The conversations may go something like this:
CEO to VP of Sales: “Get more business.”
VP of Sales to VP of Marketing: “Get me more leads.”
VP of Marketing to the digital team: “Drive more goal conversions from the website.”
For business-to-business (B2B) relationships, a company’s website drives marketing and sales efforts to land more business. It must perform significantly more work than a business-to-consumer (B2C) website.
One lost customer on a B2B website can mean the difference between hitting the monthly sales goal or a C-Suite executive looking for a new job.
A successful B2B website must look good, but more importantly, it must do the heavy lifting to deliver leads for the sales team to chase. That work starts with a solid strategy long before designing the first wireframe or writing any lines of code. Success is measured in a series of mini-sales along the customer journey and ending with a closed deal.
Building the B2B foundation
You must devote considerable thought to these four pillars of a robust B2B website:
- Know the audience(s) – Close on mini-sales
- Articulate the value proposition – Deliver Solutions
- Understand the sales timeline – Success comes in days or weeks
- Define key performance indicators (KPIs) – Measure goals
Close on ‘mini-sales’
Most B2B websites cater to vastly different people (personas) in the sales journey. There may be three or four unique people. You can’t ignore any one of them.
Your website must address the interests and needs of each person in a language that appeals to them. The goal is to treat each step in the funnel as a series of mini-sales leading to the final closing of the deal.
Completing these mini-sales requires website architecture that different personas can easily navigate. A digital marketing and web development agency offers the expertise to build a winning B2B website.
Great B2B websites can accomplish this challenge in a variety of ways:
- Persona self-selection, such as a homepage section that says “How we help Person X, Person Y, and Person Z.”
- Keeping website copy high-level but offering downloads of data-heavy case studies for more technical/engineering personas
- “Why Us?” pages that articulate the value proposition of the B2B company
- Investing in data visualization that clearly presents technical information
- Implement actionable calls to action and forms that you have A-B tested to know what generates the best conversions.
After identifying the stakeholders in the buying cycle, there must be ample information to appeal to each person. B2B websites are less about selling the sizzle and more about selling a prime cut of meat.
That’s the value proposition that B2B websites must deliver.
For this reason, B2B websites often need to focus more on education instead of urgency or price, which are often the selling point on B2C websites.
The goal is to complete the mini sale or “convert.” On B2B landing pages, they must inform and educate as quickly and as briefly as possible. The copy should lead the potential customer to the next step.
Those secondary pages may feature product specifications detailing compatibility, support, regulations, etc., case studies and testimonials or industry certifications and quality standards, which help elevate credibility.
B2B success comes in days, weeks or even longer
The importance of patience can’t be overstated. Remember you are courting numerous players in the sales journey. Understand the sales timeline.
Closing a significant sale is not quick.
Numerous people have their hands in the purchase decision-making, which extends the sales timeline.
A sale may begin with a senior executive glancing at a website, or an entry-level employee assigned to identify possible suppliers.
In between, middle managers may visit a website before submitting a supplier’s “Contact Us” form on the website. The wheels often turn slowly in corporate decision-making.
The B2B website must connect with each of these individuals.
Measuring B2B goals through KPIs
There’s no debating that closing the sale is the ultimate goal and THE key performance indicator (KPI), but there are small measures of success along the sales journey.
Conversions measure an action a visitor took on the B2B website. These may be submitting a “Contact Us” form. Another conversion may be downloading an authoritative whitepaper and on a mobile device, tracking a click that initiates a phone call results in a conversion.
These are all reliable indicators of buyer interest.
Qualitative website metrics also provide a measure of your site’s effectiveness. Consider tracking these numbers:
- Percentage of return visitors over a set time
- Return visitors who converted
- Page views per session
- Bounce rate, meaning visitors who exited without visiting any other pages.
These metrics can help you determine if your visitors were engaging with your website. For example, a high bounce rate may indicate that your messaging is not resonating with the visitor.
Read More: Differences between B2B and B2C Web Design
Start with a strategy
DBS Interactive, a digital marketing and web development agency, takes all of this information and develops a website and digital marketing strategy for your company that leverages search engine optimization (SEO), so it can be found, but also one that then delivers solutions. Contact Us.
Read More: 8 Great Examples of B2B Web Design