Skip to main content

Personalisation in marketing is no longer optional. With almost three-quarters (73%) of customers expecting more tailored experiences from the companies they deal with, it’s become an essential strategy.

Incorporating information such as company size, industry sector and job role into interactions is the bare minimum expected but even these basic insights are time-consuming to research manually. Better is the kind of profiling that includes interests, background and preferences, and now, AI makes this level of detailed personalisation a reality. By analysing data from multiple sources in seconds it can create profiles that include more personal details and, crucially, personality insights.

In this blog, we’ll look at the rise of personality profiling and its role in B2B marketing and sales. There’s no doubt as to the benefits – but are there risks in using such personal data?

What is personality profiling?

Personality profiling is the process of identifying an individual’s personality traits and characteristics, to better understand how they think, feel and behave in different situations.

It’s commonly used in recruitment and HR to adjust interactions according to an individual’s way of working, and in marketing, it allows the creation of tailored content and communications.

A number of profiling models can be used, including the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, DISC Profiling, and the Big Five (OCEAN) Model. All identify similar characteristics such as extraversion, introversion, dominance and sensitivity, although some go into more detail.

AI’s role in personality profiling

Traditionally, data for personality profiling would be collected via a mix of self-report questionnaires, psychometric tests, observation and data analysis. Effective but time-consuming – and difficult to roll out on a large scale.

AI removes the need for questionnaires and testing, instead analysing vast amounts of data gathered from sources such as social media, browsing behaviour and purchase history to identify patterns and detect traits that indicate a person’s personality type.

This knowledge is gold dust for sales and marketing. Mapping out these detailed profiles and matching them to prospects takes personalisation to another level – and brings impressive results.

The benefits of using personality profiling in B2B marketing

The deeper insights that come from personality profiling allow sales and marketing teams to tailor their communication styles to a prospect’s personality traits. For example, an extroverted profile might prefer to receive interactive content, while an introverted profile wants more detailed information they can carefully digest.

Personality profiling can also be used to identify the type of decision-maker a prospect is and understand the evidence or information needed to drive a sale. Individuals who are analytical will favour logical, data-driven arguments whereas a more intuitive decision-maker is more likely to be swayed by case studies or testimonials highlighting the benefits of a product or service.

Recognising these differences can significantly increase success. When sales teams understand the personalities involved, they are able to anticipate objections and tailor messaging to address specific concerns before they are even raised. This not only drives sales but also creates a deeper connection between a company and its customers. Indeed, research from McKinsey suggests personalisation can result in a 10% to 15% increase in revenue, but the better a company’s ability to use data to increase customer knowledge and intimacy, the higher the returns.

How personality profiling can be used in sales

We’ve already covered how personality profiling can be used to tailor sales emails to increase open rates and engagement but there are other valuable uses too:

  • Tailoring sales pitches and presentations

Knowing the personality profile of who you’re presenting to allows slides and presentations to be customised to keep the audience focused and engaged. Do they want to see detailed statistics or big-picture ideas?

  • Outbound call preparation including objection handling

Understanding the prospect’s personality helps sales reps anticipate objections and questions, and prepare strong responses to improve customer satisfaction.

  • Optimising follow-up strategies

When we understand the personalities involved, we can implement a follow-up strategy that encourages and engages rather than overwhelms a prospect.

  • Enhancing customer segmentation

Segmenting your audience is the first step in personalising your marketing, and personality profiling allows customers to be categorised by personality trait as well as demographics.

  • Customising user experiences on websites

Different personalities consume information in different ways, so if you know the likely personalities of the people visiting your website, you can adapt its layout and content to make their browsing experience more engaging and relevant.

What are the challenges and moral implications of using personality profiling?

The personal nature of these character-based insights means it’s important that companies strike a balance between achieving a high degree of personalisation and respecting customers’ privacy.

Data protection regulations such as GDPR exist for a reason and individuals must give consent for their data to be used. Not only does this ensure compliance it also builds trust – according to information from Segment, 69% of customers appreciate personalisation but only as long as it’s based on data they have explicitly shared.

There is also a sweet spot when it comes to the level of personalisation used. Too much is considered intrusive and if customers become aware they’re being heavily analysed, they’re likely to feel uncomfortable.

This is one area where AI falls short, and humans need to step in. Much as AI and machine learning can provide valuable insights fast, they can only do so much. Successful personalisation builds genuine rapport with customers and prospects but this can only be achieved when communications are authentic and empathetic while also appealing to the relevant personality traits.

Achieving this delicate balance requires the human touch. It takes emotional intelligence and a depth of understanding that’s impossible for a machine to replicate. This means for the moment at least, AI needs to be used as an aid to human communications and planning, not a replacement.

A further challenge is the scale of the automation currently possible. The systems and algorithms need further development before they can accurately analyse and interpret, in real time, the volume of data needed by large-scale marketing operations.

To read about the other disruptive trends we’ve predicted for 2024, read our whitepaper here