Personalize Your B2B Communications Before They Fail

Personalize communications to B2B customers or you'll lose them.Arketi Group asked several marketing leaders what we should make top priorities in 2016. I can’t help but notice the absence from our discussion of what is becoming the biggest trend in 2016 – personalization.  Recently, Salesloft hosted their annual Rainmaker conference for those working in B2B sales development and related roles where the biggest takeaway was personalization.

This doesn’t mean just persona driven messages, leveraging research on a company and its product, but instead really messaging to people like an individual. True one-to-one communications with a level of authenticity will cut through the glut of emails that people receive.

Working at an embedded BI and analytics software company, I spend time every day reviewing sales and marketing oriented email. Currently, the volume sent to me usually totals at least 50 emails a day and breaks down into the following groups:

  • Content Offers – E-books, white papers or other assets I review and quickly act on if it is relevant and helpful to me.
  • News Aggregation – A fair amount of companies aggregate content they believe I will find helpful to keep current. They do this so that I keep them top of mind.
  • Fake “One-to-One” Communication – Poor SDR outreach that fakes “1 to 1” communication and includes a treatise about a company that can address just about any issue. This is the “we do stuff for money” pitch that is the modern form of SPAM.
  • Competent, Good SDR/BDR – One to one correspondence that is short, to the point and relevant enough to me and Izenda that I know they put some time into it.
  • True Stunners Worth Every Word – Every once and awhile I get a true stunner of a one to one email crafted in a way that proves to me that the person did their homework and truly believes they can help me. This help isn’t just to buy their product. They help me to understand how to better define and solve challenges that are real and important to me as I manage the realities of working in a growing and evolving organization.

The most recent stunner email came from a rep, George, at Datafox and included the following after a clean introductory sentence referencing why he was reaching out.

”After listening to your “Tech Talk” on TAG radio from last year, one of the things that really resonated with me was the emphasis you placed on having everyone in an organization focus on making data driven decisions at the right time, and working with software companies to make their overall process better.”

This was particularly powerful because I knew he didn’t just skim our home page he went to look for something that gave him a perspective on me, Izenda and how I view our business. The bulk of the spam-light emails I receive discuss enterprise BI or Big Data solution user lists. They completely miss the focus we place on working with ISVs, solutions providers and other SMBs who develop applications and face challenges when delivering self-service BI and analytics capabilities insider their application.

George at Datafox gets it and he does it in a way that shows he recognizes a challenge we face.  In the next paragraph he notes:

“During the talk you mentioned that your customers can span a number of different fields and that instead you focus on anyone developing a software application. I was curious to know how you identify these companies and, with such a large number of potential clients, how your marketing team decides to reach out and engage on any given day.”

Eureka! Thank you, George. You have done it. You have shown your competence, you have got me focused on a constant challenge we face. Even though we focus on organizations developing applications (not enterprise BI buyers) and we have a successful track record of seamlessly embedding in ERP, CCM, EMR, Asset Management, financial and regulatory applications, we (like every business) are looking to focus our efforts.

To be fair, George had a bit of an in because he knew I was at Rainmaker and he knew our organization works with Salesloft, a company that DataFox is partnering with to deliver the SDR Cloud.  While this makes me a warmer lead, George does not take that for granted, as his well-crafted email shows.

Understanding the value of personalization intensifies the challenge of scaling. Effective personalization takes effort and time, but analytics show it is worth the effort.  According to several panelists and participants at the Rainmaker conference, personalized emails have at minimum a 300% greater response rate. Technologies supporting B2B sales development efforts that are designed to make personalization more efficient will be an emerging trend for the remainder of 2016 and into 2017.

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