B2B is about getting the details right. You will not mourn the 40-dollar loss for a CTA you missed; you will, however, feel the pinch when user experience breaks before you sell a software license for 10,000 seats. The mistakes are amplified, the missed opportunities more costly – and rather than obsessing about volume, you have to focus on value.
So how well does the industry fare? In short, not well.
Most B2B companies are still in what Demandbase CMO Greg Ott calls the “Where’s Waldo” state – decisions made using opinions, not data, and with no clear conversion goals. There are five distinct states for sites, and you can’t skip a step while growing:
1. Un-optimized – basically brochures masquerading as a web site
2. Basic optimization – there’s a culture of analytics, CTAs for different tasks, but the experience is still basically the same for everyone
3. Basic segmentation – different content for different traffic sources, but still essentially static
4. Real-time anonymous targeting – based on anonymous data and behavior, changes the site experience for the visitor
5. Real-time advanced personalization – experience dynamically tailored to everything known about the visitor
Very few companies are on states 4 and 5; most are either un-optimized or just getting started with analytics, conversion, and testing. That having been said, B2B is different for a number of reasons.
1. Decisions are made based on risk-avoidance- trust-factors are even more important than in B2C
2. There are longer sales cycles
a. Lead nurturing is critical. Content for education, along with other things higher up in the sales funnel, is key.
b. “Buy now” and “free trial” are not within your toolsets.
3. There are multiple decision makers and gatekeepers
a. You have to think about the accounts, not just the people, and you have to provide content relevant to the tactical people as well as strategic ones.
b. The needs are radically different between multiple audiences.
c. Tasks are more narrow, so your navigation can be more defined to fit specific tasks.
4. Each click counts – UX errors are more costly.
5. Visitors care more about relevant in-vertical experience- prospects only care if something works in their vertical
B2B is about presenting the right information at the right time to the right audience; a narrow set of people who can impact your revenue. It’s about presenting the healthcare White Paper to the visitors who care about healthcare. Sometimes that can be done by having the audience self-select, but it’s even better if you can use what you know about IP addresses or if you take what you know within the CRM to serve relevant data without making the user dig for it.
There’s more to learn in Tim and Greg’s Webinar: “The Zero-click Web Site: Personalizing Your B2B Web Site for Higher Conversions.”