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Why B2B customers are easier to lose than convert in one visit

I spent a fun and productive day at Econsultancy’s heavily moustachioed Marketing Masterclass #OMN last week.

I thought conversion experts Craig Sullivan (in particular), Markus Shilling and Louise Mullock stole the show. Why acquire users at vast expense if you’re not going to convert them? The pendulum is rightly swinging in their direction.

They demonstrated that optimization tools, like testing and surveys, plug leaky sales funnels and send ROI charts skyward – and come with the bonus of shutting off unwanted opinions from those who should know better but don’t.

B2B Website Optimization

It’s fascinating stuff. I’ve always believed optimization delivers real differentiation in the B2B space. But we must, as ever, tailor what we learn from consumer marketing to a different breed of buyer.

Consumer sites attract high numbers of users making independent, instant decisions on simple offers. B2B sites attract smaller numbers of paranoid users making collective, long-term decisions on relatively complex offers. Not exactly the same.

The Nervousness Of Crowds

Enquiro Research’s recent report scorched the notion of a logical, systematic and rational B2B buyer. It’s not about being a hero. It’s about not being a zero.

That’s why decision-making committees form and compromise their way slowly through the buying process.

You can’t hurtle users towards single points of conversion as our consumer cousins’ advocate. Sure we need a clear offer, but we must balance drives with tools to allay corporate and personal fears. You can do this in five broad ways.

  • Positioning – Users trust market leaders. A well-positioned expert company is lower-risk than a generalist.
  • Experience – Users want some proof of your claims. Show your case studies and testimonials prominently.
  • Expertise – Users want smart leaders. Line up your content to prove you’re driving the future.
  • Stability – Users know tough times deliver casualties. Don’t be shy to point out you’ll still be here in ten years.
  • Community – Users will seek you out in traditional and social media.  Engage them there too.

What Should We Be Testing?

Our consumer friends are rightly obsessed with a clear offer, a linear funnel and customer conversion at the finale. And when we’ve got a simple offer we should be too.

But our risk management must also be tested. Do your customers easily find your proof? Is it the right proof? Does it ease their fears? Do they share it with colleagues?

If you can’t ease fears you’re not likely to make the shortlist.  You must test it. Remember B2B customers are easier to lose than convert in one visit.

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