One of the great things about modern technology and new ways of selling is their combined ability to produce a tailor-made customer experience. It’s relatively simple these days to produce targeted content, whether that means appealing to a particular group on Facebook (young mums who love running, for example) or using automation software to include a customer’s name and other basic details in emails. Many of the websites you visit every day will use some degree of personalization in the form of recommended purchases or ‘You might also like…’ links. It’s so common you’ve probably stopped noticing it.
93% of companies see an uptick in conversion rates with personalization
For marketing, the number of ways people are using personalized content is continually increasing, bringing with it boundless opportunities and headaches. But how about B2B salespeople? How can we win customer trust using personalized content within sales conversations? Let’s kick off with a great example of how customizing content could work to win you more business.
The Gü story
Mmm, Gü. If you’re not familiar with the brand, I’d recommend you go to the supermarket and purchase a few of their deliciously indulgent puddings. They’re divine.
Now I don’t know the ins and outs of how branding, marketing and design consultants Big Fish landed Gü as a client in the first place, but there is a great anecdote on their website about how Gü became the successful brand it is today. The story begins: ‘When Jim Averdieck approached us in 2005 with an idea for a premium desserts business that he was going to call “The Belgium Chocolate Company”, we told him it sounded like something targeted at grannies who smelt of pee and lavender talc! Thankfully, he had a sense of humour and agreed with us.’
In the process of trying to convince Jim of an alternative branding idea for Gü, Big Fish developed the brand’s visual identity and packaging without Jim knowing and included it in a slide deck for him, under the pretence that it was a competitor’s product. He loved it. Heck, he coveted it. They ran with it. The brand later sold for around £33 million. Talk about a success story.
61% of consumers say that they are more likely to buy from a company that provide custom content
Helping the customer envisage a future with you
In some respects, the Big Fish move was a risky one. They could have invested all that time and effort into a brand identity that didn’t click with Jim. It would have meant, at best, starting over and, worst case scenario, they could have lost Jim as a client. Presumably, however, they did their research – they knew what Jim wanted from them and for his business and they worked from there.
Ultimately, their success was twofold: they developed a brand identity that Jim loved and, having achieved that without his input, they proved that they were the right partner for his delicious desserts business. Jim must have walked out of that meeting knowing he had invested in both a great service and a true ally. That’s how we, as salespeople, want to make our customers feel.
78% of CMOs see custom content as the future of marketing
Bringing the Gü lesson to your business
If you’re not a branding agency, you might wonder how you can use this model in your business. Perhaps you sell office furniture. Could you show your customer CAD images of your furniture in their office space? Or maybe you sell control software to heavy industry. Could you ask marketing to use some of the customer’s data to mock up graphs showing how the software could enhance their operations?
At iPresent, we like to use customer branding to demo our Sales Enablement Platform, so that when you see our product you see it as you would if you bought it. This not only shows that we’ve taken the time to get to know your brand, it also enables you to envisage how you would use our Sales Enablement tool to improve your messaging, delivery and brand consistency.
As well as being something we use, personalization is also something we offer. It’s very easy to add personalized content to existing resources within iPresent, such as inserting company names and logos into PowerPoints before you go into a meeting. This is something individual users can do for themselves, without messing with marketing’s approved collateral.
A few benefits of personalized content in a sales conversation
- Customers are more likely to pay attention to personalized content.
- The ‘I see you’ve done your research’ effect: demonstrating that you know something of the business helps build trust.
- The customer can more easily imagine the results of using your product/service.
- Having a policy of personalized content forces both sales and marketing to properly research and qualify leads.
- By the same token, including even a little personalized content will ensure the salesperson is focused on the customer at hand, rather than reciting a generic sales pitch.
If you want to explore other ways of personalizing content for customers, I’d recommend reading this HubSpot blog about successful personalized emails and check out Capterra’s thoughts on why B2B marketers should prioritize personalization. This is an area of marketing that is chock full of potential and something that customers will come to expect, if we don’t already.
If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to the ideal content for a first sales conversation, download our white paper on the topic.