Let’s be real here:
Drift really isn’t a good fit for small and medium-sized businesses today.
I mean, the tool itself is great (if you’re looking for a purely automated passive lead collector). But with a $30k starting price tag, it's not really within reach of SMBs anymore.
But hey, it’s not 2015 anymore, either.
There are a number of powerful Drift alternatives available, many of them with pricing and feature sets designed to serve a non-enterprise audience.
In this guide, we will dive into seven attention-worthy alternatives to Drift. Each provides a slightly different take on conversational marketing and sales, so you’ll no doubt be able to find one that matches what you’re looking for.
Table of Contents
- 7 Drift Alternatives Worth Their Weight In Leads
- 1. Qualified - Best For Integrating With Salesforce
- 2. ServiceBell - Best For Live Video Chat
- 3. Intercom - Best For Customer Support
- 4. ZoomInfo Chat - Best For A Full Stack GTM Solution
- 5. Signals - Best For If/Then Workflow Logic
- 6. HubSpotChat - Best For Out-Of-The-Box Chat
- 7. Warmly - Best For Account-Based Orchestration
- Why Consider An Alternative To Drift?
7 Drift Alternatives Worth Their Weight In Leads
1. Qualified - Best For Integrating With Salesforce
Qualified brands itself as a “pipeline generation machine” and offers a host of features (like chatbots, meeting scheduling, and some really great lead routing) to help sales teams achieve this goal.
Why Consider Qualified As An Alternative To Drift?
Qualified is at the other end of the automation-human spectrum to Drift.
Here, The focus is on orchestrating human capital to have sales reps respond on the site rather than conversations being entirely automated and passive.
Qualified’s “Signals” feature is slick. It reveals your hottest accounts (using AI-predicted purchase intent) to help reps identify which leads to prioritize.
They've got a bunch of great lead-based features (chat, video, forms) that do a fantastic job of routing leads to the right rep and mapping them over to the correct account.
Also, their reporting suite is great, with important insights into chat analytics, marketing attribution, and some brilliant leadership dashboards.
Then, there’s Qualified’s integration with Salesforce, which is best-in-class, making Qualified a good option for teams deeply embedded in the Salesforce architecture.
Similarly, they've got great integrations with Marketo and Outreach. If you're using this tech stack (Salesforce, Marketo, and Outreach), you probably have the scale and complexity to justify using Qualified.
Where Qualified Falls Short
If you’re using any CRM other than Salesforce, then Qualified probably isn’t for you.
While its Salesforce integration is strong (Qualified leadership are all former Salesforce people and have very strong partnerships with the brand), integrations with other CRM platforms are a non-starter.
Like Salesforce, Qualified takes a long time to set up and maintain, making it more of an enterprise tool.
Then there’s the cost involved…
Qualified is even more expensive than Drift, with its cheapest plan costing in the range of $42k a year for “the basics.”
For more customization and strong Salesforce connectivity, you’re looking at $72k or more annually.
With all of this considered, Qualified is a solid platform if you've got the scale and budget for it, and to run a human-led playbook.
If not (like most companies that fall under the SMB banner), its probably not for you.
2. ServiceBell - Best For Live Video Chat
ServiceBell is one of few video-focused alternatives to Drift, designed specifically for brands that run on Hubspot.
Why Consider ServiceBell As An Alternative To Drift?
ServiceBell describes itself as “built for HubSpot” and even uses a similar color scheme to align itself with that brand. But it goes beyond that, offering deep integrations with HubSpot suites of tools (CRM, CMS, marketing hub, etc.)
Its main selling point is that it's one of the only tools on the market that focuses on live video chat that sits directly on your website.
So, it's obviously much more on the “human” side of the spectrum than is Drift.
Where ServiceBell Falls Short
There is, of course, an obvious drawback with the whole live video thing: someone has to be around to be on the other end of the call.
That means reps need to be available instantly, which is a huge problem if your company is small and only has a couple of reps.
You don’t want them sitting around all day waiting for an opportunity to jump on a video call. Your timing needs to be perfect in order to capture the intent.
As I’m writing this, there are no reps available at ServiceBell, so their chat reverts to this:
ServiceBell is reasonably priced, with a free plan and paid options starting at $9k a year.
This puts them in the range of SMBs, which is kind of strange since those companies often have the budget for enough AEs to run a play like this.
3. Intercom - Best For Customer Support
Intercom has been the name in customer chat for a while now.
With generative artificial intelligence (like ChatGPT) blowing up the SaaS game, they’ve shifted gears a little to an AI-based chat solution.
Why Consider Intercom As An Alternative To Drift?
For support-focused teams, few tools are as well equipped as Intercom.
Built primarily around their people-driven chat tool, the AI component sits at the front end of the conversation and helps answer customer queries until human intervention is required.
Intercom's AI chat tool might be a cost-effective solution for small companies with limited budget for support but who want to improve their service level.
Where Intercom Falls Short
Of course, the flip side of the focus on customer support is that Intercom doesn’t offer a lot to serve the sales use case.
Chat is passive and reactive, not proactive (like Qualified, Warmly, and ServiceBell), meaning capturing buying intent at the right moment isn’t Intercom's strong suit.
Plus, they don't offer much in the way of reporting and analytics that matter to sales teams.
Intercom’s Starter plan comes in at just $888 a year. However, this only includes their standard AI for customer service chatbot, and you can’t add any custom responses until you upgrade to the Pro or Premium plans (pricing obscured).
4. ZoomInfo Chat - Best For A Full Stack GTM Solution
ZoomInfo Chat is an interesting one.
Unlike other Drift alternatives, it's not designed as a standalone conversational marketing tool (though it can be used as one).
Instead, ZoomInfo Chat is part of the wider ZoomInfo architecture, which is comprised of their sales, marketing, operations, and talent (HR) suites.
Why Consider ZoomInfo Chat As An Alternative To Drift?
ZoomInfo Chat is an obvious solution if you’re already using the company’s MarketingOS or SalesOS suites.
Or, of course, if you’re looking for a chatbot tool as part of a wider go-to-market strategy and you like the idea of managing everything in a single platform.
For instance, their SalesOS suite includes a conversation intelligence feature (think Gong), which can be used to fuel the human element of chat-based conversations.
Where ZoomInfo Chat Falls Short
While ZoomInfo Chat does allow for some decent “if/then” workflows to guide buyers through a journey, these workflows aren’t quite as strong as Signals or Qualified.
Also, Chat isn’t ZoomInfo’s primary tool (or even in their set of four primary “operating systems”). They acquired a company called Insent back in 2021 as an extension of their core business.
That's because they've saturated their core competency (B2B data) and have had to look for other ways to keep growing NRR.
So, while they fact that Chat isn't their primary tool isn't problematic in and of itself, it does imply that feature growth for this tool might be limited, and you will be subject to a whole lot of upsell/cross-sell conversations.
ZoomInfo Chat Pricing
Unfortunately, ZoomInfo is one of those “you’ll have to talk to us first” companies, so we don’t have any pricing details available for them.
5. Signals - Best For If/Then Workflow Logic
Signals is another AI-based lead capture platform.
Attributes, behaviors, and intent signals are used to qualify visitors, and rule-based chatbot workflows drive conversations before funneling leads to a sales rep.
Why Consider Signals As An Alternative To Drift?
Signals best feature its workflows, which allows you to architect a bunch of powerful if/then logic.
Sure, this takes a bit of setting up, but once you’ve got the conditional logic locked in, you’ll have a great contextual conversation marketing tool.
Signals also has the ability to reveal the company of the person on your site, find the right decision-makers (based on your ICP), and add them to a pre-programmed email sequence.
Aside from that, the team at Signals is super friendly, and they've come a long way as a completely bootstrapped company.
Where Signals Falls Short
Signals’ company data (for revealing who is on your site and for enriching that with firmographics) is all done in-house.
Other alternatives (e.g., Warmly, Qualified, and ServiceBell) partner with third-party data suppliers, such as 6sense and Clearbit, to reveal anonymous visitors and then enrich that with best-in-class data.
Signals is one of the few alternatives to Drift that allows you to pay monthly.
Plans start at $599 a month or $5988 a year (they provide a discount for annual subscriptions).
6. HubSpotChat - Best For Out-Of-The-Box Chat
HubSpotChat is a basic chatbot tool from HubSpot.
Why Consider HubSpotChat As An Alternative To Drift?
HubSpotChat is a good option for a simple, basic, out-of-the-box chat tool.
It doesn’t offer the deepest functionality, but it is available for free, which is why we’ve included it in our list of Drift alternatives.
Where HubSpotChat Falls Short
To be quite honest, the list of cons is a lot longer than the list of pros for this one.
HubSpotChat lacks a lot of functionality that platforms like Warmly and Qualified can support, like:
- Intent identification
- Company reveal
- Full-cycle orchestration
- Reporting and analytics
HubSpotChat is one of many free tools from HubSpot. For deeper functionality, however, you’ll need to subscribe to one of their paid plans (like their MarketingHub suite).
7. Warmly - Best For Account-Based Orchestration
Warmly (yours truly) combines the best of AI-powered automation and real-life human involvement.
We call this account-based orchestration—a more scalable, efficient, and cost-effective alternative to account-based marketing.
Further learning: The Rise of Account-Based Orchestration in the Age of AI and Automation.
Here's the problem:
There are so many awesome tools out there that help with intent data and buyer signals, but all of these siloed solutions still have to be orchestrated.
Usually, this orchestration is a human job, which is super costly in both time and money, and that's before considering what's involved in maintaining that complex tech stack.
This puts effective sales orchestration largely out of reach for SMBs (so, like, 99% of organizations).
Warmly has the first sales orchestration solution that automates this process quickly and seamlessly and delivers truly ready-to-buy/try prospects to sales.
Why Consider Warmly As An Alternative To Drift?
When 35-50% of sales go to the company that responds first, speed is everything. But only 7% of companies respond within five minutes of a prospect’s form submission, and half don't even respond until five business days later.
Warmly provides the best (in our opinion) middle ground between human touch and AI automation, helping you respond to buyer intent lightning-fast and drastically improving your speed-to-lead.
Our agile platform combines best-in-class intent data from 6sense, Clearbit, Bombora, and People Data Labs to help you capture every piece of intent and understand exactly when an actual human should engage.
Here’s the big difference:
We use generative AI to automate and personalize outreach on your rep's behalf.
This is triggered by intent signals from the tools you already have in your tech stack (Apollo.io, HubSpot, Salesforce, Slack, Pipedrive, Outreach, SalesLoft, etc.).
The entire workflow—from intent being triggered to outreach being fired—is automated. This delivers more consistent coverage and messaging, plus much faster and more proactive communication with high-intent prospects.
All of these touchpoints look like they come from an AE (personalized emails, LinkedIn requests, messages, etc.) but are, in fact, automated and sent by Warmly’s orchestration system.
Take Warmly's AI chat.
You can set up AI-generated messages triggered based on known prospect data:
The chatbot will also communicate with the relevant sales rep (via Slack integration), so they can jump in and reply in real-time when appropriate.
This transition takes place seamlessly, as if they were speaking with you all along!
Warmly helps growing SMBs scale up an AI SDR army to catch interest at optimal points, only looping in sellers when an account is actually ready for a human conversation.
Learn more about Warmly: The Account-Based Orchestration Platform.
Why Warmly Might Not Be A Good Fit For You
A bit of transparency here:
Warmly is designed for the SMB and lower middle market. Easy to start. Easy to use. Easy to see ROI.
That means we’re a great alternative for smaller and mid-sized organizations who see Drift’s enterprise feature set (and subsequent cost) as overkill, but it does mean that our integrations right now don’t fully support the upper middle market or enterprise organizations.
At $850 a month, our most basic paid plan comes in at 30% of the price of Drift’s cheapest tier and less than 25% of the price of Qualified, a popular Drift alternative.
Plus, unlike some of the other Drift alternatives discussed here, you can get started for free on our platform without needing to chat with a salesperson.
Why Consider An Alternative To Drift?
Drift has been the defacto brand for sales-focused chatbots for a few years now. They’re regularly praised for coining the term “conversational marketing” and for even creating the category itself.
So, why might you consider a Drift alternative in the first place?
Let’s be honest:
Drift is not cheap.
They've shifted their focus to enterprise, and it's reflected in their pricing.
Their cheapest plan, which is billed as being for “small businesses,” comes in at $30k a year. They also have a $90k and a custom enterprise option, which is what they’re really gunning for.
To be sure, this is the standard path for software companies.
Drift, like many others, started off servicing SMBs. Then, they gradually moved upmarket as the brand gained traction, and their size allowed them to pursue deals with a greater CAC but a much higher deal size.
That’s great news for them, but it does leave Drift as an immediate non-option for smaller organizations with leaner budgets.
No Human Involvement
Drift’s focus has always been on using automated conversation workflows to drive the passive collections of leads from your website over to sales.
This works well with high-volume traffic, as it becomes a numbers game. With 200,000 monthly visitors to your site, even a 1% conversion rate drives 200 new leads a month.
Clearly, this is less effective for smaller companies with a lot less traffic coming through each month. But, more importantly, a fully passive and automated approach leaves a lot of quality intent on the table by not getting a human involved.
Lack Of Proactive, Real-Time Engagement
Drift doesn’t really have a feature to show what people are doing on your site in real-time.
This means that you can’t interact with them proactively. Drift is designed to be reactive, kicking off when a visitor engages with the chatbot and then routing that customer to sales.
An SDR Army at Fraction of The Price of Drift
Drift is, without a doubt, the industry standard for on-site conversational marketing.
But with industry-standard tools come industry-standard price tags, not to mention some pretty heavy startup costs, once you consider the weeks (or months!) involved in integration and onboarding sessions.
With Warmly, you can begin receiving hard ROI in 20 minutes with just two steps :
- Add a code snippet to the site
- One-click authenticate your existing systems (Hubspot, Outreach, Apollo, Slack, LinkedIn, etc.)
You’ll immediately start improving conversion rates by revealing who is on your site, enriching that with best-in-class data, syncing that data back to your CRM, and routing hot accounts to the right rep.
Plus, with plans starting from just $850 a month (billed annually), you’ll reduce your Drift bill by at ~70%.