As with other sectors, marketers of B2B businesses must communicate differently to each customer type if they are to improve conversion rates.
From your most loyal customers to your newest leads, the data you’ve collected will be comprised of individuals at varying stages in the sales cycle. It’s important to communicate with each of them in the right way if you are to move them through the sales and marketing funnel.
Here’s where personalisation comes in. Just as marketers in other sectors can benefit hugely from the use of personalised email marketing, so too can B2B marketers. Below we discuss how triggered campaigns and dynamic content can tie in with your sales and marketing communications for varying customer types.
Here’s how to collect the right data, qualify leads and begin speaking to your customers in the right way.
Unlike retailers who are able to collect a wealth of information at point of sale, data collection for B2B businesses can be a more gradual process.
Say, for instance, you sell forklift trucks, and a potential customer downloads a catalogue from your website. Currently in the research stage, they are looking for details that will help them make a decision as to where they should make their purchase.
By keeping the catalogue (your content) behind a form, the customer must first provide you with some personal information in order to obtain it.
You can then add the captured data to your customer relationship management system (CRM) to keep track of your interaction, continue the conversation and start building a clearer picture of who they are and what they want.
From the customer’s initial enquiry we can begin to gather more information. They may have filled out a form at a trade show or on your website, but as yet you don’t know their budget or when they may buy from you.
Your leads may not be ready to talk sales just yet, so now is the time for a quick follow-up phone call or email using qualifying questions to determine whether they are suited to your product or service.
Consider the details you need to collect for this purpose, be it company size, sector or location, for example, and tailor your content accordingly. If using lead nurture email campaigns, feature content that directs them to the next stage of the sales funnel and helps you gather the right information.
You can then go on to speak to them based on the new information you have. For instance, should they be based outside your local area you could assign the nearest sales agent to help build a personal relationship, or taking their industry into account you could use the specific language and imagery that will connect with them personally.
Again, keep track of these steps in your CRM system. By doing so you’ll be able to see which channels are more successful for bringing in leads, and where to invest more marketing budget.
The right communication
Say you’ve built a list of 1000 subscribers through telemarketing, inbound enquiries or a procured (bought) data list, to whom you are regularly sending marketing emails.
Consider the individuals in this list and their stage in the buyer’s journey, and think about how you’d speak to those in the awareness stage in comparison to those ready to make a decision, and different again to your current customers.
By looking at the different types of leads, prospects and customers you’re communicating with, you’ll be able to tailor your content to their needs whilst supporting your sales activity.
Engaging with each type of subscriber, and how to introduce dynamic campaigns:
Researchers in the awareness stage
Those who are researching a product or service can be brought to your business through what is known as demand generation – the targeted activity that drives awareness and interest in your business.
Amongst other activity, this includes social media, blogs, SEO and pay per click campaigns, and it works to bring people into the sales funnel by encouraging their interaction with your marketing activity.
Once their interest is piqued, you can then look to encourage the exchange of data for gated content and begin to move them through the sales funnel.
- Key campaign: Follow up initial interactions with your business with triggered welcome messages. Aim to keep their attention and collect more information to help you qualify them as a prospect.
When speaking with leads who’ve expressed an interest in the business and been qualified as desirable prospects, our communications may include financial incentives and persuasive hooks to encourage further engagement.
This in turn will allow you to collect more information on them through observing what kind of content they engage with.
- Key campaign: It’s important to connect with prospects on a personal level. They may be less receptive to sales messages at this point, so endeavour to keep things simple. Implement triggered, plain-text emails including personalisation. Dynamically feature their name, and perhaps their company name if appropriate, and ensure the email appears to come from their local salesperson.
Your current customers have already bought from you and provided you with some details, interests and behavioural information, but it’s a continual process, there is always more to learn about your customers.
- Key messaging: Follow up purchases with trigger based campaigns including aftercare and dynamically populated replenishment emails. For complex products and company-wide purchases, you could cross-sell training services and ongoing maintenance.
In understanding that leads, prospects and customers will respond differently to your communications, you take a big step toward more effectively converting potential and existing customers.
Across industries we’re seeing increasing numbers of businesses utilise triggered campaigns and dynamic content to speak to their customers on a more personal level, sending relevant campaigns their customers can connect with.
Implement this practice as part of your lead nurturing strategy and you’ll see the benefits.