By Molly Rigatti

We live in a post-traditional sales world. Prospective customers expect to receive personalized content. There is so much noise and content available online that, in order to focus, people filter out anything that is not particularly relevant. Personalized content ensures that messaging is relevant to the reader which help that message stand out.

That makes our role as salespeople a little more challenging. But challenging in a good way. Like exercising after Thanksgiving. We all know it’s important. We may not want to do it, but it’s better for us in the long run. Right?!?

Enter conversational marketing.

Your customers want to have real time, personalized conversations.

Authenticity is critical to making connections with your leads and prospects. To connect with prospects in a more effective way, marketing and sales teams need to talk to prospects like real people - i.e. be conversational and not salesy, and don’t use industry speak your audience may not understand.

However, to achieve this at scale, you will need to personalize content using marketing automation software. Smart content and automation can help you target prospects when they are ready to engage.

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What Is Personalization and Why Is It Important?

Personalization in marketing is using information you know about your leads and prospects to customize your communications. Start with the basics by including information that’s readily available in your CRM.

With minimal marketing automation capabilities, you can include someone’s name, job title, company name, hometown, and more in your emails and website pages.

You can do this for large lists of contacts to make batch emails seem like you took the time to hand write each email for the recipient. 

Customize Contact Information

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But that’s not enough these days. You have to go further. With marketing automation software, HubSpot, for example, marketers and salespeople can view recent online activity, such as what e-books a person has downloaded and pages they’ve visited.

Salespeople can use that information to offer value. For example, if you know someone downloaded an e-book on how to develop buyer personas, you can follow up and provide additional feedback or resources to aid their learning process.

If you utilize form fills to enable a prospect to share about a challenge he or she is dealing with, you can become a resource to the prospect. Reference the information you have and let the prospect know that you have solutions to their challenges.

Connect on Social Media

Next, you can connect with prospects through social media. Following and engaging with a prospect on LinkedIn and Twitter can get you on their radar in a welcome way before you reach out by email and show that you value and understand their interests.

Then, when you do email, you can reference some activity you saw, such as a conference they attended.

You can also use social media to have real time conversations with your prospects. You may get a better response rate or invite more candid interactions in their direct messages or post comments. This is a great opportunity for you to talk about what is important to your prospect, rather than continuously pitching your product.

Timing Is Everything

For your outreach to be most effective, you need to reach out at the right time.

Minimizing the time between question asked and question answered will improve your relationships immensely. Making the shift from only using forms for communication through your website to using a live chat tool can help you connect conversationally right when your prospect is browsing your website and thinking about your brand. 

Using lead scoring, you can determine the time a prospective customer will be most receptive to your outreach.

Perhaps this is after they’ve downloaded specific content or after they’ve watched a webinar. For each business, this process will be different. Implementing these practices will give you data to work with, and over time, you can test and hone in on the right process and timeline for your business.

Reaching out at the right time is critical to building trust and growing relationships with prospects. Otherwise, you’re just another source of noise that a person is trying to shut out in order to be the most productive they can be in their super busy world.

Conversational Marketing Is Marketing That Adds Value

Oftentimes, when people are immersed in an industry, they get stuck regurgitating industry speak. They might use acronyms and slang that only other people immersed in the industry know. That’s an obstacle for reaching prospective clients.

Many prospects are not as knowledgeable about industry lingo and they quickly get lost or tune out when acronyms are thrown around. They may not tell you they don’t understand what you’re talking about. They will just stop reading your material or they’ll check out during your phone calls.

It is important, whenever connecting with someone new, to utilize conversational marketing. To take a conversational marketing approach, you need to get a baseline understanding of a prospect’s level of expertise. You don’t want to assume everyone either knows or doesn’t know standard industry terminology.

Align Marketing and Sales

Marketing and sales both play important roles in speaking to customers and prospects like humans. Marketing communication collateral needs to align with sales’ conversational approach so that prospects and customers experience a unified brand.

For these reasons and others, SmartBug™ has closed-loop processes internally. We also help our clients ensure the same at their companies. What this means is that marketing and sales meet regularly and have agreed upon approaches to communication and aligned targets. When the relevant parties regularly communicate, everyone is more effective at growing the business and they develop happier client relationships.

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Molly Rigatti

About the author

Molly Rigatti is a Marketing Strategist in Charlotte, NC. With the help of her mini Aussie, Remington, she is dedicated to helping businesses reach their goals through inbound marketing and sales enablement campaigns. She's helped businesses in many different industries around the country and enjoys the challenge of staying up-to-date on all things HubSpot. Read more articles by Molly Rigatti.

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