How Iron Mountain implements conversational AI to drive engagement and revenue

Rapidly advancing generative AI models promise to help scale marketing and sales functions by automating customer conversations. Are brands willing to trust digital assistants to take over the reigns for part of the customer journey?

Information management and storage company Iron Mountain adopted a gradual and surefooted approach to adopting digital assistants and making conversational AI a driver of engagement and revenue growth. As a result, the company improved customer engagement leading to revenue growth.

Digital assistants integrated with MAP

The new digital assistants used by Iron Mountain aren’t a superficial or limited test. The company implemented Conversica conversational AI tools integrated with Iron Mountain’s marketing automation platform (MAP), Oracle Eloqua. This means the engagements with the digital assistants advance customers in the journey.

“We use the application in early stage conversations or initial engagement with an active visitor to the website,” John Hansen, senior director, field marketing at Iron Mountain, told MarTech. “Our objective is to handle the volume of communications to redirect a visitor to the correct support team, or to qualify them for a sales opportunity.”

That means the conversational AI identifies intent based on what customers say. It uses this comprehension to respond intelligently to the prospect and to pass the prospect onto the right human agent further down the funnel.

“We route visitors and potential sales leads to relevant conversation tracts, based on intent scoring, persona identification and product interest,” said Hansen.

Expanding conversational AI

Iron Mountain has taken a deliberate approach to expanding conversational AI capabilities since the initial implementation with Eloqua in 2021.

“We added several skill sets in 2022 and 2023 to expand our usages of the platform,” Hansen said.

He added, “With a recent change to our website, we added Conversica’s chat features as a test in several European countries. Previously, we utilized chat functions only on our North America sites.”

Iron Mountain measures engagement scores for performance on the new chat features. The business has seen the digital assistants improve engagement with scores that are eight to 15 percent higher than previous methods, leading to increased pipeline and revenue performance.

“The Conversica platform has a lot to offer, and in many ways we are just getting into the full capabilities,” said Hansen. “We have added assistants across marketing, sales and customer care, and added skill sets to build a longer conversation that follows the full buyer journey, not just the early product interest where we started in 2021.”

Dig deeper: How CMOs should respond to ChatGPT’s marketing impact

More engaging two-way conversations

Conversica continues to develop its AI-powered communications to improve on and replace many of the standard one-way engagements that marketers automate through MAP. Conversica was founded in 2007 under the name AutoFerret — as a CRM and lead validation tool for auto dealers. It began selling automated digital assistants in 2010, still with a focus on the automotive industry. (Under the new name, Conversica, the company expanded to other industries in 2015.)

As digital assistants take customers further into the customer journey with more relevant, two-way conversations, the need for one-way emails and other messages lessens. The aim is to provide a relevant, useful experience so customers engage with the digital assistant instead of trying to respond to an automated email and receiving a cold “no reply” as a response.

The key is to have AI conversational technology that can absorb the unique language of a brand voice and use it consistently so marketers can trust that the tool is on-brand all the time. Jim Kaskade, Conversica’s CEO, believes that moment has arrived.

“If you look at Coke versus Pepsi, or Adidas versus Nike, they all have a completely different approach — they’re all very particular,” said Kaskade. “So now you can take those particular things that are really important and scale them. Absolutely scale them for every individual, so you can guarantee that the brand voice is consistent. I’m excited for marketers. Literally, this is game-changing. And it works, so this isn’t the future, it’s now.”

Recently announced integrations for Conversica include Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Adobe Marketo, HubSpot Marketing Hub and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing, in addition to Eloqua.

“Marketing automation is powerful,” said Kaskade. “It’s email, it’s SMS, it’s even search marketing. It’s got all these capabilities with landing pages. There’s powerful campaign management involved. And a lot of MAPs have incorporated social messaging as well. And it’s dynamic, changing the content.”

He added: “If you take all that and say that’s marketing automation 2.0 — now add AI to that in such a way that you’re no longer blasting to many, you’re targeting one, and that one feels like this is personal — and they can respond. Instead of talking at, you’re talking with the end user. I’ll respond more (as a consumer) to that in my inbox, for sure.”

For Iron Mountain, success for one team leads to broader adoption across the organization.

“Currently, our marketing teams are the heaviest users, and our roadmap includes eventual usage by sales and customer care,” said Hansen. “Very early stages, we are looking at options for accounting and collections.”

Originally Appeared Here

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About the Author: Rayne Chancer