Most marketers know the chief difference between the purchase process of B2C and B2B models: consumer transactions are typically simpler, streamlined and influenced by emotion, whereas business conversion is gradual, complex, and usually marred in red tape and protocol.
UX design agencies are familiar with this disparity too—crafting an ideal user experience for a B2C company’s website calls for a completely different approach than a B2B one.
So while we understand that a drawn-out purchase process is inherent to the B2B model, there’s still actionable UX changes you can make to your site that expedite path-to-purchase. Here’s a few tips to boost conversion when your buyers are businesses.
1) EMPHASIZE YOUR CREDIBILITY
While this holds true for your standard, B2C eCommerce sites as well, exuding an image of credibility and instilling trust within the user is absolutely indispensable for B2B companies.
B2B transactions are typically long-term commitments with an extended decision-making process, and no client will make the decision to do business with your company without a stable foundation of trust established first.
Note the logo banner placed below the hero image (but above the fold) on Codal’s website
From a UX design standpoint, this means utilizing every opportunity available to highlight your company’s credibility. There’s a number of ways to accomplish this, ranging from obvious methods like customer testimonials or product reviews, to more subtle techniques, such as a logo wall of your notable clients or a list of certifications and awards.
2) KEEP IT CONTENT-CENTRIC
Visuals are the centerpiece of most B2C websites, with online retailers always striving to present their products in trendy or creative ways. That isn’t to say graphics aren’t important in your B2B website, but it should take a backseat to the real driver of B2B conversion: content.
The design of your website should be tailored to support and underline your website’s content, whether it’s a curated collection of downloadables like whitepapers and eBooks, or just your company’s blog.
And if your target demographic is especially diverse, consider personalizing your website’s experience by offering dynamic content. This is content tailored to a sect of your user base, that can recognize who is viewing it and respond accordingly.
3) PERFECT YOUR CALL-TO-ACTION COPY
The call-to-action is paramount to any website, whether it’s eCommerce, marketing, a blog, or a fundraising site. B2B websites are no exception to this, though their CTAs need to be written and implemented a bit differently than what we might be used to seeing.
Like B2C sites, your B2B CTA’s should be bare-bones concise, and impossible to miss. But unlike their consumer-based counterparts, these CTAs should make an effort to exude tact and professionalism, rather than the more attention-grabbing or informal ones seen in online retail.
This may seem obvious, but writing CTA copy that takes a different direction than a flashing “Buy Now!” can be harder than it sounds. Remember, you still need to lure the user into the conversion funnel with something attractive and noticeable.
4) DRIVE HOME THE DETAILS
We’ve already mentioned that the difficulty of B2B conversion lies in its complexity and length, and part of this can be attributed to the fact that many B2B products need to match a company’s unique requirements and specifications.
That’s why it’s important to include these details in your website’s copy. It’s almost certain the product you’re selling will have to interface with the client’s pre existing operations, so it’s important to broadcast the compatibilities and capabilities of your product.
Depending on your product, this could mean technical specs, API information, integration details, feature parity, and more. The Nielsen Norman Group, a pioneer company in UX design research, lists more of these details and the types of products that should use this technique here.
5) DO THE JOB FOR THEM
All of the tips mentioned in this article are united by a common thread: they make the client’s decision-making process easier. That’s how clients think of their interactions with your company—criteria for a decision on whether or not to do business with you.
And because B2B decision-making is nearly always a long-term commitment for an important use case, there’s almost always pressure on the client’s side to make the right choice. So help them with their job. In fact, go to an extreme—do the job for them.
Whether that’s including an estimated pricing calculator, offering comparison charts of you and your competition, or even providing tools that help your clients share your content with the other decision-makers in their company—the best way to streamline conversion is to do their job for them.