3 Crucial Things to Consider when Designing the UX of a B2B Site
We all know that we live in the Age of the Consumer – but what does that mean for B2B companies? How should their digital experience differ from that of a B2C site? We’ve listed three main aspects to consider when designing a user experience aimed towards businesses, rather than consumers.
B2B selection processes can take a long time
In most B2B scenarios the selection process is much longer than in a B2C environment, as the consumer is less likely to buy on first click.
Within a company, there are usually several people involved in the research for a product or service. It is therefore crucial that your content mirrors each step of this decision making journey.
For example, the first stage researchers are just looking for information. To meet their needs, include multiple content sources with multiple topics so they have all the facts at their fingertips. At this stage, you’re framing the researcher’s journey around your solution, with reassuring and informative credentials so they don’t feel the need to have to search for information elsewhere.
In the selection process, you can expect the user to be making comparisons between you and your offering and that of your competitors. Just as before, information is still important so your B2B consumer can compare your company with others, but focus on content that shows your market positioning, and use third party professional guides for support.
The final stages are all about making the choice. Offer takeaway downloads to support decision-making that might take place offline. Otherwise, this stage of the journey should reaffirm to the user that they’ve made the right choice. In essence, you’re giving them the main arguments to support their decision, filling in their answers to “We chose this company because…”
B2B selection processes have multiple stakeholders – who all like to be spoken to in different ways
As well as fulfilling the practical needs of researchers, comparers and decision-makers, you also need to consider the bigger picture for each user.
Day to day users will know the detailed challenges they face and want exact specifications to match. Give them demos, downloads and fact sheets.
Decision-making buyers look at the bigger ‘So what?’ questions both in terms of immediate ROI and in long-term reliability and lifetime contracts. Package this up on the same page since the day to day user are expected to send decisions-makers the link to the page they like the most.
Influencers are all the stage gate managers who have to check compliance in one form or another. They will be focused on finding out ‘Is it compatible with X and does it confirm to Y?’ Make this tick box exercise quick and easy for them.
B2B pricing can often be very complex
Showing pricing on a B2B site is tricky, thanks to multiple models with several factors involved. Some companies will choose to leave pricing information off their site, preferring to give their sales team the responsibility of conveying this to a consumer later down the line.
However, holding pricing back can really affect the user experience for all types of consumers who will access your site, and there are definitely benefits of showing a couple of detailed example scenarios for them to look over.
Firstly, pricing can be used to filter enquiries that are looking in the wrong space – such as mismatched SME vs Enterprise buyers and solutions. By providing price information, initial conversations with consumers will be more informed.
As well as filtering out the wrong kind of enquiries, showing pricing can encourage the right ones too – and at every stage of the journey, from information gathering to decision-making. If you don’t have that content displayed, the first stage researcher may choose to overlook your company if they can’t find pricing information they need. Those during the selection phase may leave you out of comparisons, as they can’t determine your market position without understanding costs. And decision makers may choose to overlook you for their initial enquiry – even if you’re actually ideal for their business.
- We all know that we live in the Age of the Consumer – but what does that mean for B2B companies?