I’d argue that over the past couple of decades, B2B websites have not changed as much as we’d like to accept. Yes — we’ve built better ‘looking’ websites, made them responsive, added exit intent pop-ups and other interactive call-to-actions, and added a blog when Google forced us to ‘generate content’. This article by Hubspot on the 20 years of website design will take you down memory lane.
But by and large, the website has always been a pretty static one-to-many page with a few navigation links catered to our personas and industries. It is also obvious that B2B websites are far less interesting than those of B2C companies. For some reason, B2C marketing, messaging, and experience has always triumphed that of B2B. They take greater risks, they marry creativity with data, and they know their end consumer down to the tee. I’ve always wondered why B2B marketers have been slow to adapt to these trends. Anyway…
My question for you is :
Is your current B2B website enough in the modern world❓
I was recently speaking to a Bay Area CMO of a B2B SaaS company with a revenue of a few 10s of millions of dollars. She conducted a very interesting analysis of her top 15 deals (>$150,000) — 10 won and 5 lost deals. She observed that on average, 35 people visited her website again and again before they closed that deal. All of them came multiple times and kept reading the content.
If you’d like more generic research, here we go:
According to research from DemandGen , 71% of B2B buyers say that a company’s website is the most influential touchpoint when making a business decision.
To me, that translates as “your website is pretty darn important”.
In fact, your website is the central hub of your B2B customer acquisition effort. Look at ALL of your marketing channels, and look at how your funnel functions.
Now that we have established that your website is super critical in conversion, let me ask the question again — is your current B2B website enough in the modern world❓
According to Econsultancy, ‘for every $92 spent acquiring customers, only $1 is spent converting them’
Let’s look at what is common among companies like Netflix, Amazon, and Spotify. There are many, but for the sake of this discussion, what they all have done really well is 1:1 personalization.
If we look at Netflix for example, everything you see is personalized. It’s not meant for people like you, it’s meant for YOU!
And what has been the result?
Over 80% of Netflix binging happens via their recommendations 😲
There are however, the small minority of B2B marketers that go the extra mile to deliver personalization. But even then, most of us rely on simple segmentations like persona or cohort-based personalization.
Segmentation: Easiest of the lot. You can target by industry, by department, by job title, by benefit, by geography, by behavior, and etc.
Persona-based: You create a few different representations of your target buyer and use them to make decisions on your content, messaging, and marketing.
Even with these methods, it is still a one-to-many personalization approach, but it is much better than a one size fits all marketing standard. But the world is starting to ask for more granularity. The consumer experience that we all go through is conditioning us to yearn for better personalization at a much more granular level than what our B2B companies are delivering.
I’d like to make the argument that or B2B companies, personalization should be a combination of the account and the person you are selling into, with more weight
Creepy 🤡 Vs Personalization 😎
I get this question all the time. If we want to get better at personalization, how do we prevent ourselves from appearing creepy??
I agree that different people have different levels of creepiness meters (this is equal to — different people having different privacy expectations).
But over a period of time, the creepiness factor is definitely less serious. There are many websites these days that will address you by your company name once you visit them. For example: try visiting Demandbase, you’d probably see your company name up there.
I’m writing this from Startup Hall, inside University of Washington :)
The other major factor in the argument of personalization versus creepiness is — what are the things you are personalizing? Are you simply using my name to address me or are you giving me value and relevance?
I’m okay with watching/liking on Netflix or Youtube because I know that they are taking that data and using it to give me more of what I enjoy watching.
Translating that to theB2B use case, we have to use the data we have and give them the content experience they want. Can we show them case studies and testimonials of companies that they consider as peers? Can we give them a red carpet welcome since they are serious buyers? Once we start doing these, B2B buyers would understand the real value of de-anonymizing themselves.
There are already established stats like:
74% of customers feel frustrated when website content is not personalized.
In-house marketers who are personalizing their web experiences and who are able to quantify the improvement see, on average, a 19% uplift in sales.
More than half of consumers (57%) are okay with providing personal information (on a website) as long as it’s for their benefit and being used in responsible ways.
It is not news that personalization is needed, but why are marketers not doing it?
I’ll tell you why. Because it’s extremely hard.
- Every person/account is unique
- Sometimes (more often than we think), they don’t know what they are looking for
- How do I even start? Where do I gather my data?
- What if I go wrong?
- I need better tools that help me achieve what I want
So, how are sophisticated marketers doing it?
This is the first post out of a three-part series to help B2B marketers rethink and enable website personalization. Please subscribe so that we can keep you posted when we come back with the next.
Originally posted on MarTech Advisor's Blog.
Arjun Pillai is the Founder & CEO of Insent.ai, the human-first conversational marketing platform that connects B2B marketers to their target prospects the moment they land on their website. He believes that bots cannot automate the human connection our prospects crave on their path to purchase.