The Future of B2B Website Engagement is Here

Any great salesperson knows that the key to capitalizing on leads — regardless of industry — is delivering the right message or offer, to the right person, at the right time. After all, it’s not enough to simply attract visitors to your website if they aren’t sticking around to discover what your company has to offer or making a purchase. B2B businesses, specifically, should consider that 61% of B2B transactions start online and 70% of the buyer’s journey is completed primarily online before the buyer even reaches out to sales. An engaging website is an efficient website; one that will convert leads and keep customers coming back for more.

Every moment must be relevant

In an age where convenience and relevancy reign supreme, B2C and B2B businesses must rise to the occasion and offer their clientele an increasingly tailored experience along their buying journey. Every moment a client spends on a website should be relevant, offering them the information they need to encourage them along the path to purchase. Website studies across both B2B and B2C audiences show that a single bad experience on a website makes users 88% less likely to visit the website again and 75% of user judgment about a business’s credibility is based on their website design. A well-designed website user experience could raise your website’s conversion rate by up to 200%.

That’s what personalization can deliver for your business., And personalizing experiences is the hallmark of great marketing. The question isn’t why you should do this; rather, it’s how? How can businesses strike an effective balance between personalization and user privacy?

But relevance and privacy often conflict with one another

This question, in particular, has been the catalyst to a great deal of transformation over the past few years. While the demand for personalization has remained on an upward trajectory, public concern regarding user privacy has followed suit closely behind. Of course, it’s easy to understand why; personalization requires data, and data requires users to share their personal information with brands. Organizations want to get to know their current and prospective customers. But, in the realm of business and technology, this can be a frightening concept. Is user data protected? Is it being misused? Are businesses stepping through the front door without being invited in? This is the ‘privacy paradox’ at work. Customers crave an experience informed by personal data, but they aren’t comfortable with the idea of their data changing hands across the internet.

To this effect, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was established in 2018, which laid new ground rules for businesses relying on personal data to inform their user experience. Gone were the days of website cookies and traditional data collection methods. Instead, businesses had to shift in a new direction: anonymous personalization.

What is the future of B2B website engagement?

At first glance, this might sound like an oxymoron. How can personalization and anonymity exist simultaneously? Fortunately, artificial intelligence (AI) makes this possible, and this advancement is especially integral for B2B businesses hoping to optimize their website to be more relevant and engaging to prospective leads. Our report shows, after all, that 45% of B2B customers are browsing anonymously as they research potential vendors and partners, which prevents those providers from gaining direct input from prospective customers, such as a name or an email address.

Harnessing the power of AI, organizations can finally drive engagement and meet the expectations of their audience long before they share their personal information. AI-powered website engagement technology can use anonymous information (such as behavioral data)) to identify visitor intent, visitor goals, and more. Armed with this information, companies can model visitor behavior to automatically improve their website customer experience and guide visitors to content that converts.

And this engagement matters. B2B organizations using anonymous, behavior-based website personalization drive between 5-15% increase in revenue and 10-30% increase in marketing-spend efficiency.

Learn more about the future of B2B website engagement

With the help of next-generation technology powered by AI, organizations can finally drive engagement and more productive leads in a way that directly benefits the bottom line and the customer experience by providing website visitors with exactly what they need, before they know they need it.

There is simply no denying it – anonymous personalization is the future of optimizing the B2B website experience to drive more engagement, and sales. Isn’t it time your website functioned as your company’s best salesperson and customer service representative?

If the answer is yes… what are you waiting for? Download SoloSegment’s latest industry report: Website Engagement in a Changed World and discover the benefits of anonymous personalization for your business.

B2B Website Personalization Doesn’t have to be difficult

For several years we’ve had evidence that high quality, B2B customer experiences are table stakes for businesses interested in growth. As we’ve discussed before, personalization is easier said than done. While content creation and IT can be significant blockers to getting the most out of your personalization efforts, the biggest impediment may be the data. Traditional personalization technology needs personal data that you’re not likely to have. This makes B2B website personalization particularly tricky.

Your customers have a preference

Amazon has trained your prospects and customers well. When they go to Amazon they easily find what they need and are magically guided to things that might help them find solutions to problems they don’t know they have. In short, the customer experience leaves them delighted.

Unfortunately for you, folks don’t have separate B2B brains. They come to your B2B website with the same expectations that they have in their retail lives. The bar is set high. And you’ve been working for a long time to try to meet this standard but your best website personalization efforts still seem to fall short. Why is that?

So why is this so hard? 

Most B2B website personalization systems are powered by three components: 

  1. the technology itself, 
  2. the content that will be served, 
  3. the data that decides what content to serve, who to serve it to, and when to serve it.

Let’s set aside the challenges of implementing IT and building content. While these can be daunting challenges, they’re within your control. You need to select technology that you know you can implement and manage and you have to line up your content teams to feed the beast. If you can’t do that, it’s on you.

Data. Now that’s the tricky part. Traditional personalization technology grew up in the retail space. Retail is awash in personal data so the opportunities to target, micro-target, and retarget are abundant because the data is abundant.

In the retail space prospects and customers are happy to hand over their data because there is a clear trade for value. Billing requires personal information. Shipping requires personal information. Customers share their information to get those benefits. And, for better or worse, that data is freely traded because tracking, for the most part, is so easy to do.

Nobody shares their personal information with B2B vendors. Conventional wisdom is that less that 2% of B2B website visitors share personal information on a website. That makes sense. If I’m a buyer for an technology hardware company, I don’t share my personal information with a component manufacturer when I go look at specifications on chips on their website. There’s rarely a compelling reason for me to share that information. Unlike retail, there’s no trade for value.

But the technology you purchased requires personal data. What to do? The answer is, of course, more technology.

The personal data workarounds that don’t work

There are plenty of vendors that have swooped in to help with the personal data problem so that your investment in B2B website personalization will pay off. These technologies have been called many things over the years but they now inhabit the “Account-Based Management” space.

It all started with “IP Sniffing” where these vendors used technical snooping to try and discern what company a visitor was coming from. That together with first party data they had captured, data stored in cookies, could give them a hint of who the person might be. Of course, many visitors don’t come back before their cookies expire so accumulating first party data can be tricky.

Purchasing third party data, largely gathered in the retail environment, is often less than satisfying. It might give you some insight into the person, but it gives you little insight into their professional lives. How do you target someone if you don’t know the most basic information about what they do for work and what they’re seeking?

In the discussions we’ve had with some of these vendors they admit that at best visitor identification happens 30% of the time. In the vast majority of cases that number is in the low teens. And with Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) that number is only going to get worse. Couple ITP with GDPR, CCPA, and a whole alphabet soup of regulation and regression to the 2% mean seems inevitable.

But if you’ve been working in the B2B website personalization space, you know all this. The data is the most frustrating part of the exercise.

The role of anonymous data in B2B Website Personalization

The first step in solving a problem is to recognize that you have a problem. And while a higher power may not be able to make your B2B website personalization better, there is a way forward.

Anonymity has traditionally been a problem for marketers that want to target people for messages that will help engage and progress them through the funnel. B2B marketers have risen to this challenge by providing lots of opportunities for folks to share their information, primarily through gated content experiences (e.g. white papers, case studies, etc.). But those efforts are often wasted. From low conversion rates to fake data there are a variety of reasons gathering first-party data yields low results.

Gated content and similar methods are a logical response to a world in which anonymity is a problem. But what if anonymity wasn’t a problem? What if you could address anonymous visitors with very specific messages? That would be powerful. Especially for the very top of funnel folks who might not see any value for giving you good information about themselves.

In the past, the problem with making any sense out of anonymous data was nearly impossible. If was all offline modeling and incorporating those models into operational technology was, at best, difficult.

Today, AI can power through all the data you collect on your website–content, visitor behavior, search–to develop models that can predict what someone is trying to accomplish and deliver content that is compelling in the moment to help them accomplish those goals.

Our customers who have deployed our search and content recommendation technologies have found increased engagement (+139%), reduced exits (down 80%), and lower bounce rates (down 12 points) by delivering highly targeted content recommendations that engage visitors before they’re able to identify the person or their role.

There is a way to get off of the personal data hamster wheel and at the same time increase engagement and progression of anonymous early funnel visitors. Utilizing the latest tools in your technology toolbox–machine learning, natural language processing, and natural language understanding–you can derive models that help your prospects achieve their goals and, ultimately, you to achieve yours.

Curious how we can help you can stop the madness and deploy effective, anonymous b2b website personalization, for your company, and for your future? Give us a call at 862-234-0365 or drop us a line. We’re here to help.

Your Future Requires Website Personalization at Scale

Personalization is dead, right? Gartner and the other cool kids say so. Particularly when you’re trying to scale personalization on your website. There are lots of reasons that people provide:

  • It’s too hard to collect personal information.
  • It’s too hard to do.
  • It’s too hard to deliver ROI.

And they do have a point—websites and the Internet as whole are littered with the debris of failed personalization projects. But what if there was a different way to do it?

Let’s start with the objections. Yes, it is definitely too hard to collect personal information, and it is getting harder every day. Not only are web users more reluctant to part with information, but privacy regulations and the elimination of cookie tracking from browsers thanks to ITP and ETP are making it difficult to personalize your website even when users are willing to let you. But what if you adopted a strategy for personalization that works with anonymous information?

Personalization at scale has also certainly been hard to do. So much so, in fact, that we’ve written a whole ebook about what B2B marketers must know about personalization. Marketers have been given tools that require creating new content and crafting manual rules for when that content should be shown. Sure, in theory you can do personalization without martech, but would you want to? And bringing martech into the mix makes it even harder, requiring significant amounts of IT collaboration and support to implement it all. But what if there is another way that requires none of that?

And, of course, many failed personalization projects have failed to prove they delivered the ROI that business leaders expected. But maybe that’s because it’s too expensive to do—obviously, it’s a lot easier to show ROI if you can do it at a lower cost. And if you can make personalization work automatically, it can work everywhere, which means you get the benefit across your whole site not just the few pages you can hand-craft. So, what if there was an inexpensive way to scale personalization?

Believe it or not, the idea of delivering personalization at scale for all your users and at a reasonable cost is not science fiction. After all, does anyone think that Amazon’s personalized experience is being hand-crafted on its pages? Amazon has automated personalization at scale. That’s what you need to do, also.

But you’re right if you are thinking that you can’t do it the way Amazon does. You don’t have Amazon’s data about customers. You don’t have Amazon’s traffic to test the experiences to success. And you don’t have Amazon’s budget to build this technology from scratch.

Fortunately, you don’t need any of those things. Your site can inexpensively and easily create an experience of web personalization at scale. You just need the right tools. Want to learn more? Check out our personalization ebook when you have a moment. Or, if you’re ready, drop us a line and let’s talk about how you can deliver personalization at scale for your website, your customers, and most importantly, for your business today.