Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: The behavior of today’s B2B buyer has changed.
Don’t worry. This isn’t another blog talking about how B2B buyers are at least 57% of the way through the purchase process before contacting a salesperson, or how 61% of B2B buyers start their process with a general web search. We get all that by now.
Unfortunately, though, many B2B companies still struggle to translate those insights into practices that align with a B2B buyer’s digital experience. Or, to put it another way, their digital demand.
Because content is so easily accessible, buyers and influencers have a different set of expectations for interacting with vendors. If those expectations aren’t being met, they’ll quickly find the information they’re seeking elsewhere. In order for B2B companies to be successful, they’ll need to master the digital experience for their audience by seamlessly delivering the right message and content across their digital landscape.
Websites Still Reign Supreme
When evaluating digital properties, here at Synerge-marketing, we always prioritize a company’s website. And for good reason. It should come as no surprise that according to a study last year by Marketo, a company’s website is the leading digital engagement channel for B2B consumers when comparing and purchasing products and services.
In order to meet the digital demands of today’s buyer, B2B companies must strategically evaluate the role that their website plays. Here are some elements to consider:
- CONTENT. At the dawn of content marketing, companies simply had to deliver a consistent quantity of content in order to be found. As buyers became more sophisticated, the quality of content became more crucial. Today, it’s all about context. As buyers move along their purchase path (from awareness to consideration to purchase), they interact with various types of website content to answer their questions. Ask yourself, does my website offer enough non-promotional, educational content for buyers that are in an awareness stage? Do we provide specific solutions and ideas for solving a buyer’s problem in the consideration stage? And are we armed with branded proof points, testimonials or case studies that propel a buyer to move forward with their purchase? B2B companies that have a steady quantity of high-quality content that lives within the context of the buyer’s journey will gain a competitive advantage on their website.
- MESSAGE. I’m constantly amazed at how companies fail to adequately describe themselves on their website compared to their other channels. For example, the next time you’re interested in a B2B brand, compare the language on their “About Us” or homepage with the language on their LinkedIn page. Often, we find that brands get too creative for their own good on their website and fail to address what really matters. Who are we? What solutions do we provide? Who do we provide those solutions to? If you’re not clearly answering these questions in your website messaging, you’re creating confusion and frustration for B2B buyers, causing them to leave your site and look for other solutions.
- ENGAGEMENT. Once you’ve established credibility and trust through your content and message, you must determine how your website will drive the next level of buyer engagement. Is it by filling out a contact form? Starting a chat? Picking up the phone? Or even completing the purchase through your site? Integrating these pieces appropriately and aligning them with your sales team will enhance the user’s experience. Establish a process with other business leaders by determining when and how your sales reps will follow up with qualified leads in order to capitalize on buyers that show interest.
While these elements are critical for addressing the digital demands of today’s B2B buyer, they must also be complemented with the right aesthetic and design features. Next week we’ll take a deeper dive into specific design strategies for your B2B website and explain how they can drive a higher level of conversions.