We often speak with B2B industrial businesses that don’t appreciate the importance of a conversion to the modern industrial sales cycle. However, in most cases, they are trying to apply the B2C conversion model to industrial marketing – which won’t work.
B2C businesses run e-commerce platforms on their website. A conversion, therefore, equals a sale. It’s a simple process, visitors arrive on their website via a search engine, paid advertisement, or social media channel, find what they are looking for, and make a purchase right then and there.
For most B2B companies this sounds like a dream – one which is unlikely to come true.
The industrial sales cycle is traditionally longer than B2C sales. In many cases, industrial purchases are significant investments which require careful consideration and evaluation. In others, a purchase requires an in-depth review by a team to determine if there is a fit, budget, and the resources to implement. In either case, it takes time, and it is very unlikely that industrial buyers will be willing to make a purchase on their first visit to a website.
With this in mind, how should industrial marketing teams define a conversion, and why is it important?
Definition: A conversion on an industrial website happens anytime visitors provide their contact information, which sales teams can follow up with during the course of the sales cycle.tweet
Any seasoned B2B sales professional understands the importance of contact information in a longer sales cycle. Therefore, industrial websites should not try to make direct sales. Instead, they should encourage visitors to learn more about the products or services they need. Consider these tips for making conversion elements more inviting to visitors on your website:
Provide Peace of Mind
Nobody wants their information to end up in the wrong hands. Make it clear that you are an upstanding business that is not going to share any of the information it collects. Explicitly stating this fact can be helpful, but it can also be more subtle. A well-designed website, which displays industry credentials, memberships, and awards, goes a long way towards establishing trust.
Offering industry recognition, credentials, or memberships encourages conversions by establishing trust
Consider the Sales Cycle
Website visitors who are earlier in the sales cycle will be less willing to provide their contact information. Content that is tied to conversion elements will turn these visitors away. Only include conversion elements on content which targets visitors deeper in the sales funnel. These visitors are familiar with your business and looking for more detailed information. For more information on the types of content that perform well with conversion elements, check out our Guide to Content Gating.
Keep it Short
Visitors don’t want to provide their entire life story to access information, so don’t make them. As a general rule of thumb, the shorter the better. Only ask for the information that is essential to enable your sales team to follow up. In most cases, name, company, and email address will be plenty of information to get the process started.
Be Up Front
Everyone is nervous of the unknown, so it is important to lay out clear expectations. For example, if you are asking visitors to sign up for your newsletter, let them know that they will only receive email updates once a month. Visitors are much more willing to convert if they know exactly what they are getting into.
About Martha Boulianne
Martha is the resident marketing lead at ActiveConversion. You'll find her behind much of the content, design, and social media efforts that help continue to grow our online presence. She has spent her professional life developing mad skills in web design and conversion optimization, and spends her time not at work charging around after her family and making things.