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How Personalization Can Help B2B Sales Lead Generation

Dave Orecchio
by Dave Orecchio on Dec 20, 2015 7:00:00 AM

It's become increasingly evident in the modern B2B marketplace that one size most definitely does not fit all. It isn't enough just to market the perfect products and services to fill specific needs; you must also be prepared to deliver targeted messages to specific segments of the population to generate genuinely warm sales leads. Let's take a look at how you can use a technique known as personalization to get "up close and personal" with your B2B sales lead generation.

Addressing the Buyer Persona

personalization can help B2B Sales Lead GenerationBefore you can create specialized marketing content to attract that ideal individual, obviously you must know what individual you wish to address, what matters most to that individual, and how that individual makes buying decisions. Don't assume you can just narrow your market segment down to a particular sliver of one industry or demographic; ultimately, there's one type of PERSON within that sliver tasked with pulling the trigger on that purchase decision. You can glean this person's identity by using aggregated data to construct a composite virtual personality or buyer persona.

What makes up a buyer persona? Data, of course, but specific categories of data aimed at clarifying that idealized individual's goals, values, challenges and buying habits. Start by asking yourself questions such as:

  • Which specific problems, shortcomings or frustrations compel your clients to buy from your company -- and for that matter, which ones do your products or services NOT address?
  • What result or improvement level would your ideal buyer characterize as a completely successful outcome?
  • Which perceived or real obstacles to the buyer's ideal outcome might your business pose?
  • What are the most attractive benefits (speed, quality, ease of use, etc.) your product or service offers to this buyer, and how much benefit does your buyer want and expect to receive?

Where do you get all these opinions, expressions of need and emotional triggers? The most straightforward approach is just to ask for them. Online polls, contact forms, and even in-person surveys can give you many of the answers you need. By also requesting demographic data such as job title, company name, industry, geographic area, education level and so on, you can narrow your data pool to those individuals most likely to buy from you -- and you'll know what these individuals want to hear in your marketing.

B2B sales lead generation

Ask the right question to fill in the pieces of a buyer persona.

Which Metrics Matter Most?

Now that your buyer persona or personas have taken form, how do you make sure each persona gets the right marketing message? First, of course, you have to tailor that message to the specific "hot buttons" you've identified in that persona. But you'll also want to adapt the tone and style of the marketing message to that individual. A nuclear physicist, for instance, may be turned on by terminology that would put a manufacturing plant manager to sleep, and vice versa. At the same time, you need to observe specific marketing metrics that reveal how representatives of this persona typically interact with your B2B inbound marketing efforts. This data may include:

  • Incoming website traffic - How are your buyers discovering your website? Are they linking through from your blog posts, from linked references in other companies' articles, from your AdWords campaign, or from your latest YouTube video? Were they driven to your business by particular keywords? These details will all help you determine what kind of targeted marketing content each buyer should receive.
  • Internal website activity - Do specific types of buyers drop off of your site at specific points in their sales journey? If so, you'll want to create email content and other forms of marketing to reach out to them based on why you think they chose that moment to disappear. Reclaiming these abandoners and overcoming their specific objections is a critical aspect of B2B sales lead generation.

The Power of Predictive Personalization

For every piece of information voluntarily handed over by prospective leads or revealed through online visits, there may be a wealth of other data lurking invisibly on the Web -- or even in your databases. A cutting-edge technique known as predictive marketing analytics or lead scoring can help you get at that information and use it in your company's B2B sales lead generation.

How does this work? Modern marketing automation can make smarter use of big data than ever before by searching for key terms and indications of interest within emails, TCP/IP log files, buying patterns recorded in public databases, you name it. Advanced data science methods can then interpret all this information to predict buyer behavior.

While predictive marketing analytics can produce enormous gains in your marketing effectiveness, the technology in and of itself isn't a magic wand. You still have to compare the analytics against well-developed buyer personas if you want to understand, not just what the buyers have done and will do, but precisely why they behave in these ways. Only then can you craft the personalized marketing content that sets specific buyers on fire to learn more about your products and services and eventually make a purchase. But the sheer access to all this culled data enables you to build the most detailed buyer personas possible.

With a deep understanding of the buyer's persona, marketers may also implement customization of website pages as well to tune the message and provide surgical page optimization right down to the individual. Imagine if you were a CEO and you routinely visited a blog for management advice. Each time you visited, the site offered an ebook or another educational item that were uniquely attractive to CEOs. Then one of your employees in the management ranks also visits the same site but they see offers that are specific to their role or responsibility. Detailed persona mapping and analytics combined with the website "smart content" enables this creative and efficient methodology.

Another attractive benefit of predictive techniques (and any other techniques you employ to narrow your focus) is their ability to help you optimize your marketing budget. The purer and smaller your audience, the more money "per head" you can devote to cultivating each of them. Once you know exactly who they are, where they are and what they respond to, the more emphasis on can place on those avenues, from email campaigns or blog posts to particular industry events.

As you can see, personalization can play a vital role in helping you achieve purer, more efficient B2B sales lead generation for your company. While a lot of thought and effort clearly goes into a successful personalization strategy, there's no better place to start than developing a better understanding of your buyers personas. Get started today by downloading our eBook: "How to creat buyer personas".

guide to creating buyer personas

Bristol Strategy is a full funnel inbound marketing agency and inbound sales agency offering the full complement of services to enable our clients to surpass their business objectives by transforming the way they engage with their buyer on-line.  Reach out to us to learn more about how our experience and capabilities can help your business grow. 

Tags: B2B Marketing Buyers Journey Buyer Persona

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Dave Orecchio
Written by Dave Orecchio
Dave Orecchio is one of the earliest adopters of Inbound Marketing. As one of Hubspot’s first customers and CEO of a Boston-based startup, he experienced the benefits of this effective digital marketing methodology. Dave now provides Inbound (marketing & Sales) services to businesses to help them grow and realize the positive results that an integrated program can provide. Dave is a high-tech marketing and sales expert with more than 25 years of business experience.
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