If your company has an active inbound marketing campaign, you probably have to work with a lot of potential customers.
You probably also know that getting leads right is time-consuming, so it’s not always effective to use high-value salespeople to manage and qualify leads, especially when first interacting.
So what can you do?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) may provide the answer as lead management systems become indispensable for businesses looking to expand their inbound channel.
In this article, we look at the Conversica Lead Management System and compare the two alternatives, Exceed.ai and Drift, to help you decide which one is right for your company.
The problem with lead management
Fast customer engagement is really important as it can be the difference between a qualified lead and a customer who buys from your competitors.
A Harvard Business Review study several years ago found that companies that return to incoming leads within an hour are seven times more likely to convert a customer and 60 times more likely to leave for 24 hours.
Now, let’s be brutally honest: if you don’t interact quickly enough with your customers, they won’t take the lead. we will contact you one week later; they are going to interact with your competitors and will most likely buy from them (assuming they have a faster response rate).
When considering the cost of acquiring inbound leads, this seems absurd, given that companies spend on average $ 80 to acquire visitors, but only $ 1 to convert them into customers.
Statistics show this: 80% of marketers using marketing automation software say they get more leads from their marketing activities, and of that 77% there is an increase in conversions.
In other words, they make more money.
Conversica is one of the oldest lead management tools out there, so you can expect it to be more fully featured.
The system includes various messaging options such as SMS, email and chatbots, and each can be customized to suit the use case.
Initially, it will interact with customers, qualify leads and refer them to salespeople, and / or schedule appointments with embedded calendar links.
Conversica automates the entry of new leads and updates your CRM system, can generate sales channel reports and manage leads through customer contact and sales.
It has its drawbacks and, like many enterprise-grade systems, is difficult to set up and users report that the user interface is not as intuitive as it could be. AI is also heavily criticized for being too quick to nudge a client to meet and being overly persistent.
A much more modern alternative, Drift has a cleaner interface and has the ability to add custom chat to existing client forms.
Drift automatically provides visitor information that changes the way chatbots interact with them and provides information for sales and support representatives to tailor their approach.
One interesting feature that we haven’t seen anywhere else is the ability to integrate chat replies with video calls. Considering we’re all experts on Zoom and Microsoft Teams these days, this is a winner!
Integration with drifting video
Drift also provides conversational marketing, which means potential customers get a more personalized experience with their chatbots than Conversica’s offering.
Unfortunately, users have reported difficulty getting the email reply function to work properly and that the AI system takes a long time to learn. They also complain about the quality of the reporting available.
Our second Conversica alternative, Exceed.ai, is a full-featured lead nurturing system built with true AI.
This means that instead of using pre-programmed scenarios, all interactions are human reactions and are adapted to the situation.
Exceed.ai has a great chatbot, SMS and email feeds, and integrates with the vast majority of CRMs through their open API.
Exceed.ai also includes the ability to track events and automate subscription renewals, and can reactivate cold leads after a predetermined time or on specific re-engagement events.
A particularly valuable feature is the ability to look back at past leads in your database and then revisit them to find sales opportunities that may have been missed or that have been reactivated due to changing circumstances.
The user interface is as clean and user-friendly as you would expect from a modern system, and the customization options are very extensive and appreciated by customers.
Support and backup
Conversica tends to get good marks on a regular basis for fixing bugs in the system, and users praise that its support team can help where they can. However, what they can do is limited by how many customizations are available on the system and the points at which the user has to pay more for new features.
The drift has grown very quickly and this seems to have impacted their response times to support calls. Users report that the company releases updates that have not been fully tested, which then break other aspects of the system that their support staff must deal with.
Drift has a great and active blog, they run events like webinars, and they have a very active community of users helping new users.
Exceed provides many online resources to help customers, and there are many different ways to consume information, including their blogs, videos, webinars, and podcasts, to help people get used to their system.
Their support team is also receiving positive feedback from users, but so far there is no sign of a company-sponsored community.
One of the most important questions any buyer will ask themselves early on is how much it will cost.
There is no point in wasting time researching a system just to find that it is out of your price range.
Plus the old adage “you get what you pay for” is never truer than with enterprise-grade software.
Conversica is at the more expensive end of the scale, with packages starting at $ 2,999 but growing quickly when you want to add any customization and use cases.
You will be paying more for all sorts of features (additional use cases cost a hefty thousand dollars each) and the final bill may turn out to be higher than the buyer originally anticipated, making Conversica a tool for big boys only.
User comments on review sites also point to something of a stone – the system has standard prices that can then be exchanged, so it is difficult to pinpoint exactly how much a typical user will end up paying.
I’m a big fan of transparency, and this is one area where Drift really lets itself down.
Using a chatbot on their site turned out to be somewhat problematic: the standard answers just told me what great features they included in their plan, but didn’t really answer a set of questions.
It looks like the pricing is based on the goals of the company buying the system. This means that one company may end up paying more than its competitor in the next building and never know. This can be a concern for many business owners and executives.
One of the good things about Drift is that they offer a free version, but as is usually the case with them, functionality is limited.
Likewise, Exceed.ai does not publish their prices on their site, but a prompt response was received from their bot to the request, which passed me straight to a member of the sales team who immediately gave me the numbers.
Exceed.ai starts at $ 1950 a month, but includes a lot more features and functionality as standard than the other two systems. In terms of pricing, Exceed did not go for the free subscription tier, but instead chose to compete with a clear pricing structure and many features included in the base package.
One of the things you should add to the price is the amount of internal time and resources required to get the system up and running. It doesn’t make sense to buy the cheapest system if you spend a huge amount of time before you see any kind of return.
Conversica struggles in this regard, and additional paid help is often required to get all the functionality to work. Drift and Exceed.ai are much better in this regard, with users reporting that Exceed in particular has a very fast and almost completely user-driven customization process.
Conversica Alternatives for Lead Management – Resume
Conversica is a very functional system, but obviously there are issues with lack of customization and price.
Buyers also need to be sure they can commit the resources to get it up and running.
Conversica pros and cons
Ability to manage very large volumes. It has been around for a long time. Stable platform.
Very high price Lack of flexibility in customization Time (and cost) for implementation
Drift Pros and Cons
Drift is a good alternative to Conversica with a great feature set and great support.
Good UI integration Video chat Support community Free pricing option
Update reports with bugs Opaque pricing
Exceed.ai pros and cons
Exceed.ai is rapidly gaining a reputation as a provider of human response methods and a modern and flexible system for companies of all sizes.
Many other features are included as standard Excellent customization Excellent user experience and usability Speed of implementation
Update Downtime Reports
To summarize, Conversica is good for global companies that have a large number of leads and don’t require extensive customization, but the Conversica Drift and Exceed alternatives are great where time to implementation and extensive feature sets are critical.
For other businesses looking for great software at a more realistic price point, Exceed.ai, with its great feature set, good support, and clear pricing, would be a better alternative.