B2B buyer enablement with Ali Din, B2B Enterprise Experience Marketing at Indeed

Buyer enablement reduces the friction of your B2B buyer journey. Whether it’s something you actively implement, or something you keep in mind while strategising, buyer enablement tackles the complexity of purchase decisions.

On this episode of the FINITE Podcast for B2B marketers, Alex talked to Ali Din, B2B Enterprise Experience Marketing at Indeed. Due to the length and 10+ decision makers in an enterprise sales cycle, Ali is an expert in buyer enablement.

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Full Transcript

Alex (00:07):

Hello everybody and welcome back to the FINITE Podcast. On today’s episode, we’re diving into buyer enablement with Ali Din. Ali is an experienced enterprise B2B marketer who has previously been VP marketing at ADP. And just as we’re recording this, taking up a new role at Indeed. 

He’s an expert in buyer enablement, he recognises that buyer’s decisions should be made as easy and as frictionless as possible. And so we’re going to be diving into some of the frameworks out there from Gartner and others, and some of Ali’s own experiences over the years, to talk about buyer enablement within enterprise B2B marketing. Enjoy!

FINITE (00:43):

The FINITE community and podcast are kindly supported by 93x, the digital marketing agency working exclusively with ambitious fast growth B2B technology companies. Visit 93x.agency to find out how they partner with marketing teams in B2B technology companies to drive growth.

Alex (01:05):

Hey Ali, welcome to the FINITE podcast.

Ali (01:07):

Hey Alex. Great to be here.

Alex (01:09):

We’re looking forward to having you and diving into this. This is a topic that we’re talking about today in terms of buyer enablement. I don’t think we’ve really dived into it, we probably touched on and alluded to in different respects, but I think it will be of big interest to a lot of our listeners, particularly in the enterprise space with pretty lengthy considered complex journeys in the enterprise B2B space. 

So yeah, looking forward to hearing your thoughts on it. I know you’ve got a lot of experience in this space, but as we always do, I’ll let you start just by telling us a bit about yourself and your background.

Ali’s experience in B2B marketing and buyer enablement 

Ali (01:39):

Yeah, sure. So I actually started in product management and moved my way over, got my MBA, got into marketing and I started off at a technology reseller. The benefit there was that we were selling to B2B, but also to government. And we’re working with some big companies like Microsoft, Dell, Adobe, Apple, and so on. And we had a lot of opportunities to apply their best practices to our go to market. 

So it was everything from direct mail, field marketing, digital marketing. And then we were doing a lot of thought leadership, both on video, as well as written content. And then from there, I moved over to more of a startup organisation and it was a lot more about third party credibility, social proofing, a lot of partner marketing alliances using testimonials. 

And then we did a lot of segmentation industry marketing as well, just to personalise it down to the persona. And then most recently I had moved over from high-tech to HR tech. And so I was at ADP where we’re looking at a mix of content at various stages of the buyer. So there was thought leadership of course, but then there’s also, how do you serve the buyer in their own process versus pushing them through your own sales process? 

And so that’s what I’ve been spending some time doing previously. And right now I’m actually in the midst of moving from ADP to another company called Indeed. And that company is a global organisation helping people get jobs in 50 different countries. And really trying to help companies that want to automate their recruitment process because they’re either multi-region or because they just have a lot of volume of talent that they’re trying to source.

Alex (03:32):

Awesome. So you’ve carved out a bit of a niche in the HR tech space, I guess.

Ali (03:36):

It seems, yeah, it seems like B2B enterprise tech.

Alex (03:41):

And we’re talking buyer enablement. I guess this is a term that I think some people would be quite familiar with, maybe are thinking about it without realising it or giving it that name. But just to set the scene and make things clear, what is it?

What is buyer enablement? 

Ali (03:53):

Yeah. That’s a good point is it is very logical when you think about it, but this is a term that I discovered through HBR Harvard business review, as well as Gartner. You know, it really boils down to how you can make it easier for a buyer or a prospect to buy from you. 

And so I think the difference here is being very deliberate about the buyers internal process and creating assets or content or tools for them just to reduce the friction in the buying process and in another way also to reduce the anxiety they have of making the right choice.

Alex (04:31):

Yeah. And Gartner actually has some really good resources on this term which we can link to in the show notes, because they’ve got this kind of B2B buying journey framework, which I think breaks it down really nicely. And they talk about the new B2B buying process. And I guess their point is that it’s not linear and it’s quite complex. And there’s a lot of decision makers and things that we’ve known for a while, right. 

But I guess there’s a clarity that they bring to it, which is quite nice. Why is this more important in the B2B customer in particular?

Why is buyer enablement important for B2B marketing in particular? 

Ali (05:00):

When it comes to a B2B buyer, especially when you look at buyer behaviour now, the example, SirusDecisions also mentioned this, is when you went to a car dealership and you were trying to purchase a car, you would normally make maybe multiple visits, like four or five visits to the dealership, understand what the car is like. And then you’d make your purchase decision. 

Now that has come down to 1.2 or I think because of the way things have moved recently, you’re not even visiting, you’re just doing a completely virtual cause you’re researching everything online and that habit has moved over into the enterprise as well. And just like you mentioned earlier, people are doing their online research themselves. 

The challenge though is all B2B companies know this enterprise company, marketers know this. And so they’re creating very high quality content. And now the challenge there is that it’s overwhelming for buyers as a buyer. You’re going and you’re finding so much content and you’re trying to sift through that content. 

And then in an enterprise you’re going to probably have anywhere from seven to 11 different buyers. And each one of those people is picking up four or five pieces of content. You multiply that into a buying committee and all of a sudden that’s a lot of content to sift through. It’s very overwhelming and it slows down the process.

Alex (06:19):

That car point’s really interesting. Because recently I’ve had conversations about the car B2C buying journey is often the closest B2C journey to a B2B one in that you’ve got multiple decision makers, you’ve got your other half, you’ve got the kids you need to go and test drive it. 

Like there’s not many B2C purchases that have that kind of lengthy considered complex nature, similar to B2B, but the car is often that. But I guess, when you were talking particularly, Tesla comes to mind in terms of when you can literally just buy a car online as if you’re checking out through Amazon, right? 

With Tesla, and people probably do that, that more technical savvy buyer that Tesla’s built trust and has a strong brand and everything. And they’re happy to literally check out online for a car. Saying that a few years ago, I think would have been bonkers. But now it’s not that crazy. 

You talked a bit about the stage of journey, which I think there’s these frameworks that Gartner also have, break down quite nicely in terms of, I think they talk about the jobs to be done when B2B buyers are making a purchase, identifying the problems, exploring the solutions, those kinds of things. Is there an ideal stage at which you want to capture a buyer? Like, is it a case of the earlier the better?

The ideal stage to capture a buyer

Ali (07:35):

My personal preference is I go after the low hanging fruit because you get a quick win and you can build credibility from there. So that’s someone that’s already in market versus way up ahead when they don’t know they have a problem. But like you said, it’s a zigzag and people are in a lot of different stages. They can go back and forth. 

And each person on the buying committee can be doing this in different phase two. But the way that they’ve really broken it down is you’re realising there’s a problem. So first you didn’t know you had the problem, but now you come to realise there is then you want to research the solution and figure out what options you have. 

And then once you get a feel for that, you want to start building requirements that are specific to your business or your organisation. And then you start doing your shortlisting at that point. And during all these different stages that could be going back and forth a couple of times. There’s also a constant level of fact checking and validation going on in these buying committees. 

Because again, all these people are collecting information and you may have one vendor that says X, and you may have another competitor that’s just as credible saying Y. And now you’re having to fact check and say, well which one should I believe? It’s all very high quality. It’s all backed up by statistics. How do we do this? And how do we build consensus among the team? 

There’ll be camps developing over time as well, preferences for certain vendors. So it’s very time-consuming from that perspective. So based on that, I would say where you want to be is at the stage where you’re helping to build the requirements. 

Because obviously if you can identify these are the requirements and they end up ideally linking back to your differentiators, the things that make you unique and stand apart, that’s where you’ll have the most success when it comes down the funnel.

Alex (09:28):

Yeah, that makes sense. I think that’s probably where a lot of marketers naturally end up focusing, where there’s some degree of intent. Someone’s at least in the market for a solution, maybe they’ve done some of the problem identification. I think one thing that came to mind when you were saying that is that I regularly come across through FINITE and clients and stuff that are kind of defining new categories. 

I worked with a spreadsheet management solution, which was one of those things that like nobody realised they had a problem managing spreadsheets until it was pointed out to them talking to someone this way. An AI company, trying to define a new category of decision intelligence, content intelligence, like all these pretty innovative new platforms, which I don’t have, there’s demand somewhere and there’s some degree of intent somewhere. 

But trying to align, you’ve got a problem here with a possible solution is much harder, right? As a kind of earlier stage and particularly when you’re defining a new category completely.

Ali (10:21):

Yeah. Category creation has certainly been more of the desired approach that companies want to take. And sometimes it’s almost forced where someone says, we’re just going to go create a category in a very well-defined market. And I think that can be challenging because we think back a couple of years ago, and as marketers we know that you have to be authentic and people can see through it. 

So you can’t just create a category that is not legitimate, but you can make people aware of and reframe things in a different way so that they realise, you know what? That is a problem. And I didn’t realise that there’s a fairly unique way to solve it.

Alex (11:02):

Yeah, absolutely. What’s the first question? What’s the starting point when you’re thinking about buying enablement if you’re a marketer? That feels like this is a route to go down and really focus some energy on. What’s the first question to ask, do you think?

The starting point to implement buyer enablement 

Ali (11:14):

So if you’re coming down and you’re saying, okay, well we need to look at this. You know, there was this concept of thought leadership, but now we need to do a little bit more about buyer enablement. You need to make sure, just as you would with any content or any approach is, who is your buyer? What are the buyer personas? 

And then specifically in this situation, you want to understand not just your buyers and personas, but their internal processes. So an example of that is if you know that your solution is eventually going to go through all the procurement process, but at the end it’s going to need board approval. 

Then you want to think through that and say, how is this buyer of mine going to navigate internally to get through and get all the way to the board? And how can I help them succeed in front of a corporate board? And what type of questions? Is it the total cost of ownership analysis that I need to help them create a template? 

Those are the types of things that you need to help them think through. And once you’ve done that, then you can get into that. And most likely you already have content. So then you need to audit the content, make sure it fits the bill in terms of those stages that we’re talking about. This content is best for this stage at the gathering requirements. Or is it not knowing that there was a problem? There’s definitely a lot involved and it’s not a small undertaking.

Alex (12:33):

I guess a lot of this, particularly in the world in which we find ourselves now is pretty content driven. Are there other ways in which you can approach removing that friction, making people’s lives easier? I mean, it sounds like it’s basically, understand the persona, understand their challenges, understand their internal sales process. 

And I guess it’s almost like you’ve sold to them at that point. They are the internal champion and then it’s about making their life easier in an ongoing way. But beyond content, what are the things that you have experimented with or come across before?

Ali (13:07):

And to that point, I think another thing that probably most marketers realise, and also modern sales organisations realise is that the buyer’s not spending that much time in front of a salesperson. So you have to make it easier to self-serve. I think Gartner was saying that if there’s multiple vendors involved, a particular salesperson is only getting 5% of the time of a buyer across their entire evaluation. And so that leaves a lot on the table. 

So it’s not just the content piece itself, but it’s the process of how they go about it. And it’s the ability to curate that content either through nurturing an automation or through a salesperson that can be more consultative and help curate and say, I realise you’re trying to achieve this part of your job. Let me help you with this one particular piece that’s best fit for the stage. 

So part of it is around the curation aspect of it. And then I think the other piece is really around, there’s always a very strong debate on gating and not gating content, but how easy you make it for your buyers to get information and where they can get the information is always sitting on your site. Is it behind a gate? Is it available where they would want to look for information? So can you syndicate the content and the assets to make sure that they’re aware that it exists?

Alex (14:30):

You mentioned gated content. So now I have to ask you about it, because it’s the question that I probably talk about three or four times a week, including yesterday. I know it’s a difficult question in that in some cases, it works great. Give us your 2 cents on the top view of when to gate content and when not to.

To gate or un-gate content 

Ali (14:54):

So the approach that we’ve taken in the past with gating content is we will… I think part of it is also how as a marketing organisation, you’ve evaluated what your metrics are and if you’re judged on leads, then you’re going to lean to gating everything because that counts as a lead. 

If you can free yourself from that and be focused more on the outcome of a sale or an opportunity, I think that frees you up from not having to gate as much. So we took an approach of a mixture. So whether it was a webinar or a video playback or a white paper or an ebook, we would mix it up. 

So depending on the value of that asset to the buyer or the prospect, we would either gate it we’d soft gate it, or we un-gate it. So if it’s something that’s just a pure pitch, talking about our product, then there’s not a lot of value. So we’ll just make it un-gated. If it’s something that is a white paper or ebook or something, we may just do a soft gate. And mainly just so we can capture an email address. 

So very few fields capture the email and just being able to nurture them and share other content with them that they might like. Whereas something that’s a lot more high value or at a point of, we’re giving something very valuable away, then we’ll maybe ask a little bit more. But progressive profiling in that case is an ideal way to approach it.

Alex (16:19):

Yeah, that’s a good framework. And I think that’s actually, in all the conversations I’ve had about this, the point of actually, if you’re incentivised or measured on lead gen, there’s another debate to be had around, should we be measuring MQLs, and the value of that. But that’s going to skew whether or not you gate content. 

I feel like I need to register to gate or not to gate.com and just create like a website that just has frameworks on it. I think it needs the Gartner, like three by three grid. If this then that, these are the ways. But I think that resonates and a lot of marketers say similar in terms of the value stuff. 

The stuff that’s maybe a framework or a calculator or a spreadsheet, or it can be downloaded and used, tends to travel pretty well when gated. But if you’re just going to take a, what could actually be a 3000 word blog post, and just save it as a PDF, you’re probably better off just getting some SEO benefit from publishing that on the site and not gating it. 

So yeah, I think that’s definitely the route we go at. I think when we did a content marketing survey through FINITE last year, about a third of people that we surveyed said that they sometimes gate content. So it was pretty vague and down the middle overall. But yeah, it’s a question that comes up pretty regularly. With this in mind, I feel like again with COVID and the focus on digital and everything, and we’ll come on to talk a bit about tools and maybe technology and frameworks and stuff. 

But I guess in my head, I’ve always got this vision of a pulled together, powerful content hub/resource hub, whatever you want to call it. That really allows the buyer to get to the information that they want to quickly and easily and frictionless. 

Then I think maybe we’ve moved beyond this. Like let’s map out very individual user journeys through websites for specific personas to like, let’s just make really good and have filtering and sorting and just allow the user within a couple of words being typed to a couple of clicks to get to the resource that they need. Whether that’s a super detailed technical product sheet, or just like a top level case study or something. Do you have any perspectives on that side of things and the experience to which you offer that type of content?

Ways to enable a buyer through content 

Ali (18:24):

I would say you spelled it out that it is ideal to have a resource hub. So you can go to one place and you can just start filtering and the use of tags on your content. They use different types of criteria, not just from your perspective as a seller, but as a buyer, what are the types of things I’m looking for? 

So you’ll often go on websites and you’ll see case studies and some people have 20 case studies, some people have hundreds of case studies and they’ll let you sort based on the company name, but not the outcome. And so you really want to think about it from the buyer perspective. 

What’s the outcome this person’s trying to achieve, or what was the challenge? It takes a lot more work if you go back and do a lot more tagging and indexing, but that’s what’s going to make it easier for the buyer to be able to find the content. Because 50 case studies is just too much, you just randomly click on something that seems appealing. Sometimes there’s not even an industry identified at that point, which I think is the minimum thing that you should allow for a buyer.

How to tackle conflicting buying options 

Alex (19:24):

Absolutely. We had a question around conflicting buying options and how those can affect decision-making. What’s your take on that?

Ali (19:33):

Yeah. So when we were talking about the amount of information coming in, the number of vendors involved, the number of buyers involved, I was saying seven to 11. In larger enterprises, this could be a dozen plus people as part of that. And what it really comes down to is it’s going to slow down the procurement process. And so that’s where the curation is important. 

And then, whether that’s through a salesperson or some kind of automation that you’re running from marketing, the other aspect of it is it’s also causing anxiety about making the right choice. And that’s why it’s slowing it down, there’s conflicting information. You don’t know if you’re going to make the right choice. And so by giving them information that helps them feel more comfortable, it helps them build a consensus that can help them give the confidence. 

Because there’s a lot of buyers regret or remorse afterward too, that you want to make sure you minimise. So that they have a good experience in the buying, and then they can become those ambassadors for your brand that can come back and advocate for you.

Alex (20:38):

And are there ways in which you think you can help decision makers make sense of those options? I think you’ve alluded to some of them, but I guess I’m just trying to think of… are there examples of… I’m sure in previous roles you’ve been through similar being in these situations and I’m sure maybe up against very similar competitors in certain circumstances. Is there overlap between similar decision-making processes happening? Can you optimise around that a bit more?

Ali (21:05):

You know, there’s a lot of focus right now or has been on thought leadership and stepping back and looking back at those internal buying process for the buyer. It takes a lot of time and effort to do the research and understand not just who your buyers are, what the personas are in this buying committee, but then what process they have to go through internally, what are their challenges? 

So just being thoughtful about understanding and being thoughtful about how you deliver that and help them go through that internal process. I think that’s the most beneficial piece, is around helping to curate the experience a little bit and making sure that you can provide a white glove treatment to them. 

I think that’s what will differentiate you from a company that just says, here’s a bunch of stuff, go sift through it. If you can curate it and help them. I think that’s what will help you differentiate even when you’re dealing with a competitor.

Additional ways to enable a buyer

Alex (22:02):

I’m just trying to think of all the other things that I’ve come across, but are there ways in which buyers can really be helped? Cause I know that you’ve mentioned total cost of ownership and those kinds of things, which I guess at that point, the buyer is engaged with the business, right? 

They’re probably talking to someone now in sales, not marketing. And we’re going to talk about this in a bit, in terms of the difference between sales enablement and buyer enablement, but I guess by enabling sales you’re enabling the buyer to some extent. But are there other ways, other things that you’ve used, other things that you’ve created in the past that you’ve found are effective in really helping the buyer on that journey beyond the content you’ve mentioned?

Ali (22:43):

Yeah. So one was that slide deck for the corporate board. Other examples that I think a lot of, I’ve seen already out there quite a bit is building a business case for XYZ. That’s fairly standard at this point and that’s a good buyer enablement tool. But if you think about, and I know we’re going to talk about sales enablement for a moment too, but there’s a lot of objection handling that typically you prepare for sales. But internally there’s objections that a buyer is going through. 

And sometimes you have, what you call quote unquote, a champion inside of your prospect. And they’re having to fight the objections. What if you could give them a tool or assets, whether it’s turnkeys, slide decks or white papers that help them handle internal objections. So you’re thinking on behalf of the buyer and their internal process. That would be a very powerful tool and very helpful. 

Or even something around building consensus. Here’s how we’ve dealt with so many clients and prospects so far, here’s what they told us about what was successful to help them build consensus in their buying committee. And that can be another example of something just as long as you remember, this is for stuff that’s going to be used internally in the prospect. You’re not going to necessarily see it.

And so you want to make it very turnkey. It doesn’t need to be brandished with your own logos. It’s something that they’re going to just grab a couple of slides or grab some diagrams or graphs and drop it into their own assets.

Alex (24:11):

And maybe let’s talk about that point once we’ve touched on it a bit more in terms of the difference between buyer enable and sales enablement. Because in my mind, as I say at a certain point within this B2B buying journey, when a prospect is at the requirements building, supplier selection stage, they’re probably engaged. 

They’ve had some conversation, they might’ve had demos or whatever the product or solution is at that point. Marketing is still doing its thing in the background and obviously website and content hubs. And those kinds of things that we talked about are still key. But a lot of this is then I assume being managed by someone on the sales side. And so is it fair to say that if you’re enabling sales, you’re also then in turn enabling the buyer?

The overlap between buyer enablement and sales enablement 

Ali (24:55):

Yeah I would say you want to look at it as two distinct things. So the sales enablement piece is helping the sales team be successful. And some of those things are very obviously sales enablement. It might be a competitive landscape, which is an internal document that helps the sales team navigate either the different types of categories of players or specific competitors and being able to navigate around the landmines and things like that. That you can drop in front within a buying cycle. 

But then there’s also other pieces that feel like they’re external, but they’re still really sales enablement tools because they’re further down the funnel. And it’s part of the conversation that the salesperson is having with the buyer. Things like case studies, testimonials, even email campaigns can kind of be, when you create templates for the sales team to use and push out, that’s still considered a sales enablement tool. 

There can be overlap when you’re talking about blogs and the white papers and eBooks, but it’s really around that nuance of how you’ve developed it, what the intention is for the buyer. And those examples I mentioned, a couple of those could be calculators, whether it’s an ROI calculator, there’s quite a bit of those out there. But benchmarks diagnostics, the recommendation engines, again from the buyer perspective, those would fall a bit more in the buyer enablement side.

Tools for buyer enablement 

Alex (26:22):

Yeah. I’ve seen them. I’ve seen a few tools recently that I guess are more in this space. One that came to mind, I don’t know whether you’ve heard of it is a platform called Uberflip, which is like a digital content experience type hub where you can create personalised stuff for all kinds of things like ABM campaigns and content distribution. 

All kinds of different things beyond the standard website, CMS type stuff, and some of the tools that you’ve mentioned. Are there any more innovative technologies in and around the buyer enablement space that you think people are looking at? Or is it more just about using the tools they’ve already got with buyer enablement in mind?

Ali (26:58):

Yeah. I mean these interactive tools are definitely gaining traction right now. So there’s a couple other vendors out there too that’ll help you take a PDF and turn it into more of an interactive experience. And that’s what I haven’t figured out yet, or have the data for is to figure out if it’s truly helpful for the buyer to have an interactive experience. 

It’s fantastic for marketing and sales because you have all the data now on which page, how long they were on it, what they clicked on, what they we’re looking at. But I still want to figure out for people that are, and it might be also the generations and the type of buyers that you’re dealing with is the preference to a PDF versus an interactive guide, that you have to be connected on the internet because buyers are savvy too. 

They know if it’s interactive that someone’s watching, six minutes later they’re going to get a phone call from someone. So you may need to just give people options. And that is something that’s always been around, is how do you take one piece of content or asset and chop it up and distribute it out into different places and forms that are comfortable for your buyers or multiple types of buyers.

Alex (28:06):

That’s a great point. I was going to ask you a few final questions. One of which was, I guess you’re in between roles at the moment so you might not have a clear idea on this one. But I guess past experiences, is there a favourite MarTech tool technology that you’ve been using or looking forward to using maybe in your next role? Or something that you’re looking to implement regardless of the needs? You’re just excited about it.

Ali (28:30):

One that really stands out to me is this tool called Gong. And it’s usually thought of as a sales tool, but from a marketing perspective, it’s just a gold mine because you have the voice of the customer and you see how they react to objections or what types of questions they ask, what words and language they use. And you can apply that as a marketer when you go to market. So I really like the tool, I advocate very heavily for it and hopefully be able to use it going forward as well.

Alex (29:09):

I see. I think they do such a great job. I follow them on LinkedIn and I think that that brand is so strong and the way they do marketing generally is so cool. And I think that’s a great example of a business that has so much data at its fingertips and just use it to feed its own marketing in a really powerful way, which is cool.

Ali (29:23):

Yeah. They share a lot of tips from that data too, which is just helpful.

Alex (29:28):

Exactly. I was going to ask you what your biggest challenge right now is, but being in between two roles, maybe there isn’t one just yet, but there might be one soon. But more generally, is there a challenge that you think that the B2B marketing landscape faces now more than ever?

Current B2B marketing challenges 

Ali (29:43):

One thing I was trying to solve for previously, and I’m pretty sure it’ll be something to deal with going forward is multi-touch attribution. Going back to that, where we were talking about how you’re measured as a marketer and is it on leads? Is it on opportunities? Is it on some other outcome or metric? 

Last touch is usually how the data comes through. And when you’re in a complex B2B sale, there’s often last touches with sales, or it loses that attribution and you don’t know exactly what’s working. And to me, ultimately what I want to try to put together is something that shows me my last touch attribution, my first touch attribution, and then shows me all of the pieces that came in between. 

And once I have that map, I can say well the most desirable outcome I have is obviously it led to a sale. So let’s try to look at all those flows that led to that sale. And once we figure that out, let’s see if there’s a commonality and say, the first touch was social. From social they went to the site and they downloaded this ebook. Then they went to this webinar and then they went back to this page and then they ended up filling out this form and that just keeps happening often and more often than anything else. And it leads to the right outcome. 

Then how can we deliberately create that experience for more of our audience? How do we use email and lifecycle marketing? How do we use social feeds to drive people in that similar pattern? That’d be the ultimate thing I want to try to solve for.

Alex (31:24):

Awesome. Yeah that’s a good challenge. I think we’re planning an event at the moment. I think our next event will be on attribution generally and some of the challenges there. So yeah, I think in the B2B space, it is a big challenge. And finally more broadly kind of looking ahead, anything you’re particularly excited about again in the B2B marketing world as 2021 gets underway?

Ali (31:43):

Yeah. I’d say, personalisation is something that I’m seeing more and more and some organisations are doing a lot more of it. And some are still trying to figure that out and building the infrastructure to be able to personalise, but to be able to go to a website and have more of a personalised thing, either at a industry level or a persona level. I think that’s where it starts to get to be. 

You can’t always have that one-to-one relationship, but it gets closer and closer. I feel like segmenting down to these more personal cohorts, at least that’s where I see a lot of benefit coming in because now you can build an audience and you can build engagement that way.

Alex (32:26):

Yeah. It’s one of those things that I feel like it’s on everybody’s list, but always gets kind of pushed to the bottom. Personalisation is always there somewhere, but it’s just like until you’ve got everything else away and in a good shape, you struggle to build case for really investing the time in it. And it can get complex quite quickly. I guess it’s almost like building out too many CRM segmentations or something like that. Logic can get pretty complicated. 

So yeah, I think it’s one that I come across a lot, but I mean have you ever tackled it before? Do you feel that you’ve had time and energy and resources to have a good go at personalisation in the past?

Ali (32:59):

We were doing it on email when I was at the startup. We actually had it down to, I think it was 11 different segments. And so we had a direct prospect and then we had a channel prospect. So we broke it down between prospects and clients and then channel partners that we’re trying to recruit and those that we’re trying to activate. 

And then underneath that, we started to go into industries and then we started to go into sub industries. So financial services and then lending and then commercial versus residential. And then the next step was to now take it to a persona, like a job function level. 

We didn’t get to that piece, but we had a lot of these going out and our email sizes were very small, but the open rates were really good. 40%. Sometimes we get 60% on the opens and it was just because we’re delivering high value and very relevant content.

Alex (33:52):

Awesome. Well, I think you’ve shared some really great stuff. We will put some links in the show notes to the Gartner stuff we talked about. I know you’ve written an article on the open view blog and you’ve got a WordPress site as well with some recommended reading and stuff you refer to. 

So we’ll link through to some things there and hopefully people can track you down and ask you some questions. We’ll include a link to your LinkedIn or something, but thank you so much for sharing everything. It’s been great having you on the podcast.

Ali (34:17):

Yeah Alex, great again thanks for the conversation, I had a great time. Thank you and good luck with the new role.

FINITE (34:26):

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