Effective personalisation is crucial to succeeding in modern relations online. And this is common sense, and not at all easy to deliver upon. The challenges are two.

The key lies in rethinking what "personalisation" really means as it applies to the B2B sales process. Many people tend to think of personalisation as it's enough to mention someone's name. Off course that is nice, but only to get someone's attention, not to engage them.

Your prospects and customers need to find content or functionality solving the problem or challenge that they have top of mind right now. To keep the interest, you need to get the nuance right, and this is where a lot of personalisation efforts fall short.

Say you're selling a manufacturing effectiveness software. You likely use a general outreach message that you send to everyone at a targeted organisation. It will be aligned with recipients, in the sense that they all work in manufacturing. But chances are, the outreach only will be relevant for the production manager.

What if you create separate content and messages for the operator, the foreman, the production manager, and the CEO? The effectiveness of manufacturing touch each of these functions in different ways. Develop customised messaging – maybe even presentations loaded with stats, insights and data – for each discipline, outlining how your software will help them to increase their effectiveness. Now you are on your way to building consensus, and context.

This will become scalable as you can start to re-use content across different prospects and customers. You can apply information gleaned from, e.g. LinkedIn and Sales Navigator to map out each organisation's structure and align your outreach with varying roles in their manufacturing and production departments.

Personalisation starts with research. You must be interested in and know the companies and their buying teams. You must understand their pain points and learn about any changes or events within the company that might signal their need for your possible solution.

Developing focused messaging and content that speaks directly to each stakeholder’s circumstances and unique problems will go a lot further than merely plugging their name into a message. Doing this consistently can provide a significant edge over other sales teams that are happy to fall back on the old' paste-and-send — especially if you've got good and relevant data.

Nothing cuts through that clutter like highly relevant, personalised communication. The personalisation needs to be accurate and able to address the prioritised pain points. Usually, your competitors base their communications on limited data sets. If your data is better, your personalisation will be too.

B2B personalisation isn't just about adding in someone's name, or even a reference to their alma mater, or their favourite sports. Again, that's not to say it isn't advisable to include these kinds of prompts for generating instant familiarity and recognition, but taking the next step to provide a tailored, substantive experience for the recipient is where prospecting can excel.

In either case, useful data is your guide. E.g. LinkedIn is a beneficial source for plenty of the details and insights that make scalably personalised sales outreach a reality. Use LinkedIn as a natural part of your way of working.

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Anders Björklund

Founder, CEO & Strategist since 2001. Anders provides thoughts and reflections about what and how to think about onlinification and digitalisation in B2B. Asks a lot of questions, and knows what to do with the answers.
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