Today’s B2B buyers are better informed than ever. They are typically 70% of the way through a digital and content-driven journey before they even engage your sales team. 

Bobby Gaudreau, VP of Sales & Marketing at Activator Dealer Solutions, understood this and realized that his team needed a new buyer journey as part of a new product launch.

“We had to quickly update our positioning strategy to engage buyers and differentiate around our new product launch. We also needed this positioning strategy to be implemented consistently across our marketing, sales, and customer success,” Bobby says.

Car dealers’ marketing efforts have long been plagued by inaccurate and disconnected data. This causes dealers to waste a lot of marketing spend on mailings and advertising efforts through email, SMS, or digital display with wrong or inaccurate information to the wrong buyers—causing a bad buyer experience, as the information shared by a dealer is inaccurate or for a totally different person.

Activator had launched a Customer Data Platform (CDP) and automated marketing Journey Builder for car dealers. It would collect and unify data from multiple sources, then automate and apply that data to marketing efforts to enhance customer engagement and promote dealership efficiency, ultimately leading to increased sales and service-driven revenue. It was a brilliant solution, but lots of “copycat” competitors would quickly claim the same.

Bobby understood that buyers for the new product would research Activator and competitors, consuming lots of content as they explored potential solutions. 

To win their business, Bobby and the team need to personalize the buyer journey for their full buying committee in the dealership — from the dealer sales leadership to service leadership, marketing team, and general manager.

They needed personalized messaging and content for each from the very first touchpoint. 

Welcome to the buyer-led era.

I recently had a chance to talk to Bobby about their winning strategies and three key takeaways that you can implement to personalize your own buyer journeys and accelerate growth.

Building Shared Positioning for Success

“Too many companies now live in positioning silos,” Bobby explains. “Sales and marketing may have different languages and different ideas about buyers. I wanted to make sure our teams all had the same way of going to market.”

Activator addressed this by creating shared buyer personalization playbooks with cross-company alignment on the new customer data platform (CDP) positioning, complete with ideal customer profiles (ICP), value messaging, and discovery frameworks to understand value and communicate value.

The personalization Playbooks were organized by a core set of value propositions that could be used to personalize buyer value, including:

  • Driving more sales revenue and sales transactions
  • Increasing service revenue and service ticket value
  • Optimize marketing spend and buyer experience 

Personalization Through High-Quality Content

“A key to developing the same way of going to market is high-quality content,” Bobby continues. “It’s content that tells a story about personalized value in a more buyer-centric and trusted, advisory way and does not feel like a product pitch.”

Activator developed a library of content assets aligned with their core value propositions, including:

  • Existing dealer success stories that demonstrate an impact on marketing-attributed leads, sales or service transactions as well as sales and service revenue.
  • Blogs of ~500 words that could be quickly sorted for a buyer or sales team member for topical relevance.
  • Thought leadership webinars featuring Bobby as well as other sales and customer success leadership that speak to Activator’s unique value.

Developing Cross-Functional Field Enablement

The new product launch required sales and customer success teams to adapt their approach. The existing sales and customer success team had to undergo significant reskilling to move from a transactional to a focus on personalizing value in each conversation. 

The value proposition for the CDP and journey marketing needed to be tailored for the specific needs of automotive retail market sales, service, and marketing departments.

Activator implemented a comprehensive training program to equip their teams, including:

  • Bi-weekly coaching to help reps implement the playbooks and shared best practices through regular training sessions.
  • Cross-functional calls across sales and service teams aligned on messaging, content, and expansion strategies.
  • Streamlined onboarding to equip new hires with selling system knowledge for faster contribution.

For Activator Dealer Solutions, the strategy worked, leading to a 75% increase in new sales revenue and average contract values on Activator’s most popular product rose by 24% within just 12 months. 

While the specifics of your buyer journey personalization will vary, Activator’s story offers valuable insights that can help any organization as they develop their buyer journey personalization programs:

  • Ensure everyone in your company understands your ideal customer and value props.
  • Develop content that speaks directly to buyer needs and showcases your value.
  • Train and enable sales and customer success teams to personalize every interaction.