The line between consumer buying behavior and business buying behavior isn’t blurred. It’s now nonexistent.

Consumer-oriented companies such as Amazon and Airbnb have set a high bar for more informed, highly-personalized buying experiences. These expectations have quickly carried over into the world of business buying. Personalization from sales is no longer just “desired” by modern buyers — it’s required.

The challenge is that–on the sales side–it’s often not easy to do personalization well, if at all. In order to personalize selling engagements properly, the stars have to align across:

  • Relevance: Does this message resonate with the unique characteristics of the buyer?
  • Timeliness: Is this currently top-of-mind with the buyer?
  • Being Right: Do you actually know the buyer? The data on the buyer’s demographics, interests and personal goals better be right.

So, what’s realistic and achievable when it comes to personalization in sales?

And equally as important, what level of personalization will yield the proper equivalent in impact?

To answer that, we first need to break down the different types of sales personalization. While “personalization” has historically been used in the context of digital content, such as a web page that changes based on a user’s profile, cookie, or IP address — we aren’t talking about that kind of content personalization here. Instead we are talking about content that a sales rep would personalize to make it more relevant for a specific buyer.

Interestingly enough, the level of personalization required by sales is heavily dependent on where the buyer is in their journey.

From left to right, the level of personalization gets more targeted, but the level of complexity and effort also increases. The important thing to understand is that the value and impact of personalization does not necessarily increase along with it.

This is because personalization takes time, and it can’t come at the cost of losing too much sales rep efficiency. We must consider the opportunity cost of creating personalized pieces of content for one buyer versus engaging with other potential buyers.

In a world where personalization is so important, the goal must be to make personalization as easy as possible for your sellers. It’s important to consider these key areas where you can reduce the amount of manual effort on your sales reps:

  • Content Findability: Have all presentations and other collateral stored in one central location for sales reps to easily find, as well as ensure that relevant materials can be surfaced up for sales reps via recommendations.
  • Content Customization: Make it easy for your sales reps to quickly assemble and customize content on the fly, with just enough control from the marketing team to ensure that they’re staying on-brand.
  • Data Mining: Ensure that your sales reps aren’t manually digging through data to input into presentations or documents by pulling from multiple data sources and automatically inputting data for them.

Sales content personalization is required to be relevant to today’s buyers. It can be done at many levels, but when done right, it should not ask sales reps to shoulder the burden of manual process that takes the buyer message off-strategy and off-brand. From a sales enablement standpoint, it is important to pick the right tool for the job, finding the right balance between complexity and automation.

For more insights into modern buyers, please check out this eBook on Winning Over the Modern Buyer.

This week’s post is by guest author, Shawnna Sumaoang, Director of Marketing for Highspot, a sales enablement platform that closes the loop across marketing, sales, and customers. Highspot uniquely delivers visibility and insights that help companies engage more effectively with customers, driving increased revenue and customer satisfaction.