Sales reps who go that extra mile to create individual connections with buyers manage to drive far more positive results than those who lack a personalized touch. Take it from Salesforce, whose research found a staggering 97% of organizations experience a lift in business outcomes, all thanks to personalization efforts.
So, let’s dig a bit deeper on this topic of personalization and discover why, exactly, it provides such positive impact for B2B prospecting.
Getting personal with prospects
In most cases, flattery gets you everywhere, whether you’re on a date, interviewing for a new job, or trying to keep the one you already have. When it comes to B2B sales, the same tenet rings true, though the only difference is, flattery in sales is less about showering prospects with compliments and more about showing an understanding of their individual business concerns. And today’s buyers expect this kind of personalized experience throughout the entire customer journey. In fact, McKinsey points out 71% of consumers anticipate some kind of personalized interaction in the sales process, so it’s crucial sales reps leverage customized outreach to gain traction with relevant prospects.
But how do you get your hands on the insights you need to craft personalized communications with potential customers? It’s all about data.
Data-driven B2B personalization
Like it or not, the internet knows a lot about us. Every link we click, every email we open, we leave a digital record of our interests, needs, wish list items, and queries. Companies can harvest all this behavioral data to determine precisely what customers search for and how much purchase intent they really have.
Here are a few examples of how to source this personalized information:
First-party company data
Look no further than your existing first-party data, as it’s a wealth of key customer information. Check your customer relationship management (CRM) platform to see if a prospect has already interacted with someone from your organization and talk to fellow sales reps to gain additional insights. Also, you can use analytics tools to review behavioral signals across all your owned channels, including social media, email, chat transcripts, and your website.
Second-party data refers to all behavioral signals and customer insights collected via second-hand sources, like product review sites (e.g., TrustRadius or G2) or testimonials. These sources offer valuable information on B2B prospects, and all it takes is a simple search. Discover what your prospects’ customers feel about their products or services, then see if you can detect any common complaints or issues. You can use this intel to position your product as a welcome alternative, capable of resolving those pesky pain points.
Third-party data describes all the insights and behavioral signals collected outside your company’s digital properties. But you can’t access third-party data on your own. Instead, you need the help of a data vendor who can glean buyer insights from target audiences across the web, giving you visibility into customer behavior outside your organization. Vendors employ the use of website cookies, public IP addresses, and data co-ops to source essential third-party data.
Pro tip: combining insights from different data sources allows you to have a better view of target audiences’ purchase intent, business goals, behaviors, interests, research, and other online activities.
Scanning prospects’ websites is another good source of intel, since you can see what type of industry they work in, their company’s mission, and overall goals. This information will help you identify which of your products or services could potentially align with prospects’ specific business objectives.
Technographic data is any information relating to an organization’s use of technology products, services, and solutions. It can tell you what kinds of tech tools a company has in its arsenal, details of their implementation, and potential challenges they present. As a sales rep, you can use these insights to craft tailored product offerings that align with target customers’ unique technology needs.
You can access technographic data in a variety of ways, including via first, second, and third-party sources, so the amount of information you gather is not only robust; it also helps you paint a more holistic picture of your ideal tech customer.
Sales prospecting tools
Sales prospecting tools offer an intelligent, laser-sharp approach to prospecting, as they’re able to drill down to specific account information and provide comprehensive details of target customers. With a sales prospecting tool, you can find ideal prospects faster, identify similar prospects outside your network, and drive critical customer insights to help you better understand who your best buyers really are.
Personalization equals effective prospecting
No matter what data you use to guide your efforts, personalizing the sales process pays in dividends. Here are some of the major benefits you can experience by adding a personal touch to B2B prospecting:
Creates competitive differentiation
Want to set yourself apart from the competition? Use personalization to your advantage. First, create a welcoming connection with potential buyers—it’s the first step to getting their attention. Then, leverage insights to offer sage advice, informed recommendations, or relevant content based on their specific interests. You can also update product offerings to meet your prospects’ evolving needs. The further you go to nurture prospects with personalized communications, it’s more likely you’ll be a top-of-mind choice for in-market buyers.
When customers realize you really do understand the complexities of their business and can address those concerns in a meaningful way, they view you and your company as a credible source of information. And in B2B sales, where stakeholders need solid convincing to make high stakes purchase decisions, credibility is everything.
Positions you as a trusted advisor
Credibility is one thing—it means customers can trust what you say. But establishing yourself as a go-to advisor? That means customers can trust what you do. To make this distinction, you have to develop a perspective that’s both relevant to your prospect’s unique business situation and objectively reliable, as buyers need proof of success before solidifying you as a trusted advisor. One of the best ways to do this is to share case studies or customer testimonials with buyers who experience similar pain points. You can also leverage insights from first, second, or third-party sources to personalize the interaction even further, noting you not only understand the prospect’s issues, but you can also show that your product can solve them.
Increases opportunities for upselling and renewals
There’s always an opportunity to upsell or renew an existing customer throughout the buyer’s journey. But when you take the time to apply a personalized outreach approach, that’s when those opportunities get bigger. So, to boost your chances of closing a deal, either through an upsell or customer renewal, use your buyer data to craft detailed personas and a more refined ideal customer profile (ICP). Then, map out your customer’s unique sales journey to gauge the most appropriate time to initiate personalized outreach. Trust us, it works. But if you need extra convincing, take it from Funnel Strategist, whose research shows 91% of customers make repeat purchases from brands that provide personalized, relevant offers.
Boosts revenue-driving opportunities
Personalization drives improved company performance and better customer outcomes, point blank. And according to McKinsey, today’s fastest growing companies drive 40% of their revenue through sales personalization efforts. By tailoring offerings and outreach to the right individuals at the right time with the most relevant content, you set yourself up to outperform competitors and keep a loaded pipeline of high-quality leads.
Sales personalization makes all the difference
B2B prospecting is one of the most challenging aspects of the sales process. So why not improve your chances with personalization? And in today’s world, where the buyer’s journey occurs almost entirely online, customers want and expect that personal touch from sellers. In fact, 76% of them get frustrated when they don’t get it. That said, look into partnering up with a reliable data vendor or leveraging a sales intelligence tool to create a more personalized (and effective) approach to prospecting.
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