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 Personalization in Sales: 5 Ways to Start

Your future customers expect you to provide an experience that’s tailored to their unique needs and wants.

If you don’t, your competitors will.

In this guide, we’ll look at why personalization in sales is so important and show you five ways you can use personalization to improve the buying experience for your customers and leads.

Let’s dive in.

Why does personalization matter in sales?

1. Show you’re investing in the relationship upfront

When you run any sales outreach campaign, you’re asking a lot from your prospect.

You’re asking them to take time out of their day to respond to you and consider working with you.

Adding personalization to your sales outreach proves that you’ve already put work into the relationship. 

For example, take this email template from Intercom’s sales team:

Straight away, they mention the recipient by their name and mention their company name. But, they take it to the next level by creating a personalized video of how Intercom’s tools will look on the recipient’s website.

If your prospect sees your cold email like this, or you use a similar approach in a cold call, your prospects will instantly see that you’ve put effort into the relationship and will be happy to give you the time of day. 

On the other hand, if a busy decision-maker received a generic template without real personalization, they’ll know you’re not willing to spend time on the relationship – so why should they?

2. Improve overall business profitability

Personalization has a direct positive impact on your business revenue. In fact, 90% of marketers say that personalization “significantly” contributes to profitability.

By showing your prospects that you’re willing to put in extra effort to improve their buying experience, they’ll be more likely to spend their money with your business.

As well as that a McKinsey study found that 71% of buyers expect companies to deliver a personalized experience.

Today, the best companies will be personalizing every touchpoint, from the moment someone is identified as a sales prospect all the way until they become a happy customer or client.

3. Stand out from your competitors

Personalization shows that you’re different from the competition.

To stand out, you need to level up your approach and find ways to personalize the sales process that your competitors aren’t.

When a prospect reaches out to you, it’s because they want to solve a problem in their business. Chances are, they’re also reaching out to your competitors.

There are multiple ways you can show you care more about solving their problem than your competitors.

To start, your website can use a chatbot like Drift or Intercom to make it easy for visitors to ask questions or browse through help docs to find answers to their burning questions. These tools store data on prospects and act as a CRM, which means that when a member of your sales team reaches out to continue the conversation, they’ll have full context and can craft a thoughtful response.

As your conversation progresses, you can continue to log conversation history in your CRM so you can reference it and never forget an important detail.

If you want to go the extra mile, you could use an AI-based sales intelligence tool like Gong to extract key details from your email conversations and meetings with leads and make intelligent suggestions on how to approach the next interaction.

Source: Gong Reviews 2023: Details, Pricing, & Features | G2

Your prospects will notice that you never miss a key detail, and you’ll quickly build trust with them.

When your prospect comes to make a final purchase decision, they’ll remember that you’ve put time and effort into the relationship and will be happy to go with you as their vendor of choice.

5 ways to use personalization in sales to boost conversions

1. Add a custom opening line to your cold email outreach

One of the most powerful ways to stand out in your sales prospects’ inboxes is to use a custom opening line for each email you send.

This shows that your email could only be sent to that individual, which will instantly build trust.

Take this email template from The Top as an example:

Straight away, the email feels personalized because it mentions the recipient and company names in the first sentence.

When it comes to your emails, you need to get creative. Each opening line will be different depending on the recipient.

Examples of opening lines include:

  • “Awesome to see that [Company name] just opened a new office in Austin. I think you’ll like it here!”
  • “Enjoyed your podcast episode with [guest name], looking forward to testing some of those tips on our own product pages to increase conversions.”
  • [Mutual connection name] told me to reach out”.

Your cold email subject lines and email opening lines can be as simple as these examples, but even then, you can’t take shortcuts.

You have to put in the effort to find something unique to say to each prospect. But that’s why it works. Other sales teams using cold email won’t be putting in the same level of effort, so you’ll stand out.

The easiest process to follow to run this in a time-efficient manner is to spend two to three minutes per prospect, looking for something interesting about them that you can use as an icebreaker. Then, write down your opening line in your prospect list spreadsheet.

When you import these into your outbound sales software, you can add a custom attribute that means you can automatically import these into your templates.

As you create your template, all you’ll need to do is include your {{prospect.custom.Opening_Line}} attribute, and it will replace with your unique opening line when you send an email.

This tip will boost your reply rate and help you build trust with sales prospects from your very first interaction with them.

2. Use segmented emails to send the right content at the perfect time

It takes six to eight touches to turn a cold prospect into a warm sales lead who is ready to purchase.

One of the most powerful ways to turn more prospects into leads is with segmented email campaigns that are personalized to where each recipient is in their buying journey.

You can use a platform like Encharge to run this process.

Once you’ve set up your campaigns and rules, your emails will be sent on autopilot to sales prospects to help you with your lead nurturing process.

First, you’ll need to start collecting subscribers. These could be contacts from your HubSpot CRM, Instapage, Typeform, or any other lead generation capture system. The key is that these leads are showing interest in your business and willing to give you their contact details in exchange for something in return, such as an eBook, product demo, or webinar seat.

For example, readers on the Encharge blog are shown a lead magnet that gives them the option to choose their biggest challenge.

When someone chooses an option and inputs their contact details, they’ll receive content relevant to their biggest challenge.

You can then base your entire nurturing strategy around that pain point they’ve shared with you.

For example, if a lead opted-in to receive content related to sending onboarding emails, you can send them all of your best content on creating high-performing emails.

This level of segmentation also makes it easy for your team to keep track of each lead’s pain points which can be used to personalize meetings and conversations.

After sending several education-focused emails, you can start sending conversion-focused emails and your leads will be ready to take the next step towards being a customer.

The best part about this tip is that once your campaigns are in place you won’t need to manually send any new emails to leads in your sales pipeline. Instead, Encharge will send your campaigns and you’ll convert leads on autopilot.

3. Track proposal activity to improve follow-up personalization

Today, there are powerful tools to help you manage digital sales proposals like DocuSign, HelloSign, or FreshProposals.

These all include tools to help with ad hoc analysis and reporting and will show you details such as: 

  • The number of times your lead has opened the proposal
  • The pages on the proposal they’ve looked at most
  • Any links they’ve clicked in your proposal
Source: Proposal Software Features 

You can use this information to see whether a lead is still engaged in the sales process and determine the best time to follow up.

For example, if they haven’t opened your proposal in three days, you can send a follow-up email to check in and see if they have any questions.

If you see that they’re spending more time on a particular page of the proposal – for example, the pricing page – you can tailor your next meeting around pricing and the ROI on your product/service.

This ensures you’re always focused on the steps in the buying process that your sales leads are currently in, and you can preemptively remove any sales objections that they have.

4. Use on-site chatbots to engage with target accounts

Marketers who personalize the buying experience for their customers see a 19% uplift in sales.

You can use personalized on-site chatbots workflows to help your sales leads even when your team isn’t around to answer questions.

For example, when you visit SnapApp, a widget appears asking if leads have any questions.

Source: Help widgets: SnapApp v. Toast 

Not every visitor will interact, but when they do, it’s a powerful way to connect and help them.

For example, suppose a lead has a question about a particular feature of your plan.

They can go to your website, open your chatbot, and type: “What are the SMS sending limits of this Enterprise plan?”.

Your chatbot will be set up to suggest help docs based on keywords in the question, such as “sending limits” or “enterprise plan”.

Your sales lead can then click through to the relevant page or help doc and get their question answered.

Most sales-orientated chatbots like Drift or Intercom will also store your website visitor’s IP addresses and contact details, so if they visit your website on multiple occasions, they’ll be greeted by name.

If your team is online, they’ll be notified that someone is interacting with the chatbot and can directly jump in and engage with the lead.

If your team isn’t around, your chatbot can take your contact’s email, and you can follow up manually when your sales reps are back at their desks.

5. Use lead scoring to focus on the most qualified leads

Research has found that 50% of prospecting time is unproductive.

To improve where your team is spending their time, consider using lead scoring to identify high-potential leads and filter out leads who won’t convert.

Lead scoring works by assigning a score to leads based on actions they take. For example:

  • A lead downloads an ebook: +5 points
  • A lead books an initial demo call with your team: +15 points
  • A lead opens your proposal: +10 points

Over time, each lead will have a score. The higher the score, the more qualified and the more likely to convert that person is.

Your lead scoring system can have triggers based on scores.

For example, when a lead hits 10 points, they receive an automated email with an invite to your next product webinar.

When they hit 15 points, a member of your sales team reaches out, asking if they’d like a personalized video tour of your platform.

You can set up a lead scoring system in Encharge, which will make it easy to take custom actions based on each lead’s score.

The end result will be that your sales team can personalize each interaction based on how ready each lead is to buy and what actions they’ve already taken.

Avoid scaling your processes too early

It’s vital to note that there are no shortcuts to effective personalization in sales.

Your leads will know if you send an outreach email that’s clearly a copy-pasted email template. They’ll know if you’ve put them on a generic email list of all of your leads rather than segmenting them onto a relevant list that matches their unique needs.

When adding personalization to your sales process, always start slowly and get your foundations in place.

Once you have a process that works, you can slowly start to scale up and personalize the experience for more and more leads in your pipeline.

Wrapping up

Personalization is essential to stand out from the competition and convert more prospects into customers.

The personalization strategies we’ve looked at are all relatively simple to implement, but once they’re in place, they can have a massive impact on the quality of your sales process.As usual, make sure to track your sales metrics and monitor for changes so you know whether each one has a positive effect on your bottom line.

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