Marketing content personalization is a hot topic. It’s the key to account-based marketing (ABM) campaigns, and it also adds value across your website and in a variety of other types of marketing campaigns.
Gartner labels personalization a 2019 marketing maxim, noting that targeting marketing messages to B2B customers’ industry, role, or demographics can generate an 80% increase in the likelihood that those customers will take action.
Why? Because although customers are incredibly savvy researchers, they are encountering an overwhelming amount of information—much of it general and repetitive. The connection happens when you can show people exactly what they were looking for.
“Personalization, getting the right message to the right person, at exactly the right time seems the clearest path forward.” —Gartner
Crafting content that speaks directly to a prospect’s greatest needs or preferences can be a powerful tool for inciting action. Again and again, B2B customers say they want customized content and will respond accordingly with increased interest and brand loyalty.
But adopting a content personalization strategy—whether as part of an ABM approach or simply on its own—can also have big benefits for your sales team. And the benefits go deeper than simply getting prospects closer to becoming customers. Personalization can also help sales people change how they think about and interact with prospects.
First: Content Personalization Creates a Better Customer Experience
When you employ personalization, the first shift that happens is that customers become more receptive to your messages. B2B buyers want a personalized customer experience. Whether on your website, LinkedIn campaign, or email messages, content that speaks directly to a prospect’s needs is more likely to create a positive image of your brand. And buyers who have received personalized content are more likely to respond well to future communications.
Dun & Bradstreet notes that content personalization can have another advantage, beyond enabling the delivery of targeted information; it can simplify the next step for those users who are engaging with your content. B2B marketers can use personalization technology to prefill (or even avoid) forms, simplifying the path to customer conversion and lead qualification.
“Content personalization and conversion optimization provide information on known visitors who arrive on your form pages, reducing the barrier to form completion and improving the accuracy of submitted information.” —Dun & Bradstreet
For the customer, this reduces the friction involved in seeing the information that matters to them. Customers who encounter roadblocks to their learning process are likely to give up and leave the site almost immediately. However, when they arrive on a page that speaks to their industry, role, pains, and solutions to those pains, they will easily move to the next step in in the journey—viewing the next piece of content, attending the next webinar, exploring your product offerings…talking to your sales person.
That quiet, seamless assistance that eases visitors toward the solution they need (and that you can provide) puts your sales team in an enviable position.
And then the benefits go even deeper.
Next: A New Perspective on the Sales Process
Creating personalized content requires marketing and sales to work together. Your sales team has—or should have—insight into customer needs. This is especially true if personalization efforts are part of an ABM strategy; in that case, sales is your best source for target account information. These details can help increase the appeal and success of your content.
But the required coordination can also transform your team’s sales process.
A personalized approach enables a major shift in perspective. Your sales people no longer need to view prospects as unknown entities that must qualify as leads. Now, they see them as known customers-to-be who already want to buy your product or service—provided they have the information they need.
This paradigm shift can reinvigorate your sales team and increase their incentive to reach out to prospects. When you marry personalized content with technology that lets sales know when and how accounts are interacting with that content, your sales team is primed for greater follow-up on leads that they know want to learn about your solutions.
By providing sales with insights about prospect activity on the site, you also enable them to change the tone and nature of their interactions with those accounts. When they know that a prospect is viewing videos about a particular pain point and reading about a solution to that pain, they can address that need in a truly personal way. They no longer have to rely on cold calls or emails; instead, they are continuing a conversation with a person who’s engaged with a particular thread of information.
Bringing Sales and Customers Together on a Personal Level
Sales has always been about building relationships with customers. But today, the environment our sales teams must work in is incredibly challenging. Customers are savvy, skeptical, and plugged in to the digital realm. They do their own research and draw their own conclusions long before they engage with sales teams.
Sales people sometimes struggle to find the perfect moment to jump into the conversation. Content personalization can revitalize the sales process by facilitating the “introduction” and helping create opportunities for those relationships to grow.
When marketing and sales work together to create a content personalization strategy, both customers and sales reap the rewards.