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Would you rather grab a premade sandwich off the shelf or have your favorite sub made to order?

Do you enjoy receiving emails that include every item a clothing brand offers, or would you like one that curates items similar to those you currently have in your shopping bag?

Would you prefer to see a generic sales presentation, or one that’s catered to your organization’s needs and goals?

It’s no secret that buyers prefer tailored, relevant sales interactions over broad, impersonal ones. B2C brands have this personalization practice down, because they’ve been able to harness buyer preferences and actions to better tailor their materials and interactions.

But B2B brands are just starting to understand the importance of personalization in the buying process, and how to collect and analyze the buyer data necessary to do so. In a recent report, Seismic partnered with Demand Metric to find out just how crucial personalization is in B2B, and what it means for the future of B2B sales and marketing.

The report, Content Marketing’s Evolution: The Age of Hyper-Personalization and Automation, orchestrated its research with the assumption that B2B marketers intuitively understand that personalized content is more likely to be consumed or interacted with. Demand Metric was able to validate this, with 80 percent of respondents indicating that content objectives are better met when content is personalized.

Personalization, when done correctly, brings a buyer closer to a brand. It builds trust and fosters a mutual understanding between buyers and sellers. It improves customer engagement, accelerates sales cycles, and increases win rates. All of this is possible simply by tailoring and customizing content for a specific buyer’s needs, role, and stage in the buying process.

While content personalization is becoming a legitimate and established best practice for B2B organizations, the means and methods of personalization still differ. Twenty-eight percent of companies surveyed have a mostly automated personalization process with some manual intervention, but around two-thirds of respondents still have a predominantly manual process for content personalization.

Content automation is the final frontier for B2B sales and marketing success and can become a competitive differentiation and huge opportunity for enterprises that can implement it, as they allow both teams to deliver engaging and relevant content to the right audiences without compromising time.

Content automation helps organizations assemble content from existing materials, contextually target the right audiences with the right content, and make content accessible in programs where reps spend the majority of their time, such as email and CRM.

Over half of the organizations surveyed in the Demand Metric report are currently considering, implementing or using content automation, showing how high of a priority automation is in B2B.
Organizations that personalize content have a competitive advantage over those that don’t, but those that are able to automate at least part of the content personalization process have the biggest advantage of all.

In order to ensure your organization is ahead of the personalization curve, sales and marketing leaders should begin to think about what content creation, updating and customization processes are manually performed by marketers, and how they could be streamlined for higher efficiency.

If you’re still in the camp that personalization is a waste of time, can’t be automated effectively, or isn’t as high of a priority for organizations as Demand Metric has reported, you may find yourself scrambling to catch up to the competition in the long-run.

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Today’s post was written by Alyssa Drury, Content Marketing Manager for Seismic