One of the first marketers to get onboard with the #NoForms movement was RapidMiner CMO Tom Wentworth.
As Tom told us in a recent interview:
We’ve gotten rid of traditional forms on our website for the reason that now we have so many other ways to have conversations with people. Capturing someone’s email address and relentlessly attacking them with nurturing campaigns doesn’t work anymore.
So, how does the RapidMiner marketing team generate and qualify leads if they’re no longer using forms or nurturing emails?
Check out the video below for the answer, or keep reading to hear the full story.
RapidMiner’s marketing team was looking for a better way to manage their web traffic and inbound leads.
Instead of funneling everyone through forms, they wanted to be able to solve people’s problems in real-time.
As Tom explained:
We’re blessed with tens of thousands of users of our product every month, and we want to do our best to support them. People who come to our website aren’t coming there because they want to surf our site, they’re coming there because they have a specific problem, whether it’s a question about our product or what it does, whether it’s some technical support they need, or whether it’s they want to talk to someone in sales. So we want to make sure we’re there to support our customers and we think Drift is a great way to do that.
Underlying that decision to engage with people in real-time was a change in how people prefer to communicate and buy these days.
As Tom mentioned, “there’s a huge shift happening,” which is making it more important for businesses to have authentic conversations with their leads and customers.
Ultimately, lead capture forms and follow-up emails don’t fit into Tom’s vision of what marketing should aspire to be.
We’re technology companies. If we build great products our objective should be to get users to use our great products and to then support them in that journey. And that is not a marketing journey that starts with a form on a website that leads to a content download that leads to a barrage of emails. As a marketer, my job isn’t at as much about marketing as it is about teaching and enabling.
How RapidMiner Uses LeadBot™
Of course, getting rid of leads forms is one thing. Coming up with a strategy for capturing leads without forms is another thing altogether.
Right away, however, Tom saw the value in using messaging and bots to capture leads in real-time. Specifically, he was one of our first customers to use LeadBot, which allows you to write custom scripts that the bot will follow during conversations with site visitors.
At first glance, it might seem like a conversational bot could end up replacing your (human) marketers and salespeople. But as Tom told us, bots versus humans is the wrong way to think about it.
We’ve gone now and we’ve scripted a few different kinds of conversations. But the bot isn’t about replacing a human. The bot for us is about augmenting and taking our user down a journey so we can jump in at the right moment. Some of our customers will find that the bot completely answers their questions, and at the end of it they’ll thank the bot. One of the most common responses that we get at the end is, “Thank you.”
But when someone needs more than we can provide via bot, our team is there monitoring the conversation. And when they join that conversation they’re able to have so much more context around it, because the bot has pulled out all of these really useful nuggets, so now it’s really relevant.
In order to extract those “useful nuggets,” Tom starts by having the bot ask a super basic question…
Why are you here?
The bot gives us really interesting insights into why people came to our site in the first place. The question we ask, and we were inspired by you, frankly, we shamelessly stole it from you, is: “What did you come to our site for today?”, which is the most obvious question to answer, “Why are you here?”, but that’s the sort of thing you don’t get when you come to someone’s website. You get the traditional, generic marketing message, but you never ask, “Why did you come here today?”
And to clarify, this question isn’t just an icebreaker: Tom uses the answers he gets to help make improvements to the RapidMiner website.
So by asking that simple question I start to figure out patterns around things that maybe my website’s not doing today that it should be. So these conversations have actually spurred us to rethink: What’s the structure of our website? What’s the information that we should be surfacing more easily because customers have these questions and we’re not answering them?
Another LeadBot benefit is that it helps Tom ensure the right conversations get routed to right people on his team.
Unlike a form, LeadBot can qualify leads in real-time, which means sales reps can hone in on and have conversations with just those people who are likely to buy.
As Tom explained:
This lets our sales team jump into the conversation at the right moment. So if the bot uncovers that someone’s ready for a sales conversation, we can connect them to our sales team. If the bot uncovers that someone has a question about a particular product feature, we can bring in one of our product specialists. So the bot really helps to narrow that conversation and we can then bring it forward to the right person.
Final Thought: Thinking Long-Term vs. Short-Term
We admit it: Making someone fill out a lead capture forms requires less effort than actually having a one-to-one conversation with someone.
But while forms can help you hit your short-term lead generation goals, conversations can help you generate leads and build relationships that will have a lasting impact on your brand.
Because at the end of the day, every little experience and interaction someone has with your business shapes your overall brand.
Here’s how Tom thinks about it:
If somebody comes to our site, and somebody’s coming there with a question that we can answer, it’s our duty, it’s my duty as a brand-builder, to think about how I build this long-term relationship with them. Traditional marketing tactics encourage short-term thinking over long-term brand-building.
So my mandate to the team is: Treat every one of these conversations as if it’s somebody who’s going to spend a lot of money with us over their lifetime. And that’s why the bot is so important to us, because it lets us touch everyone in a meaningful way, and then really focus where it makes the most sense.