Top Things to Consider with Business To Business Websites – Part Two

Continuing from last week’s article, here we finish explaining how to understand and cater for the fears and motivations of the specific stakeholder viewing your website.

If you can provide indicative costs – DO SO. Many businesses are afraid to do this as they don’t want their competitors knowing their business or to lose bargaining power with clients, but they forget that most important of all is for clients to use their services.

B2B Web designIn the fast and frequently ruthless online decision making process, a site without prices is, quite simply, a site that will be rejected. Make sure it is as easy as possible for visitors like Jenna to make their decision and, if you are really worried about snooping competition or clients referring back to online price promises, simply place the prefix “From” before every price. This immediately gives you back your flexibility and makes your true pricing policies more opaque to your competitors.

Apart from the obvious web development best practices of ensuring clear, instinctive navigation throughout your site’s pages and providing enough relevant information without creating extraneous detail or an overlarge site, the only thing which is really important is making the client’s buying move is as easy as possible.

Therefore always ensure they can get in touch with you – make your contact details or links to your contact page ubiquitous, prominent and clear. Give them several means of contacting you, via contact form, email, definitely by phone and even by live chat if you have the facility. Like B2C consumers, every buyer will have their preference of how they wish to communicate – make sure that the right option is always available to them.

Business to business web design Finally, once your client has contacted you, make sure you response is prompt, friendly, very clear and again addresses their most likely motivations and concerns from the outset. Your client might want to make a personal meeting, but then again they might not – always give them options and never try to force them into a specific negotiating scenario because it is in your comfort zone – it’s theirs that is most important

I hope this information is helpful – having been both buyer and provider, I have experienced so many failed and successful online B2B approaches that I have lost count, but companies that followed these simple rules always made it onto my (very short) shortlist, and were always taken to the next, offline step of communication where conversions usually happen.

David Sime lectures in marketing in Glasgow and has had over 15 years’ experience in the field, having owned and directed two companies, worked with national and international B2B/B2C vendors as well as working within and directing several marketing agencies.

Top Things to Consider with Business To Business Websites

David Sime - Digital MarketerThis article was written By David Sime – David lectures in marketing in Glasgow and has had over 15 years’ experience in the field, having owned and directed two companies, worked with national and international B2B/B2C vendors as well as working within and directing several marketing agencies.

In my experience, what business to business websites fail to do online is to understand their target market.

This is something that B2C (Business to consumer) sites do very well, but for some reason it is overlooked within the B2B market.


Business To Business Web Design

Now, by understanding the target market, I mean more than just establishing demand and competition, or even working out which business sector has greatest need of your products or services – I mean which individual is actually going to be looking at your site’s content. Who is looking to make a buying decision? What is their mindset and motivation?

If you are aiming at corporate companies, or really anything above micro-businesses, it’s safe to assume that the CEO or business owner will not be taking time out of their busy schedule to research the office stationery for their company, or really anything below the level of major buying decisions for their business – chances are, then that your offering will be being perused by someone of much more junior rank, and therefore someone who is accountable to more senior stakeholders.

So, before creating your content, think about who is actually going to be entrusted to take on the purchasing decision relating to your offerings. Once you have established this, what is their motivation, what are their fears and what will convince them that using your services is the best possible approach they could take.

Online Purchasing Decision - Jenna - HRFor example, Jenna is the HR manager for PeopleCo – her company has decided to outsource the recruitment function and she has been entrusted to take on a recruitment agency. This is her primary motivation.

However she is also being monitored by the finance department (meaning she has to demonstrate that she has done her best to minimise, or at the very least accurately ascertain costs) and the training department (meaning that she needs to make sure the calibre and appropriateness of candidates experience and training is as high as possible). Upper management will also be watching the outcome to make sure the decision is made quickly, with no mistakes and with clear, documented reasoning for the decision.

This obviously puts Jenna under a lot of pressure from a number of directions.

So, instead of your recruitment agency talking about its branding or how many years the business has been around for – which, let’s face it, are mainly vanity statements with little real meaning to your clients – think how you as a recruitment agency would address all of Jenna’s concerns and fears.

Start with badges of honour – awards and star ratings your organisation has accumulated for excellence in its field – there’s no need to go on about these, just make sure visual indicators of them are placed with prominence on the site, maybe linking to a dedicated page explaining these in more detail. These are important quality indicators, especially as they are bestowed by independent third parties and are therefore more trustworthy than any amount of textual self aggrandisement. Consciously or unconsciously Jenna will see and log these and immediately start to think she has found a potential quality provider.

Now, on your home page, you would quickly and succinctly describe who your company is and what they do – briefly emphasising that you aim to deliver quality candidates at a rate which is competitive to your industry. Jenna will be looking at a large number of other sites, and the pages which she will keep open and return to are the ones which clearly address her primary motivation as quickly and as clearly as possible – ideally within 3 to 5 seconds of her starting to read.

Next, as you go down the page, address each of Jenna’s fears in turn – explaining why, with your company, these concerns’ are comprehensively and confidently addressed. Rather than using lots of text, use a linked bullet point list. This way Jenna’s eye will quickly scan down to the points of greatest concern to her, giving her immediate reassurance and, by clicking the links, access to further detail for further reassurance, as well as evidence she can use to explain and support her decision to senior stakeholders.

Learn more about crafting a client focused B2B Website in the second part of this article, published next week