Most sales and marketing teams are clear on why personalisation is important. Making engagements more meaningful during the buying journey has a clear impact (increasing purchases by as much as 50%, according to this survey), but how is where many struggle.
Jon is the Founder and Chief Product Officer at Cyance. With over 30 years of experience at the confluence of sales, marketing and tech, Jon drives the innovation within our platform that results in capital efficient growth for our customers.
This shouldn’t be that surprising. Adding someone’s first name to an email just isn’t going to cut it in terms of providing a great customer experience.
Instead, for instance, we often see our own customers personalise campaigns by areas such as intent, turnover, tech stack or employee size. For example, signals from the online activity of a target account may suggest their company is in the early research stages of their buyer journey. Their turnover, headcount and current technology may help determine the right campaign with the right message to send them – perhaps a campaign offering to assist with their research in the form of a whitepaper download on that subject.
Of course, there are a lot of difficult elements to get right here – from technology that is sophisticated enough to register not only who your customers are but also where exactly they are in the buying journey, to sales and marketing teams that understand the messages that will resonate with each segment of this audience at the most appropriate time. Not only that, but without a content strategy built in line with these principles, most campaigns are doomed to failure.
The stakes here can be high, too. In an interview with Adobe earlier this year, Justin Ablett, the company’s global lead at IBM iX, echoed this view, saying that there’s “no tolerance for poor digital experiences anymore”.
“And that’s especially true when we think about the crazy year that was 2020, where our day-to-day lives dramatically changed,” he added. “The engagements that we, as consumers, have with organisations have changed as well, to be more virtual and digital.”
So, what do businesses looking to make the most of personalisation need to do to give their campaigns the best chance of success?
1. Map your customer journey
It’s crucial that you know each touchpoint of your campaign in detail, and how it fits into your broader goals. Without this, you risk sending your customers on a path that you can’t control.
Below is a sample customer journey map. This outlines each point of interaction, and the kind of questions the user is looking for each time.Source: https://www.nngroup.com/articles/analyze-customer-journey-map/
2. Create the right content
Now that you have mapped your user journey, it is time to look at answering these queries in detail. Given that enterprise buying cycles can be so long and varied – even more so than someone looking to buy a car in many instances – the more effort you can invest in this process the better. However, without the right assets that can be personalised – whether they are ad copy, landing pages or long form content – any campaign is going to fall short.
What’s more, this all changes from region to region. It’s clear that the content that your best fit customers are looking for is going to be different for those in France, Germany or the US. At the same time, getting a clearer picture of this can give you a real advantage.
Here is where intent data can be incredibly powerful. By understanding the keywords and phrases that buyers are using during the research process, you can plan, create and execute content campaigns that have the greatest chance of success. Here’s an example of this in action:
What’s more, because of the unique way Cyance analyses intent data, we are the only platform that allows this kind of insight. For example, other providers – such as Bombora or ZoomInfo – don’t have the resources in place to provide accurate European intent data using this process.
To find out more about this approach Ashley Evans, Sales Enablement Director at B2B marketing communications agency Transmission, has put together a detailed guide in this blog, The World’s Most Effective ABM Program.
3. Focus on being human
Without a human touch, personalisation can seem a little, well, creepy. Many people are still a touch apprehensive about the way retargeting ads seem to follow them around the web, so make sure there is always a clear context to the messages you display, and that you never come across as robotic or taking a one-size-fits-all approach.
4. Don’t over-rely on past data
It’s quite easy to keep recycling demographic and behavioural data from previous campaigns. The thing is, this doesn’t show where a potential customer is right now. A past purchase, for example, doesn’t mean that they are ready to buy again. This is a mistake lots of businesses make when it comes to personalisation, and one that has a major impact on success.
Again, intent data can be an incredibly powerful tool to solve this problem. With Cyance, it’s possible to view changes in account behaviour in relation to previous activity or a benchmark, and this information can be used by your sales teams to prioritise accounts that are preparing to buy.
5. Focus on intent
Personalisation combined with intent in this way can be incredibly powerful. Simply put, the Cyance platform allows you to pinpoint the crucial 2-5% of prospects that are actually looking for products or services like yours and are ready to make a purchase decision. With this information, you can launch effective personalisation campaigns at speed and scale, all of which can integrate seamlessly into your existing tech stack.
Using Cyance to fuel personalisation, Quantum delivered a 58 to 1 return on investment to Panasonic incorporating 43 new sales opportunities – representing a qualified sales pipeline of €2.9M within 6 months.
This marked a significant improvement in lead quality, lead conversion, average deal size and sales qualified pipeline compared with previous demand generation programmes. More examples of this in action can be seen on our case studies page.
6. Build the right tech stack
Without the right technology, a large-scale personalisation campaign is going to be an uphill task. This isn’t something that can be done with a few spreadsheets – although this is something we see people attempt time and time again.
Instead, you’ll need to make sure you have the right technologies in place. This could include standard platforms such as LinkedIn Sales Navigator, as well as Salesloft for managing engagements, Vidyard for personalised video outreach and Drift or Instabot for custom messaging once a potential customer has arrived on your site. The precise tools you use will be defined by your strategy, but the important thing is that these various platforms integrate together as much as possible.
Again, this is where Cyance excels. We connect with a number of platforms, and the list is growing constantly. Here are a few highlights of what you can do with our LinkedIn integration, for example:
- Segment audiences in Cyance by the level of intent, topics of interest, and where they are in the buyer journey as suggested by the platform.
- Automatically push an audience segment into a new or existing LinkedIn campaign that is relevant to them.
- Combine the accounts identified by Cyance with the LinkedIn Audience Attributes filters you know and love (eg: job titles, industry, or skills)
- The Cyance platform will automatically add or remove targeted accounts from existing campaigns if their level of intent, topics of interest, or buying stage changes. This means you can target the right accounts at the right time with the right message to increase conversions.
- Gain insight by measuring the engagement & ROI from your intent-driven activity in the Cyance platform, for reporting and retargeting.
Getting personalisation right isn’t an easy task. But with these tactics in place, the process becomes a whole lot easier, from content strategy to building messaging and executing campaigns that you know will resonate best with your target audience.
To find out more about Cyance’s unique approach to accuracy and intent data, download our eBook.