Since opening our B2B marketing agency, we’ve stressed how our marketing collateral—specifically our website design—support the sales process. There are significant differences to a B2B sale that have a major impact on how B2B should be marketed versus B2C.
B2B vs. B2C
The primary difference between B2B and B2C is the time between discovery and purchase. B2C encapsulates a lot of products, from toiletries to automobiles and more. But the majority of those products are discovered within days or at most a few months before purchasing. They’re also purchased on a more frequent basis (think of your clothing or food).
On the flip side, B2B is often a much slower process down the sales funnel. While this longer process increases the opportunity for relationship building, it also leaves a lot of room for a prospect to change their mind and go with a competitor.
Did you know that 89% of B2B researchers use the internet during the B2B research process?
(Source: Google, 2015)
Here are our tips for improving your B2B web marketing tactics for B2B sales:
Focus on helping the client
Everything on your website, from your design to your copy to your calls to action, should be geared toward educating and helping the client. In a B2B sale, a prospect may be reviewing your firm and comparing it to others online. So if your website is failing to make it easy to answer their questions or discover more—they’re likely to abandon your business early in the decision making phase.
How can you improve your website for a client? Here are some tips:
- Navigation and user experience. Make sure a visitor doesn’t need to dig around to find your core services.
- Contact information. Is it only featured on the “Contact Us” page? Instead, repeat it throughout the website, like the homepage header, so visitors can immediately pick up the phone—regardless of where they are on the website.
- Web design and function. A dated website doesn’t communicate well to a prospect—refresh your web design if needed.
Did you know that 71% of B2B researchers start their research with a generic search?
(Source: Google, 2015)
If your website design is functional and user-focused, the next step to aiding a B2B sale is continuing to build credibility. Since a prospect is likely to re-visit your website to gather information, consistently updating your website with relevant information keeps a prospect engaged. In addition, it builds trust without constantly relying on a phone call to the sales team.
An effective method to building credibility is implementing a content marketing tactic, such as blogging, social media or content offers (guides, tip sheets, eBooks). This way, on the consecutive visits to your website a prospect is finding something new to your firm. What’s important for B2B sales includes:
- Create content that is educational and valuable—not promotional.
- Create content for different decision makers. Meaning, the prospect researching your firm may be reporting back to other final decision makers (VPs, CEOs, Board of Directors, etc.) and content should speak to their needs as well.
Don’t stress the sale
Seems contradictory to not focus on selling for a website that builds sales. Focusing again on the longer B2B sales cycle, closing too early potentially scares off the prospect too soon.
When providing education and credible content, think of how your prospect would like to receive this information. No one ever likes to feel sold to, they’d rather educate themselves and content you when the solution is close to a decision. Guarding your company information behind lengthy forms or asking too many “How did you find us?” questions can potentially frustrate the prospect. Instead, keep as much information you can transparent.
Because B2B sales are longer and more complex, marketing tactics shouldn’t be short-sighted. In the end, web marketing should support the long-term nurturing, so prospects are constantly returning to you. Making the above improvements to your website not only repeats their visits, it makes the purchasing choice easier.