- The Increased Need for Personalization in 2022
- How Can Personalization Improve the B2B Buying Experience?
- 6 Creative Ways to Engage Prospects
B2B organizations are following the lead of B2C and focusing on personalized experiences rather than a one-size-fits-all strategy. After all, today’s B2B buyers are accustomed to fast, personalized interactions in their daily lives and now bring those expectations to their roles as decision-makers.
In fact, according to Hushly (2022), nearly 73% of B2B executives believe their company’s marketing efforts must now be personalized because of the increased demand for personalization from their audiences.
Evidently, a personalized customer experience is an indispensable strategy for brands in 2022 and beyond.
The Increased Need for Personalization in 2022
Behind each B2B purchase are real people with real motivations and emotional triggers - contrary to the widespread misconception that B2B sales are motivated only by logical decisions. This is supported by a 2020 Salesforce report, which found that 84% of customers believe that being treated like a person rather than a number is vital for winning business.
Developing personalization strategies also provides you with insightful information about buyer' preferences allowing you to build lasting relationships. As a result, 78% of customers say they will make additional purchases after a personalized shopping experience (Mckinsey, 2021).
Therefore, personalization has become a necessity for every business looking to succeed this year and beyond.
How Can Personalization Improve the B2B Buying Experience?
Personalization can significantly improve the buyer’s experience by accurately addressing the pain points and challenges of prospects. It is essential for designing experiences and content for potential buyers and their businesses.
According to a 2018 Evergage survey, 98% of marketers believe that personalization strengthens customer relationships. Essentially, personalized B2B buying experiences make buyers feel valued and understood, increasing brand loyalty, boosting brand reach and authority, as well as improved results.
6 Creative Ways to Engage Prospects
Personalization should reinforce your customers' sense of value and motivate them to interact more closely with your brand. While there has been a blending of worlds, it is important to approach this differently to B2C strategies.
B2B buyers come from different industries, have different needs at different points in their journey, and prefer different types of content.
For example, offering a universally applicable solution that uses generic messaging across all channels runs the risk of failing to connect with a target audience. Demonstrating an understanding of your prospects’ needs and getting to know them over the course of a sales process enhances the customer buying experience.
Here are some B2B personalization strategies to help you get started:
Implementing market segmentation is one of the initial steps in B2B personalization. Segmenting contact lists allows you to identify the specific characteristics of target buyers and their pain points. With this knowledge, you can devise creative ways to engage prospects with content and offers to meet each of your buyers' needs. This maximizes opportunities for growth as messaging becomes more effective.
There are several types of segmentation strategies, each focusing on specific variables that you can use to create key groups within your target markets and subsequently drive campaigns:
- Behavioral: At its core, behavioral segmentation is the act of categorizing prospects based on their actions, usually within your sales funnel.
- Demographic: Segmenting your market based on age, race, education, gender, income, profession, and religion.
- Firmographic: Classifies companies by industry, job function, annual revenue, company size, and geography.
- Geographic: Considers prospects' geographic locations and the influence of locality on target account infrastructure and buying decisions.
- Psychographic: This classification method includes details like personality, lifestyle, beliefs, and social class.
Personalized Content Marketing
One of the best ways to increase engagement is to personalize content. In fact, according to a 2022 study by Mckinsey, 71% of consumers said they only respond to personalized messages. This starts with curating the content marketing shared with prospects.
Aligning content to prospect needs or interests demonstrates an understanding of their pain points and how your company can solve them. This also allows for teams to develop creative ways to engage prospects by leveraging content tailored to where they are on their buyer journey. This will result in deeper, more meaningful connections with your audience.
Here are three approaches to personalizing content:
- Persona-specific: Personalize content and content strategies for specific buyer personas, their preferences, and content consumption patterns.
- Stage-Specific: Stage-specific personalization is the curation of content to address the need that your audience has at each stage of their journey.
- Account Specific: Account Based Marketing (ABM) is a marketing and sales approach that focuses on finding, attracting, and converting specific high-value clients as individuals. Focusing on targeted accounts makes it possible to create a personalized account experience. Be that as it may, ABM requires a lot of time to give each account the personalized attention it deserves, but done right it can result in higher ROI and increased customer loyalty.
Nothing can improve your email efforts like personalization. This is backed by a 2021 report by EConsultancy which shows that 74% of marketers attribute greater customer engagement to targeted personalization.
While personalization in emails is absolutely essential, for it to be effective, it needs to be driven by the right strategy.
Start by demonstrating a dedication to individual attention by making it evident to your potential buyers that your sales emails were crafted based on research and knowledge. For example, speaking to information about the prospect and their specific pain points from the beginning of the email helps to capture their attention.
While this should be concise, personalization of this nature works best when it implies that salespeople have made a significant effort investing in learning about the prospect for their outreach. Emails that show this are more likely to receive higher engagement rates from prospects.
Extend this strategy to include the specific language that your prospects use when referring to pain points. Not only does this make your language sound more natural but it also builds upon brand image and implies knowledge. Humor can also be a powerful tool, however, it is important to recognize how to incorporate this appropriately depending on each audience.
Finally, bolster email personalization with insights from data to identify topics for emails and how to manage your messaging to cater to upcoming needs and pain points.
Omnichannel marketing refers to a client-centric, cross-channel strategy that provides a seamless buying experience and strengthens connections between channels and touchpoints. The aim of any omnichannel marketing strategy is to create a precise, organized, and practical B2B buying experience.
It is important to distinguish omnichannel marketing from multichannel marketing. While there are similarities as both strategies involve communication across a range of marketing channels, omnichannel is defined by an experience that adapts to each prospect’s preferences as they choose the channels they wish to interact on.
As such, omnichannel marketing has significant potential to increase engagement by providing a highly customized customer buying experience. To gain the best results with this strategy, be sure to implement channel integration. This makes it easier for marketers to collect client data and gain key insights into prospect activity from a single dashboard.
Understanding how prospects connect with your brand and the channels and touchpoints they utilize across the span of their buyer journey can guide decisions with invaluable data. This will ultimately allow you to deliver a more personalized and seamless buying experience.
Human-to-human (H2H) marketing, as the name would suggest, is a human-centric approach for engaging B2B buyers.
Traditionally, businesses focus on selling the brand at a company level, rather than the people and teams who support it and run outreach. This creates a disconnect that impacts campaign effectiveness. Essentially, H2H marketing looks beyond organizations to the individuals within an account, focusing on developing authentic connections.
As indicated earlier, people value individual attention. They desire to be recognized as unique beings with different needs and preferences. To start providing a more human, personalized attention, leverage modern technologies and the convenience of automation.
For example, implement both a chatbot and live chat on your website. Live chat representatives can be skilled on how to communicate with clients and website visitors in a warm and helpful manner. Chatbots can be utilized to bolster support and respond to users when representatives are not available.
H2H should also guide your content creation. Leveraging storytelling can help potential buyers connect with content better as it addresses emotional triggers. Indeed, content that tells a story has been shown to increase long-term B2B sales by 55%.
This strategy can be further improved by publishing content written by prominent team members and C-suite leadership. This will contribute to a more personalized and seamless buying experience as prospects are able to choose how they interact with your company and are better able to engage with the people behind your solutions.
Personalization is More Crucial Than Ever
The way you communicate with your prospects and the content you provide go a long way toward demonstrating a dedication to meeting their specific requirements.
Using the personalization strategies described here—on your website, social media, or emails—can help your prospects become more engaged with your brand.
Essentially the more insights you have about your target audience, the better you can demonstrate this knowledge by tailoring marketing messages. Although this may take more time and effort, it will ultimately make your campaigns more effective and help you increase your sales and ROI.
INFUSE is a global high-performance demand partner delivering demand programs and outcomes for the most admired B2B brands. Leveraging over a decade of experience, INFUSE develops advanced demand strategies fueled by buyer and account intelligence, contextual content creation, and audience-centric engagement to deliver on our clients’ demand needs.