there's also a VIP event or a happy hour or something else that we want to send a smaller subset of group of people to, within the same conversation, you can suggest all of those actions. So first, you may register for RevGrowth. And then I notice that you're a target account, so I'm going to also ask you if you want me to go to the VIP event or to the happy hour. And you can do all of those within the same playbook. And then in Marketo, we connect to a program and we say, " If this person interacted with the RevGrowth playbook and they registered, then mark them as registered in the event campaign."" Then if they got to the part of the playbook that had the VIP registration and they signed up for the VIP event, then do this." So we get very specific about which follow- up actions we want to do as a result. There might be a confirmation email, there might be a sales person that follows up, there might be a task that gets created in Salesforce. All of that is usually set up beforehand within our integrated campaign planning process, we say, " What do we want the next follow- up action to be? What do we want the CTA to be if someone registered?"
Sean Lane: My favorite part about listening to practitioners like Tim and Monique, is that you can pick and choose the aspects of their work that will be directly transferable to your business. And depending on your goals, Drift will offer you the flexibility under the hood to tag, route, measure as you see fit. That crawl, walk, run metaphor, absolutely applies here. And at the highest level, if you're running Drift for your company, your North Star always comes back to continuing the conversation. Okay, let's move on to our third and final use case Drift Virtual Sales Assistant. For those of you who are responsible for what happens under the hood of your Drift implementation, the Virtual Sales Assistant can be a little intimidating because it carries with it big, scary words like artificial intelligence. If you aren't familiar, virtual sales assistant uses AI to power your playbooks instead of our standard decision tree playbook experience. Now, the good news is that this is actually a relatively new use case, both for our customers and for ourselves at Drift. So I asked Tim and Monique about why this use case is helpful to them and how they approached figuring it out for themselves in the first place.
Tim Ozmina: I think the easiest way to explain this is going through a scenario. And I think the biggest one has going to be, let's say someone, using the Drift website as an example, we have What We Do and How We Do It page. If someone shows up to the, How We Do It page, and they have a very specific question and we have a decision tree playbook there. Well, maybe that person's question, that site visitor has that very specific question, maybe we don't have that built into the playbook. We can't answer that question, so they're going to have to go somewhere else on the website to try to find it. So simplest cases, we have an AI bot there, one of our Virtual Selling Assistants, just lifting on that page, all they have to do is ask that question and then we can answer it right there on the page. That could then spark five other questions that they can type into that same playbook, that same AI bot, and we can answer all those questions. They don't have to run it on the website, they don't have to try to look up help articles, anything like that, we can answer all their questions in one go. And so it's quality of life improvements for the site visitor because we have all that information right in front of them, but then it's also time to value. There's no more hunting on the website. Sure, it's always great to Oh, in this one session, this person went to eight pages in that one session, but if we can handle all of their objections, all of their questions, anything they have in one page, they get their information, that's a really, really good site experience. And we're leaving them with a positive overall experience on Drift. com. So that's the main scenario I would take a look at as to why you should use AI versus a decision tree, but also in my fantasy land, it's like, " Okay, we're putting AI everywhere because you can still dictate the conversation and where you want to go and where you want to take the actual flow of the conversation by inputting your questions, trying to lead that site visitor to the end goal of what you have, but at the same time, you're handling their entire experience. You're giving them exactly what they want while you're also trying to steer them towards your end goal.
Monique Lemieux: I think of that as a big benefit of AI, which is that you don't have to make assumptions about how people are going to engage and how people are going to ask questions or what type of questions they're going to ask. So if you're building a typical decision tree playbook, or even if you're just developing messaging for your site, you're making assumptions about what questions people are going to have when they get there and what types of pain points they have as a customer. And with AI, you let them do the talking. So it's almost like sitting back and saying like, " What's wrong today?" And then just letting them tell you what's wrong, " I need this, I need this." Or, " I have this pain point." And then the AI is smart enough after over time to know how do I answer these questions? What follow- up content can I suggest that might help this person with their problem? And I think that's a fantastic experience for the end user because nobody likes engaging with something that's like yes or no, yes or no, yes or no, over and over again in a decision tree. I think that works when you're registering for an event, booking a meeting, taking a very specific action. But if you are on, for example, the pricing page on your site, we don't know specifically what challenges you're having or what plan might be best for your organization So that's, I think, the perfect example of the type of page that you would want to have it on. How can I answer more questions? How can I uncover what different reasons why this customer came to this page? And then you can actually do analysis within all of the conversations that your AI bots have been having and figure out what are those key phrases? What are the questions that are coming up more often? What are some keywords that I'm seeing over and over again? And then you can develop your messaging based on that. So instead of making assumptions and doing things about what you think is going to happen, you can look at what happens and then build things as a result.
Sean Lane: That's the part I want to dig into a little bit more, Monique, because one of my knee jerk reactions when I hear, " Oh, the AI is going to take care of it," is it feels like this like black box to me and I as the operator behind the scenes who I'm used to being able to dictate where things go and control the systems, I feel a little bit of loss of control there. And so can you tell me a little bit more about what it is you're actually gleaning from that and then what you do with that information?
Tim Ozmina: Once we're starting to actually see these learnings and uncover a lot of this information that we might not have even known about, because we know we are rigid in our decision tree paths of this is what people ask, these are the common questions, but as soon as we start understanding, " Oh, wait, we're answering X and Y, but people really care about Z, why don't we talk about this?" We're starting to gather all that information, and then we can develop new piece of content because of that. We can develop or change our email language because of this. And I know Monique, you touched on a lot of this in your answer too, of just this should be the path forward. A decision tree is like what you know currently, and the AI is always learning. It's always developing and it's always moving you forward and listening to the customers the most. So instead of just cool, we're answering X, Y like I was saying earlier, it's no we're moving towards Z because that's what our customers actually care about. And that's what they're truly... It's firsthand intent data. They're asking those questions, so we know that they have some intent on it, so let's act on it.
Monique Lemieux: It's always scary thinking about moving over to AI and not having that control over exactly how you lead the conversation. I think a lot of people worry about what if there's a question that someone asks that we don't know how to answer with AI? And it does learn over time and there are resources internally in Drift that help us train it and help it get smarter and smarter. But I think it's the only way that we can scale long term. I think the AI is more like the future of how we scale conversational marketing on our site, because you there aren't enough Tim's in the world for every company to be able to have 10 different variations of playbooks depending on how they could go, or 10 different decision trees of conversations depending on what different ways people might answer. It doesn't scale, and then you have a lot of people on your digital team or your operations team who are spending resources, doing something that a bot could do in no time. And so I would say that there's always going to be a little bit of that resistance to change, or a little bit of fear there. And for me, the way that I counteract that is trying to get as detailed within the data as I can, that's my job. And I love looking at data, and I love doing analysis, but what makes me feel more confident is knowing exactly how those conversations are going. So spot checking some of them, pulling those reports through the direct reporting app and say, " Give me all the conversations with the AI bot. And I want to look at some of them, or I want to see what the results were." And then I think you can get really specific over time about what improvements you can make.
Sean Lane: Monique's point about optimizing for scale and letting go of some of that control made me realize that the desired outcomes aren't changing, just the means of getting there. Conversations, they aren't linear, they aren't this clean, beautiful decision tree most of the time, they're more like a hornet's nest in terms of their complexity, but we still want more conversations, we still want more meetings, more pipeline, but visitors, aren't just going to show up to your website and proclaim, " I'm here for a meeting. I'm here to turn into pipeline." I think we all know the vast majority won't, but now with technology like AI and the Virtual Sales Assistant, we've just found a more efficient way of getting there Before we go, at the end of each episode, we're going to ask each guest the same lightning round of questions. Ready? Here we go. Tim, I'll start with you, best book you've read in the last six months.
Tim Ozmina: Oh my gosh, Play Bigger. Am I going great in my explaining it or not or?
Sean Lane: Rapid Fire is perfectly fine. Anything you want people to know or just buy the book?
Tim Ozmina: Play Bigger, make a lightning strike, I put way too many notes in here. These are torn up napkins because I ran out of paper to put extra notes.
Sean Lane: If you're listening to the audio version of this, you need to make sure you check out the clip on YouTube so you can see Tim actually bringing his receipts to talk about the book. All right. Monique, favorite part about working in ops?
Monique Lemieux: I would say the ability to have a hard and fast answer to a question. I think when I was working in the creative side and demand generation, I struggled sometimes, this was my personality type, but I struggled sometimes with open- ended, things that didn't have a black and white solution. And I really like an operations being able to say like, " This is what we're seeing as a result. These are the hard numbers." And make recommendations because of that.
Sean Lane: All right, Monique. Flip side, least favorite part about working in ops? For you it might be the same answer you just gave.
Tim Ozmina: Having to deal with people like me asking a million questions a day.
Monique Lemieux: I would say that my least favorite part of working with ops is just repetitive tasks, I would say, like the day- to- day of the keeping the lights on. It's not always fun, it's not always something that feels like it engages every part of your brain. It's more just like that thing that I need to get done in order to make everyone not be coming after me all the time, saying, " What's going on with our data?"
Sean Lane: Totally fair. Tim, someone who impacted you getting to the job you have today?
Tim Ozmina: Are we calling people out by name?
Sean Lane: Sure.
Tim Ozmina: I got to give a shout out to one of my mentors, his name is Mike Madden. Actually, before marketing, I was in sales and he pulled me over to the demand- gen side at my previous company, and that's when we implemented Drift, and we just went all out with it, all the testing, optimization, creating that glue for our campaigns. And then eventually, leading up to running Drift for Drift
Sean Lane: That's wild. I didn't know you were in sales before. Very cool. All right. Last one. I'm going to ask both of you to answer this one. We'll start with you, Monique. One piece of advice for people who want to have your job someday?
Monique Lemieux: Take initiative and get familiar with the data. I think if you're in marketing, if you're in sales, if you're in CS, I guess any department really, you could transfer into operations. The first step is really getting to know the data, I think that's the way that I got into operations was that, I was in demand gen and I was just spending a lot of my time looking at reports, seeing how we're doing, how many leads did I generate from my programs? And it just was like a natural segue into working in operations. And I would say for anybody who's interested, learn the way that your team measures success, learn the way that they pull report, try to do it yourself. And I think if you show initiative there, that's a really easy way to get some good skills on your belt.
Sean Lane: Tim.
Tim Ozmina: My role, conversions. Drift for Drift is part of that day to day and always optimizing, being data backed. If you want to roll about conversions and always making sure you get the most juice for every squeeze, the most dollar in return for every dollar spent, just be a data back marketer. Everything nowadays, there's so many tools and platforms to help you actually visualize and show marketing's contribution to a business, become familiar with those, actually start optimizing everything you're doing. I always make a joke instead of, sales has the ABCs, Always Be Closing, for marketing, I got the ABTs, Always Be Testing. So you're always testing your messaging, whether it's email, subject line, whatever copy it's going to be, just always be testing and making sure that you optimize everything you do.
Sean Lane: Thank you so much to Tim and Monique for joining us on this week's episode of Operations. If you liked what you heard and you want to learn more about what Tim and Monique were talking about, be sure to check out that, go to Market Guide that we mentioned at the top of the show. Also shout out to our marketing team for compiling such an amazing guide. It truly is all of the answers to the test of how to run Drift for your organization and make it fit into your go- to market motions. If you liked the show, make sure you leave us a review on Apple Podcasts, six- star reviews only please, and make sure you're subscribed so this shows up in your feed every other Friday. All right, that's going to do it for me. Thanks so much for listening. We'll see you next time.