As an industry, sales teams are constantly looking to improve upon existing practices. The ultimate goal, of course, is to increase lift, or in other words, to increase sales as a direct result of a new marketing strategy. In crowded industries with companies vying for a limited number of buyers, new businesses have been developed to give sales teams advantages over their competition. As technology improves and modernizes the sales process, there are many new platforms which highlight personalization as a crucial feature which can help finalize sales. This begs the question, “how important is personalized sales material?”

It’s not exactly surprising that well-thought-out, custom sales collateral should, in theory, help you make sales. But does the data back up this claim? It turns out that personalization absolutely makes a difference. In this report, I will explore why personalization is necessary, whether it increases sales, and how it does so.

Whether creating an advertisement, an email campaign, or a sales deck, keeping the audience engaged is the highest priority of any sales team. Keeping an audience’s attention is no easy feat, however. While there are conflicting reports out there, many studies show that the human attention span is decreasing in an age of ever-present content. Some even claim that the human attention span has decreased over 25% in the last decade to a mere 8 seconds. With your phone buzzing in your pocket and screens of all sizes readily available, it has never been easier to get distracted, and has never been harder to stay focused. As marketers, this presents a clear challenge.

The answer to keeping prospective clients engaged is personalization. Personalization can make information feel relevant. Customized products can help keep engagement. Rapt Media found that “63% of consumers say they would think more positively of a brand if it gave them content that was more valuable, interesting or relevant.”People are more likely to care about information that involves them, and a personalized experience feels far more relevant than a standard presentation.

Personalization also demonstrates effort. Anyone can distribute the same materials to all their customers, but it takes more time and care to customize your solution to specific buyers. As Jenny Keohane writes for Yesware, “[b]y providing prospects with collateral that is informative, addresses their needs, and is personalized, you gain trust that’ll enhance your relationship going forward.” Personalization is a necessary element to establishing long-term success of your business. Emotions play more of a role in decision making across many businesses than people would think. Digital marketing company Sitecore writes, “Customers today are gravitating toward brands that feel like they listen to them, understand them, and pay attention to their specific wants and needs.” Personalization has never been more important.

Raw data supports the notion that personalization directly leads to increased sales. One study of ecommerce shoppers found that a personalized experience caused 49% of respondents to make a purchase they weren’t planning on making. Similarly, Marketingprofs found that sales increased by an average of 19% after a business created a more personalized web experience. While these stats come from personalization in retail sales, the idea that people feel more connected to a brand when they receive content that is personalized to them reigns true whether you are a customer shopping for the next book to read or the leader of a multinational corporation looking for a service to put his business ahead of the competition.

In fact, many studies actually turn to human psychology to explain why we all crave personalized content. In their blog, HubSpot points to psychological evidence that explains why people crave personalized experiences. A study from the University of Texas found that people respond well to personalization because it makes them feel like they have control over their situation. In psychology, researchers have found that people tend to enjoy elements of life that they have control over because it puts them at ease in a world within which so much is uncertain. The same study also concluded that personalization is attractive because it makes people feel like the answer is made for them. If an experience is custom, they are more likely to believe that the solution is right for them. Clearly, these psychological processes are extremely powerful.

Personalization has already been shown to have positive effects in the marketing world. One of the first elements of sales outreach that has been customizable is email marketing. Across many industries, email remains one of the most accessible forms of direct customer engagement. According to a study done by Marketingland, “personalized emails earn 26% higher click-through rates, and deliver up to 6X higher transaction rates per email.” Another study by Marketingprofs found similar results. While personalizing each email is a painstaking process, the results show that it is necessary. Also, many options now exist that can help streamline the process. Since these studies, personalization in emails has improved tremendously, and some technology is so advanced that software can automate personalized emails that can’t be differentiated from real emails. If your business doesn’t have time to write a custom email every time, many of these programs offer an easy alternative.

While personalization is clearly beneficial, there is still plenty of room to improve upon the current industry standard. Forrester found that 78% of executive buyers claim that “salespeople do not have relevant materials to share with them.” While personalization can mean relevant graphics, logos, and industry names, it also means tailoring collateral to each customer. As such, knowing the issues customers face is important when creating personalized content. A study by Content Marketing Institute found that “62% of customers want marketing content that speaks to pain points.” There is a clear disconnect between what sales people are doing now and what their customers want. Personalization can help close this gap.

Even so, there are some signs that companies are beginning to appreciate the importance of personalization. According to a survey done by WBR and Reflektion, 63% of companies who responded noted personalization was “a top priority within their current technology initiatives.” The data clearly supports personalization as a strong way to increase sales. By connecting companies with their customers, personalization taps into the emotion and psychology of prospective buyers. As technology makes customization easier than ever before, it is crucial that businesses take advantage of new opportunities that are sure to pay off through the relationships they can help facilitate between their businesses and their customers.

Resources

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