Personalized Buyer Journeys: What They Are and How To Create Them

6 minutes
Jan 03, 2022
Account-Based ExperienceDigital Marketing

Personalized buyer journeys aren’t just for B2C shopping experiences anymore. These days, more than half of B2B buyers expect personalized engagement from sellers, up from 49% just two years ago....

Personalized buyer journeys aren’t just for B2C shopping experiences anymore. These days, more than half of B2B buyers expect personalized engagement from sellers, up from 49% just two years ago.

If your revenue team hasn’t yet embraced this trend, it should. Meeting customer expectations by personalizing your company’s messaging across ads, nurturing campaigns, websites, and other channels helps your buyers make important decisions. It builds trust and loyalty among prospects and customers, too.

And it can impact your bottom line:

But despite all the signs, 42% of B2B marketers aren’t fully personalizing their marketing efforts. Which means there’s a roughly 50/50 chance that your competitors are already going all-in on personalization. But what about your company? 

If you’re ready to level up your personalization game, keep reading. You’ll learn why personalization is so important, and how to craft and execute your own personalized marketing campaign.

Coming Up with Great Campaigns

Not long ago, we published a beginner’s course on ABM personalization. If you’re new to ABM or want a refresher, take a peek when time permits. To get the most out of today’s post, here’s the need-to-know:

  • Audience Segmentation: Ground your personalization in the stuff that matters most to your revenue team and buyers. Before tailoring messages to your buyer audience, make sure to strategically segment them into groupings, such as industry, revenue, or company size.
  • Scalability: The best ABM approaches blend personalization (interacting with audiences in ways that feel human and special) with orchestration (coordinating and mobilizing groups of data). This creates honed-in experiences for buyers, but at scale that’s manageable.
  • Omnichannel: Personalize messaging across all channels and platforms, including online ads, nurturing campaigns, marketing assets, sales team talk tracks, and of course, your website.

Here’s how we at 6sense applied those key points to a recent — and successful — personalized campaign. (6sense CMO Latané Conant recently shared this information at our annual Breakthrough customer conference.)

6sense’s Recent Personalized Campaign

At 6sense, we know that 90% of our Stage 1 accounts move from to Stage 2 when they’re also using a Sales Engagement Platform (SEP) like Outreach or Salesloft. This means…

  • As a company, 6sense benefits from more stickiness and sales adoption when customers have both 6sense and a companion SEP, and
  • 6sense generates higher customer lifetime value by embedding 6sense insights and predictions within companion SEPs

Armed with this intelligence, 6sense recently created a campaign that targeted new-logo accounts and contacts that use SEPs that currently partner with 6sense. The effort to target revenue opportunities was comprehensive:

  • Target stage: Here, we enrolled in “Drive Web Engagement” AI orchestrations
  • Awareness stage: Here, we launched display ads and acquired missing contacts with data orchestration via 6sense; we launched social ads via Facebook; and we launched persona-based nurtures via Marketo
  • Consideration stage: Here, we auto-adjusted stage-based display ads; we added LinkedIn to social ads; and we expanded persona-based nurture emails for new contacts via Marketo
  • Decision stage: Our 6sense Qualified Account (6QA) dashboards prioritized BDR activity; using Salesloft, we automated 6QA emails to ensure 100% coverage; and we offered direct gifting for unresponsive contacts via Alyce
  • Purchase stage: Using 6sense exclusively, we leveraged account insights to drive effective meeting prep; we used our “next-best actions” capability to guide reps to deeper account engagement; and we generated recommended talking points to ensure relevancy

We then boosted revenue performance with a coordinated campaign execution across many channels and experiences:

  • Our relevant, always-on ad campaigns (based on buying stage) reached accounts, which linked to
  • Landing pages that were personalized to explicitly mention the Sales Enablement Platform used by the account and the benefits of combining that SEP with 6sense, which triggered
  • Topic-based retargeting campaigns, which led to
  • Web personalization upon return site visits, which included
  • On-page targeted chatbot sequences, meanwhile
  • Persona-based emails also drove visits and engagement, such as
  • Highly curated and personalized content experiences at our website’s content hub, and then
  • When accounts qualified as 6QAs, we triggered BDR outreach, which led to
  • Highly personalized, timely, and relevant outreach that generated meetings, and then
  • 6sense’s technology predicted next-best actions to deepen account engagement as the deal cycle progresses, which were measured by
  • Segment performance, which revealed trends in account engagement and buying stage progression, and we also measured with
  • Technology from Fortella (a recent addition to the 6sense family) to determine if the campaign was resulting in enough pipeline to hit our revenue goals

This level of full-spectrum personalization generated terrific results. For instance, at the time of this writing:

  • Time on-site for our personalized landing pages increased 33% (compared to our average time-on site)
  • Bounce rate decreased 14% (compared to our on-site average)
  • LinkedIn ad clickthrough rate improved by an astonishing .20%

Some Creative Tips and Tricks

It’s one thing to explain that content should be personalized. That’s easy for most marketers to understand. It’s another thing to explain how to create impactful experiences like the ones shown in our example.

Put another way, what concepts, copy and creative do you need to make an impression on audiences … and make the campaign a success? 

Here’s some quick guidance from 6sense’s DX/Brand creative leaders:

  • Let your brand guidelines lead the way. Established messaging and a strong visual language for your brand can help accelerate and streamline your creative process.
  • To keep designs or imagery customizable at scale, keep it simple. Use images with elements that can be easily swapped out, or use vector art to convey concepts and ideas.
  • Tight deadlines can be a good thing. When seasoned creatives need to move quickly, they tend to blast past cliched messaging and design concepts.
  • Communicate, but don’t dictate. Make sure your creative team knows what concepts you want to get across, but trust your artists to work their magic.
  • Proactive creative teams work more efficiently than reactive ones. Designers and writers should start collaborating on campaigns from Day One.

And of course, your creative team should collaborate with the rest of marketing and sales to work within your data-driven campaign strategy, understand the needs of your target audiences, and use the most effective messaging for moving them along the buyer journey.

Conclusion

Personalized buying experiences help prospects and customers feel understood and valued, and research shows that they move the needle when it comes to boosting engagement, closing sales, and getting repeat business.

Reaching prospective buyers at every stage of the buyer’s journey and across all channels with a personalized campaign sounds complicated, but it doesn’t need to be. Rely on data—like the kind you get from 6sense—to segment your audience, personalize only the elements that matter to keep it scalable, and repurpose messaging and imagery to create an immersive, consistent omnichannel experience.