Traditional B2B sales techniques are working less and less in today’s growing digital space. According to a recent study, sales reps now have to make more contact with each buyer and that contact has to be more personalized and relevant. The study found that it now takes 18 dials to connect with a buyer and only 1% of those calls are resulting in a callback.
Looking for innovative ways to set yourself apart and increase your B2B sales? This year, personalization is the watchword. While B2B sales are an entirely different beast, they share some traits with their B2C counterparts – namely, the need for greater efforts in the areas of personalization and tailoring. B2B companies cannot underestimate the importance of the customer experience throughout every phase of the sales funnel. Here’s how personalization will benefit your B2B business with increased sales.
Illustrating the Importance of Personalization in B2B Sales
Personalization is important to any type of sale. Part of guiding customers through the funnel is connecting with potential prospects and making them feel their money will be well-spent. Your product or service provides the foundation for that feeling, but it’s the personalized touches that bring it together.
Consider this: by 2020, there will be an estimated 33 billion devices connected to the internet. That’s far more devices than there are people. People use their devices to research your company long before they even enter your store. In a modern world ruled by digital marketing, tailored content is what makes a sale. Personalization in today’s market may be more challenging, but it’s essential to stand out from the crowd.
Is Personalization Worth It?
Many companies understandably wonder whether the time is worth the effort. The short answer is yes. According to research from the Aberdeen Group, businesses that leverage personalization tactics report a stronger lead acceptance rate of over 20 percent. Their conversion rates are also higher, at an average of nearly 40 percent.
This idea is hardly unprecedented. As early as 2012, over three quarters (78%) of salespeople who engaged over social media outperformed their colleagues. And another survey by CMO found that companies who use personalization lead to increased conversions for 43% of marketers. This data provides a compelling context for the idea that personalized sales techniques are not only effective but also necessary.
Applying Personalization to Your B2B Business
B2B personalization differs from traditional B2C, but it’s well worth the effort. There are several sales techniques that brands can use to improve their sales, nurturing at every stage in the funnel:
- Computer telephone integration. A recent examination by the Harvard Business Review found that an overwhelming margin – approximately 90 percent – of business decision makers don’t respond to cold calls. This alone is unsurprising, but what you may find surprising is that personalized phone calls make a difference. For this reason, computer and telephone integration (CTI) systems are a valuable investment. These systems, which can integrate directly with your CRM, allow you to log information about calls, create a local presence, and respond to incoming calls quickly and effectively.
- Customer relationship management (CRM) Software. Every B2B company should invest in a quality CRM, as it provides numerous opportunities for personalization with the added benefit of automation. For example, you may choose to ping a company with a special offer on its anniversary. You may also set up automated communications in order to touch base with prospects and leads at regular intervals.
- Create personalized rewards. We’re all more willing to do something when there is direct benefit involved. Loyalty programs aren’t just for B2C companies – consider offering discounts and coupons to your “frequent flyers” and do anything you can to encourage a return visit. It’s easy to overlook these people because they feel nestled safely in your sales net, but remember that businesses lose customers all the time. Don’t neglect this group.
Personalize From the First Interaction
Personalization is becoming so important to sales that it’s vital to create opportunities from the first interaction. A 2015 survey of 1,200 consumers found that personalized offers led to a 400% increase in the likelihood of a response. Other findings from the survey illustrated that personalization led to higher engagement rates, more brand loyalty, a broader reach, and better-perceived relevance.
B2B buyers educate themselves much like consumers do, so creating relevant content and personalized experiences from the onset are essential. It’s easier than ever for companies to leverage big data, integrating with CRM to ensure the right message is getting to the right person, at the right time.
Make room in your budget for personalization this year – you’ll find it well worth the effort.