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From Insight to Action: A B2B Conversion Rate Success Story

17 min read2024-05-06
Laura Norup-Boyer

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  • B2B website conversions:
    • Conversions aren’t a given. In fact, most website users leave without converting.
    • A good conversion rate for a B2B website in the industrial sector is anywhere between 3% and 1.2%, depending on the industry.
    • Some common conversion challenges are: complex products/services, long sales cycles, lack of personalized experiences, and limited brand visibility and reach.
  • Client case study:
    • We used analytics and tracking to uncover the main blockers to conversion for a B2B client website
    • Simple changes in website performance, SEO and form optimization yielded great results.
    • We achieved a 63% increase in organic traffic, 58.8% in qualification rate and around 200% in form submissions.
  • B2B website conversion tips and tricks:
    • Map your customers’ journey through the website.
    • Make sure your messaging is clear as day to avoid confusing prospects and search engines.
    • People are naturally adverse to change. Use tactics like options to choose from, point out the cost of not changing or use more client testimonials.

Got time to read? Great, let’s get into it.

One of the fundamental differences between business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) companies is their sales cycles. While consumers are more likely to make a quick purchase decision or even an impulse purchase (Lord knows I have: damn Instagram ads!), B2B sales cycles tend to be much longer, more consultative, and more complex.

B2B buyers are more likely to be swayed by technical information, brand reputation, and demonstrated expertise. That would be why most of our industrial business clients have large sales teams and small marketing teams—if any—when we start working together.

So, how can a B2B industrial organization use its website to generate more sales? Glad you asked! This is where conversion optimization comes into play.

The importance of optimizing website conversions for B2B sales

First, let’s define a conversion. In marketing, we define a conversion as any desired action on a website, like filling in a form, downloading a piece of gated content, signing up for a newsletter, or making a call straight from the website. Conversions provide direct and indirect lead-generating value, demonstrating engagement with your content and expressing interest in your offer.

Marketers focus on conversion rate—the total number of conversions in a period divided by the number of website users. Conversions aren’t a given. In fact, most website users leave without converting. One important discipline in digital marketing is conversion rate optimization, which involves increasing the rate at which your audience converts.

Many companies need help to bridge the gap between generating traffic and securing those sweet, sweet conversions. In this article, we will explain how we worked with a client to move from strategic insights informed by data into actionable results, leading to a remarkable improvement in B2B website conversions for a B2B industrial company.

What is a good conversion rate for a B2B website?

When speaking to industrial sector leaders, I am often asked, ” What’s a good conversion rate for [insert industry here]?” And I have to answer, ” It depends.”

Have fun trying to find that information on Google. There isn’t any precise data on conversion rates for chemical, construction, or other general industrial sectors. The main reason is that rates can vary significantly based on the marketing channels, the types of products or services offered, the complexity of the sales cycle, brand awareness, and the customer engagement strategies used.

A secondary reason for the relative lack of numbers regarding B2B website conversion rates is that there aren’t many agencies focused on the industrial sector, resulting in less available data overall.

But since people like to see a graph, here’s one based on our research and what we have seen in the industry:


Common B2B website conversion challenges

Complex Products/Services
Main ChallengeB2B offerings are often more complex and require detailed explanations. Simplifying the message without simplifying the product or service can be difficult.
Specific industrial hurdleConveying a value proposition clearly to a diverse audience can be challenging.
Long Sales Cycles
Main ChallengeB2B sales cycles are typically longer due to multiple decision-makers, budget approvals, and procurement
processes. Because of that increased length, it can be challenging to keep prospects engaged throughout the full buying journey.
Specific industrial hurdleRegulatory compliance or ERP integration requirements add layers to the sales process, nurturing leads effectively becomes more complex.
Lack of Personalization
Main ChallengeB2B buyers expect personalized experiences tailored to their specific needs and pain points. Generic messaging or content can lead to disengagement.
Specific industrial hurdleReputation and trustworthiness are paramount. It requires establishing credibility through testimonials, case studies, or industry certifications.
Limited Visibility and Reach
Main ChallengeB2B companies can struggle to reach their target audience effectively, leading to lower website traffic and
conversion rates compared to B2C sites.
Specific industrial hurdleWhen the target market is small and specialized, reaching and engaging the right audience through marketing channels can be challenging.

The challenge: understanding B2B website conversion hurdles

When we started working with our client, a civil engineering construction company, they completely lacked visibility in marketing data. Consequently, they needed help to measure and enhance their website’s conversion rate.

Despite having a solid business foundation, our client could not leverage their organization’s online presence due to a lack of detailed analytics and targeted marketing strategies. We encounter this situation quite frequently, and we are happy to help with it.

The initial challenge was twofold: not only did the client need more visibility on their website’s performance, but they could not effectively capture the interest of potential B2B clients.

Before partnering with BlackBean, they had no way of tracking success or failure, leaving them in the dark about where they stood, where to invest, and where to avoid wasting money. So we got to work.

Gathering insights: a data-driven approach

Our first step was to shed light on our client’s online presence. We began with the implementation and subsequent thorough analysis of the existing website data, user engagement metrics, and industry benchmarks. We implemented tracking and analysis tools (Google Analytics, Google Search Console and Matomo) where there had previously been none, unveiling critical data that would guide our conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategy.

We also mapped a typical customer’s journey to identify the main touchpoints on the website. Customer journey mapping helps us identify every interaction a potential client has with a website throughout their decision-making process.

The data showed that our client’s website was suffering from low organic search traffic, minimal engagement, and a poor conversion rate. Our team’s analysis revealed significant opportunities for improvement, particularly in SEO, content optimization, and user experience (UX) enhancements.

Our action plan for conversion optimization: bridging insight and action

Armed with our data and insights, we worked with our client to create a CRO strategy focused on three key areas:

SEO and Website Enhancements
TacticWe initiated a series of SEO adjustments, dramatically improving the website’s technical performance and improving some of the content and messaging.
ResultsOur changes led to a 63% year-over-year growth in organic search traffic and a notable increase in user engagement.
Website Forms Performance Optimization
TacticThrough ongoing testing and optimization, we improved form submissions, with a significant portion of submissions translating into legitimate contact form leads.
ResultsThe rate of qualified leads saw an impressive improvement, with figures such as a 58.8% qualification rate in February, a testament to the success of our concerted efforts.
CRM Implementation and Marketing Automation
TacticWe introduced a CRM system and automated follow-up email campaigns to streamline the client’s sales and marketing processes.
ResultsThis not only improved operational efficiency but also provided a more cohesive customer journey.

Implementing Solutions: The Key to Conversion Improvement

The implementation of our solutions resulted from a collaborative effort between our team and the client to ensure that each strategy was implemented with precision and made sense for their internal resources.

One of the key successes was enhancing website form performance, which directly contributed to the increased rate of qualified leads. The most telling success metric was the dramatic rise in form submissions by 317.65%. However, this number must be taken with a grain of salt due to test submissions and spam filtering.

Just see for yourself:

graphs representing b2b website conversion increase

Unsurprisingly, this performance improvement was mirrored in the client’s appreciation of our marketing efforts, as they began seeing tangible results and ROI from the optimizations. The proof was undeniably in the pudding.

Results: a tale of conversion success

The metrics presented above speak volumes about the success of our optimization efforts and the importance of CRO in general for B2B websites.

The results were undeniable for our client, from a significant jump in organic search traffic to a dramatic increase in qualified leads. The lead generation rate on the website saw direct improvements, contributing an estimated $800k of raw contract value (estimated 13X ROI), thanks to our targeted strategies.

Thanks to our data-based CRO strategies, we can focus on conversion quality rather than quantity. The steady increase in legitimate B2B leads month-over-month proved that the right visitors were reaching the site and taking action.

Generating 300 poor or unqualified leads per month only results in futile, time-consuming tasks for B2B companies and their sales teams. Generating 30 right-fit prospects who genuinely require your organization’s products or services is far more beneficial. If an agency promises to “10x” your website traffic, I advise you to be cautious.

Key takeaways

I hope I’ve demonstrated the importance of a data-driven approach in identifying and addressing website conversion challenges. Just remember:

  • It’s essential to have historical (3+ months, ideally 6 months) and detailed analytics for informed CRO decision-making to avoid throwing darts in the dark.
  • Strategic on-page and technical SEO improvements and content optimization can significantly affect organic website traffic and visitor engagement.
  • Do not skip on a solid marketing foundation with technological integrations like a CRM system to improve the sales and marketing processes. Not sure which CRM is the right one for you? Find out here.

CRO: the work is never done.

As we continue gathering data and tweaking based on insights, we have already identified potential improvements that could increase conversion rates even further.

  • Projects/Case Studies Pages Insight: 10.7% of new visitors to the project pages go on to submit a form, and there is a huge opportunity to increase this number. Strategies like on-page optimization and more prominent placement of a contact form directly on the case studies page are in the works.
  • Services/Solutions Page Potential:  Despite a lower conversion rate of 4.6% for services page views, the sheer volume of traffic to these pages means even a slight improvement could translate into a significant increase in form submissions.
  • Methodologies Pages:  With a 1.9% conversion rate, reevaluating the content and user journey on these pages could unlock more potential leads.

The path from insight to action might not always be straight, but it should always be forward. With every piece of data and every change implemented, we move closer to our goal of converting the maximum number of B2B website visitors into valuable leads.

For industrial businesses looking to enhance their online presence and drive revenue-generating conversions, the CRO journey should include a solid understanding of the data and implementing strategic changes that resonate with their target audience.

Our role as an industrial marketing agency is to bridge this gap, turning potential into profit through expertly tailored, data-driven marketing strategies.

Tips and Tricks to Optimize Your B2B Website’s Conversion Rates

1. Why you should take the time to map your customer’s journey

My youngest son has this great STEM game called Marble Run. In it, he builds exciting paths for a marble to travel from a drop-in point to the final landing spot. His marble might go through wheels, slides, and funnels, which makes it really fun to watch. If the marble could feel, I’m sure it would be thrilled by its journey. Customer journey mapping is Marble Run in real life.

By deeply understanding your audience’s needs, pain points, and motivations, you can map out and design a website that smoothly guides potential clients from their initial visit to the final conversion while delighting them along the way.

Optimizing User Experience: You can use journey mapping to identify areas where the UX may be lacking or where potential clients may encounter friction. In the example in this article, my team used those types of insight to optimize the website layout, navigation, and functionality to make it easier for visitors to find information, make inquiries, and ultimately convert into marketing-qualified leads.

Aligning Content and Messaging: Your website content must align with the needs and preferences of the target audience at each stage of the decision-making process. Depending on your industry and target audience, you could consider creating valuable educational content (some gated, some not) about methodologies, optimizing case studies, or making thought-leadership video recordings of presentations.

2. Don’t Confuse Your Client—Or Google

As soon as someone lands on your site, they should know what your company is about and how you are different from your competitors. Don’t bury the lead for visitors; certainly, do not confuse Google.

Do visitors get the message?  Ask someone outside your company (not an employee or coworker) to go on your website and answer, If you didn’t know what my company does, what would you think we do? You need to guarantee that your content clearly communicates the unique value proposition of your product and services because you only have 7 seconds to grab them before they bounce. Furthermore, ensure your messaging addresses your target audience’s pain points and challenges. Place them at the centre of your content, and don’t make it all about yourself. Clear, consistent messaging is crucial not only for user understanding but also for guiding users toward making conversions.

What confuses visitors can confuse Google.  If your site leaves visitors puzzled, Google might be just as perplexed. Confusing or unclear messaging can affect user behaviour by increasing bounce rate, lowering time spent on site and reducing interaction with content. Google’s algorithm uses those signals to assess the quality of your website. Metrics like click-through rates or page time inform Google about your site’s relevance. Clear messaging leads to positive evaluations from search engines, while confusing content can do the opposite.

Streamlining Conversion Paths:  Thanks to technology and social media, people are increasingly lazy and have a short attention span. Make sure that actions like requesting a consultation, downloading a key piece of gated content, or reaching out to your sales team can be performed effortlessly. Simplifying these conversion paths accommodates today’s user’s preferences and boosts the likelihood of converting visits into leads.

3. Lower the Barriers to Change

I recently completed an interesting online course on “Removing Barriers to Change” at Wharton University of Pennsylvania (humble flex). It taught me that I had it all wrong when it came to influencing people and igniting change.

People are fundamentally averse to change. It invites risk, it can feel uncomfortable, and it’s often easier for people to keep things the way they are: it’s the “status quo bias.” Contrary to what I initially thought, adding more proof and information won’t do much to get people to take a new action. So, what can you do to encourage people to convert on your website?

Using the R.E.D.U.C.E Framework, you can try the following:

  • Reduce Reactance: When it comes to making a change, people need the illusion of freedom and autonomy. Consider offering at least two options, such as “What would you like to do first? Audit all of your systems or just some of them?” Instead of fighting change, the focus is on what to choose.
  • Ease Endowment: People are attached to what they are already doing. To ease this, you can surface the cost of inaction by pointing out the cost of doing nothing. A prospect might be losing 20% of their revenue by not updating their pipes: point it out! Another tactic is to “burn the ship,” i.e. removing any available paths back to the previous way, much like Apple does with its iOS updates. Lastly, you can frame new things as regaining a loss, a tactic the Brexit campaign used effectively with their “Take Back Control” slogan.
  • Shrink Distance: Perspectives too far away from someone’s zone of acceptance will be rejected. To mitigate this, try asking for less to start. Take your time selling the big project, start small, and build stepping stones. Resist going for that big shift: it will have a push effect.
  • Alleviate Uncertainty: Change almost always involves uncertainty, making people hesitate and hit the pause button. Offering trials, reducing upfront costs with a smaller offering, and allowing customers to discover the product before buying it can be effective tactics.
  • Corroborating Evidence: One testimonial from one person might not be enough to convince a prospect to make a change. Social proof is more valuable if multiple people vouch for a product or service. Don’t settle for just one review on your site; add as many as possible. There’s power in numbers when it comes to optimizing conversion rates!

So there you have it! B2B website conversion optimization is the real deal when it comes to boosting sales and taking your business to the next level. B2B sales cycles can be long and complex. With the right strategies, you can optimize your website and get more qualified conversions that will drive growth for your business.

Whether you’re trying to simplify your message, personalize your content, establish credibility, offer value, or reach the right target audience, experienced digital B2B marketing agencies have ways to make it happen.

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