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B2B Personalization: What Are the Benefits and How Can You Use It?
Personalization has been evolving in the B2B sphere in different ways. For some time, products and services have been tailored or personalized according to an organization’s needs. In fact, the main area of growth is in personalized marketing, where messages and content are adapted according to the organizations and stakeholders.
Personalization forms a part of most B2B marketers’ strategies; 92% of B2B marketers recognize the need to deliver personalized, targeted communications to be more effective, according to a recent study of B2B buyers and sellers.
Personalization involves tailoring content, or parts of content, to target customers through collecting and analyzing data.
Types of personalization in B2B marketing
B2B personalization marketing doesn’t just occur in one way; there are many different degrees of personalized marketing.
For example, sector-based personalization involves creating and adapting messages and content to specific sectors; these might include oil and gas, transportation, or finance. From sector-based personalization, one can provide a more increased level of personalization by personalizing according to the specific customer account, or to their function i.e. human resources, purchasing or marketing.
The highest degree of personalization is when vendors market to individuals, sometimes referred to as 1x1 marketing.
Through these different degrees of personalization vendors can achieve the following benefits:
Increasing website stickiness
Website personalization can help improve website stickiness i.e. increasing the amount of time customers or prospects spend on your website or increasing the number of pages viewed on your website.
Website personalization starts with the customer in mind and their key challenges and goals; techniques which can be employed include personalized URLs (sometimes called PURLs) which are dedicated website pages geared towards customers; or using website content tailored to their industry, a particular stage of the buyer journey or according to their role.
Increasing website conversions
Conversion in B2B marketing can mean several things: it can equate to the capturing of contact information or in getting a prospect to act, such as to download or view something, or to buy.
One personalization option which seems to be having a major impact currently is Live Chat, which allows customers to have a live conversion with an organization while viewing their web page.
According to Insite Software, Live Chat increases conversion by 20% and customers who use it are three times more likely to buy.
You may not need to include Live Chat on every page, but there are certainly particular pages where it is beneficial; you can use your existing customer data to determine where customers need more help and information.
Improving email engagement/responsiveness
One way to employ email personalization is to look at how and when emails are sent. We call these email triggers, which send emails based on the website content viewed, or according to previous email engagement behaviours.
Email triggers used in acquiring customers can be deployed when someone downloads something on your website, while other triggers may link to previous emails being opened or viewed.
You can also use Email preference systems to ask prospects what topics they’re interested in and send emails only on those topics. Asking prospects about their email preferences can also dramatically increase customer satisfaction.
Capturing more customer data
One personalization marketing technique which is used by many B2B organizations is progressive profiling. This involves collecting prospect information in chunks e.g. through one question at a time rather than ambushing customers with a flurry of questions at once.
Progressive profiling allows vendors to build a picture of a prospect whilst maintaining or building a relationship with them.
It also allows vendors to increasingly personalize the experience through actions such as hiding fields in a form where information has already been captured, through developing and tailoring messages based on previous responses, and by updating and further detailing buyer personas.
Building relationships with customers
B2B personalization is not only great for helping you acquire new customers but is also key for building relationships with your existing customers.
Increasingly customers, rather than prospects, expect some form of tailored or personalized marketing experience. You can use some of the techniques above such as email triggers and website personalization to do this.
Through this, organizations have access to much more data which can then be used to personalize their marketing further – for example, linking email triggers to purchasing behaviours, such as when spend thresholds are reached or if spending habits change.
Website pages can also be designed more specifically to customers or types of customers, allowing the organization to streamline the experience by pointing customers to the relevant areas quickly and seamlessly.
One area of using personalization to build customer relationships is building loyalty; loyalty can be developed through different techniques, for example:
Better social media listening and responding
Social listening can be employed to listen to specific customers or those on social media forums. By capturing negative and positive comments and sentiment, companies can better respond with tailored and appropriate messages.
Of course, vendors can also use social media to create tailored social media forums for specific interest groups of their customers.
Mobile push notifications
Other ways to improve loyalty through a more tailored approach is by sending push messages to mobile devices for those who are interested in receiving information via mobile.
Mobile may be a preference for some customers, so better utilizing mobile as a communication channel instead of solely relying on email, is doing something tailored to those customers (and the same can apply to other preferred methods or platforms of communication).
The benefits of B2B personalization
B2B personalization marketing has the power to improve website stickiness, email engagement and responsiveness, customer relationships, data, and the ability to nurture your prospects and build loyalty.
There’s no surprise, then, that Harvard Business Review recently reported that personalisation can lift revenues by up to 15% and increase marketing spend efficiency by up to 40%.
You can read more on the topic of B2B personalization marketing in B2B Digital Marketing Strategy, out now.