Building A Website for B2B Buyers
When you strike out on a web design project it’s easy to get buried. New jQuery plugins, CSS3 animations, icon font libraries are all begging to be put to use. On top of that you have UX to consider and information architecture to map.
Web design or re-design projects are perfect opportunities to optimize your visitor’s experience. But all too often a new design is dropped on top of existing architecture and doesn’t address what buyers look for in B2B websites.
And what do B2B buyers look for? Well, a recent survey has shed light on just that question. KoMarketing Associates and Diana Huff conducted the survey which was completed by 175 C-level, company leadership, director & consultant roles. The results offer some clarity on what’s really important and what’s really not.
Succinctly answer the question “What do you do?”
Hopefully you have a good idea about who you serve and what your product does. Answering “What do you do?” in as few words as possible helps your visitors “get it” without thinking.
Here are some examples
- Software for recruiting agencies
- Sales & marketing software for small business
- Operations management for ecommerce
- Branding. Web. UI.
Establishing credibility, quickly, helps visitors make a decision. And according to the survey certain content is required for visitors to make a purchasing decision.
Here are the top 5
- Technical support info
- Case studies, articles, white papers or blog posts
- Shipping info
The point of this content is to arm the buyer with the right information for their research process. It’s well documented that modern buyers complete 70% of the sales cycle before sales is even contacted. This means that questions that were answered by salespeople in the past, need to be answered by your site.
In my experience, adding client stories ranks high in user testing. Visitors want to see others who have the same problems and understand why they chose your solution over a competitor. Cataloging client stories is also a good way to stay in contact with current customers and understand how your product impacts their day-to-day work lives.
Make it easy to get in touch
In a surprising revelation, email (81%) was selected as the preferred method of contacting vendors. Phone (58%) was second followed by online forms (39%). For a contact page, I can see this making sense. On the main contact page you’ll want to include a general, monitored email address, phone number and a simple contact form.
I do think the question is being interpreted differently than intended however. Most SaaS companies have an online demo that requires a form submit. Of course you want to make it possible to email or call from that page, but the obvious thing to do is fill out the form.
Why? Because structured lead data makes sense for CRM & marketing automation. Autoresponders can be sent, alerts triggered and campaigns started. For the business it makes sense, for the user it’s possible to contact us with a form, email or call.
Speaking of forms…
Ask enough, but not too much. Form length is a big factor in conversion. Sure, it’s nice to have the address, country, zip, revenue, date of birth etc… but don’t ask if it isn’t necessary.
Try dropping the phone number too. 60% of survey respondents didn’t like giving a phone number on online forms. My assumption is that phone calls are seen as future annoyances and interruptions, while an email can be returned or ignored at the visitor’s convenience.
Don’t hide the price
Isn’t it annoying when you’re shopping for a car and they hide it? The thought is that the prospect will need to contact a salesperson before getting the price.
Remember earlier when I said that 70% of the buying cycle was done before a salesperson was contacted? Pricing is a big part of the research process and not making it available could get you dropped from the potential vendors list.
Don’t be annoying
Please, please, please don’t autoplay video, throw a popup form, have a virtual person guide me through the site or have seizure inducing flashing backgrounds.
Download the report at http://www.komarketingassociates.com/files/2014-B2B-Web-Usability-Report.pdf for the full stats and breakdown.