Messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Messenger from Facebook and Google Hangouts are common tools to use to connect with friends and family. But they are quickly becoming more widely adopted by B2B and B2C businesses, especially as buyers continue to demand more authentic, relevant conversations with sales reps.
According to Messenger, messaging apps for businesses are becoming a new normal. Research from the company shows:
- More than one in two people surveyed across 15 markets consider business messaging the “modern way to communicate.”
- The majority of daily messaging app users surveyed said they had messaged a business in the past three months (Brazil – 85%, India – 74%, UK – 61%, U.S. – 61%);
- When asked why they message businesses, over 64% of people surveyed across four markets said it’s because they’re “always messaging anyway;” and
- Those who message businesses expect to do so even more in the future.
B2B companies such as CA Technologies and Cardinal Logistics have already implemented text messaging to connect with audiences in a variety of ways. Demand Gen Report sat down with Olga Gordon, Product Marketing Manager for Messenger, to learn more about how this engagement channel can help B2B businesses.
Demand Gen Report: With so many channels of engagement available to sales teams and buyers, how do messaging platforms compete and differentiate from other experiences such as email, phone and chatbots?
Olga Gordon: People prefer messaging over other communication channels. It’s convenient and helps buyers build trust and feel more connected to businesses. According to a recent report from Facebook IQ in partnership with Boston Consulting, 63% of people across generations prefer messaging over a phone call or email.
Businesses can build closer relationships with messaging through one-on-one conversations that can’t be duplicated by email. It is more convenient and responsive than the phone.
DGR: Are you seeing more adoption of Messenger by B2B organizations? What are some benefits of the Messenger platform for B2B Sales teams?
Gordon: Messaging removes friction, offers convenience and creates a personal connection across the customer journey — helping businesses generate leads, drives sales, increase customer satisfaction and reduce cost to serve. With Messenger, B2B organizations are able to generate leads and continue to nurture those leads in buyers’ preferred channels of communication.
Messenger conversations are also persistent threads that enable people to come back to conversations with businesses any time they want.
DGR: When and where does the hand-off from Messenger happen? Or do/should sales teams use it at all stages of the buyer’s journey in place of other communication channels?
Gordon: We’ve seen lead generation and qualification work well on Messenger. Automation can handle many general inquiries from customers, which enables businesses to vet leads more thoroughly and efficiently — saving time and costs — before an actual salesperson takes over the conversation.
We’ve made it easy for businesses to create an automated Messenger experience in Messenger through a lead generation template in Facebook’s Ads Manager. Businesses can then leverage our various targeting options to make sure these ads are delivered to the most relevant audiences.
DGR: What are some examples of B2B organizations leveraging Messenger for their lead generation successfully?
Gordon: Cardinal Logistics, an American transportation company, leveraged the Messenger platform for their recruiting efforts. This resulted in a 1.8X increase in quality leads and a 55% lower cost-per-qualified lead with Messenger.
DGR: What are some tips you can share for businesses looking to leverage Messenger in their sales outreach?
Gordon: Businesses launching a lead generation campaign on Messenger should decide on what information they want from prospective customers that can be retrieved through automated question and answer flows, and what information will require one-to-one conversations with a live sales agent. This way, a business can more efficiently vet potential customers upfront without devoting time from live sales agents. This also ensures that the leads vetted through automation will be of higher quality and more worthwhile for live sales agents to follow up on.
Businesses should also consider working with an experienced Messenger developer to help integrate Messenger into their sales process and allow agents the ability to follow up with leads directly in Messenger.
DGR: Tell me about how Messenger integrates with existing technologies used by sales teams?
Gordon: Through the Messenger API, businesses can build rich experiences in a convenient, reliable channel that works cross-device and cross-platform. Leads captured through Messenger can be integrated into existing workflows, like a preferred CRM provider and live chat solution. Businesses can also follow up with prospective customers directly in Messenger.
DGR: How do you see Messenger evolving for businesses?
Gordon: Messenger will continue to provide valuable tools for businesses to connect with their customers. We are always reaching out to businesses and developers to hear what they want from their messaging experiences and are constantly innovating to meet those needs. Messenger has launched a number of helpful tools for businesses including lead generation templates, “icebreakers” to help people start conversations with a business and streamlined messaging tags, which enable businesses to send personalized, one-to-one messages to buyers.
This story premiered on our sister site, DemandGen Report.