Old-School Sales And Execution Is One To Many; New-School Sales And Marketing Is One To One
The experience economy proposes that both consumers and businesses want more than just delivery of products and services; they expect that an exceptional, positively charged and memorable experience will come packaged with their purchase.
This is raising the bar for companies. For those who get it, they’re creating Netflix-like buyer journeys for their clients, and closing new clients faster and more frequently than ever before.
For those still doing it the old way, they’re driving prospects right into the waiting arms of their top competitors.
Does that scare you? If it doesn’t, it should.
Don’t take my word for it. Here are five key stats that prove you must personalize your prospects’ buyer journeys if you want to drive revenue growth:
- Over 78% of people say they only engage with offers if they have been personalized to their previous engagements with the brand. (source)
- 75% of people are more likely to buy from a company that recognizes them by name, recommends options based on past behaviors or knows their behavior history. (source)
- 81% of people want brands to get to know them and understand when to approach them and when not to. (source)
- 87% of people surveyed say that personally relevant branded content positively influences how they feel about a brand and the purchase decision they make. (source)
- 63% of respondents are highly annoyed by the way brands continue to rely on the old-fashioned strategy of blasting generic ad messages repeatedly. (source)
I could go on. There’s mounds and mounds of data about the importance of personalization in both marketing and sales. But I think I made my point.
How do you personalize each prospect’s buyer journey?
Personalization Is More Than 'Dear Mike'
When marketers think about personalization, it almost always starts with email: Let’s use their name in the subject line and put their company name in the email. And it almost always stops there.
While that is personalization, it’s no longer optional. This basic level of personalization is a requirement today. The personalization we’re talking about is the way Netflix tells you what shows you might like based on the shows you’ve already watched. It’s the way Amazon offers similar products that other people bought after you purchased something.
It’s about creating an experience that allows you to deliver the personal experience everyone is starting to expect.
Understanding A Prospect’s Questions Is The First Step
There is a way to strategically attack the personalization process, and that starts with understanding your prospects’ questions — at every step of their buyer journey.
The more questions you map, the more personalized the experience.
Here is an illustration: When prospects visit your home page, what questions do you think they’re asking?
What does this company do exactly? Can they help me? Do they have this specific service I’m looking for? Do they look trustworthy?
There might be more, but that’s a good place to start.
If you design your website properly, you should have questions documented for every page, and those questions drive the content, educational offers, videos and other information on each page.
While this isn’t about using names and companies, it is about personalizing the experience.
Asking Them More Questions Is The Next Step
You continue to personalize the experience by asking them even more questions. Every website page and every piece of educational content can serve as a tool to better understand your visitors.
Let me illustrate this, too. Your pages should have pop-ups that ask visitors questions and direct them to content or pages that answer those questions. By getting to know them better, you’re helping them execute a more efficient buyer journey, you’re helping them feel safer with your company and you’re gaining valuable insights for your sales team to continue a very personalized experience.
SnapApp is a tool we use regularly for clients to embed a short form inside a piece of content. This allows us to keep the content ungated at the start, ask questions as our prospects are reading our content, collect that information and use it to recommend additional content. Those answers are collected in our CRM and then used by the sales team to start and support a highly personalized conversation with every prospect.
Design An Immersive And Educational Experience
Your goal as a revenue growth marketer or revenue leader with a sales team must be to design a highly immersive experience that runs click to close, from your prospect’s very first visit to your website to their final signature on your agreement.
Every touch point must be strategically designed and every interaction orchestrated with one goal in mind: Guide them along their journey, help them feel safe and position your company as the only option.
With this in mind, personalization can include a wide variety of marketing and sales execution strategies:
- Customizing and personalizing the website experience by building a progressive profile of information on your visitor as they move through your site
- Using CTAs and offers that are personalized based on their role or stage of their buyer journey
- Designing website pages to include headlines, pictures or copy that is personalized
- Knowing what they’ve downloaded previously so you don’t show them those offers again
- Understanding which pages they’ve visited, and tailoring the message and offers accordingly
- Knowing which stage of the buyer journey they’re in based on their intent signals or onsite behavior, and tailoring the rest of the experience accordingly
- Continuing the conversation after they leave your website with nurture emails based on the data you collected while they were on your site
- Arming the sales team with this same information so when they do their follow-up, they quickly hit the key pain points for this prospect and tailor their conversations to those points initially
- Proactively understanding what questions your prospects are going to ask before they ask them, and delivering the content, stories or sales follow-up that answers those questions for them
- Personalizing the type of content delivered based on their profile, persona or interactions with your website and content — video for creative people and data for analytical people
Think like Disney. Somehow, they found a way to make waiting in a line for 90 or more minutes enjoyable. At every turn, there is something to see, do, hear or talk about. You can do the same for your prospects.
Track And Measure Everything
Once this experience is created, your work is just beginning. Now you should be continually iterating on the experience to make it better — not objectively better but quantitatively better.
This means you’re going to need data, including data to benchmark and baseline the initial experience, and then data to measure the adjustments, updates and upgrades you make over time.
Some of this data would include page performance data like time on site, click rate, exit rate, bounce rate and conversion rate on offers within the page.
Other data would include general click-through rates on CTAs across the site, number of page views, average time on the site, and session data like number of returning visitors and number of new visitors. Clients generally want new visitors, but returning visitors means people are finding value and returning for more.
Offsite metrics that validate engagement include nurture email performance metrics like open rate, click-through rate and opt-out rate.
You may have some offsite assets like video that would include slightly different data, like number of views, number of clicks on the CTA in the video, number of people making it through the entire video and data on the time mark where most people stop watching and click away.
Sales reps use emails and content all along their interactions with prospects. How are those emails performing? Are they moving prospects along? Or are they causing those journeys to stall? What about the references and reviews? Are there enough? Are they effective at getting over that last hurdle in the sales process? How long are they taking to make the connection?
Handling the reference check as part of the sales process with video as opposed to live reference calls can shave weeks off the sales cycle in some cases.
All of this data feeds your upgrade strategy. Look for those areas where you can make small changes that have a big impact on results. For example, a highly visited landing page can be upgraded in an hour and drive a 100% improvement in leads generated. Building a new page might take a few days and not generate any new visitors or leads for the first 30 days. Prioritization is very important in knowing what to work on and when.
We know the prospects want a more personalized experience, but how does this contribute to lift, gains and improvement in key marketing metrics? From an article in Inc., here’s data on the performance improvements:
“According to ... research, behavioral targeting delivers an almost 8% increase in revenue from email marketing campaigns. Real-time targeting based on native open-time and live business-context data delivers a 13% improvement. And machine learning personalization delivers a 21% revenue increase.”
Remember, personalizing your email marketing is a good first step in the personalization journey, but it is a baby step. Personalizing the entire buyer journey should be your ultimate goal. The more you personalize the entire experience, the faster you’ll realize shorter sales cycles, higher close rates and higher average revenue per new customer.
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