Much of the current conversation around personalization in marketing focuses on B2C companies. But that doesn’t mean B2B organizations are being ignored. Far from it.
While the latest research shows that simply calling someone by their name in an email subject line increases open rates by up to 41 percent, such basic, decades-old personalizations are the tip of the iceberg.
Today, Seismic announced the launch of its Seismic for Outlook solution, which aims to solve two distinct B2B sales problems: finding the right sales collateral at the right time, and personalizing it so that it is super-relevant.
How important is personalization in a B2B environment?
“According to Forrester, 77 percent of executive buyers claim salespeople don’t understand their issues and where they can help,” Doug Winter, CEO at Seismic told me. “Prospects are expecting a one-to-one buying experience, relevant to their own problems and needs. This indicates that personalization is critical. Sales reps only get one chance to provide a consultative, one-to-one sales interaction, and if they don’t tailor to each prospect they will simply lose the deal.”
The company, which was founded in 2010 and has raised $24.5 million in funding, showed me the solution in action. In short, Seismic’s Outlook integration allows sales reps to find the right follow-up materials, such as case studies, tear sheets, presentations, or proposals, without leaving the ubiquitous email client. Here’s how it works.
When a salesperson is looking at an email in Outlook, they can invoke the Seismic plugin. A window opens, showing the full catalog of available sales collateral — everything from overview sheets, statements of work, and proposals to videos, training courses, and pricing sheets. In fact, it displays anything the business has created to help the sales team win the day. But that’s not the smart part.
When linked to Salesforce, a “suggested content” section appears that shows the best possible content for that recipient. This feature chooses content based on a number of factors, including where the prospect or customer is in the buying cycle and any current opportunities.
A new prospect may have “getting to know us” documents appear in the suggestions, whereas a prospect that is about to close may find they’re about to receive the advised “terms and conditions” or “proposals” the system recommends.
The content is then able to be personalized further before sending, including the use of the contact’s name, address, details, products they’re interested in, pricing, and more, using Seismic’s LiveDoc feature. Analytics tell salespeople how the content is performing in the field and whether prospects are interacting with the material.
Does this also help the marketing team, who may otherwise produce collateral that never sees use in the field?
“SiriusDecisions estimates that 60 to 70 percent of a company’s content goes unused, for two major reasons: half the time it is because content is irrelevant, and the other half of the time it’s because sales reps can’t find what they need,” Winter said. “Marketing’s problem is determining what collateral is irrelevant and what can’t be found. Seismic solves this problem by allowing marketing teams to see which materials are being used and which aren’t, so the right materials are seen and used exactly when they should be. This gives marketing the right feedback to create more valuable content guaranteed to be utilized by sales.”
Seismic for Outlook is available today. For those wanting to see it in person, the company will be demonstrating its new content suggestion and personalization solution at Dreamforce 2015.