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How To Create Engagement At Scale With Your Prospects

  • Written by Nick Bhavsar, Bound
  • Published in Demanding Views

Nick PictureMarketing is at a critical inflection point. With more spam marketing than ever, B2B prospects are being inundated by intrusive phone sales calls, advertising that follows them around the web, and unsolicited emails.  This results in prospects increasingly tuning out marketing messages. According to a recent Symantec report, spam levels hit a two-year high in July, accounting for almost 55% of all email that was sent that month. 

In addition, while batch and blast email automation, programmatic media and retargeting all accelerate our ability to put generic stories in front of prospects for diminishing costs, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for marketing messages to stand out.

So, how can marketers rise above all the noise to create engaging experiences for their prospects while helping them solve real business challenges for the long term?

In a word: relevance.

Unfortunately, the majority of marketers looking to combat this issue aren’t looking in the right place. Often, their funnel isn’t the challenge, it’s above the funnel where they lose the most opportunity to engage prospects. We need to look at the biggest culprit: our websites.

We know that 95% of website traffic is anonymous. With this unknown audience, you currently have limited insight into who they are and why they are visiting your website. So, you naturally show them your default website and homepage. While this is typically a carefully crafted message or content, for many prospects, this can be annoyingly generic and considered unwelcome marketing and it’s resulting in us missing potential customers.

Marketers know too well that effectively engaging these anonymous visitors is no small feat. While marketers may know which market they operate in and which accounts they want to target, it’s a real challenge to engage the right personas. Each persona in a buying group has a unique perspective on your solution and requires a unique explanation on how you can help them grow their business.

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Traditionally, human intuition was required to identify these key buying roles. Sales people instinctively have this deep insight and can navigate through the process, but your website currently can’t do this. As a result, the generic stories that are currently being created for unique audiences on your website, are unwelcome marketing.

We don’t need better automation to solve this issue, we need welcome marketing — the kind that speaks to individual needs. In order to do this effectively, marketers need to become “persona-centric” and leverage unique data to find the key decision-makers and influencers — or personas —  and develop marketing campaigns specifically designed to engage those personas along their buyer journey.

Creating Personas To Improve Personalization And Drive Demand

B2B marketers already have a wealth of data available to them. The key is leveraging that data to identify the unique personas in the organization who are actively looking for a new solution. This is now possible with modern personalization. Marketers can now create web programs that detect web visitors who are prospects actively researching for solutions. When you are able to identify visitors as potential decision-makers, and you know their intent, you can engage them with real-time web personalization. The key to creating a welcome marketing experience is to leverage technology that gives them exactly what they want on each visit to your website.

Industry analyst firm Sirius Decisions recognizes the need for marketers to engage the entire buying group. The firm recently updated its Demand Unit Waterfall to include demand units, a new demand type that places personas at the center of driving demand. In addition, Sirius Decisions introduced several new stages to their waterfall including an ”Active Demand” stage that recognizes many prospects are in market for solutions but have not yet engaged with marketing programs. While 95 percent of web visitors never fill out a form, many of those buyers do indeed play a role in the buying group.

For example, salespeople know that a CFO may never fill out a form on the website, but they can make or break a deal. So, sales attempts to proactively pass along content that helps their internal advocates articulate the ROI of their solution in finance terms. What if your website knew when CFOs from your open pipeline accounts were visiting? What content would you want to serve? For good reason, this methodology has been gaining significant traction with B2B marketers, and many are seeing a significant increase in engagement and ROI as a result.

Here are just a couple examples of the positive results B2B marketers have recently seen after leveraging personalization to create welcome messages that offer real value and substance:

  • Blackbaud, a non-profit management software provider, recently ran a web personalization program and saw a 278% lift in conversion with upsell messaging to key contacts
  • Industrial Automation and Information product provider, Rockwell Automation, saw a 20x lift in traffic to key converting pages by directing target personas to relevant content.

Could web personalization help you engage your prospects and create a welcome marketing experience? With these kind of results, you can no longer afford to wait and see.

Nick Bhavsar, SVP of Marketing at Bound, strives to help marketers build stronger, deeper, more relevant experiences using data insights and digital personalization. To learn more, visit: www.bound360.com.