Disclaimer: As a native of New England I enjoy sharing my region’s slang with the world. “Wicked” is a general intensifier. It’s ultimately the better substitution for “really” or “very”; therefore this article is going to be very quick 😉.
I caught up with Robb Miller, SVP, Americas at RichRelevance - a personalization platform for search content and product that’s used by 200 enterprises today globally.
Miller gave us the low-down on what personalization means for B2B organizations and the challenges it poses for B2B ecommerce practitioners. Check out our Q&A session:
What are some of the trends you're currently seeing in the B2B space?
A trend I'm seeing [as well as] reports from Gartner and Forrester on the business side, are with personalization and ecommerce. By 2020, something like 70 to 80% of B2B businesses will have earmarked money for ecommerce and perhaps also personalization. So, it’s a critical path for [organizations] at this point. They're making investments and they're being a bit more experimental. And I suspect that on the heels of that, there will be more innovation come 2021 and beyond.
What does personalization mean for B2B?
Right now, that's a loaded question and it's particularly to the client. But in our view, personalization is important for any business. Ecommerce for B2C Enterprises started early, for obvious reasons. But what's happening with the Amazon effect and with the consumerization of lots of tools, even in B2B communications [is that] the expectation now is that these things will sort of look and behave like Amazon does, or any other B2C ecommerce environment [for that matter].
[B2B organizations need to be] using personalization tools to make that experience stickier to be putting more relevant content or more relevant product recommendations into the funnel, to speed up the transactional process and introduce what we call good friction.
Friction is typically thought of as bad, [especially in a] buying cycle, but there are elements of good friction that we tend to promote. So making sure that before [customers] buy the wrong thing, or too much of something or not enough of something, there’s an alert inside the experience to provide better order values or revenue per session.
What are the challenges B2B practitioners have with personalization?
Relying upon the personal touch in a movement towards digital channels. So, the challenge I'm calling out is basically that as clients are moving more towards digital, it doesn't mean they have to sacrifice that client relationship. In fact, it should be improving it.
And frankly, it can arm the salesforce to be better at their jobs. Think of an example where someone is calling into a call center or contact center, putting personalization or being able to show what the browser history or buying histories of that client [are] in real time can make that call center rep a lot more effective while on the phone. Same is true for sales reps, they can go into selling environments, whether it's on a show floor or inside a warehouse, and know what's been happening with that client through digital channels.