By Edward Wilkins, Head of Design & UX
There are nuances to nailing a B2B website brief. Here’s our guide to getting it right.
In the dynamic landscape of B2B interactions, a well-structured website is a powerful asset. However, achieving this requires careful planning, user-centric design, and robust development practices (as well as a fair bit of empathy between clients and partners). Here’s our guide to helping you navigate these crucial aspects when creating a B2B website brief.
Planning and Research: Building a Solid Foundation
Understand Your Audience’s Pain Points
While seemingly an obvious point, the nuances of this in the B2B world are not. Gartner reported 77% of B2B customers describe making a purchase as “very complex or difficult” often having to work with 6-10 people to come to a decision. We need to ensure we speak to each one of these stakeholders through your website so they can find it and then understand the value you bring in all its potential complexity.
“Websites are emotional beasts and even the most beautiful might not necessarily perform. To make the process as effective as possible, you need to work with a team that not only understands how to design and develop a website but also understands your industry inside-out so every page has a purpose.”
Head of Digital & Integrated Communications
Clarify Your Unique Value Proposition
Everyone knows it but this is about challenging it and getting it set in concrete. There should be no guesswork and no assumptions. As your website is often the first port of call between a user and your brand, it needs to convey a concise and compelling value proposition that clearly communicates why potential clients should choose your solutions.
A study by The CMO Council highlights that B2B buyers are 47% more likely to engage with a vendor who’s value proposition is easily interpreted. The more we can know about your brand, values, USP’s, messaging and tone of voice, the easier it will be for us to plot the key messages of your proposition across identified user journeys. If your brand identity and value proposition is not yet identified, a website project is the perfect time to address them.
Supporting these key messages should be carefully curated page copy that provides in-depth information about products, services, and solutions. This means enquiring about the copywriting capabilities of your agency and ensuring they have a track record for delivering website copy within your sector, it’s industry-specific jargon and technical details.
Understand how your website fits into the buying journey
B2B sales teams’ direct interactions with prospects are becoming much more succinct. Often now about providing very specific, technical information before closing. Instead, buyers expect digital platforms to provide the bulk of the information they require. In fact, Gartner ‘expects that by 2025, 80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels’.
This means conventional website design methods tailored for B2C fall short in addressing the requirements of B2B customers. If your customers are businesses, you must treat them as such by implementing good B2B website design techniques, SEO foundations, and knowing how your site should be leveraged to support your wider marketing activity.
Make sure to list all the types of content you would like to include on your site. This is less about page content, and instead about the content we either want to use to bring users into the site, keep them there or download and take away. For example news posts, blogs, videos, tutorials, fact sheets and case studies etc. Give your agency an idea of what you know has worked well in the past or what you’d like to do more of. Even better, if in scope, ask them to include a launch promotion strategy so marketing and your website are aligned from the start.
UX Design: Navigating Complexity with Intuitive Experiences
Simplify Navigation and Structure
In B2B, where time is of the essence, seamless navigation is paramount. While B2B businesses may want to promote intricate products or services, your navigation needs to be intuitive and straightforward. Don’t be afraid to reference examples of site structures and menu designs, within your space or beyond, that you feel serve as helpful food for thought. Your agency should be doing this too, but it’s always helpful to get your thinking to inform initial discussions.
Highlight Credibility and Trust
Build trust through UX design. Incorporate client testimonials, case studies, and certifications. In B2B industries, Team and Board members are often the most viewed pages after Home and Solutions. Make sure to give an idea of how much visibility of your team you’d like to show on the website. For example, should this stay specifically to your management team or include wider expertise? Would you like each to include a full bio or link solely to their LinkedIn profiles?
“Exceptional UX design isn’t just a luxury for B2B websites; it’s the bridge that transforms complex solutions into intuitive experiences, fostering connections that elevate businesses.”
Head of Design & UX
Optimize for Mobile Responsiveness
The importance of mobile-friendly design is by no means a new thing. However, we’re always surprised to still see businesses that have yet to get it right. Put simply, mobile optimization is no longer optional. With Statista reporting that mobile devices account for over half of global web traffic, your B2B website must be responsive across various devices. Stress the importance of responsive design, ask how it’s approached and enquire about your agency’s accessibility, browser and device testing methods.
Development and Technical Considerations: Building for Performance
Prioritize Speed and Performance
Page speed is paramount. A Google study found that as page load time increases from 1 to 10 seconds, the probability of a mobile site visitor bouncing increases by 123%. Unlike B2C websites that tend to have a wider target market, the impact of technical issues like page speed are far more problematic if they impede the limited and hugely valuable interactions of your select audience. Your website brief should include a strong emphasis on optimized code, efficient hosting, and overall performance.
Integrate CRM and Marketing Automation
B2B relationships often require effective nurturing. By integrating CRM and marketing automation systems, your website can seamlessly capture leads and facilitate personalized follow-ups.
“Sound development practices lay the foundation for B2B websites, shaping not just user experience, but the credibility and trust that drive lasting business relationships.”
Senior Development Lead
Secure Data Handling and Privacy
Data security is a critical concern in B2B transactions. The Cisco 2021 Security Outcomes Study reveals that 85% of security professionals believe improving security can lead to competitive advantage. Your website brief should address the necessity of strong data encryption, GDPR compliance, and secure user authentication.
Search engine optimization
All elements that have been discussed are imperative for search engines to recognize your website as a trusted source and therefore ranking it as high as possible. The design needs to have a clear flow with content that really speaks to its audience and areas such as site speed and responsiveness will feed those algorithms the good stuff and with an ongoing program, you can expect your website to continue to perform.