In today’s landscape, businesses are coming online at an unprecedented rate as they realize that traditional marketing tactics, such as print ads and cold calling, are no longer an effective means of generating leads. For this reason, business owners have shifted their attention to setting up websites, blogs, and digital storefronts in the hope of drawing in potential customers. This change has been further accelerated by the rise of millennials, who have begun to replace baby boomers in the workplace and taken up posts such as decision-maker. These individuals are used to the information-age where searching and comparing products online has come as second-nature. As a result, 94% of B2B customers today research for a product online before making a purchase decision which means your site and its content is equivalent to yesteryear’s salesperson.
However, before rushing off to create a site for potential customers, it’s important to differentiate the different nature, motivation, and decision-making process that customers take in B2B as opposed to B2C. The underlying difference stems from a B2B customers preference to make purchasing decisions based on hard-facts and rationale whereas B2C customers act on impulse and make snap decisions. To ensure your site encourages B2B customers to purchase regardless of the fact whether you provide a SaaS or product-based solution, you need to ensure that site design reduces friction, allow product customization, demonstrate social proof, and provide exclusive content at the bare minimum.
Reduce friction in search and purchase
A lot of B2B websites fare poorly in terms of online strategy and according to one study, nearly 76 percent of customers consider ease of search of B2B products as their highest priority. Besides this, another major hurdle faced by B2B vendors is the inability of customers to get a feel of your product and its usability especially in the SaaS space. To overcome this challenge, make sure to offer potential customers a free trial or demo version of your product or service in order to reduce any doubt or friction they may have. Be careful not to demand any credit card information or have them complete questionnaires in order to grant access to the trial or demo. Doing so will not only ‘wow’ a prospective customer but help them see the value in your product and make them feel obligated to give back. You can either choose to offer a short trial to create a sense of urgency or a longer trial if you expect customers to become dependent on your service quickly.
For those operating in B2B selling physical products, money-back guarantees serve as a great way to reduce friction as they effectively eliminate any risk from the customer’s perspective. If a product doesn’t live up to expectation, they have the fallback option of reclaiming their money. Money back guarantees are great for B2B customers as they are far less likely to return their purchases for the fact that they aren’t spending their own money and that no one wants to admit their mistake to their peers and management. Therefore, your money-back guarantee is more for show and not offering it a serious blunder.
Allow customization of your products
Since B2B customers will have very specific requirements, it makes sense to let them create a version of your product as best they see fit, otherwise they will not hesitate to look elsewhere. This is one of the primary reasons that popular SaaS solutions such as HubSpot and Aweber offer add-on features and a custom pricing package for power users. For physical products, it is a also good idea to let customers configure a product based on their needs. Make sure to make use of configurable products, which are products that have multiple custom variations available. For example, you may provide options such as different size, color, and quality of material. The advantage of configurable products lies in their ability to show multiple variations on a single product page with the help of drop-down menus. This allows potential customers to create a highly relevant product based on their needs or preference as soon they like something instead of having them waste time browsing your site for variation.
Social proof, the psychological phenomenon in which an individual deems the behavior of their peers to reflect the correct course of action is a bit harder to demonstrate in B2B but not impossible. A B2B SaaS company may not be able to show a large following or number of likes on their page but they can sprinkle copy on their page with subtle cues. For example, language such as “Over 10,000 customers rate our solution as the best” can have a significant impact in helping you earn a potential customer’s trust which leads to a sale. Another way to demonstrate social proof is through use of visual tactics found often in B2C. If you have any well-known or respected customer, feature their logo on your site to increase credibility and trust in your site. If you lack any such customer, you can use testimonials (consider video testimonials) where an existing customer provides their opinion about your product.
Provide exclusive content
Whitepapers, eBooks, and case studies are important content mediums in B2B. A potential customer is unlikely to commit to a purchase unless they understand how your product or service works and how it will help resolve their issue. In fact, according to Marketing Sherpa, whitepapers are the most powerful tool available in a B2B marketer’s toolkit. Whitepapers are long in-depth documents that are loaded with data and arguments which make the case for a product or service. Make sure that these documents are written objectively and present a genuine solution without any overt sales pitch which undermines the credibility and value of your content. To round it off, always include a call-to-action to encourage your potential customers to act. Taking all these steps will ensure that when a decision-maker is faced with a list of product or service choices to select from, your in-depth and objective insight can help sway the decision in your favor.
The B2B purchase life cycle is far longer and more intricate than its B2C counterpart. While there is some overlap in strategies needed to build a site in both environments, there are some unique challenges applicable only to B2B that need to be addressed in order to drive sales.