On November 14th, Ontario SEO hosted a live broadcast of the latest Google Partners Connect event, B2B in the Age of Assistance. Business owners and advertisers tuned in to Wednesday’s live stream featuring speakers Dennis Cardoso and Sarah Coe from Google. They shed light on some of the latest trends in B2B commerce and how we can leverage these to provide a better online experience for our customers.
The Challenge of B2B Marketing
There’s no denying it – compared to B2C, it’s tough to advertise in the B2B space. It’s highly competitive, with longer sales cycles, multiple decision-makers and often a high cost per lead. We face the challenge of promoting niche products and services to the right people, at the right time, without wasting valuable advertising dollars.
Provide Frictionless Solutions to Potential Clients
Faced with these challenges, success depends on anticipating the needs and wants of your potential buyers. Ideally, the customer experience should be seamless and frictionless – from the first interaction with your brand, throughout the entire purchasing process and even after the sale is made.
Dennis said it well in the live broadcast – not only are you competing against the experiences provided by your competitors, you’re competing against the best experience a user has ever had. It’s critical to understand and exceed the expectations of your potential customers, or else you risk losing them early in their consideration.
The New Business Buyer
The inherent difficulty of marketing to business buyers is compounded by the fact that their expectations are changing. More than ever, today’s business buyers are:
- Curious. They’re spending more time online and growing used to having information at their fingertips. And while they’re seeking more information about products and services, 68% of buyers prefer to research on their own before reaching out to a company. In fact, almost 50% of today’s B2B transactions occur without the involvement of a sales rep.
- Demanding. Just like B2C customers, business buyers spend time evaluating competing offers in an effort to find the lowest cost or the best value. B2B e-commerce is growing at an alarming rate as buyers are increasingly compelled by wide selection, price transparency, quick response to orders and offers like free shipping.
- Impatient. Buyers crave immediate access to information, and your company website should provide nothing less. A study by Google found that over half of visits are abandoned if a website takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
What Your Business Website Needs
To appeal to the new business buyer, your company’s website should:
- Be transparent, providing informative content that’s accessible anytime, from anywhere
- Provide buyers with more control over the purchasing process helps to better qualify your inbound leads. Doing so will free up time for your sales team so they can nurture the ones that are most likely to become customers.
The Path to Purchase
As buyer expectations evolve, their purchasing behaviour is also changing. Did you know that business buyers complete an average of 12 searches before they convert?
The research process typically starts on mobile but can span across two or more devices, including tablet, desktop and other assistants.
Mobile generates almost half of revenue for B2B leaders, but it’s often underestimated since its influence occurs earlier in the process, long before a conversion takes place.
This creates another challenge for marketers – how can we accurately measure the impact of our efforts when the path to purchase is so complex?
Google Ads & Analytics for B2B
Google is helping to connect the dots with new features such as cross-device reporting, which uses data from Google products to track individual touchpoints back to a single user. There are also a variety of attribution models available in Google Ads and Google Analytics, so you can choose the one that aligns best with your business goals and your customers’ path to purchase.
If you’re interested in learning more, you can watch the entire Google Partners broadcast here:
Looking to grow your B2B business online?
Contact Ontario SEO to get started! Our team will help you to implement data-driven solutions and provide a better online experience for your B2B customers.