What I Think - Drift’s ABM Release

After a few weeks of suspense with their teaser campaign, Drift announced the release of their latest addition to their conversational marketing product this morning, with Drift ABM.

Here’s what I think:

#1 - Thank you Drift, ABM should be embedded into all marketing software

The beauty of account-based marketing is, it’s just common sense.  It’s so obvious good marketers sometimes make fun of it, asking, “Is it really something new?”

That said, one of the opportunity drivers for ABM software is the fact that the preeminent sales & marketing software, (what are they up to this week?), did a really bad job of enabling account-based marketing. Two huge flaws included:

  • No automated way to connect a “lead” to an existing account for its sales users

  • No automated way to track (like a lead is tracked with statuses & therefore built-in reporting) an incremental “lead” on an account - thus discouraging use of the account objects for managing prospect accounts

So it’s refreshing to have a company like Drift build account-based marketing right into their conversational marketing software. It’s logical. It’s useful. It helps their customers - which Drift is all about.

#2 - Sometimes the simplest use cases are the most powerful

You work hard to target your target accounts, through both inbound & outbound channels. When they get to your website, you want alarm bells going off for your sales team to capitalize on this, especially if the account is engaging in product specific or “higher intent” content.

I’ve previously made the point that this type of interaction is one of the intersection points between Inbound Marketing & Account Based Marketing, and Drift is taking that to another level by not only providing sales reps with the insight, but the ability to take immediate action and engage in conversation with that target account.   

  Target account on our website. Alarm bells should be going off!!!!!
Target account on our website. Alarm bells should be going off!!!!!
  ...and give the account a personalized greeting
...and give the account a personalized greeting

It’s so simple. That’s the beauty of it though. How many businesses are actually doing this? Very few.

Which makes it a massive opportunity. Win for Marketing. Win for Sales. Win for Drift.

#3 - “Shipping” has massive value to company momentum

Drift ABM represents Drift’s second major product release in the past month, on the heels of the announcement of Drift email at the Hypergrowth show.

These releases are not just about the added product capabilities, it’s about setting the tone for the business. It’s a major statement from Craig Daniel’s product team and Elias Torres’ engineering team, which in turn builds more confidence for the sales & marketing teams to have the confidence to execute and deliver.

#4 - Put Drift on your shopping list

If you haven’t already done so from reading my “Five Ways Drift Helped Us Engage with More Web Visitors - in the First Week” blog or amazing recent articles from Jera Brown or Andy Raskin, put Drift on your company to watch list.

They have up-leveled the website chat product game to conversational marketing, and it’s an immediate way to 1) generate more leads from your website, 2) accelerate the velocity of those leads engaging with your sales team and 3) give sales & marketing teams a win-win that just makes sense, not to mention 4) be part of the rise of a company that is firing on all cylinders.

#5 - Drift’s big strategic question going forward

Drift has reinvented the live chat category. Cancel talks about his company's growth strategy is about finding a commodity category, and then winning in that category by building a better brand.

I expect Drift to be able to dominate customer acquisition in stealing share from other chat products, and winning over customers who are adding chat to their website for the first time. At a price point comparable to other chat vendors, the decision to add Drift should be a no-brainer at $250 per month or thereabout.

Here’s the big question though: will that be enough for Drift? Or are they going to take aim at eating the lunch of the marketing automation vendors?  They’ve gone out and said marketing automation is broken, after all.

That’s going to be closely related to the price point Drift wants to aim for to drive the greatest return for its investors such as Sequoia & General Catalyst. If it pushes up into the thousands of $ per month, marketers will be forced to think about Drift vs. Marketing Automation, and that will add a lot more friction to the sales process (short term) but present massive upside to the company (long term).

What’s for sure -  Drift could build a better marketing automation product. This is the team that rebuilt HubSpot and provided the product foundation for the multi-billion company HubSpot has turned into today.  I’m sure the team could build a better marketing platform.

As a marketing technologist, I’m rooting for it.