2021 Guide: Web Design for B2B Tech Companies
Around 53% of B2B clients make at least half of their buying decisions online according to studies, and more than 63% use the internet for at least half of their product research. So, it stands to reason that your B2B tech website has become one of the most valuable tools at the disposal of your sales and marketing teams.
Knowing where to start when it comes to building the perfect online portal for your tech brand can seem like somewhat of a minefield, but this article will highlight some of the best practices you need to follow if you want to boost leads, increase conversions, and showcase your organisation in the best light.
Regardless of the nature of the technology products or services you supply, the same rules should apply across the board. With that in mind, use this post to learn more about the ins and outs of B2B web design and ensure your website contains all the most essential elements that will assist in helping your brand to stand apart from the competition.
Differences Between B2B and B2C Websites
- Most B2B customers use desktops, but 83% of global consumers (including B2B buyers) report multi-screen behaviour, meaning that mobile-friendly designs are still essential
- 59% of buyers would rather engage with beautifully designed websites
- 53% of mobile visitors will click away from a website if it takes more than three seconds to load
- 62% of B2B companies optimise their blog for mobile to aid SEO efforts
The most successful B2B and B2C tech websites have lots of similarities, but they also have a number of differences that are difficult to ignore. Audience motivation is one of the most obvious variations between the two, with B2C buyers looking to fulfill emotional needs, and B2B buyers aiming to highlight the value of a product or service to their managers and bosses.
Considering that, it is vital that all B2B tech companies follow the best practices outlined in this post if they want to make headway and succeed in hitting their sales targets. Most B2B tech clients want to find solutions to problems while discovering new ways of saving time and money. Be sure to think about that when designing your brand’s website, and ensure you include the most appropriate content.
List of B2B and B2C site design similarities
- Optimised performance
- Clear and concise language
- Simple navigation
- Responsive web designs
List of B2B and B2C site design differences
- B2C websites tend to rely on content to encourage fast purchases, whereas B2B sites must support long purchase decisions. B2B clients are rarely impulsive when it comes to spending money.
- B2C websites do not always require lengthy or detailed information to sell products, but B2B sites often have to provide a greater wealth of content for various buyer personas.
- B2B websites need to speak to users as well as choosers. A common mistake for B2B tech brands is designing their domain for decision-makers and forgetting about the end users of the product or service. In many instances, multiple people working for a company will have to agree on the purchase decision, but the same is not true for B2C customers.
- Pricing can be straightforward for most B2C tech websites where the buyer will pay a set amount for each product or service. B2B tech companies often offer customised products or services to their clients based on their requirements, and so pricing is not so simple.
- B2B tech websites will usually sell to businesses of different sizes with different needs in many varying industries. Therefore, they must ensure the content is suitable for all customer segments and does not alienate anyone. B2C sites often sell to the same buyer personas across the board.
- B2B tech websites must support complex buying cycles, whereas B2C site designers only have to think about attracting new customers and convincing them to purchase the product or service in a straight line.
The importance of understanding user intent & the B2B buyer journey
Understanding what motivates buyers is crucial for success with B2B tech website design. Most B2B customers are intellectual, they might understand the nature of the product or service, and they’re looking to invest in an effort to ensure their brand remains competitive, profitable, and at the cutting-edge of their industry whilst empowering marketing success. But they also probably form part of a DMU (Decision Making Unit), and so there are usually multiple buyer personas at play across a B2B sales cycle.
Whilst some B2B technology product or service website visitor understands the problem your product or service claims to solve, it can be essential to include as much detailed information as possible to highlight the differences that make your brand stand out from the competition. Research, data, and facts are key for securing sales with B2B tech websites.
On the other hand, you must not lose sight of others in the decision making unit - for example c-suite executives who are interested in bigger picture and longer term business value to delivered from your solution, not the technical specification on how it works. Therefore defining a content structure and information architecture around this is important.
Overall customer experience is vital for B2B websites, and many potential clients will make contact long before agreeing to their first purchase. So, live chat solutions, addresses, and telephone numbers must be within easy reach, and it is critical to use a system that enables your team to respond to all requests as quickly as possible.
Things to keep in mind:
Lead generation is often the primary goal for a B2B technology or software website design project, and designing your website with that in mind is the best way to approach the process. While some brands choose to sell their products or services in an ecommerce-style format much like B2C site owners, it is usually more sensible to focus on creating lots of leads through the use of informative content.
Sales might not occur for months after a B2B buyer first lands on your domain, but that doesn’t mean that person or organisation is not somewhere in the buyer journey.
As mentioned a moment ago, pricing is also considerably more complex for B2B tech companies that personalise their products or services for clients. Therefore, it isn’t always wise to focus on the figures right away. Instead, you should spend time explaining the value of the concept and how it can help the customers to save time and money or solve problems.
B2B Tech Website Design Best Practices
- 51% of buyers think detailed contact information is the most vital thing missing from company websites
- 44% of website visitors will leave a site if it does not display contact information, addresses, or phone numbers
- After landing on a company’s website, 52% of users want to see an “about us” page
- 47% of website visitors want to see a products or services page prior to looking at any other page of the domain
Essential elements your B2B tech company should include:
Clear use of calls-to-action
Adding persuasive calls-to-action to your B2B tech website is essential if you want to turn it into a lead generation hub. There is no guaranteed formula, and success will often depend on your audience and the type of products or services you supply.
However, the content used on your CTAs is a powerful tool, and it could make or break your lead generation ambitions. Instilling a sense of trust and value is vital, but a lengthy CTA is unlikely to encourage action, and so it’s wise to keep things short, sweet, but still informative.
B2B tech companies often want new potential clients to click their landing page CTA, complete a form, and supply their details. Do not attempt to achieve sales with the initial CTA because, as mentioned previously, B2B buyers will usually have to gain the approval of multiple parties within the company before pushing ahead with their purchase.
Eye-catching CTA designs that use a form of motion tend to work well as they draw the visitor’s attention towards that section of the page and ensure they don’t overlook the request.
Content is key in supporting the tech B2B buyers journey, and so it is critical that all web designers include facts, statistics, and other data that will aid the purchase decision.
While most B2B buyers will understand the nature of the product or service and the problem it solves just as well as you; they’ll still want to check the details and ensure the concept will integrate seamlessly with their current systems and tools. But top level guides on various subjects can also act as gated content downloads that capture initial interactions with your business and put prospects into lead nurturing programs.
Providing an in-depth analysis that gives real-life examples is paramount to success in lead generation for B2B tech companies. Cover all the angles and leave no stone unturned as that will help to save time and effort in your customer service department when buyers finally offer their details and turn into leads.
Clear and concise content
There is no room for “waffle” in the content added to your B2B tech website. Vague and trivial content used to fill space should be removed immediately because B2B buyers are not interested in wasting their time reading lengthy passages of text that do not get straight to the point.
Explain the value in your tech products and services. Tell the buyer about the benefits of purchasing, and explain, in an authoritative manner, all the things that set your brand apart from the competition.
High-quality images and video
Visual content like images and video can help to hammer points home and ensure B2B buyers get a better perspective of your tech company’s history, expertise, and knowledge. They also help to breakup lengthy passages of text that could otherwise seem overwhelming to the visitor.
Videos are especially useful for lead generation because they can show the product or service in action within a real environment with which the potential buyer can relate.
Strong user experience (UX)
Developing a strong user experience will assist in keeping B2B buyers interested and ensure they don’t move away from your tech website before gathering all the information they require. When building your user experience, be sure to consider:
- Communicating products or services to different types of buyers
- Keeping content informative and fact-based
- Including white papers, charts, webinars, and more
- Identifying the problem and highlighting the solution
- Using social proof to promote trustworthiness and increase leads
A user centric approach to website design means putting the user at the heart of the solution, making user journeys crystal clear, using tailored call to actions and having a sitemap and information architecture that delivers content and UX with clarity.
Professional tone reflective of your brand
Most B2B tech companies will want to use a professional tone when creating content aimed at lead generation. However, it is also imperative to ensure the tone used is reflective of your brand.
If you promote your tech business as something young and innovative, be sure to consider that when designing all the content for your landing pages. If you’re looking to appeal to an older audience, bear that in mind too.
The best strategy is to spend some time assessing your most successful non-website marketing materials, and then attempt to replicate the tone for all online lead generation content. Try to write in a way that makes your brand seem authoritative and confident for the best outcomes.
Clear journeys through the site
Straightforward navigation is a cornerstone of success for lead generation with B2B tech websites. You must provide visitors and B2B buyers with clear journeys through your site from the moment they hit a landing page to the second they complete a form and provide their details.
While lengthy content is necessary, try not to overcomplicate the routes people have to take to find it. Use internal links, pop-ups, and anything else that will steer the visitor in the right direction and ensure they move from A-Z in a methodical and logical manner.
Giving Your B2B Tech Website The Winning Edge
There is often a LOT of competition in the tech industry, and so ensuring your brand stands apart from the crowd and catches the attention of B2B buyers is crucial. The following ideas and suggestions applied correctly could mean the difference between your site attracting thousands of leads per month or struggling to encourage a single buyer to show interest.
- B2B buyers won’t generally contact a sales person until they are 57% of the way through their purchase decision - this means content is king
- B2B buyers will usually make no less than 12 online searches before visiting a brand’s website - this makes SEO vital
- 42% of B2B researchers will use a mobile device during their purchase process - this highlights the importance of responsive design
- 70% of B2B buyers want to watch video during the purchase process - this shows that visual content is paramount
Opting for growth-driven design
For startup tech brands and those looking to save time and money while getting the best results, growth-driven design can work well. Instead of constructing a full traditional website during the early stages, it sometimes makes sense to produce a high-performance launchpad that offers only the highest-value pages.
Tech companies can then add further content and web pages as the brand grows to create more opportunities for being found within search results. Don’t make the mistake of using a one-page site because that will never produce enough information or convince B2B buyers to trust your organisation. However, offering the most valuable content first and allowing the domain to grow with your brand is often a winning strategy.
Focusing on web performance
While size might not matter too much, performance does. Website speed is a vital component to good SEO, and it will also prevent B2B buyers and researchers from becoming frustrated and looking elsewhere.
If your website pages do not load within three seconds or less, there is a reasonable chance you will never reach your lead generation goals. As the old saying goes, time is money, and nobody knows that better than potential B2B clients who are attempting to discover new products and services that will assist them in saving both.
Building content hubs and pillar pages
B2B buyers and researchers are using ever longer search queries these days, and that is why content hubs and pillar pages have become essential. A pillar pages covers all aspects of a broad subject, and usually contains internal links to other web pages that provide more in-depth information about specific topics. Be sure to use them wisely within your web design.
HubSpot have produced a great video below on what they refer to as 'Topic Clusters' which you can see below:
For example, a software company might publish a pillar page that explains the ins and outs of automating accounting and inventory within a business structure. It would then contain internal links to other pages that go into more detail about each type of program or application they supply that helps businesses work towards their automation goals.
Using mobile-friendly or responsive designs
As you saw in the last set of statistics, 42% of B2B researchers will use a mobile device at some point during their purchase process. Not only will mobile-friendly or responsive designed ensure your website displays correctly across all devices, but it will help to instill a sense of trust and confidence in your brand.
Can you really expect B2B buyers to feel confident spending money with a technology company that doesn’t have a website accessible from mobile devices? Pages that do not display correctly will make your brand appear amateurish and untrustworthy at best.
Creating content types that encourage backlinks
For SEO purposes and lead generation, it is vital you gear your tech website up for attracting as many relevant backlinks as possible. That is why blogging, video, and visual content can become critical.
If you plan to include a blog, do not make the mistake of only publishing posts that blatantly advertise your products or services. They will never attract as many backlinks as articles that naturally mention the things you supply within valuable content on a broader subject.
Writing posts that offer fresh comments and perspectives on recent industry news tends to work well, and it is much more likely visitors will offer a backlink from their own site or share the articles with their audiences on social media.
Developing lead generation mechanisms
Lead generation mechanisms including clear calls-to-action are vital for all B2B tech brand websites. In many instances, the sole purpose of the platform is to gather leads and encourage buyers to begin their purchase journey.
So, be sure to include “sign-up” forms, “free-consultation” offers, and any other form of call to action you believe will persuade the researcher or buyer to seek more information directly from your team.
Offering live chat
It often takes B2B buyers a long time to research a product or service, gather information, weigh the pros and cons, and convince coworkers the purchase is necessary. The last thing your tech company wants to do is prolong the process by taking forever to reply to customer service requests.
With that in mind, adding a live chat feature to your website is the best way to keep buyers and researchers focused and moving in the right direction.
Consider the use of chatbots specifically programmed for your company with answers to the most common questions B2B will ask when contacting your team, but make sure it is possible for human beings to step in and take the reins for more complex issues and queries.
Considering tech stack integration
A tech stack is a collection of tools used by your brand to help achieve your lead generation objectives. Your stack might include tools for marketing automation, landing pages, analytics, ad technology, and more.
Integrating stacks into your website can become somewhat of a game changer. When you get leads from new potential clients and pass them onto your sales team, they have the ability to view the full history of interaction with the click of a button. It is then easy to assess the status of the lead and include or exclude them from emails and different methods of contact aimed at achieving sales and conversions.
Gated content downloads
Gated content and the use of landing pages can be a great way of generating top of funnel new leads, particularly if you do choose to use marketing automation technology integrated with your website.
By investing in quality content production such as guides, whitepapers or other forms of high value resource, you can set these up on your site to be traded for contact information, and leads can then be captured in your marketing tools.
Personalising the site based on IP address or behaviour
IP address and behaviour personalisation can allow tech brands to offer different information to various visitors and buyer personas. An IP address generally gives you as many as fifty data points that can be used to tailor the online experience for different audiences and needs.
Personalised customer experiences are becoming more vital every day in the evolving online tech marketplace, and IP addresses and on-site behavior are some of the best ways to differentiate between potential customers and ensure you present them with the most suitable content and buyer information.
The power of case studies
A successful website needs to consider a huge range of content formats, but case studies or success stories are definitely a format that needs heavy consideration.
With B2B customer journeys often being lengthy and involving numerous steps, as well as costs being high in the enterprise technology and software space, case studies can be a hugely effective piece of content.
Not only can they demonstrate how your product or service has helped solve the pain points of your previous or current customers, but they are an extremely effective way of talking to multiple user personas within a decision making unit. Whilst a technical buyer might love your latest product data sheet, a CEO or CFO is likely to be more interested in the business value delivered by a product or solution, and a case study is a great way of someone else demonstrating this for you.
Common Mistakes and Errors with B2B Tech Websites
In this section, you’ll find a list of the most common errors and mistakes B2B tech companies can make when designing their websites. With a bit of luck, reading this information now will save your business a lot of time and hassle in the future, and it should also mean you hit the ground running when you publish your site and begin the attempt to generate leads.
Not considering security
SSL certificates are essential for security and website optimisation. If your site receives or transmits sensitive information, it is of paramount importance for everyone involved that you ensure it is secure. Asking buyers and researchers to submit their details through an unsecure site is dangerous, and it could lead to disaster.
An SSL certificate will encrypt all that data and make it unreadable for anyone who might attempt to snoop. It will also ensure the information goes to the desired destination and not anywhere else.
Apart from anything else, running a secure website will help to build trust, and many internet users will refuse to click your call-to-action if they don’t see that little padlock in the address bar next to your URL.
Not explaining what your company does and why it beats the competition
Your website is the best tool at your disposal for highlighting the value of your products and services. However, it is also the place where you need to explain the nature of your company, and all the points that make your brand a better choice for B2B customers rival firms within the marketplace.
All B2B tech companies will benefit from adding an “about us” page to their online platforms and ensuring it draws attention to the most relevant and impressive facts about their businesses. Try to give the content a human feel, and use emotive language when presenting a history of the brand.
Use bullet points to save the visitor time when explaining the most crucial details about the differences between your tech brand and similar companies in the industry.
Not making the site mobile-friendly
According to Think With Google, mobile now drives or influences over 40% of revenue within B2B companies. Don’t ignore statistics like that and presume that most of the researchers landing on your pages will use desktop computers. A mistake like that could mean you lose out on a significant number of leads each month.
There are varying opinions when it comes to making a site either mobile-friendly or responsive. Whatever your development team decides is best, make sure your web pages display correctly on all devices for the best outcomes. Failure to do that could mean you lose the interest of potential leads and seem unprofessional.
Not working on fast loading times
As mentioned previously, most people will click away from your website if pages take more than around three seconds to load. Slow loading times can also have an adverse effect on SEO, and so you should aim to speed them up as much as possible.
Large image files, network problems, and slow web hosting can all impact loading speeds. So can database issues and a whole host of other elements. The Google Pagespeed tool could come in handy if you’re struggling to work out what is wrong with your site and its content.
It’s also possible to test the speed of mobile pages using this handy resource.
Not considering SEO before the build
The last thing your tech company wants to do is spend months creating the perfect website only to go back and change everything at the end to improve SEO.
Instead of making that mistake, ensure your development team considers SEO best practices before they begin planning and building your domain. Not only will that help to improve efficiency, but it should also mean your site is good to go the moment the designers sign it off.
Be sure to remember that SEO is an ongoing process, and so you’ll need to make continual efforts to alter elements of the design for the purpose of improving search engine ranking. Still, that doesn’t mean you’ll want to work any harder than is necessary.
Not aligning stakeholders before beginning the project
Hold lengthy discussions with all stakeholders including your sales team before getting to work on your tech brand’s website. Make sure it truly reflects the nature of the company and include content that supports the negotiations salespeople have with potential customers and clients.
Web development always involves some strategic planning with groups all sides of your business if you want to achieve success. Align your online portal with the strategy, brand, and value propositions long before anyone begins to write code and turn the concept into a reality.
Not ensuring smooth and simple usability
Hard-to-read content and complex navigation will lead to poor website usability. If you have to run the site past everyone in your office before publishing, then do it. Your tech company must make sure visitors who land on the pages will never struggle to source the information they require or work out the intentions of your brand.
This is where competitor research can make all the difference. While you won’t want to build a website that is too similar to the domains used by competitors, checking out the approach used by your closest successful rivals will not do any harm.
Attempt to replicate the methods, layouts, and strategies used by those companies without appearing to copy their work. B2B buyers and researchers are used to coming across websites that use similar design concepts, and it is still possible to stand out from the crowd if your site takes some influence from others in the industry.
Not using h1 or h2 headings
Lastly, and this is exceptionally important for B2B web design - make sure you use headers throughout any lengthy content published on your pages. That will help to section the text into manageable chunks, and it will prevent the reader from feeling overwhelmed while improving SEO.
Also, the majority of people skim-read content these days and they will scroll down a page looking for the most interesting and valuable sections. Headers will tell the researcher or buyer where to stop and focus their attention.
Essential Website Tools For B2B Tech Companies
There are a number of fantastic web tools available to B2B tech companies that shouldn’t be underestimated or underutilised. Which individual tools your team uses will often come down to a matter of preference, but it’s critical to employ a whole host of them if you want to generate as many leads as possible and ensure your site meets all the specifications listed within this post.
A fast, flexible and agile content management system (CMS) is key to empowering a marketing team to do their jobs without feeling held back by technology.
For example, WordPress has always been, and still remains, the most commonly used CMS tool available and popular amongst B2B tech companies and anyone else looking to generate leads or sales online. The straightforward platform, flexibility and marketing technology integrations make life easy for marketing teams.
While there are other CMS options available on the market today, none of them compare to WordPress when it comes to ease of use. Statistics show there are more than 74,652,825 websites currently online that rely on WordPress, and those are figures your tech company shouldn’t ignore.
By tracking lots of different website metrics, it is possible to judge the effectiveness of SEO campaigns, work out which pages need improvements, and learn more about what B2B researchers do when they land on your site. Therefore, using one of a combination of the following analytical tools is vital to success:
- Google Analytics - provides all the basic information any B2B company should need
- Crazy Egg - an easy to use tool that enables the setup of heatmaps and scroll maps
- Clicky - similar to Google Analytics with more real-time data
- Kissmetrics - tracks individual visitors through multiple visits to your domain
- SEMrush - an all-in-one SEO, competitor reasearch, analytics and marketing tool
Live chat tools
Live chat will ensure B2B researchers and buyers can contact your team in an instant without having to move away from the page they’re viewing on your website. There are literally hundreds of different live chat solutions at your disposal right now, but here are some of the most popular:
- Nextiva Chat - pulls data from customer interactions and puts the information to use
- Bold360 - uses artificial intelligence to create realistic conversations and interactions with customers
- Intercom - allows your sales team to chat to buyers and researchers in real-time
- PureChat - offers a free version that is ideal for tech startups
- Drift - conversational bots that help drive conversion and lead generation
Personalising your website experience based on IP addresses or on-site behaviour is a sure-fire way to generate more leads and satisfy more people who land on your pages. These tools can assist with that:
- Marketo - enables personalised messages, content, and calls-to-action
- HubSpot - personalised call to actions can drive greater conversion
- Optimizely - delivers tailored experiences across every customer touchpoint
- Pure360 - uses machine learning to personalise the online experience
- Evergage - real-time personalisation for boosting leads, engagement, and conversions
Conversion rate optimisation tools
Optimising your conversion rate should be a top priority for all B2B technology companies, the following tools will help to ensure you have access to the data required to make improvements that will help your brand to reach its lead generation goals:
- Google Optimize - Google’s own marketing platform tools and conversion optimisation software
- Iridion - assists your entire team in tracking a complete conversion optimisation strategy
- VWO - a complete long-term optimisation toolkit
- Optimizely - a full suite of experimentation and optimisation tools
Marketing automation tools
67% of marketers currently use at least one marketing automation platform. These are somes of the best tools available to your tech company right now for automating marketing tasks and saving your team a lot of time and effort:
- HubSpot - offers an automated marketing and sales platform turning outbound marketing into inbound lead generation
- Pardot - designed to help maximise efficiency and target ideal customer profiles
- Marketo (again) - improves marketing accountability and boosts lead generation
Final B2B Web Design Checklist
If you’d managed to remain focused and you’ve paid attention to all the tips, tricks, and information within this post; you should be in the perfect position to develop a B2B tech website that encourages leads, boosts conversions, and helps your brand to meet its sales targets.
Use this final checklist to ensure you haven’t overlooked anything vital before publishing your site and making it available to B2B buyers and researchers around the world.
- Do you have the buy in of key project stakeholders before starting your project?
- Do you have a clearly defined digital strategy?
- Have you planned your content strategy and SEO requirements in advance?
- Have you integrated live chat tools to enable your team to deal with buyer requests and queries in real-time?
- Have you improved page loading speeds and ensured everything displays correctly across all different devices?
- Have you ensured your website uses the latest SEO best practices?
- Have you checked to make sure every single page of your site is secure?
- Have you developed eye-catching calls-to-action?
- Have you used personalisation tools to ensure the most suitable user experience for each visitor based on their IP address and on-site behaviour?
- Have you used content to build trust and demonstrate social proof?
- Have you clearly explained why your products or services beat the competition?
If you can place a tick next to each of those questions, there is a reasonable chance you are on the right track with your B2B tech website design. However, it is crucial that you do not become complacent and forget to continually improve your approach based on the data and information you have at hand.
A B2B tech company website is never “finished,” and your team must look to update and alter their approach to ensure optimum lead generation possibilities for the future. Hopefully, with this resource to hand and a decent group of developers working for your brand, you should now have the understanding and knowledge to compete with other established brands in your industry and move towards stealing the lion’s share of the market.