Over the years, there has been a lot of debate pertaining to when sales and marketing platforms would eventually converge. Though it seems like a natural progression, sales technology providers vocalized to me in the past that they were not interested in expanding into marketing use cases. Salesloft’s acquisition of Drift is the first signal that providers may be changing their tune. While conversation automation solutions such as Drift have been focused on supporting marketing, generative AI has opened a door for sales to leverage this technology for some interesting use cases that add value for customers and better support the buyer journey. Here are a few of those sales-related use cases for conversation automation:

  • Inbound prospecting automation. Connecting website chat to existing sales tools has the potential to enhance the qualification process by better qualifying deals and then enabling direct connections with sellers. For example, conversation automation could allow buyers to schedule meetings directly with a salesperson, using the conversation as a qualifying step.
  • New channel ownership. Website engagement has been a passive channel for sales teams as they wait to receive submissions or identify potential with customer outreach. Connecting website chat features with sales engagement technology can enable a more seamless experience for buyer engagement. While buyers are on campaign-specific landing pages of your website, chats from those pages can be transitioned directly to a seller, for example. Sales engagement tools, which have been heavily focused on email and phone in the past (see figure below), now can be expanded to include live chat options — connecting a seller with customers at a time when the customer needs them the most.
  • Enablement of B2B buying and selling assistants. Connecting conversation automation technology to the interactions that buyers are having with a company allows organizations to provide a companion tool for deal clarification and guidance. For example, new buyers or sellers can ask for a summary of the conversations to date and recommended next steps.

This Drift acquisition by Salesloft is one of the first by a pure-play sales technology provider to expand into marketing use cases. Will Salesloft or other technology providers continue to expand their offerings to deliver full tech-stack alignment across marketing and sales? Or is this a smaller-scale move for Salesloft to deliver an expanded engagement channel (chat) with buyers? A lot depends on Salesloft’s ability to quickly deliver value from this investment. Either way, it’s a positive step for buyers looking for more aligned technology for their revenue teams.



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