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Expert Answers to Biz Questions

Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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How to Engage Your Buyers with Customized Content

 

One of the keys to successful account-based selling is developing a strong relationship with your customers. ABS isn’t transactional selling, but rather a mutually beneficial partnership in which you help your clients solve their problems and reach their goals.

 

Although there are many aspects to account-based selling to consider, they all begin with research and learning more about your target market and specific accounts. This type of selling requires that you go wide and deep when it comes to research; in other words, selling to businesses requires learning as much as you can about individuals at different levels of the organization. When you sell to business accounts, you aren’t looking to convince a single person that you have the best solution for their needs. You’re looking for buy-in from multiple stakeholders, who may or may not have the same priorities and pain points.

 

Keeping that in mind, you might begin to question why you would use the same content — including emails, white papers, reports, landing pages, etc. — for every person in every situation. Strong client relationships don’t usually spring from generic, one-size-fits-all. Rather, authentic relationships in which your clients trust you and want to buy from you come from a more personalized approach, in which you show exactly how you can meet their needs. This can begin with customized content.

 

Personalization vs. Customization

Often, in discussions related to content in account-based selling, the terms personalization and customization are used interchangeably. However, there is a difference between them and how they should be used.

 

Personalization simply means avoiding generic content or outreach. It’s putting a personal stamp on your communication — for example, mentioning a mutual contact when you first reach out (“Bob Smith suggested that I get in touch with you,” etc.). Even when you use some type of automated marketing, which isn’t always effective in account-based selling, content needs to be personalized, giving the recipient the impression that it was designed just for them.

 

To build strong relationships, though, you need to do more than just give the impression that the content was developed for that contact. You need to actually design content for them. Now, this isn’t appropriate for every contact or prospect. It takes time and should be reserved for the highest value clients. The results will speak for themselves when you put in the effort. According to Salesforce, best-in-class organizations have a 36 percent higher conversion rate when they create personalized custom content for prospects.

 

Custom content is more than adding a prospect name or company name to an email. It’s about developing content that answers the questions that your client has at that point in the sales process. This content is less about you and more about the customer. What can you do for this individual, based on the knowledge you have of their goals and challenges? Customized content shows that you understand your account’s priorities and needs and opens the door to better relationships.

 

What You Can Customize

Creating meaningful content customization in account-based selling requires you to thoroughly analyze everything you’ve learned about your accounts and put it to work. Keep in mind that it’s not something that should only be done once; rather, customization should occur throughout the sales process, and even after the contract is signed.

 

Some of the ways, then, that you can customize your content include:

  • Reports run specifically for your clients, showing how you can solve their issues.
  • Whitepapers or other reports that acknowledge and address specific client concerns. You can even use existing content; tweaks to the introduction and conclusion, adding photos or graphics related to the specific industry, and including relevant case studies or testimonials tells your clients that you understand them and what they are trying to accomplish
  • Targeted, specific landing pages that are tailored to the individual account.
  • Account-centric “annual reports” reviewing your partnership in the previous year, clearly showing results.

 

These are just a few ideas on how you can customize content. The idea is to make your clients feel as if you are speaking directly to them and that you understand what’s keeping them up at night and have a solution to those problems. Remember, quality is more important than quantity, and you need to have specific goals in mind when you share the content. Know what you want your clients to do as a result of the content, and you’ll know how to make changes or adjustments in the future. But above all, be authentic, and remember that everything goes back to relationships. If you do that, then you will undoubtedly have more successful content.

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