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CRO for Business-to-Business (B2B) Companies
Businesses thrive off of two things, reputation and sales. Without either a business is doomed to fail or fall into obscurity. To this end, marketers work constantly to ensure that their clients are, at the very least, keeping their heads above water. One of the best tools in a marketer’s arsenal is the use of CRO or Conversion Rate Optimisation. This is a process designed at enhancing and maximising the number of people in a given audience that follow through with an action that the business owner desires, for example making a purchase.
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Something that is little known however is that the process for CRO differs between business types. There are two main types of business that this affects. B2B and B2C, that is Business to Business, and Business to Customer.
B2C vs B2B
If you’ve never come across these terms before don’t worry, you’re not the only one. Plenty of people have been caught unaware by them but they’re actually pretty self-explanatory. B2C businesses are the businesses that we see in our day-to-day lives. Clothes shops, fast food, tech, gaming, stationary, etc. These are all businesses that deliver goods and services directly to their customers, hence the name “Business to Customer.”
By the same token, a B2B business is a company that offers goods and services to other companies, such as wholesalers, manufacturers, or certain retailers.
Most of the resources on this site are dealing with conversion rate optimisation for B2C businesses, but what of CRO for B2B?
Understanding why CRO is Different
We’ve spoken a few times about something in marketing called the “funnel” but in case this is the first blog you’re reading (welcome to our website!) allow us to talk about it again.
The “Funnel” is a marketing concept that visualises the user journey and helps marketers plan their strategies and content around it. It is usually divided into 5 stages:
Making sure that customers hear about your business.
Getting your target market to interact with you through showing that you understand their concerns or “pain points.”
Involves convincing the target market to convert with you.
A member (or members) of your target market converts for the first time, maybe even becoming a repeat customer.
Customers advocate for your brand, further building your audience and turning your customers into assets.
Nearly all CRO is based on this funnel, and despite changes made to the concept in 2015, this still appears as a common model for the user journey. The only problem is that this funnel is respective to clients of B2C businesses almost exclusively.
Every target market has what is called a “buyer’s cycle” or “buying cycle,” which is a mode of thought based on the purchase of a product or engagement of services. Customers for B2C businesses have a much, much shorter buyer’s cycle than that of B2B customers. Hence, the way they convert is different, thus making different practices within CRO necessary.
B2C Buyer’s Cycle
The B2C buyer’s cycle is much shorter than the B2B buyer’s cycle, often consisting of a few days to a week, and typically only involving 1 person. It is also usually often more focused on impulses and emotions. B2C buyers are often concerned with the following three factors:
-Did I get the best deal?
-What are the reviews of the product/service that I’m looking at?
-What is the reputation of the brand?
Notice how B2C buyers put an emphasis on the brand that they’re buying from? Image is a big part of the B2C buyer’s cycle, especially in this day and age where people and businesses are often “cancelled” and technology allows the populace to weigh in on unethical corporate practices. A brand represents trust and security between company and customer. But what does this look like for a B2B company?
B2B Buyer’s Cycle
There are many differences in how B2B buyers will go through the same process, purely because the concerns are different. Where one is making purchases to fulfil a daily need or indulge an interest, B2B buyers are making purchases to continue to run their business. This requires a different level of scrutiny, and can often take weeks or even months for a decision to be made. It’s not uncommon either for the buying cycle to necessitate multiple people. Where B2C buyers have 3 concerns, B2B buyers typically have around 8:
Finding a problem area in a business such as a lock of stock or components to create stock.
Evaluating the problem to determine what is necessary to purchase, then looking for reputable suppliers.
Does Cost fit the Budget?:
How is the budget allocated for this purchase? Are any other departments going to suffer? If so, is it worth it? How long for?
Evaluation of Alternatives:
Creating a short list of reasonable options and researching their competitors. Are there any alternatives that can offer a better deal or perhaps alleviate the strain caused by this in other areas?
How big is the company? Which businesses have they supplied over the years? How long have they been in business? What do other companies say about them?
What products and services does the supplier(s) offer? Do they offer any post-purchase care plans? How do they handle ongoing business relationships with the companies they supply to?
Making the final decision of who to buy from and how much.
Making sure that an ongoing relationship between the supplier and the business is viable, or utilising any after-purchase care services that the supplier offers.
As you can see, CRO for C2C businesses has a lot more to deal with. Up until now, we’ve been dealing with very common concerns that we, as people, have to deal with every day, but not everyone has to deal with the problems faced by a B2B purchase. So how do we handle CRO when it comes to B2B companies?
CRO for B2B Customers
Many of the strategies mentioned in previous blogs will work well for B2B companies, it’s just a question of how you use them.
A/B Testing, for example, is a very common CRO tactic, but for B2B businesses, its focus will be on other areas. In a B2C business, A/B testing might be run more on their landing pages or their store page calls-to-action, because these are the pages that specifically target a B2C funnel and buyer’s cycle. When it comes to A/B testing the CRO for B2B, it might target areas aimed more at answering B2B buyer questions, such as content and copy, as these are the areas more likely to satisfy the B2B buyer’s cycle (problem Identification, Information searching, evaluation of alternatives, reputation, features).
Heatmaps provide amazing CRO data for B2B businesses, as they show enterprise people where exactly their audience’s attention is. Heatmaps are a graphic representation of where customers who visit a website spend their time. This allows B2B businesses to see whether or not their website is answering customer questions or adhering to the buyer’s cycle.
User Surveys are always great options for any business whether it’s B2C or B2B. This is essentially getting the information you need directly from the source. It is important though that when conducting user surveys you make your questions as specific and targeted as possible. Some good examples are:
Do we provide the items you are looking for? If not, what specifically would you like to see from us?
How would you rate our website’s ease of use?
Did you find our product descriptions and other literature informative and accurate?
Are you satisfied with our communication?
What would you like to see from us in the future?
These questions are just examples, but you can see how they would form the basis of a CRO campaign targeted at B2B companies. Every question is aimed at unlocking the customer’s point of view and thought process.
Web analytics allow you to monitor how potential customers find and interact with your website, allowing you to target and seek better avenues for bringing people to your page.
Also when it comes to CRO particularly in a B2B setting, it’s important to optimise both your forms and your calls-to-action. Website forms are a predominant form of interaction with online content and are a common conversion in some CRO campaigns. Calls-to-action are the prompt that reminds your customers after a long time of looking at content and product descriptions that they’re possibly there to make a purchase or carry out another action. Make them stand out, make them snappy, and make them look good. Also, experiment with text-based CTAs in top or mid-funnel content or copy.
Email marketing is also a precious resource, as most B2B businesses will expect some sort of after-care once they’ve purchased from a supplier. Email marketing software such as Mail Chimp allows you to keep in touch with your customers, update them on new products, keep them in the loop with the company, and offer the aftercare they expect.
Possibly one of the biggest things you can do to improve your CRO is to improve your website’s load time. Every second a customer spends waiting for a page to load lessens the chances that they will actually buy something. This is a proven fact. Although improving load times can be a long process that can get expensive, it’s well worth the investment.
CRO for B2B Businesses from Traffic Radius
Any CRO campaign will have a lot to manage, let alone a CRO campaign for a B2B business. If you have your own marketing team that can manage it that’s awesome! But if not, why not give Traffic Radius a go? We’re a full-service marketing agency in Melbourne with international outreach, an experienced and highly trained team of managers, designers, writers, and developers, as well as decades of experience and a roster of over 400 stellar clients.
If this sounds like the company for you, or if you liked or learned anything from this blog, contact us here at our site, or call us on 1300 870 901.