In the B2C world, consumers have embraced personalized websites in a big way, demanding that businesses cater to their specific needs.
And customers respond with their wallets when companies follow through.
B2B companies, however, have been a little slower to leap onto the personalization bandwagon.
Increasingly, though, the employees at B2B companies, having become accustomed to personalized treatment when doing their own browsing and shopping online, want to see similar personalization on the job.
Why should they respond to a generic sales pitch from one vendor when a different vendor has taken the time and interest to better meet their specific needs?
As you consider the value of website personalization for your own company, it's smart to look at the B2B best practices that are currently fueling customer engagement.
It's relatively simple to design landing pages and the like based just on browser data:
Where did the person click from?
Where are they located?
Are they a returning visitor?
Sure, browser data is useful, but in the B2B world, you want to dive much deeper.
After all, you typically have a greater depth of data to draw from than B2C retailers do.
Use data gathered via your CRM software, your marketing automation, live chat, email, and third-party data sources to help personalize your site more deeply and accurately.
Yes, you want to dig deep, but you can also learn a lot from the data you gain from even the simplest interaction: Device type, geographical location, time of day and more.
If you learn that many of your best customers are coming to your site from their smartphones, for instance, you can focus on better personalizing for mobile users.
Your top customers already know and appreciate what you offer — but they may be put off if the message they get is that you're more interested in gathering new clients than in taking care of current ones.
Target your existing customers with special offers that reinforce the relationship you have with them.
When you aim personalized targeting efforts at current customers, you may be able to increase their average order value and enhance long term loyalty to your brand.
B2B visitors to your site are likely to slip away, hoping to be unnoticed, if you start asking them for their contact information right away.
Of course you want to capture those email addresses and see what companies are visiting you.
The good news is that you don't have to be nosy to get the data you need. Using a reverse IP look-up service lets you identify your visitors based on their IP addresses.
IP identification services aren't that useful to B2C companies, but because most business visitors typically use their business network or VPN, you can gather valuable business data without scaring your visitors away.
Using predictive personalization that matches potential audiences to the right choice of message can be particularly helpful in the B2B environment.
B2C websites are deluged with data they can use to build customized variations of their landing pages and onsite messaging.
Yet many B2B companies typically experience lower traffic, so gathering the same quantity of data can be difficult or even impossible.
This is where predictive personalization comes in, helping you to choose the right variation of every page on your site to match and manage your audience's expectations.
As you gather data, you can start to gradually segment your audience into categories that are useful to your specific needs.
For example, what parameters distinguish ordinary leads from buyers who are ready to make a purchase soon?
Understanding that could help you design targeted pages for customers displaying those telltale online behaviors.
An example is using behavioral targeting to flag new hires at established customer accounts. This can help your sales staff know to reach out and introduce themselves, establishing a positive first impression of your company's dedication to their needs.
Real-time personalization turns your B2B website into a unique customer experience for each and every one of your clients.
What other best practices might you propose for B2B website personalization?
What problems do you think personalization could solve for your business?