engaging with b2b prospects

If you talked only about yourself with every person you met at a party, you’d quickly find that people start moving away from you in search of better, more engaging conversations. The same can be said about your interactions with your customers. They can’t be one-sided and self-serving.

Building a relationship requires conversations. From a person’s initial entry point into your funnel and throughout his journey to becoming a loyal customer, it’s important to remember that building a successful relationship requires a mutual exchange. You can’t just push your own agenda (e.g., use this feature, buy more product, etc.) and expect a happy customer.

In the B2B world, the conversation doesn’t usually start when a salesperson has an initial meeting. It starts well before that in the digital world with a website visit. And the website offers an ideal venue for delivering a personalized experience based on listening to visitors’ needs and reacting with relevant and helpful digital interactions.

In this blog post, we’ll cover some of the ways you can move away from a one-sided delivery of information and start building true, mutually beneficial relationships.

Start the Conversation

To begin, think about why each visitor comes to your site in the first place. You’re missing out on a huge opportunity if you’re not reacting to what the visitor tells you the second she arrives at your site.

Visitors can come through a myriad of sources such as digital ads, organic search, referring sites or direct. If you present the same hero image, headline, and offer for all these individuals, you essentially asked what they wanted to see and then ignored the answer.

For example, let’s say a visitor clicked on a digital ad for your security monitoring solution for automotive manufacturers and arrived at your site. Why talk about your breadth of products and services for companies across a variety of industries rather than address the needs she already demonstrated? This is the perfect time to start the conversation off on the right foot and present information about your security monitoring solution for automotive manufacturers! Continue the conversation from the ad to the site so the visitor feels like you genuinely understand her needs.

Continuing the Conversation

In grade school, I was taught that listening was extremely important for building friendships. The same can be said for your website. You can “listen” as visitors consume content and browse product pages, blog posts and resources. Their journey tells a story of their pain points, interests, and what they are looking for, so you can learn from that and react accordingly.

Below are some tactics you can use to personalize an individual’s journey on your site by continuing the conversation:

  • You can respond to a visitor reading a blog post by recommending another article that is not only relevant to the contents of the current blog post, but also to her product interests, industry, use case or company size. And, most importantly, you can avoid recommending any article she has already read before.
  • If a customer comes back to your homepage after engaging with a solution page, you can provide a hero image relevant to that solution and recommend a related resource for her to learn more about how to address her pain point.
  • If a visitor has already watched your demo, seen your intro video, or downloaded your introductory white paper, you can stop asking her to take the action again. Use the space to prompt the next best action for her such as contacting a sales rep or starting a free trial.
  • We all have been on sites that ask you to fill out the same 10 questions each time you download a piece of content or sign up for a webinar. Rather than make your site like a loan application with endless places to enter your information, you can ask the questions you need and then remove those form fields from future forms. You should remember who a person is and avoid asking her who she is each time.
  • You can recognize when a visitor’s company is in a specific industry or of a particular size and respond with content targeted specifically to those segments.

Longtime Friendship

Like any good friend, it’s important that you make the proper introductions between the prospect and the sales team at the right moment.

You can do this by passing over the details of the visitor’s journey so she doesn’t need to start over cold with your company. Informing the sales team of her product/solution interest, actions she has taken, and any firmographic information that’s been gathered can ease the friction in the hand-off between marketing and sales. You can give your sales team a leg up when reaching out to that prospect and allow them to tailor their conversations based on the already established needs of that prospect, reducing the time to conversion for that customer.

Final Thoughts

With the technology that exists today, it no longer makes sense to speak to prospects on your site in a one-sided manner. There are many tactics that you can leverage to build meaningful, mutually beneficial relationships based on responding to each person’s needs with relevant information. And by better supporting each visitor’s buying journey this way, you’ll better meet your conversion goals.

It’s important to remember that at the end of the day, even in the digital world, a visitor is a person. The way to build a meaningful relationship is to have a conversation with that person.