The concept of a personalized consumer experience is nothing new. Whether we’re receiving product recommendations based on previous purchasing behavior, or being presented with online ads related to our search history, we know what a targeted user experience looks like. But the same tactics that apply to a B2C experience don’t necessarily translate in a B2B situation. Implementing a B2B strategy that is more unique to your individual clients is necessary, but delivering on the concept isn’t always easy. Here are three steps you can take to execute B2B personalization:
1. Understand Your Customer’s Buying Journey
You have to connect with your customers. In B2B, strategies are often created without ever talking to the customer. Many companies rely on the experiences of their sales teams or marketers to tell them what’s working, what’s selling, and what the customer wants. But by speaking with your customers – actually sitting down and interviewing them – you may find that you don’t know the process they actually go through. You need to understand who the customer is and what kind of experience they want. User research will help you understand the impact of your changes on your audience and focuses on understanding behaviors, needs, and motivations. From a solid understanding of your users, you can begin to plan your strategic direction.
Once you understand your customers’ needs, processes, and the people involved, create customer journeys for each. A customer journey map tells the story of the customer’s experience from initial contact, through the process of engagement, and into a long-term relationship. It helps identify gaps and points in the customer experience that are disjointed or painful. A good customer journey map illustrates every interaction a customer makes while completing a transaction. A best-in-class map incorporates data and customer input to identify pain points and the best ways to eliminate them.
2. Prioritize Your Efforts
Because of the complexity of the B2B buyer journey, you won’t be able to serve each of your customer’s individual needs. The journey will look different for different companies, and it’s not realistic or cost effective for you to meet every need of every one. Take a handful of your top customers, your bread and butter, and focus on improving their customer journey. Ideally, and more than likely, their needs will overlap with other customers.
3. Develop Strategies to Digitally Transform Your Experience
An effective personalization strategy must be driven by the customer needs and journeys you’ve identified. It will establish your personalization vision, but the benefits won’t be realized until the strategy is executed. With this in mind, the strategy must also include a roadmap to guide the execution effort and a budget to effectively fund the required investments. The best personalization strategy will fall short unless you invest in the proper infrastructure and processes. To deliver on these experiences, you must have an effective combination of technology, operational processes, and measurement in place.
To learn more about what you can do to implement B2B personalization in your organization, download our free guide, How to Conquer Complex Customer Journeys in B2B Personalization.