How Are You Managing The Changing Nature Of B2B Customers?

What do customers want, and are you delivering?

Ask a business executive and they’ll tell you that everything they do is for their customers. Which is all well and good, but how many B2B companies are really paying attention to the changes in what customers want?

Is your personalization for your visitors… or for you?

Let’s view personalization through your visitor’s eyes

Anyone who has kept up with me on just about any social media platforms knows I’m all about music, and my guilty pleasure – always – would be investing in a new guitar. Or, y’know, guitars. More is better. And if I were to visit a music store that collected data on visitors, they’d know I like a certain make of guitar (I do) and that, for example, I bought two last year and have only bought one so far this year. Maybe, the bright salesperson thinks, “this guy needs need another axe.” 

Poor personalization, which we see all the time, might recommend a guitar exactly like the ones I’ve already bought. Or just knowing I like “guitars” and recommending one that isn’t the right price point, lacks the right features, or doesn’t fit my needs. Or even worse, knows that there’s a warehouse full of unsold Gibsons and suggests a Gibson because that’s what “we need to sell.”

True, effective personalization on the other hand recommends a guitar maybe one level up from what I bought last time or that people just like me also own. It needs to take into account me. The real me. It knows my interests, my behaviors, my goals, my spending habits, and much, much more. But it understands me, not as a target or as a prospect. But as a human being. 

High-quality personalization requires two types of data

What differentiates good personalization is an understanding of your visitor and what their preferences are. These preferences can be explicit or implicit.

  1. Explicit: Explicit data reflects what individuals have told you about themselves. Maybe you bought syndicated research or you have first-party information that human beings gave you. Explicit data often doesn’t feel like merchandising because you’re simply reflecting the best product for their particular needs based on what they’ve told you.
  2. Implicit: Implicit data on the other hand comes from looking at your customers’ patterns of behavior and performing pattern matching, suggesting content and products based on their activity or the activities of others like them. This is how behavior based personalization works

Study your visitor’s behavior

In behavior based personalization, the behavior that’s being exhibited on the site leads us to believe the customer is trying to achieve a certain goal. Once we understand the goal, we can test to see if we’re right (I say “we” because content recommendation is what I do with SoloSegment.) We say, “Hey, here’s some recommended content that seems to match what you want. Does this help you progress your journey?” (Clearly, we’re not explicitly stating that out loud, but that’s essentially what the models are looking to understand). Even better, the model gets a little smarter every time, learns from customer behaviors, delivers another iteration – or iterations, in practice – and makes the experience better for the customer. You’d expect a good salesperson to do this naturally, right? So why not expect the same of your website… your 24/7/365 salesperson?

Again, this is all about understanding your customer’s goal. Personalized content recommendations make suggestions to a visitor about the best content they can check out next. If you have data about the topics customers are interested in, why not help keep them on topic? Why not help them find what they really want? And as the data helps you discern customer intent, move them towards their ultimate objective. Which, I should point out, is what you want anyway. 

What is your visitor’s goal?

“How can we sell these guitars in the warehouse?” I’m sorry to say, is usually not the right question. It’s not about “What are we trying to achieve?” The right question is “What is the customer trying to achieve?”

That understanding, that focus on customer objectives and helping customers progress along their journey is what truly differentiates good personalization from bad. And its utility goes even beyond that; the better you understand your customer, the better you can merchandise whatever it is you sell, whether it’s enterprise technology, financial services, or, y’know, electric guitars. In practice, it doesn’t even matter whether it’s B2C or B2B

What’s your customer’s goal? What data do you have about the customer? And did you use that data in ways that help them reach their goal? That’s not just great personalization. That’s music to my ears. 
Interested in what implicit, behavior based personalization can do to help you drive revenue for your business? Check out SoloSegment’s technology solutions right here.

What’s Inside Behavioral Data?

Personas have been used for a number of years by B2B digital marketers to craft content that aligns with a visitor’s context. But we all know that personas are also so… 2015. The rise in personalization has revealed both the limits and challenges of persona-based content creation — creating and maintaining content for every persona is a lot of work and getting that content in front of the visitor at the right time is tricky.

Personalization — It’s Not Just for B2C

This past year, the demand for personalization is at an all-time high.

According to a Lytics white paper, two-thirds of customers want brands to adjust content based on their real-time context. Over 40% are annoyed if you don’t. And another two-thirds of those said they skip making a purchase out of annoyance.

That’s not just a problem for retail.

SearchChat Podcast: Personalization–Meeting Customers in the Moment

Personalization: why do it? No, this isn’t a suggestion that you shouldn’t. It’s just important to think about why you are doing it in the first place. Personalization needs to benefit the customer experience and drive your business.

Why Customer Experience Matters Most For B2B Marketers

The biggest mistake that many companies make in their B2B sales and marketing activities is the way they fragment or silo different touchpoints in the customer journey among disparate functional teams. And, worse, the way they make it difficult for those teams to work together. Customer experience matters for B2B marketers. You’d think you would make that easier to bring to life.