B2B marketing focuses on business and it doesn't directly sell to consumers. The needs of companies are not the same as those of consumers, as they have different motivations and objectives, such as profitability and productivity.
Generally, a company purchases a product or service to function better, be more efficient, and then get a return on it. In fact, in B2B, it is more difficult to get the message to our potential clients since there are a much smaller number of businesses than consumers and because they belong to a much more segmented niche.
B2B vs B2C
There is no difference between B2B and B2C users. We are all “classic consumers'' who alternate the use of systems on a daily basis, sometimes for personal purposes, sometimes for professionals. What changes between the two are the objectives and needs because the expectation and the degree of demand from users for a good experience remain the same.
While the targets of these two worlds don’t have the same objectives, they have the same influence and the same digital codes: mobile use, social networks, e-commerce, etc.
Why is B2B online behavior different from B2C?
Today's customer experience reached an unparalleled level of maturity and expectations are high when it comes to purchasing, subscribing or using a service. B2B products have the same basic rules as B2C websites since B2B users. The biggest difference is the time of your purchase process. B2B purchases and decisions take time; users rarely make decisions after visiting a web page.
A B2B website validates the legitimacy of the company by offering relevant content in multiple ways to diverse audiences. The key in this type of company is the generation of trust. This approach helps to achieve the goal of convincing more sophisticated buyers that will invest a bigger amount of money.
So, the content you share must address multiple levels of information. Unlike B2C websites, you need to provide more depth and information not only about the product but also about the company. Users need to find specifications, capabilities, guides, and best practices for trusting in you.
Indeed, when companies intend to spend thousands or millions of dollars on a supplier, they often research the company before contacting it. This process can take more than six months and for closing a business or establish a collaboration, companies are increasingly looking at aspects such as:
- The image that you deliver to partners, suppliers, consumers and society in general.
- Your presence and reputation online.
- The fundamentals of your business model, not only economic or profitable but also at the level of values and philosophy.
Your users are aware that the image you project has a great influence on their own. That's why they are looking for suppliers and collaborators who, in addition to providing quality products and services, provide them with extra added value in the form of an improvement in their image and fruitful and enriching collaboration ties at all levels.
Some considerations for B2B negotiations
As you already know, user experience (UX) for B2B websites is different from the designs for B2C, even if the same principles apply to both. UX focuses on the user journey (customer journey), instilling trust in the brand and ultimately leading to a decision. For delivering the right message to B2B clients you need to:
1. Strengthen the identity of your company
Companies are more receptive to buying products and services from other companies with which they feel identified, considering that they represent them and have similar values. To achieve this, you have to reinforce your corporate image, both online and offline.
- Define the values of your company in a clear way, that is, with a well-crafted pitch that explains in a visual way what your business does and with little text what your company is like and what it can do to its clients.
- Organize and sponsor solidarity events. Implement concrete measures to reconcile the family / personal and professional life of your employees.
- Promote and communicate these actions in the best possible way, the ideal is that they appear in digital media and if possible also traditional ones.
2. Maximize your online presence
50% of B2B businesses invest at least 10% of their annual budget in marketing campaigns. So, positioning your business as a good supplier will take time and you'll need to make some investments to have a great online presence.
- Content marketing and inbound marketing. Creating content online allows you to communicate with your potential clients and let them assess for themselves the benefits of using your services or products.
- Work your email marketing. Marketing automation with the right software will help you follow up and communicate with your clients. Among many other actions, automation allows you to implement optimized and effective email marketing campaigns. Just remember to personalize your emails as much as possible because 47% of B2B experts state that personalization is the best strategy to stand out.
- Properly segment your database and your contacts. A database is a great asset since you can keep track of your contacts and send those personalized offers at the right time. Send personalized emails to the contacts you want, informing them of the news about offers, products, services and other topics related to their needs.
By the way, it is important to be aware that LinkedIn is the source of 80% of all B2B leads (LinkedIn). So, LinkedIn is a social network you have to exploit.
3. Consider the high cost of change
To make a contract with you, companies usually have to break a contract with another provider. Additionally, the process of B2B purchase has greater complexity, they want to obtain additional value such as services, maintenance and support. This makes the decision complex and with a high cognitive load.
In this scenario, the user could visit the site several times, share pages with members of the board of directors, and download valuable content (guides, e-books, infographics, and presentations) for further research. This process is very different from average users in B2C. With this in mind, you have to treat information, strategy and approach differently.
Web design principles for B2B environments
Keep in mind that B2B users are often busy and they already know what they are looking for. In this context, each point of contact or interaction must provide a relevant, seamless response and your UX must convey the following elements:
- Help your client grow and be successful. If a business grows with you, the chances that they will increase their spending using your digital product/service multiply. So, in a B2B relationship, the growth of your client's business is the foundation of a healthy relationship.
- Find a balance between efficiency and effectiveness. You have to get people to do their work with the least possible effort. For this, a good tool is user tests, which help to appreciate people's problems when executing a task and collect the information that users offer.
- Improve clarity. Simplify complex tasks and make UX as good as possible.
- Be precise and predictable with your client. Precision is important in a business relationship because the client has to evaluate the cost-benefit ratio of using your solution.
- Clearly identify target segments. By defining distinct and detailed buyer personas. Depending on the sector, users will have different needs and you’ll need to build different strategies for different clients to provide an optimal experience.
- Clearly explain the pricing model. Consistently explain what each plan or service package includes, so users understand why each price and its benefits. And If customization is possible, make it clear because your users will compare plans. People want to compare plans and offers, make it easy for them to do so by clearly stating what each plan includes and the price they have. Be transparent to build trust.
- Clarify doubts about switching costs. B2B users have to consider the switching costs and include this information on the price pages and in the FAQ. Provide as much information as possible without having to contact a sales representative and they will know what to expect and the costs of your products before contacting someone from sales. This also brings transparency and adds trust to the relationship. Offer multiple ways to contact the organization: allow users to choose how they can contact you. At least one email and one contact telephone number.
- Devote time to UX research. With B2C targets, user tests, interviews, satisfaction questionnaires, or even focus groups are part of the arsenal of tools available. It is also interesting to surf the length of the decision-making process to initiate an active listening relationship with a client. This medium / long-term relationship can help identify possible pain points and continuously improve the experience offered.
- Apply the data collected with research. When it comes to UX for B2B websites, strategy and data should serve to help you choose and understand where, when and how users interact with your site. Developing in-depth knowledge of your target market and changing needs is an essential prerequisite. And with strong expectations for an ever more tailor-made experience, flexibility is essential because B2B researchers check 12 sites before choosing a brand (Thinkwithgoogle). It means that you have competition.
- Prove that your service or product works. Give context and information to demonstrate that your product works. To do this, use success stories, testimonials, product demos and free trials.
- Clearly show the company's values and any market differentiation. You have to clearly show the company's values beyond the About Us or who we are. In fact, around 90% of top B2B marketers focus on showing relevant information first.
All these factors represent an opportunity to achieve real impact and contribute to the evolution of design in B2B environments, and UX designers are the ones with the responsibility for making these conversions possible for businesses. You need designers who look beyond and are willing to work on things that are not in the limelight of the media or perceived as the latest trend. Let them take risks, put aside preconceptions of the "right way to design" and actively seek new ways to design in a business environment.
Every cloud has a silver lining
Getting B2B users to convert is the key; whether it is data collection, product purchase or content download. Accompany them on a path free of obstacles and without the possibility of getting lost. Ux web design for B2B is about solving real problems and the challenge ahead is enormous.
But don't worry, we will help you in this process. Just contact us and we’ll do what it takes to make you increase your revenues!