When 94% of businesses claim that personalization is the key to their success, it’s a difficult statistic to ignore.
So why is personalization so important when it comes to sales?
Sales strategies are a vital part of any company plan, because they position the brand to gain a competitive edge over similar businesses. They allow companies to create a long-term plan that takes into account data, feedback, and results to carve a defined strategy that suits their customers – and, therefore, creates more sales.
The most successful sales strategies focus on the target market and cater every bit of promotion and marketing in that direction. They communicate with customers in a relevant and meaningful way but, more importantly, they create a unique experience for the customer.
Today, advertising has become less about general broadcasts and more about honing individual experiences for different users – and this is why personalization within sales is becoming increasingly popular.
Consumers are less passive than they used to be and are instead choosing what information they do and don’t listen to, so when they come across a sales message that doesn’t speak to them personally, they are ten times more likely to walk in the other direction.
This is why personalization is so powerful in every step of the sales process.
The Benefits of Personalization in a Sales Strategy
There are numerous benefits to personalizing your sales strategy. Not only does it help you grow a loyal and committed customer base (because your customers feel like you are speaking directly to them), but it also helps you learn more about your ideal customer and how you can cater to them in the best way possible – and, therefore, garner more sales.
A recent study by Econsultancy and Monetate showed that businesses who personalized their web and sales experience (and could therefore quantify their improvement via key website metrics and online sales) saw an increase of 19% in sales on average.
What does that mean for those businesses?
Well, not only does it equate to hundreds of millions of dollars of additional sales, but it also provides them with the opportunity to measure and tweak their strategies in a way that’s increasingly geared towards their ideal customers.
So what does personalization mean in a sales strategy?
Let’s get down to the nitty gritty of it.
Now you know why incorporating an element of personalization into your sales strategy is important for your business and your customers, let’s look at some of the ways in which you can implement it successfully.
So many businesses dive in head first without really measuring who it is they want to target, why they want to target them, and how they’re going to target them.
This is the first step in any personalization process – you need to know exactly who you’re speaking to in order to speak to them in the right way.
Determining Your Ideal Customer
Honing in on your ideal customer is incredibly beneficial for your business. Not only does it help you gear your marketing in the right direction, but it also helps you measure whether you’re reaching the right people and their reaction to you.
Any strategy begins by knowing who your message is to and what your message is. But we admit it can be difficult when your ideal customer might just have many different personas and many different interests.
There are a couple of methods you can employ to get a better understanding of your customers.
- Surveys. Sending out surveys to your consumer base is a great starting point. Ask leading questions instead of yes/no ones so you can glean a deeper understanding into their desires, their problems and, more importantly, how you can provide solutions.
- Research. Conducting in-depth research into your target customer is vital before you even step anywhere near personalization. Look into the past buying behaviors of your ideal customers, whether it’s from you or your competitors, and dig into the journeys they took to get there. You also want to make note of any campaigns that have really struck a nerve with your customers and consider the elements that made them so successful.
Once you have a thorough understanding of your target customer and what kind of problems they want solving, you can begin to put together a personalized experience for them.
Now, there are two stages of personalization here.
The first is the idea of personalizing for your target customer base as a whole. That means speaking to them as if they were one person, but providing a similar journey for everyone.
After conducting your research, this could look like a sales page that uses the same language that your target customers used in their survey answers, or it might be a tried and tested journey that has proven successful with the vast majority of your customer based.
On the other hand, you can take personalization a step further and provide a unique journey for every single individual depending on their past buying behavior and their specific wants and needs.
What Does Unique Personalization Look Like in a Sales Strategy
Every personalization method will look different for every business – because no two businesses will have the exact same customer base and no two customers are likely to take the exact same journey.
That being said, there are a couple of techniques you can use to begin providing a personalized process for your customers.
1. Navigational Personalization
This is where the customer’s journey is determined by their purchase history and their past online behavior. Think of companies like Amazon, who offer “recommended for you” options based on what the customer has previously bought.
Navigational personalization can easily be employed if you use tracking pixels, where the customer’s journey is traced through their cookies to provide them with a unique experience that is made just for them.
This kind of personalization can also be employed throughout the website experience, where the customer is guided down a different path depending on their clicking habits.
For example, one user might decide they aren’t ready to purchase yet, so you show them a pop-up to subscribe and, from there, you can nurture them with more content until they’re ready to buy.
These customers are warm leads but they aren’t necessarily the most confident buyers, so a personalized navigation will take them through more steps before the buying process than a more confident buyer.
When you consider that a whopping 71% of businesses don’t personalize their websites, there’s a lot of room for improvement. Take a potential customer who visits your competitor’s site and sees a general message compared to a visit to your site, where they see a personalized message that speaks to their needs and desires.
2. Database Segmentation
This is increasingly becoming a vital part of any sales strategy because it gives you as a business the chance to get to know your customers, and it gives your customers the chance to receive information that’s highly relevant to them – and, therefore, makes them more likely to purchase.
Database segmentation simply refers to tagging and segmenting your audience in your CRM determined on what their interests are.
You can do this by offering different points of sign up depending on what page the user has landed on (a user on a page selling baby toys might be tagged “parent”, while a user on a page selling clothes might be tagged “fashionistas”, for example).
A well as offering different points of sign up, you can ask your audience to segment themselves when they sign up. You can do this by offering a tick box selection of words and asking them to tick the ones that best describe them and the problems they’d like solving.
Finally, you can segment your audience determined on the purchases they have already made. This means you already know what they’re interested in so can send similar items their way.
Segmenting your customer base in this way is one of the easiest and most successful sales strategy because you’re essentially asking your customers what they want and then providing them with exactly that.
Boca Java, a coffee bean company employed database segmentation by tagging customers who bought two bags of beans, customers who bought three bags of beans, and customers who bought four bags of beans.
During one sale, they sent out emails offering a 17% discount to all three segments and found that those who were tagged with buying just two bags were more likely to take advantage of the offer. This meant they could determine which customers would respond well to which offers and, in turn, create upsells that tapped into that.
3. Personalized Content
Thirdly, you can personalize content depending on your customers’ previous behavior. This ties in nicely with database segmentation because at that stage in the process you have their specific interests so that when you come to create personalized content, you know exactly what it is they need.
Demandbase employed this tactic by altering their content depending on where the customer had arrived from (whether it was via Google or another method) and tracked cookies to dig deep into data to provide information about where they worked or other sites they had been to recently.
It’s easy to see that personalization is key to a successful sales strategy in this day and age, especially when you consider that consumers are becoming more and more active in their own buying journeys.
General messages no longer cut it. Instead, you have to dig deeper to really get to know your ideal customer and provide them with information and products that they literally can’t say no to.