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In this review, I’m going to share my analysis and evaluation from my hands-on experience with Drift. But first, if you’re just beginning your search for the best sales engagement tools, check out my picks for the best sales engagement software. You probably already know that Drift is among the most popular sales engagement tools out there, but you need to better understand what’s good (and not so good) about it.

This in-depth Drift review will walk you through the tool's pros and cons, features and functionality, and more to help guide you to better understand its capabilities and its suitability for your needs.

Drift Software Workspace Dashboard view
I like how Drift's software allows users to target visitors with specific messages based on their assigned function, business unit, or geography.

Drift Software Product Overview

Drift is a conversational marketing platform that enables businesses to engage with customers in real time via chatbots and messaging. It's primarily used by sales and marketing professionals seeking to streamline their customer communication and lead qualification process. The tool offers benefits such as increased engagement rates and a more personalized approach to customer interactions. It addresses common pain points like slow response times and the need for better lead qualification. Among its standout features are intelligent chatbots, real-time messaging, and insightful analytics.

Pros

  • Intelligent Chatbots: Efficiency - Drift's chatbots can engage customers instantly, providing answers to common queries without delay. This means users don't have to wait for a human to become available, ensuring that customer interest is captured efficiently.
  • Real-Time Messaging: Engagement - The software allows for instant communication with website visitors, which helps in converting leads while they are still interested in the product.
  • Insightful Analytics: Insights - Drift provides detailed reports on customer interaction, which helps businesses understand consumer behavior and refine their marketing strategies.

Cons

  • Learning Curve: Complexity - New users might find Drift's array of features overwhelming, requiring a significant investment of time to learn the system.
  • Integration Challenges: Compatibility - Some users report difficulties in integrating Drift with other software, which can disrupt existing workflows.
  • Resource Intensive: Demand - The platform's advanced features, while beneficial, can require substantial system resources or technical know-how to manage effectively.

Expert Opinion

As a seasoned media tech professional, I judge Drift to be a strong contender in the conversational marketing space. When comparing it to other media software, its user interface stands out for being intuitive once you get past the initial learning curve. Drift's integrations with other platforms, while occasionally challenging, are typically robust and allow for seamless data transfer once set up.

The onboarding process can be complex, but the software's functionality, such as automated lead scoring and custom chatbot workflows, generally compensates for these early hurdles. Drift excels in environments where real-time engagement is critical and can outperform competitors in converting leads through conversational marketing. I recommend Drift for mid-sized to large businesses that have the resources to fully leverage its advanced features.

Drift: The Bottom Line

What sets Drift apart in the crowded field of media software is its focus on real-time, conversational engagement. Unlike many platforms that offer passive communication options, Drift encourages active interaction with customers. Particularly impressive is its use of AI-driven chatbots that simulate human conversation effectively.

This, combined with the ability to personalize communication at scale, makes Drift a unique offering in the market. Its most noteworthy features, such as the real-time analytics dashboard, provide actionable insights that many other tools lack, making it a powerful asset for sales and marketing teams focused on optimizing their customer communication strategy.

Drift Deep Dive

Here's a deep dive into Drift features, best use cases, pricing, customer support, and other purchase factors.

Product Specifications

  1. Live Chat - Yes
  2. Chatbots - Yes
  3. AI/Machine Learning - Yes
  4. Email Marketing - No
  5. CRM Integration - Yes
  6. Analytics and Reporting - Yes
  7. Social Media Management - No
  8. Multi-User Collaboration - Yes
  9. Mobile Access - Yes
  10. Content Management - No
  11. Video Conferencing - No
  12. Third-Party Integrations - Yes
  13. Campaign Management - Yes
  14. Lead Generation - Yes
  15. Lead Scoring - Yes
  16. Personalization - Yes
  17. Automated Workflows - Yes
  18. Customer Segmentation - Yes
  19. Event-Triggered Actions - Yes
  20. Multi-Channel Communication - Yes
  21. User Activity Monitoring - Yes
  22. Feedback Collection - Yes
  23. Search Engine Optimization - No
  24. A/B Testing - No
  25. Cloud Storage - Yes

Drift Feature Overview

  • Live Chat: Drift's live chat allows real-time communication with website visitors, which is essential for capturing leads and addressing customer inquiries promptly. Its interface is user-friendly, encouraging more engagement.
  • Chatbots: The AI-driven chatbots stand out by simulating natural human interactions, enabling businesses to automate conversations without compromising the quality of customer service.
  • AI/Machine Learning: Drift's AI capabilities help in personalizing interactions and predicting customer needs, which improves overall user experience and engagement.
  • CRM Integration: The seamless CRM integration ensures that all customer interactions and data are synced with a company’s CRM, providing a unified view of customer activity.
  • Analytics and Reporting: Drift offers detailed analytics which helps businesses track performance and understand customer behavior, helping them make data-driven decisions.
  • Multi-User Collaboration: This feature enables teams to work together efficiently within the platform, making it easier to manage conversations and share information.
  • Lead Generation: Drift effectively captures leads directly from the website with its interactive chat feature, qualifying them with custom chatbot flows.
  • Lead Scoring: The lead scoring mechanism within Drift prioritizes leads based on their engagement, helping sales teams focus on the most promising prospects.
  • Personalization: Drift allows customization of chat flows and messaging, which means businesses can provide a more tailored experience to their visitors.
  • Automated Workflows: The ability to create custom automated workflows helps businesses streamline their operations, ensuring no customer query goes unanswered.

Standout Functionality

Unique to Drift is its approach to blending AI with live chat, which is not always seen in other media software. Its three most differentiated features include:

  • Targeted Messaging: Drift's targeted messaging allows businesses to send personalized messages based on user behavior, which is far more advanced than the basic triggers offered by some competitors.
  • Drift Intel: This feature provides instant insights into who is on your website, turning anonymous site traffic into actionable, qualified sales leads, a standout compared to standard analytics.
  • Salesforce Integration: Drift's deep Salesforce integration goes beyond basic CRM functionality, allowing for sophisticated syncing of chat activities directly to Salesforce records.

Integrations

Drift integrates out-of-the-box with a variety of other software, enhancing its utility and automation capabilities. Notable native integrations include Salesforce, Marketo, HubSpot, Slack, and Zendesk.

These integrations enable users to streamline their workflow, by syncing chat data with CRM systems, notifying teams in Slack about new leads, or managing customer support tickets through Zendesk. Drift also offers an API, which businesses can use to create custom integrations tailored to their specific needs. Additionally, there are add-ons available for Drift that extend its capabilities, such as Drift Intel for enriched data analytics and reporting.

Drift Pricing

The pricing of Drift is structured to accommodate a range of business sizes, from small startups to large enterprises. Each pricing tier includes a set of features designed to match the needs of the business at that level. Here are the tiers:

  • Premium Plan: $2,500/month (billed annually). This is the base tier, often suited for small businesses or teams just starting with conversational marketing. This includes live chat, custom chatbots, conversational landing pages, and more.
  • Advanced Plan: Pricing upon request. Tailored to very large organizations, this tier includes premium features, including A/B testing and flex routing, with additional support and customization options.
  • Enterprise Plan: Custom pricing upon request. Designed to serve the entire customer lifecycle, this tier offers enterprise-level features, such as AI-powered chatbots and custom role-based access controls.

Ease of Use

I find the user interface of Drift Review to be quite intuitive once you navigate past the initial setup. The onboarding process involves a certain degree of complexity, especially when configuring chatbots and integrations for the first time. The navigation within the tool is straightforward, although the organization of certain advanced features might present a slight learning curve for new users.

Customer Support

In my experience, Drift provides reliable customer support, with reasonable response times and multiple channels available for assistance, including documentation, webinars, live chat, and tutorials. Some users might find the level of support less than ideal when dealing with more complex issues or during off-peak hours, but generally, the quality of service is commendable.

Drift Use Case

Who Would Be A Good Fit For Drift?

In my view, Drift serves best in dynamic, customer-focused environments where real-time engagement can drive conversion. The most loyal Drift users tend to be in the SaaS, e-commerce, and B2B sectors, where instant communication is pivotal for sales and support. It shines in industries where the customer journey benefits from personalized interactions, such as tech, financial services, and online education.

Drift fits well with small to mid-sized teams looking to capture and qualify leads efficiently, and large enterprises that require sophisticated, scalable conversational marketing tools.

Who Would Be A Bad Fit For Drift?

Drift might not suit environments where the customer interaction is minimal or the sales process does not benefit from live engagement. Companies in industries like manufacturing or supply chain, which may rely more on traditional sales processes, might find the tool-less impactful. Small businesses or startups with tight budgets may also see Drift as a significant investment with a longer ROI horizon.

Teams looking for an all-in-one platform that includes email marketing, content management, and SEO might also be disappointed, as Drift does not cater to these needs directly.

Drift FAQs

What is Drift primarily used for?

Drift is used for conversational marketing, sales, and customer service through live chat, AI chatbots, and personalized messaging.

Does Drift integrate with CRM systems?

Yes, Drift offers integrations with popular CRM systems like Salesforce and HubSpot.

Can Drift help with lead generation?

Absolutely, Drift is designed to engage website visitors in real-time to help qualify and capture leads.

Is Drift suitable for large companies?

Yes, Drift has scalability options that make it suitable for large enterprises with advanced needs.

Does Drift provide analytics?

Yes, Drift provides analytics to track chat engagements, customer interactions, and conversion rates.

Can Drift automate customer support?

Drift can automate basic customer support inquiries through its AI chatbots, but complex issues may still require human intervention.

Is there a free version of Drift available?

Drift does not typically offer a free version, but they may have a demo or trial period available.

How does Drift handle data privacy and security?

Drift complies with industry standards for data privacy and security, including GDPR.

Alternatives to Drift

  • Intercom: Intercom often comes up in conversations about customer messaging platforms. It is particularly strong in user onboarding and has an edge if you're looking for an integrated help desk.
  • HubSpot Live Chat.: HubSpot Live Chat offers a free chat solution that integrates seamlessly with their CRM, making it a better fit for those already using HubSpot’s marketing or sales hub.
  • Zendesk Chat: Zendesk Chat is a contender for businesses that need a chat solution that integrates tightly with a robust ticketing system for customer support.

Drift Company Overview & History

Drift is a conversational marketing platform that revolutionizes how businesses interact with customers. Companies from startups to Fortune 500s use it to personalize interactions and speed up the sales cycle. It's a private company, known for being innovative and customer-centric. David Cancel and Elias Torres founded Drift in 2015, with headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts.

They've attracted notable talent and advisors from the tech industry, championing a mission to make business buying frictionless, enjoyable, and more human. Key milestones include pioneering conversational marketing and sales platforms, continuous product enhancement, and significant growth in their customer base.

Summary

After thorough analysis, I can recommend Drift to companies that prioritize customer engagement and are looking for robust conversational tools. It has proven beneficial for businesses in sectors where quick interaction is key to conversion. While it may come with a steep learning curve and investment, the potential for improved lead qualification and customer service is considerable.

Drift is a powerful tool for the right organization, and I invite readers to share their experiences or ask further questions in the comments.

By Phil Gray

Philip Gray is the COO of Black and White Zebra and Founding Editor of The RevOps Team. A business renaissance man with his hands in many departmental pies, he is an advocate of centralized data management, holistic planning, and process automation. It's this love for data and all things revenue operations landed him the role as resident big brain for The RevOps Team.

With 10+ years of experience in leadership and operations in industries that include biotechnology, healthcare, logistics, and SaaS, he applies a considerable broad scope of experience in business that lets him see the big picture. An unapologetic buzzword apologist, you can often find him double clicking, drilling down, and unpacking all the things.