When 77% of B2B consumers have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provides a personalized service or experience, and 51% of consumers feel it is important to get a personalized experience across all digital channels within a brand, it is clear to see that personalizing your brand experience is crucial. It’s also crucial to understand which marketing tactics to use when in the B2B customer lifecycle.
Below, we will explain each stage of the B2B customer lifecycle, with some personalization tactics that fit into each stage.
In this stage of B2B lifecycle marketing, your potential customer and their company have just become aware of your business’s existence. At this point, it’s important to make a good first impression to keep customers on your website.
Blog and curated website content
It’s important to provide shoppers with inspiration, and keep them updated on trends in your industry. This is where a blog can come in. This tactic could also aid you in your SEO.
An example of a good blog by a B2B company can be found on Coooksongold’s website.
If possible, you could also create leaflets and eBooks about your business and products that potential customers can download off your website.
Once the potential customer has been on your website for a little while, it’s time for a non-intrusive popover. This can be triggered by their behavior, such as exit intent.
The popover should capture their data, such as their name, company name, and email, and anything else you deem important information for your business. It’s important not to have too many boxes for them to fill in, as this can cause frustration and higher bounce rates. Instead, ask the crucial questions your business needs to know from the first interaction.
In the example below, HTS Spares use a discount code in their popover to entice customers to give their data in return for a discount.
Once your potential customer has agreed and given you their email address, you can send them your first triggered email. Don’t make this email too salesy. Instead, make it warm and inviting, and ensure that the tone you use is consistent with the rest of your business’s messaging when you’re introducing yourself. Set your customers’ expectations based on what you offer.
You can use this email to introduce a how-to guide, explaining how to use your products, or how to order your products.
This is the stage of the B2B lifecycle in which the customer is aware of your business, and is considering making a purchase from you. They are still researching competitors, so make sure your business stands out. This is where personalization gives you a huge advantage; you can show them information relevant to them when they need it.
When customers compare potential businesses they want to buy their products from, they may be looking at what other people have said about your business. At this stage, social proof can be a huge factor as to which business they choose to purchase from.
Social proof can include ratings and reviews, as well as scarcity and popularity messaging. These tactics make use of ‘wisdom of the crowd’ and FOMO, speeding up the purchasing process and building trust between customers and your business.
Cooksongold makes use of both ratings and reviews, as well as urgency messaging in the examples below.
Do your customers speak highly of you? Why not ask them if you can put a testimonial from them on your website. This reassures new customers that you are trustworthy, and helps you stand out from the crowd.
Webinars and events
If you host any events, or do any networking, why not recommend these occasions to potential customers? This way, you can show them what you offer, and help convince them to buy from you.
We’ve spoken about using product recommendations in email, but they are also a very valuable tactic to implement on your website. Each recommendation can be based on all of your behavioral data about each individual customer, as well as contextual data such as location. This tactic can be used past the research and comparison stage; the recommendations evolve by learning more about your customers and their individual needs throughout the following stages of B2B lifecycle marketing as well.
If a customer has browsed a certain product several times but not bought it, and it’s running out of stock, this can be a great opportunity to send another triggered email. This ‘low stock’ email will increase urgency within the customer, due to FOMO (fear of missing out), speeding up the purchase decision process.
There’s also back-in-stock emails, which can lessen frustration. When a product a customer needs goes out of stock, they can sign up to receive a notification when it’s back in stock again. When it is, this email will be sent, leading to conversions as the customer can finally buy the product they’ve been waiting for.
Has a customer been browsing a certain more expensive product, and spent a lot of time coming back to the product listing page, but not bought it? It may be because it’s out of their price range. Sending a price drop email when that product drops in price can be the tipping point that will convince them to buy it.
Another email example is, if you have any kind of sale running, this is a good time to send an email with a dynamic countdown timer. This timer can then countdown to the end of the sale, increasing urgency within customers to make a purchase.
Cooksongold does exactly that in the example below, running a countdown for their deal of the week.
Your potential customer is now a customer, and they have made (or are making) their first purchase from you. Now is the time in the B2B customer lifecycle to make sure this purchase goes well, and leave such a good impression that customers will want to make a second purchase.
Now that your customer has made their first purchase, a triggered post-purchase email can be a useful tactic to leave a good impression.
If your product requires a guide on how to use it or sell it, be sure to include this in your email, as well as any shipping information. You can also ask your customers for a feedback review, which you can then use to add to your website and other channels as a form of social proof, or as a way to improve your products and services.
Cart & browse abandonment
These triggered emails can be a vital part of your personalization tactics.
Sometimes, customers will cart products, but not end up checking out. This leads to lost revenue, but all is not lost. With cart abandonment emails, you can recover some lost carts. These are triggered emails that get sent at an interval of your choosing, reminding customers of their abandoned cart. It should give them the option to recover their cart completely via the CTA (call to action) inside, allowing them to continue exactly where they left off.
If a high intent potential customer browses specific categories of items in your online assortment multiple times, but doesn’t cart anything, you can send them a browse abandonment email. Similarly to cart abandonment, this email is sent at an interval of your choosing, and can include a CTA back to the website. It’s wise to include some product recommendations within the email, based on the customer’s previous browsing behavior, allowing them to find what they need.
In the example below, HTS Spares makes use of product recommendations in their cart abandonment email.
You can also send certain customers a dynamic coupon within these emails.
The CTA in this email should take customers straight to the products the coupon could work for, without them needing to fill in the coupon code for it to work.
Make sure you send this email to the right segments, though, as sending this to those who would spend more money on the product may not only cost you potential revenue, but may also devalue your business.
Similarly to discounts, you can also offer a free product sample, helping you to build trust with your customers. Ensure that you don’t devalue your brand by sending it to high-value customers, though.
Make sure customers know exactly how much they are going to pay before they check out. This includes tax, delivery fees, service fees, and anything else added on top of the product’s price. This will help avoid frustration from customers, and prevent exit rates and abandoned carts.
Your customers have made their first few purchases from you. How do you retain them? Below are some ideas to help you keep your customers loyal in this stage of B2B lifecycle marketing.
BAU personalized newsletters
Now that you have the data for this customer/account, make sure that your business-as-usual newsletters are still personalized to them. Include product recommendations that will appeal to them, and don’t forget to add social proof within the emails.
You can use these emails to provide exclusive content as well as company and product updates. You can also include high-level guides to your products, allowing customers to learn anything and everything about them so that they know exactly why they should buy and sell them.
Cross- and up-selling email recommendations
You can also start sending customers more emails with cross- and up-selling tactics. Make sure these emails stay relevant to your customers, and that they are sent at the right time. They can be combined with post-purchase or abandonment emails, for example, for maximum impact.
You can include discounts for up-selling, allowing customers to try out higher value products. If they like the product, their AOV may go up.
Loyalty programs aren’t just for B2C. Reward your loyal customers with points or other perks to incentivize them to continue buying from you, and not switch brands.
Referral program offers
Does your customer know any other businesses that could benefit from your products? Why not ask them? Give them an incentive and opportunity to share their good experiences with you, and gain another happy customer (or maybe even more than one)!
Surveys and customer feedback
Maybe your customers have some ideas as to how to improve your products. Don’t be afraid to ask them in a survey. Don’t be afraid to ask for positive feedback, either! You may be able to create some testimonials on your website from your current customers.
Once you have personalization tactics set up for each stage of the B2B lifecycle, it is vital to make sure everything is tested and optimized. You can do this by running manual or automatic A/B tests, or even by using our Contextual Auto Optimize feature.
How Fresh Relevance can help
Is personalized B2B lifecycle marketing something that your business is still looking to improve? Our B2B personalization module adds to our full suite of functionality, including cross-channel personalization, advanced triggered messaging, customer data management and optimization features. The module provides support for multiple price lists, which empowers you to display the correct prices according to each individual customer’s contract. Book a demo with us today and find out how we can help you achieve your business goals.