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In sales, personalization is no longer optional; it’s expected. A LinkedIn survey found that 77% of B2B buyers won’t even consider replying to your outreach unless you’ve gone the extra mile to make it spot-on.

The best way to raise client expectations and outperform the competition is to get personalization right, from the beginning of the sales process to the close. Show you have keen insight into their business needs by targeting the right people at the right time, preparing your approach with smart messaging, using technology to your advantage, telling the ideal story, and delivering a truly human experience.

Here are four ways the best sales reps personalize their B2B sales process.

Learn to read signs of intent

The vast majority of sales reps – 94% – say social media reveals valuable insights about sales triggers among B2B buyers, according to the LinkedIn study They learn to look for tell-tale clues like big career moves and company shifts. You might notice a post on LinkedIn revealing that the company is in the process of hiring a whole new team of developers or bringing on a head of product, for example.

Once you learn the right intent signals for your solution and your buyers, you can start to nail the timing and messaging of your initial approach. You can reach out directly to key stakeholders, and do it exactly when they need your solution and partnership the most.

If you fail to read the signs, and fall back on a generic message at a time that’s convenient for you, expect to be ignored.

Prepare, prepare, prepare

High-performing reps don’t passively wait for questions to arise in the next sales call. They take the time to read deeply about the prospect and their company. Watch their latest webinars and read their press releases to learn about their goals, challenges, and industry trends. goals and struggles. The buyer’s social media feeds can also reveal important clues.

This will help you prepare smart questions to ask prospects, and enable you to become a valuable resource for them.

Tell human stories

A good sales rep can send a case study to the right person at the right stage in the process. A great sales rep can tell a good story at the right moment. Stories are the essential building blocks of human communication, and they work their magic even in the context of B2B sales. But in order to tell a good one, and make it look spontaneous in a sales conversation, you have to prepare.

The first step is to identify the right story for the buyer and the situation. As you read through case studies in your sales enablement platform, you’re looking for the most important factors to align. The biggest match needs to be the change. What is the customer in your story trying to achieve? Is it similar enough to the change the buyer is trying to make in her organization?

Secondary matching factors depend on your solution and how much variety you see in your typical buyers. It’s usually a good idea for the customer story to match the buyer’s industry, and if possible, the size of the buyer’s organization.

The second step is to make it a good story. Statistics about money saved or ROI are important, but don’t forget the human side.-High-performing sales reps dig into the details of the story, and can outline it as a hero tale, with the customer at the center, achieving results for their company.

Telling a well-aligned story in the course of a person-to-person conversation with the buyer’s team is as personalized as sales can get.

Manage the evolving relationship

You’ve reached out at the right time with the right questions, ideas, and content. You’ve told powerful stories that compellingly illustrate the value your solution brings to people just like the buyer. Now everyone has signed on the dotted line, but you’re not done.

This is just the beginning of a relationship with the customer that will evolve over time as their needs change. You need to respond to these changing requirements to make sure you retain the customer.

This means having an efficient system to track renewals and formulate upgrade opportunities. An automated Configure, Price and Quote system that provides dynamic pricing helps ensure the renewal process is smooth. Automated contract lifecycle management, integrated with CPQ, speeds the process.

For sales reps to provide good customer experience, these tools need to be integrated into back-office systems, including billing and provisioning, as well as other front-office sales tools such as CRM and incentive compensation management. A connected suite ensures your sales reps are motivated and equipped to provide superior customer service.

By providing a truly personalized experience for the buyer, you’ll set your offering apart from the rest of the pack.

Author Bio

Shawn Willett

Shawn Willett is Senior Director, Marketing Programs at SAP Sales Cloud, part of the SAP Customer Experience unit of SAP. With over 20 years of experience in enterprise software roles, he is responsible for articulating the unique benefits that SAP Sales Cloud's suite of sales effectiveness applications can provide to modern sales organizations.

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