Top Conversica Alternatives in 2020

Thu Nguyen Avatar

Thu Nguyen | 23 February 2020

If you are reading this article, you are probably doing research on Conversica alternatives, competitors or reviews in the market. Undoubtedly, Conversica is one of the pioneers of the Intelligent Virtual Sales Assistant space. The startup was founded in 2007 as a lead generation and qualification platform for automotive dealerships.

Parsing out real Conversica alternatives

It can be intimidating to know where to begin in your research into Conversica alternatives. I mean, look at how competitive the martech space is:

Conversica Alternatives - Martech landscape 2020There are over 7,000+ marketing technology tools in the market today. Source: Chief Marketing Technologist Blog

Google "Conversica alternatives" and you will see this:Top alternatives to Conversica

However, while many of the results are known as Conversica Competitors, they are not true alternatives.

  • Drift is a sales and marketing focused live chat software/chatbot
  • Intercom is a live chat software/chatbot that focuses on the entire customer life cycle
  • HubSpot is a marketing automation platform
  • Clari is an intelligent revenue operations platform
  • SalesLoft is a sales engagement platform for sales development representatives
  • HubSpot Sales is a marketing and sales engagement platform

The real Conversica alternatives are really just these two:

  • Exceed.ai 
  • Saleswhale (that's us!) 

Phew, that's a lot of nuance! Some of the tools above even have overlapping and competing feature sets.

Well, marketing technology is a fragmented and noisy space, so I am not surprised if you are overwhelmed.

To help you untangle this mess, let's first take a look at what Conversica does. Conversica’s core features boil down to these:

AI-powered email conversations that mimic human-interaction, with the goal of qualifying and converting leads at scale.

The idea is to reach out to under-served leads in your CRM/database that sales reps have no time to reach out to. The AI sifts out hand-raisers and high-intent leads who are ready for a sales conversation, then routes them to the sales team.Conversica Review - screenshot

With this premise established, you realize that there are only three established players in the space:

  • Conversica
  • Saleswhale
  • Exceed.ai

Now, what are the differences among all of them?

It's hard to distinguish the differences among their offerings from a cursory glance at their website homepages.Exceed.ai Review - screenshot
Exceed.ai has the same value proposition as Saleswhale and Conversica...or does it? 

However, if you dig deeper, you will realize they each focus on different target segments. Each platform works better for different types of companies, with different needs. Hint: look at the kind of customers they serve, from the logos on their website and on G2.

So, what are the main differences? Let’s dive in!

Conversica Review: An Intelligent Virtual Sales Assistant pioneer 

Conversica has amassed over 1,500 customers since 2007. Their customers include Epson, Microsoft, and Oracle.Conversica Review - use cases

Conversica pros

  • Great customer support

  • Many different AI assistants for a variety of use cases: Automotive Sales, Automotive Services, Higher Education, Sales and Marketing, and Customer Success

  • Great for large enterprises (>5,000 to 10,000+ employees) with very high volume of leads that are homogeneous and don’t need much customization in messaging or brand voice

  • Supports multiple channels other than email, such as SMS

  • Dozens of different connectors with Salesforce, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics, and Dealership Management System (DMS). DMSes that they support include DealerSocket, VinSolutions, ELEAD1ONE, AutoLoop XRM, and ProMax


Conversica Cons

  • Conversica pricing costs significantly more than its competitors, from US$2,999/mo to US$6,999/mo. They also charge discretionary setup fees. Each additional use case costs US$1,000/mo, which can add up quickly, making it prohibitive to mid-market and SMB customers. Hence, their focus on large enterprises

  • Limited customization, which are chargeable on top of their already high base cost

  • Somewhat “odd and confusing interface and awkward customizations”. This can be tricky for marketers who are used to modern UI/UX like HubSpot and Intercom

Here are some of the G2 reviews about Conversica that highlight the points above:Conversica review on G2 Crowd 1

Conversica has great customer support. They are willing to work closely with your team, almost like a dedicated resource. This is a must for enterprise customers who are using Conversica to replace or augment a key part of their lead workflows.Conversica review on G2 Crowd 2

However, Conversica is not an easy tool to setup and customize. Spinning up new conversations for different use cases do require a significant time investment. This makes it hard to create and test new use cases or ideas independently.Conversica review on G2 Crowd 3

It can also be hard to extend use cases or customize conversations without paying significant additional costs.Conversica review on G2 Crowd 4

Conversica pricing is “eye wateringly expensive”. How much does Conversica cost? According to GetApp, their pricing starts from US$2,999 per month based on functionality needs.
How much does Conversica cost - Conversica pricingSource: GetApp 

Conversica review on G2 Crowd 5

As mentioned above, Conversica excels if you have a very high volume of leads that are homogeneous, and don’t need much or any customization. You also have to be willing to cede a certain amount of control over your brand voice.

Saleswhale Review: The #1 Conversica Alternative and up-and-coming new entrant

Saleswhale, a U.S-Singapore headquartered company, is a relatively new entrant to the space. The startup graduated from the prestigious Y Combinator program in 2016, and approaches the space with a fresh and modern perspective.

Despite being founded a few years ago, they are growing rapidly. Saleswhale has over 145 customers, such as Zendesk, General Assembly, Cisco, Nutanix, WeWork, and Monster, making it one of the top Conversica competitors in the market.

Conversica Competitors - Saleswhale

Saleswhale Pros

  • Great customer support and onboarding

  • Offers a fully-featured free trial and/or proof of concept to test the platform in a low-risk manner. They won the Easiest To Do Business With Winter 2020 Award from G2

  • Reasonable pricing that scales with your needs. Starts from US$595 a month

  • Flexible and powerful customization with a modern and easy-to-use user interface. This allows your AI assistant to represent your brand accurately across a large universe of use cases, without incurring additional costs

  • Innovative AI-powered features including revenue optimization and data collection that goes beyond just lead engagement or conversion


Saleswhale Cons

  • Only one type of AI assistant that caters to a specific use case: engaging under-served/dormant leads for sales and marketing teams. Doesn’t support automotive services, customer, or technical support like Conversica does

  • Only supports emails. Doesn’t do SMS or chatbots

  • Only supports Salesforce (SFDC) connectors or API integrations, compared to the dozens of different native connectors that competitors have

  • Moderate learning curve in setting up campaigns, a side effect of the flexible and powerful customization available

Here are some of the G2 reviews about Saleswhale that highlight the points above:Saleswhale review 1

Saleswhale is user-friendly and flexible in customizing the conversations of the AI assistant. This leads to on-brand messaging, and high-performing email campaigns. However, process in setting up the campaigns via the powerful conversation topic builder can be more streamlined.
Saleswhale review 2

Saleswhale has a dedicated customer success team that shares best practices and does regular performance reviews to help you get the best out of the platform.Saleswhale review 3

While it is an intuitive platform that helps to increase revenue efficiency. However, Saleswhale doesn’t support most enterprise connectors. They only focus on integrating natively and powerfully with Salesforce CRM (SFDC), and their own API.Saleswhale vs conversicaSource: G2

Saleswhale seems to be a more modern and usable product across the board, according to G2. They excel in Product Direction, with a score of 10.0 / 10.0. Some possible reasons:

  • The singular focus on helping sales and marketing teams work better, instead of being distracted by other opportunities. This leads to more powerful and robust conversation customization and product innovation like revenue optimization and data collection.

  • Saleswhale's pedigreed technical product and engineering team hailing from the prestigious Y Combinator. That's the startup accelerator program that produced companies such as Dropbox, AirBnB, and Stripe.

Exceed.ai Review: Another Conversica alternative that takes a cost-effective, suite-approach to the conversational AI space

Exceed.ai, an U.S.-Israel headquartered company, was founded in 2016. They're the latest entrant to the space. Exceed.ai works with customers such as Comeet, Guardicore, Maxsold, ChannelSight, and Monday.com. Exceed.ai review - screenshot

Exceed.ai pros

  • The only alternative to offer a website live chat/chatbot

  • Does calendar scheduling

  • Direct line to their CEO, CTO, and senior executives

  • Good value for money. It offers a suite of services, from chatbot to email follow-up to scheduling, that would require purchasing different best-of-breed solutions like Drift, Calendly etc.

  • Provides a cost-effective solution for small businesses with less than 50 employees. These are typically under-served by larger players like Saleswhale and Conversica


Exceed.ai cons

  • Platform can be inflexible, and have limited customization. This requires customers to go outside of the box to solve their needs adequately

  • Usability can be clumsy sometimes. Occasional bugs and gaps that are nevertheless addressed quickly by the nimble software development team

  • Needs more robust and mature reporting capabilities

Here are some of the G2 reviews about Exceed.ai that highlight the points above:Exceed.ai review - 1


Exceed.ai supports chatbots (similar to Drift and Intercom), which their customers really like. Its integrated solution allows for a single source of truth and lead flow.
Exceed.ai review - 2

Exceed.ai, being a young and new entrant, is willing to go out of their way to make customers happy. They give customers unfettered access to their CEO, CTO, and senior-level executives. Conversica and Saleswhale do not seem to offer this level of bespoke service.  Exceed.ai review - 3

Exceed.ai has a nimble software engineering team that moves quickly, resolving issues and shipping new features fast. However, the software does have limitations, and can be a little inflexible. Exceed.ai review - functionality

Exceed.ai’s suite of products is an advantage and cost-effective alternative. They offer email assistants, chatbots, and scheduling in one solution. Exceed.ai probably has the broadest offering compared to Conversica and Saleswhale, despite their relatively smaller team size.


Conclusion

Hopefully, this (admittedly biased, but factual) review helped you understand the AI assistant space better! Or at least give you a starting point to do your research.

When in doubt, always ask your vendor for a free trial or proof-of-concept (POC). Then you can try the software in a low-risk manner, and see if it works as purported by their sales teams.

Request a Demo Today


Thu Nguyen Avatar

Thu Nguyen

Senior Product Manager at Saleswhale


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