In B2B, the conversion rate optimization (CRO) refers to the set of actions used by online marketers to increase the number and quality of leads generated through website, landing pages or email.
Though conversion rate optimization may be similar to B2C, and some of the underlying principles still apply, the process itself is more complicated because of the differences in the complexity of the buying decision:
So, enhancing B2B conversions requires a thorough analysis and a solid understanding of the conversion opportunities. It is not a fast or uncomplicated process, yet it is highly rewarding because creating a CRO plan can boost conversions by 50 % (source: WebFX) – an astounding increase for any company and market!
Whilst it is still needed to do the same type of conversion audit, persona building and testing that is common for all conversion optimization strategies, let’s look more closely to how specifically B2B CRO must be approached, because the better your system is optimized, the better and more leads you’ll generate which ultimately translates to more sales and revenue.
And you do want more sales and revenue, right?
74% of conversion rate optimization programs increase sales (source: MarketingSherpa).
Most conversions are lost because of a mismatch of the message with the target audience and secondly, because of unclear or unattractive value proposition. This happens very frequently, when campaigns are done in a rush and companies try to persuade several people with different functions and priorities with a single message. The way to avoid this is to take time and create the personas of each audience you wish to reach and then tailor your value proposition specifically for them, building separate communication (email/LP/ads etc.) that speaks to their needs and concerns.
This is the first step you need to take when starting a CRO plan. Skip it and all the other steps will likely miss to achieve the highest impact.
Here are the questions you should answer and document with all possible details you know:
Given that in most cases the buying decision is a collaborative process, it’s not exactly easy to map out which personas you should be targeting. And it is even more complicated to figure out where they are in their customer journey and what type of content to deliver.
One effective strategy to adopt here is to take a data-driven approach and analyze your customer data base by using the 80-20 rule.
Look at those 20 % that bring you 80 % of the revenue and figure out what they have in common laying down all the information you know about them:
Also, pay attention who is involved in the decision-making process. Most likely there will be multiple personas that are looking for different type of information and you need to address each one of them with different messages and compelling content designed specifically for them to help in their buying decision.
In addition, look at your top referrers: What patterns do you notice? How can you build on those insights to drive more referrals?
Once you have as many answers as possible about your audiences, you start to understand them better and you’re more likely to build relevant messages which address their concerns.This will help you position your offering in connection to those pains you know they need to solve.
You’re now ready to move to the next step.
Many times, marketers make changes on their landing pages – photos, layouts, page navigation elements etc. – but they overlook the core message. The core thing your value proposition should do is answer this simple question:
The value proposition must be kept short (ideally 10 words or less) and clearly differentiate you from your competition. Developing a really good value proposition takes significant time and analysis, but the investment is well worth it! You should continuously fine tune, test and adjust it as your business grows or changes.
Here are some nice examples of value propositions we like:
Once you have your value proposition(s) established, please understand that even though your offer is irresistible and ground-breaking, you should not expect to persuade your prospects at the first interaction! Beware that the higher the price-tag and the more complicated products you have, the more expensive it can be to try burning stages and rush the sales.
With having the persona profile and the value proposition(s), now is the time to draw your funnels.
Think of the big picture!
People will not buy from you for 4 reasons:
While there’s not much to do about the first 3, there’s plenty you can do about trust.
EXERCISE: Take the time to list with your team any possible reason why somebody may not trust doing business with you. Then for each point, list all the actions you can take to address it. What is the best way to communicate each point?
In B2B it is known that a prospect needs 7 up to 12 interactions with a company before he makes a decision. So, the primary focus should not be a hard sale but rather setting up a wide funnel and persuade your audiences to join your mailing list, your podcasts, your YouTube channel, blog page etc.
This way, you’ll engage with your audiences and build trust and credibility, while giving your prospects time to develop a connection, and ideally, a preference for your brand. You want your business to be respected and seen as an authority and this is less likely to happen if every piece you put in front of them just screams BUY! BUY! BUY!
However, this does not mean you should over-complicate your funnels.
When it comes to creating a successful CRO program, your business must know the following:
Google Analytics and Facebook Dashboards should reveal exactly where the traffic came from. It is also useful to mark offline events/campaigns (when the case) in your Google Analytics so you can easily measure the impact.
About the bottle necks for conversion, this is a long list that can be drawn: weak value proposition, complicated or too complex copy, unclear offer, inconsistency, too-long form, unattractive page, missing or insufficient prof, too many distractions, high perceived risk etc.
But the biggest and most frequent mistakeB2B companies do is driving the traffic to the website homepage for their campaigns, as opposed to a dedicated landing page.
This usually happens because they want to make sure they provide ALL the possible information they can to the prospect. Yet, this traffic is most likely doomed to bounce as the message they were probably served in the ad is not aligned with the content they get in first page they land. If the ad is telling them about a specific offer, they must be taken to it through the shortest path and not expected to browse through until they find it.
Minimizing the steps required for people to convert improves your chances to get conversions.
With this in mind, we recommend to take a look at your sales funnel stages with a critical eye.
What can you do to simplify the process?
According to Adobe, nearly 40 % of customers will leave because they do not like a website’s design.
Do you really need a perfect database with all details filled in about each prospect that comes to your funnel?
Just ask for the minimum information you need to pass the users through the funnel and give them a personalized experience!
Your copy is very important. Make sure you construct your speech in a logical way and make it easy to digest combining text and visuals in a user-friendly format. Hiring direct-response copywriters and performance LP designers is strongly recommended.
In B2B, content is your biggest asset. This must be mapped to each persona’s journey and should focus on delivering as much value as possible.
Because in any given industry, it’s just 3 % of the prospects which are ready to buy RIGHT NOW! For the rest, either they have a problem but it’s not their priority to solve, either they don’t know they have a problem until somebody opens their eyes.
This is why investing in educating your market is a smart decision in the long run. No business decision maker appreciates to be interrupted from his priorities and thrown into a random sales discussion – this is intrusive and less and less productive.
If you engage your prospects with valuable content and give them as many “aha!” moments as possible, they will start following you to get more. And when they come to choose who they will turn to for fulfilling those specific business needs, they will definitely choose those brands that educated them, that gave them value and helped them grow their knowledge. This investment is changing the dynamics of the relationship the companies develop with their business audience!
So, if you wish to be successful in getting on the radar of your ideal customers, focus on building the trust and authority you need to close a sale later on (to the loss of your competitors).
Depending on your personas, the content you want to build can be of few different types:
The important thing is to map out the content according to the stage in the journey where they are and use appropriate call to action for each piece of content to lead them to the next stage.
One more important aspect to mention is to make sure that your content proactively addresses possible objections. Use the inputs from your sales team, customers and, even more importantly, your former customers in order to decrease or prevent any concerns.
Also, placing your content strategically is equally important to ensure you are driving the right audience to your funnels. This is very easy to overlook!
We advise you to “curate” some of your best content pieces that will be suitable for each segment rather than hitting everyone with every piece of content. The more relevant is the content you show them, the more likely they are to be driven through the sales funnel.
For example, you could promote your beginner’s guides to new leads or you could send case studies and testimonials to leads that are further down the funnel.
Using CRO techniques will surely make an impact on your leads and sales, yet you should not stop your optimization efforts here, because you can achieve so much more when you have a 360° approach.
Beware of the fact that in B2B, the optimization may mean aiming for less leads but higher quality. This may improve the efficiency of your sales team and accelerate your success. On the other side of the coin, there is a lot of business that can be lost if no proper optimization is done.
The results you get from your online lead generation system can have a profound effect on your overall business. If you convert more browsers into buyers with same or less budget, your business can grow faster.
Assessing what is good and what can be improved in your conversion system may be a daunting and time consuming task if you’ve never done it before. Why not get some professional help?
For a limited time, we offer a FREE AUDIT ON YOUR LEAD GENERATION SYSTEM (usually 450 EUR)!
Our team will analyze your lead generation assets and document a set of recommendations for you to maximize your leads and sales!
Ask us about it through the below contact form!