Marketers and technology vendors alike are rethinking approaches to engagement and enablement in response to the consumer-like behaviors of B2B buyers, heightened expectations for digital experiences, and the demands of a modernized workforce. The ability to automate conversational interactions using chatbots and virtual assistants (VAs) is one of many business requirements for organizations looking to meet and exceed the expectations of buyers and customers self-directing their journeys and making decisions as a group.
Forrester evaluated the emerging market for B2B Conversation Automation Solutions (CAS) and identified the 10 most significant providers in this category—Ada, Amelia, Conversica, Drift, DRUID, Genesys, Intercom, Kasisto, Qualified, and Rasa—to help B2B marketing organizations choose the right solution for their needs.
B2B CAS Enables Contextual Conversations at Scale Through Automation, AI, and Extensibility
Fueled by innovation and investment in R&D, the fast-moving market for CAS in B2B has evolved significantly over the past five years. As a solution that was easily scalable and delivered rapid time to value, CAS technology adoption accelerated during the pandemic as organizations pivoted to the new normal and the need to communicate with customers quickly and accurately. These solutions are characterized by:
- The facilitation of two-way conversations. A core feature of CAS technologies is the automated delivery of dynamic, bidirectional communications with internal and external audiences through synchronous and asynchronous channels. These solutions provide chatbots, VAs, and human-to-human interaction capabilities with conversation skills to support the full B2B customer lifecycle, improve the digital experience, and provide consistency and context in customer and employee interactions across delivery channels.
- Automation and artificial intelligence to scale. The efficacy and impact of conversational interactions depends on the ability to orchestrate the next best action inside the dialogue, and later, the next tactic based on program objective and marketing play. Most CAS vendors offer some level of conversational AI to interpret and respond to open text, but those natural language processing (NLP) capabilities are varied in depth and sophistication, particularly in the ability to generate responses in natural, humanlike language. AI-powered CAS technologies also enable a variety of adjacent B2B marketing processes, including capturing first-party intent signals, creating a feedback loop of content and customer intelligence, providing content recommendations and conversation gap analyses, and enhancing the human workforce through task automation and quick access to information.
- Extensibility into the broader B2B technology ecosystem. The CAS market will continue to evolve as a strategic complement to other core B2B marketing technologies such as CRM systems, marketing automation and ABM platforms, and CDPs. CAS technologies must be able to pass conversational data, outcomes, and intent signals to other marketing and sales systems, including extending conversation automation to delivery channels not natively available as well as informing personalization and orchestration rule sets in other systems, prioritizing pipeline activities, and driving proactive outreach. Some CAS vendors also offer capabilities to interact conversationally through voice or text with other business applications, interface with robotic process automation (RPA) systems, and/or use AI-powered VAs to make other VAs smarter.
Learn More About Conversation Automation Solutions for B2B Marketing
Conversation automation enhances the customer and the employee experience and drives efficiencies throughout the business. Learn more about conversational use cases and CAS for B2B marketing and which solution is a best fit for your organization and its audiences. If you’re a Forrester client, you can access the CAS New Wave report here.