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In a world of mass emails and buyers reeling under stimulus overload, personalization has become critical to B2B marketing. Buyers are becoming harder to identify and increasingly like consumers: They want personalized outreach and one-to-one interaction, every time.

Part of the reason for this is that people have action triggers, and personalization with a variable reward helps trigger a chemical reaction in the brain—a dopamine release—and a response. The Coke bottle name campaign is a good example: People love to find bottles with their own names; but, you won't always find one, so the surprise of seeing your name makes you feel special.

That's also what makes you go back to Facebook or Twitter a dozen times a day: The content is so varied, some extremely personal and on target with your interests, and others slightly off-base; it's the anticipation of what's waiting for you that's exciting—that variable reward causes a constant loop of dopamine-seeking. And it's the same reason you check your phone notifications all day long.

When you personalize something in an unexpected way, it makes the person on the receiving end to feel good and prompts them to react.

A second reason is—particularly with enterprise sales—customers buy for one reason: It will help them. So, they're always asking: Will this help me, and how?

If they have a pain keeping them up at night and your solution can resolve it, they'll consider you and your product or service. However, they're likely going to research your company and solution—reading your website and materials several times—before starting a conversation. With marketing tools like those from Marketo, Eloqua, and HubSpot, you can now see what they're up to: There are tons of tools that can show you who's doing what on your website.

Then there are platforms that can change the content or messages on your site based on what those people are doing and how many times they've visited, according to where the tool presumes the prospect is in the funnel. By doing that, the tool is essentially taking customers by the hand and digitally guiding them through the funnel process. That's partly why personalization is so important. It leads to quicker wins because subconsciously the customer feels that your solution is right for them, even if they don't realize this process is happening.

And, third, identifying the right buyers is becoming significantly more complicated: Today, B2B purchases are often a group buy. You might know the key decision-makers, evangelists, and the signer, but you probably don't know who any of the other players are—and they're all important. There's no way to find out who they are unless they come to your site and download something, or you use a strong business intelligence (BI) tool.

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image of Shira Abel

Shira Abel is CMO of Folloze, an enterprise ABM sales platform, and the CEO of Hunter & Bard, a marketing agency that works with SaaS companies.

LinkedIn: Shira Abel

Twitter: @shiraabel