Using Personalization to Engage Prospects in the Complex Sale

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Using Personalization to Engage Prospects in the Complex Sale

August 24, 2018 by

Seventy-five percent of Netflix users rely on Netflix’s recommendations to help them choose what to watch. As a Netflix user myself, that number doesn’t surprise me at all. With so much content available on the platform, I’ve come to rely on those recommendations to help narrow my focus to the content that’s most interesting to me. I want Netflix to understand my preferences as much as possible so I can spend more time watching and less time searching.

When it comes to personalized experiences, Netflix is probably top-of-mind for many of us, along with other big names like Amazon and Spotify. But with these services, they are quick, simple purchases: you buy something from Amazon in a few clicks, you keep renewing your Netflix and Spotify subscriptions because you find them valuable. It may get less attention, but personalization has a big role to play in the complex sale too. By a complex sale, I mean something that takes longer to evaluate and purchase. It could mean financial services or insurance products, a higher education degree, a B2B purchase, etc.

Earlier this month, Jason Smith, Managing Director and Founder of OHO Interactive, and Paula Crerar, VP of Content Marketing and Programs at Evergage, presented the webinar “Using Personalization to Engage Prospects in the Complex Sale” to address this topic. I want to cover a little of what they talked about in this blog post, but be sure to watch the full webinar replay for more.

What does personalization look like in the complex sale?

Complex sales are more considered purchases than simple transactions. In most cases, consumers or business buyers conduct more research over a longer period of time, and there is a lot of information to digest.

As a marketer, it’s your job to make the research process for your prospects as simple as possible. You want to help them find the information they need to make their decisions. You want to suggest the next steps for each visitor so they aren’t stuck or overwhelmed at any point. Your prospects may visit your website several times over the course of a few months, so you want to help them quickly pick up where they left off.

With the right personalization solution, you can bring your data sources together in a central location, recognize a visitor when he lands on your site (whether he is known or anonymous), infer what he is interested in and where he is in his research, and then deliver a relevant experience to him each time he is on your site.

Example: Roger Williams University

That can sound like a lot, so let’s walk through an example — one that Jason gave in the webinar.

A college education is a considered purchase. Picking which school to attend requires a long decision process. There is a complex payment process. It is expensive. And there is a delayed ROI, as students don’t know whether the education was worth it until after they finish the program in several years. As a result, there is a lot of hesitation and uncertainty surrounding any higher education decision. Personalization can help guide prospective students through their research.

After conducting research and talking to prospective and current students, Roger Williams University and its partner, OHO Interactive, learned that many of the students are returning to school later in life. They aren’t interested in the typical “college experience.” Instead, they want to get a good education in their chosen field and get on with the rest of their lives. And since career advancement is the primary reason they are returning to school, they are very focused on one specific career path. If a prospect has decided to go back to school to become a paralegal, she doesn’t want to conduct research on any other career programs. She is laser-focused on seeking out information on paralegal studies.

So, to start, Roger Williams and OHO redesigned the site and focused not on college life, but on accomplishing goals:

personalization in the complex sale

Then, to help a prospective student pick up her research where she left off whenever she returns to the site, Roger Williams personalizes the homepage and various calls-to-action around the site based on her preferred field of study. For example, as shown below, the home page is personalized to a visitor who has been researching paralegal education. As a result of this campaign, Roger Williams has experienced a remarkable 86% lift in leads.

personalization in the complex sale

As another example, to help keep moving prospective students forward in their research, Roger Williams displays a geo-targeted message to visitors in the area. This message encourages them to attend an open house so that they can get their questions answered, see the campus and learn more.

personalization in the complex sale

This campaign resulted in a 9% clickthrough rate and a 6.8% conversion rate.

Final Thoughts

Personalization is an important component of the complex sale. It allows you to guide visitors through their research as they progress at their own pace. I just described a couple examples for one educational institution, but there are many more examples that Jason presented in the webinar. Watch the webinar replay for the full presentation.

And to learn more about how Evergage can help you deliver personalized experiences throughout your own complex sale, request a demo today.

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