Automation and technology have made it easier to personalize the customer journey, forcing a B2B marketing evolution as customers demand B2C experiences.
Digital personalization has a single, simple goal: Get the right content to the buyer at the right time to influence buying decisions.
But B2B personalization is not as straightforward as a traditional consumer-based model, and digital teams can spend a lot of time and effort without making the quick progress that the market expects.
Just as they would in their consumer digital interactions, B2B buyers want to find the information they need to make their buying decisions quickly and easily. So, let’s break down some initial considerations to spark discussions within your digital personalization project teams. Start with these steps:
- Identify & prioritize customer segments
- Determine buyer types
- Understand what your customers want
B2B personalization: Identify your priority customers
The first step is to identify and prioritize your customer segments. Determine customer value based on size, highest ROI, scale/difficulty, short-term vs. long-term profitability, and loyalty impact.
This value will be unique to each company, but should align with top-level growth goals so that it can have buy-in from influencers across the business. Then, determine ease of access based on geographic availability, language, and status. Are they legacy customers? How well do you know them?
If a customer segment is not easy to access, the time spent trying to engage them is time taken away from reaching other buyers. Focus your near-term B2B personalization effort and resource investment on customers with the highest value that are the easiest to access.
Establish B2B buyer types & roles
Once you’ve prioritized your segments, brainstorm the relevant buyer types. Understanding buyer types is just as important as knowing the segments. There are multiple individuals in a buying cycle. You need to figure out where they are in the cycle and what information they need.
Are they project-based engineers? Are they parts procurement reps? What other roles interact with your brand’s digital tools?
Then, once you know your buyer types, identify each buyer’s role in the typical sales funnel and the information they need from a digital experience. Here are a couple scenarios:
- The project-based engineer is likely top of the sales funnel–in the research and consideration phase—and needs specifications and configuration options to properly plan their projects. They likely won’t transact, but they will use the information to share with key decision makers.
- The parts procurement buyer will likely be in a repeat buying cycle, so they are bottom of the funnel and need information at the transactional level.
B2B personalization: Don’t overengineer!
Once you’ve identified your buyer types, ask them what they need and want. Many organizations miss this step.
We often find that B2B organizations try to overengineer their digital activities. They spend a lot of time talking about what they think the buyer needs. Instead, they should focus on a core set of critical customer requirements that would make for more efficient execution.
Customer experiences should be defined and designed by listening to and integrating the customer’s point of view versus the perspective of an internal audience.
The to-do list for smart B2B personalization
The steps above outline the important actions to be taken that support B2B personalization. From here, you can customize your digital content, blending the business objectives of your organization with the expectations of your customers.
- What are your priority segments? (Highest value + ease of access)
- Who in those segments interacts with your brand? These are your buyers.
- Where are they in the sales process?
- What do they need/want from your brand?