A No Nonsense Three-Pillar Approach to Improving B2B Conversions

Hey, you! Yeah you there! If you’ve got ten minutes, I’ve got the guide you need for turning more leads into conversions, and getting those B2B sales in. I’m going to break it down into three pillars:

  • UX/UI
  • Managing Relationships
  • Analysing data

Let’s go:

  1. UX & UI

How does your site handle?

How can your users get in touch?

B2B customer volumes are often lower, which means it’s easier to invest in more direct contact forms. Data supports that live chat has a huge advantage over chatbots, and that some sort of email and contact form (that is responded to professionally and helpfully) is a huge asset. It’s hard to run 24/7 live chat unless you’re already at an enterprise-level, but if you can offer it during local business hours then you’ve already got yourself 8 hours of improved conversions.

What does your copy look like?

Copy is part of UX—it’s what guides users from place to place, and hopefully eventually gets them to the landing page. Good copy is direct. It has clear messaging, it states your unique sales proposition upfront, and it focuses on benefits over features. That last one is critically important: businesses don’t care about what you’re selling, they care about how it helps their business. Too much B2B copy has tunnel vision for features, and it has a clear negative effect on conversions.

How is your content structured?

The user’s journey through your site is one of the most important facets of UX, and most sites critically underperform. You need an intuitive layout and attractive that leads clients through your conversion funnel.

A lot of businesses tend to throw everything at their site. After all, more content = more potential hooks, right? In reality, this is an antipattern. It adds noise, when you want to be adding signal. It directs clients away from the places you want them to be. It increases their chance of getting bored or confused and bouncing.

How does your site look on different devices?

The days where you can ignore mobile and long-gone. If your site is poorly-optimised for smaller screens, then you’re destroying your conversions. Poor optimisation results in a worse layout, and—critically—significantly worse load times. Website load time affects conversion rates, and it’s absolutely brutal: a 53% drop in three seconds. It doesn’t hit B2B quite that hard (more desktop users running off stable office internet connections = faster load times), but it’s still critically important.

  1. Managing Client Relationships

In B2C marketing you can broadwave information, and it’ll usually hit enough people to keep your head above water. B2B that relies on that sort of strategy often crumbles. Precise targeting becomes much more important, and you need the right tools and tricks for it.

Lead Identification and Targeting

Before you can generate leads, you need to figure out who they are. A lot of marketers are big on purchasing leads, but I honestly don’t believe it’s a particularly strong way to go: a vast majority of purchased leads will end with your CTAs in spam folders, and with the rise of GDPR compliance, it’s not really worth your time contacting people who haven’t explicitly put themselves on your mailing list. Purchasing leads in a post-GDPR work is significantly harder. It’s still possible, but if somebody hasn’t consented to your contact, then you’re not allowed to contact them, and this cuts out a lot of traditional lead sources.

So what do you do? You get their consent. You offer them something for free, on the condition that they provide their email address for future offers. You make sure your site has a newsletter signup CTA. You give them the option to add themselves to your mailing list, and you make it as tasty as possible to do so. Generation and identification blur here, because this sort of lead is self-selecting. Your job isn’t to pull their data from a third party, it’s to make sure they are given ample opportunities to hand their data over to you willingly.

Nurture Leads

Leads sometimes skip immediately to the sales pipeline, but I wouldn’t rely on that behaviour or you’re going to be in trouble. Most will need to be warmed up to you over time. That means sending them email offers that they’re going to want to open: reports, white papers, limited-time discounts. This will gradually build trust, and turn a solid number of leads into conversions over time.

A lot of businesses just use Excel or Google Drive to help coordinate this, but I’d recommend grabbing some CRM software like LimeLight if you don’t want to find yourself quickly swamped; you can bang in screws with a hammer, but you’re probably better off with a screwdriver. There are companies who do very affordable LimeLight CRM integration if you need support getting it set up.

  1. Data is Everything

I don’t need to give you the speech at this point: data is the currency of the 21st century. It’s the biggest business around. The trick is knowing which data matters, and choosing your data streams well. It requires a mix of the right tools and the right mindset.

Google Analytics is fine

It’s … fine. It’s remarkably robust for free software, and is a great choice if you’re starting out. Especially when compared to the other free options, it’s wonderful. If you’re a larger store, it’s still good to keep in your toolkit for cross-referencing other data streams. What it isn’t is a full paid data suite you can rely on to develop business growth. It should be your primary tool when starting out, then a handy backup tool for later.

UX Analysis: Heatmaps

Hotjar bills itself as a broader data suite, but most people are buying it for one main reason: its heatmaps.

Caption: image via Hotjar

They’re widely considered to be the best, most accurate heatmaps on the market. User behaviour is often unpredictable, and heatmap analysis can give you powerful insight into what your users are actually doing. This can allow you to restructure your UX to better point towards your CTA.

A/B Testing

A more involved sort of user testing than heatmap analysis, but also a critical one. A/B testing involves setting up two versions of your site and then analysing user behaviour on each to see which is better at giving you the results you want. There’s often a split between theory and practice in marketing, and this helps you to puzzle it out: it can show you things you weren’t expecting, and help you better cater to your customers. A/B testing is never a once-off: it’s part of a constant process of iteration and improvement.

Speed testing

Load time affects conversion rates. I cannot overstate this. One of the single biggest deciding factors in whether a user will bounce is speed, and testing your speed is one of the easiest ways to figure out what’s killing your conversions. There’s a whole lot of free tools that do this like Pingdom and GTMetrix. Go on, test it now. I’ll wait. Good performance monitoring doesn’t just tell you how fast you are, it breaks down your site piece-by-piece and tells you which pieces are responding slowly, and what’s slowing you down.

Competition Analysis

Watch what your opponents are doing. There aren’t any fancy tools or techniques for this: just keep an eye on their websites, sign up for their mailing lists, keep yourself informed on any changes they make. You want to be aware of two things: what they’re doing right (so you can match it) and what they’re doing wrong (so you can exploit it). Is your opponent dropping the ball somewhere? Are their reviews all complaining about the same thing? If you’re smart, you can fill the gap that they’ve left behind.

And that’s it! Well, that’s not everything (if it only took 10 minutes to become an expert at B2B sales, you’d see a lot more salespeople around) but it’s a good framework to operate in. Well-designed UX and strong customer management, supported and refined by data collection. If you are patient and follow these steps, you should start to see a notable improvement in your conversion rate. Now, go and convert some leads!

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