The B2B market is as competitive as it’s ever been… and the landscape is changing rapidly. As more companies downsize and try to save on costs, the costs of goods and services is one of the first line items to be reconsidered. Increased competition is challenging traditional long-term relationships with suppliers. Yes, even today, your B2B competitor is trying to steal your client. B2B branding is essential as companies face fierce real-time competition, where deals are sometimes made with the click of a mouse… And your bottom line could go from the black to red within seconds because someone found a seemingly better option or thought your website to be dated or untrustworthy.We have mentioned before that branding is both science and art… being found and being chosen. A recent Forbes article reports that almost 70% of purchasers are conducting independent online research when seeking B2B services. This means Google searches and social media platforms have replaced the use of sales reps, company visits, mailings and telephone solicitations… And this number is likely to increase over the years. The old adage is true: “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
Your Landing Page
B2B purchasers spend a lot of time researching the services they need, and almost 40% will review at least four different websites before selecting a company. So, assuming your B2B business is amongst the final four (which means your website is properly search engine optimized or your Google Adwords account makes this happen)… Does your landing page close the deal? Will the B2B purchaser review your services and select your company? It’s not enough to just drive traffic to your page… Does your website have the right stuff for your potential customer?The right stuff does not necessarily mean having a shopping cart pop up as soon as someone arrives. Rather, is your page communicating directly to the viewer and engaging them in a satisfying user experience (UX)? It is easy to get so caught up in defining who you are that you forget to ask, What is the potential customer looking for?
What We Can Learn From Fast Food
Think about a McDonald’s restaurant. When a customer (or guest) walks in the door, they don’t see a history of the franchise or the story of Ronald McDonald displayed. No, they see yummy food options. Glossy photos of perfectly made Big Macs and their famous fries. That’s because guests are there looking for food… fast. A McDonald’s customer may have just a few minutes for a meal… They may be a few seconds away from being hangry… imagine if they had to read about founder Ray Kroc before placing an order! And McDonald’s takes it one step further. Adjacent to every register is a donation box for the Ronald McDonald House. Fast food with a social conscience. Winner, winner, Chicken McNugget dinner!In the competitive B2B landscape, is your landing page giving potential customers what they are seeking? Can they see right away that you are trustworthy? Reliable? Is your customer service impeccable? How are you perceived in your community? Communicating these and other concepts up front is just as important as driving traffic.
Who Is Visiting Your Site Vs. The Decision-Maker
Anyone visiting your B2B website is computer literate and proficient in performing general and detailed word searches. And with our current demographics, chances are it’s a Millennial. In turn, this means any B2B site must communicate with next-gen customers in their own language. We know from research that Millennials have a wide variety of interests separate and apart from just finding the best financial deal. Some of these causes include saving the environment, supporting local initiatives, and other social causes. Another quality that resonates with them is “authenticity.” But authenticity goes a long way from merely impressing the initial visitor.
Usually the first visitor to a site is not the final decision maker. This power lies in the decision making unit (DMU). All B2B businesses should become familiar with their DMUs. This is a group of people that will ultimately decide whether or not to select your company’s services. The DMU may involve financial managers, the CEO or other executives or managers of a company. The challenge is that the number of DMUs is increasing. This makes it harder for a company to ultimately select a B2B company. A 2017 Harvard Business Review study states:The number of people involved in B2B solutions purchases has climbed from an average of 5.4 two years ago to 6.8 today, and these stakeholders come from a lengthening roster of roles, functions, and geographies. The resulting divergence in personal and organizational priorities makes it difficult for buying groups to agree to anything more than “move cautiously,” “avoid risk,” and “save money.” One CMO has memorably referred to this as “lowest common denominator purchasing.”
What Does This Mean For Your B2B Company
This article is telling in that it prioritizes three things
Of course, every company is looking for the lower prices. But avoiding risk and not taking chances seem to be equally important for some. So, what does this all mean for B2B companies? It means that your website is more than just a shingle identifying your location and type of business. A B2B website’s layout and messaging can be the difference between being immediately passed over or making it to the DMU and closing the deal. Knowing who your initial visitors are—and what they desire—is a vital consideration that should be directly reflected on your website. And it’s one that is constantly changing.