4 Steps to a Personalized and Data-Driven B2B Customer Experience

Using data to turn browsers into buyers through more personalized experiences is at the top of every marketer’s to-do list. It’s also at the top of your customers’ subconscious like-it list. We’ve all seen the statistic that 80 percent of customers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences. The reason why data-driven personalization produces such enticing results is that it goes beyond the basics of a customer’s needs and connects with the emotions that lead them to buy. Below, we’ve gathered a few of the latest statistics gleaned from B2B-personalization research, and paired them with actionable steps you can take now to connect with your customers and build more rewarding relationships.

PUT PERSONALITY INTO YOUR PERSONALIZED MARKETING

FACT: 84% of customers say their experience is as important as a company’s products or services!

WHY?  Customers are people, and one of the most fundamental emotional needs all people have is to feel like they are forming authentic connections with those they spend time with, which includes family, friends, coworkers, and yes, the brands they do business with. While content automation is essential to your success in practicing highly personalized account based marketing (ABM), that doesn’t mean your marketing pieces should feel like they were created by C-3PO (unless you are the Creative Director for Skywalker Ranch). Whatever your brand’s personality is, it needs to be incorporated into the marketing pieces you create, so that your customers can form a connection that feels both genuine and meaningful.

APPLY: Sometimes there’s a disconnect between what a brand actually represents and what the executive management team thinks that it represents. In this scenario, the customer’s perception is always correct, so poll them. Give them a list of adjectives, both negative and positive, and ask them to mark the ones that they associate with your brand. Check your survey results against your brand’s current values, voice and look. If there appears to be an identity crisis, take steps to course correct. Finally, think of your brand as an actual person and your marketing pieces as invitations to a party. Is your brand “someone” customers will enjoy talking to and engaging with, or is it boring, self-centered and long-winded? Your brand does not have to be the funniest or hottest business at the party, but it does need to embrace and own its identity.

USE DATA AND CONTENT TO ORCHESTRATE MOMENTS THAT MATTER 

Fact: 63% of customers will stop buying from brands that use poor personalization tactics!

WHY?  In a recent AdWeek article, Abe Awashti, the Senior Manager of Digital Customers for Deloitte made a compelling case for more targeted B2B messaging. Awashti said, “B2B customers want more than product features and bundled services – they’re demanding engaging, personalized human experiences. Designing a B2B sales experience that lives up to their expectations requires addressing both their business and emotional needs. To do this, CMOs must develop new capabilities and leverage data to target, craft, and deliver not only messaging, but also orchestrate moments that matter.” 

APPLY: Although it is easy to see how important data and personalized content are to marketing’s performance and ultimately your company’s revenue, the researchers at Gartner maintain that the struggle to implement personalization is real. Their latest report shares that, “nearly two-thirds (63%) of digital marketing leaders continue to struggle with delivering personalized experiences to their customers.” Gartner asserts that the primary reason a majority of marketers are struggling is due to technology-related challenges, from poor integrations (25%) and a lack of data (23%) to the ability to create targeted segments (20%). The good news is there are some great tools out there that are designed specifically to restore simplicity and functionality to integrations, data and content. For example, a data orchestration tool can be integrated with your Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) to ensure the data you are using to personalize campaigns is always accurate, complete and usable. Another martech solution to consider is a message orchestration tool that scans connected data sources, pulls relevant content for campaigns and inserts it in the right template at the right time.

PERSONALIZE CONTENT IN STAGES

FACT:  Personalized web experiences typically lead to a 19% increase in sales!

WHY?  Today’s B2B customer researches the products and services on your site long before they are ready to interact with a sales person. A recent study found that 80 percent of B2Bs report that personalized web content enables them to meet objectives such as lead generation, sales enablement, and web traffic generation better than generic content. Paras Chopra, the Founder of A/B testing company, VWO says, “When it comes to website personalization, you can’t really personalize the experience of your visitors until you have the right kind of visitor information to back what you’re planning. The more you know about your visitors, the more personalized content you can create and add to your website, and the better conversions and sales you can drive.”

APPLY:  Personalizing web content for visitors may sound daunting at first, but it can easily be done by taking a strategic and incremental approach. Start small by personalizing your landing pages. New York Times Bestselling marketing author, Neil Patel recommends a five-pronged approach to personalizing your website:

  1. Segment specific – personalized by industry vertical or segment criteria
  2. Persona specific – personalized for specific buyer types
  3. Stage specific – personalized for a stage of the buying process
  4. Account specific – personalized for a specific prospect organization
  5. Lead specific – personalized for an individual lead

Your approach to web personalization can be as simple as showing industry-specific photos on your landing pages to featuring content that speaks that industry’s language fluently. Note the results of each marketing element that you personalize and refine your approaches according to what works best.

DEVELOP A CONTENT PERSONALIZATION STRATEGY

FACT: 60% of the most successful B2B companies have a documented content marketing strategy!

WHY?  In researching whether people make decisions based on emotions or logic, customer conversion expert, Peep Laja turned to the work of professor Raj Raghunathan and PhD student Szu-Chi Huang of McCombs University. Laja found that, “the comparative features [of a product or service] are important but mostly as a justification for after a buyer makes an emotional decision. The earlier you can make an emotional connection, the better. Once customers have decided that they like a particular option, it’s difficult for them to backpedal. Rational thinking will only justify their emotional choice.”

APPLY:  Personalized marketing pieces help you tap into the emotional reasons your customers and prospects will buy from you. You don’t have to deploy 20 personalization strategies at once in order to begin seeing great results. Start small with your own well-prepped data. Then, as you experience more and more success, expand your horizons. You may need to purchase second or third party data in order to ensure you have the data you need to personalize a campaign, or to create your ideal segments, but it will be well worth it. A personalized approach to marketing makes customers feel seen and heard. It enhances their experience of your brand by making your company a trusted friend on their buyer’s journey.  This leads to higher customer satisfaction, which in turn results in greater retention, reduced churn, and higher lifetime customer values.