B2B Vendor Websites: What’s Important, and What’s Lacking?

April 16, 2015

This article is included in these additional categories:

B2B | Content Marketing | Digital | Mobile Phone | Social Media | Tablet

KoMarketingHuff-B2B-Form-Downloads-Content-Apr2015B2B vendor websites are often lacking the content elements buyers perceive as being most important, according to a report [pdf] from KoMarketing, Huff Industrial Marketing and BuyerZone. As with last year’s survey, the results suggest that vendors sometimes miss the basic information that can help establish credibility and move a buyer to request a quote.

According to the study, thorough contact information is by far the most important asset on a vendor website to establish credibility with buyers. Research reports, about information/team bios, and case studies/white papers and articles are also important, though not to the same extent.

Surprisingly, of those various content assets, thorough contact information was the most oft-cited as lacking on vendor websites. This is a problem for many obvious reasons, but also because company address and contact information is what buyers most need in order to move forward with a vendor by asking for an RFQ, according to the survey results.

Beyond contact information, product pricing is the next-most important information buyers need to move forward with a vendor, and also is the top “must-have” among the various sales and product-related information assets buyers need to see on a website. Yet pricing information also appears to be often neglected, with 57% of respondents saying that pricing information is lacking on vendor websites. (This was second only to details about technical support, said to be lacking by 59% of respondents. This information is not as critical to buyers, though, per the results.)

The study includes some interesting results regarding form completions, finding that the top content types that buyers will complete a form to obtain are:

  • Trial offers (62%);
  • Product demos (48%);
  • Product evaluations (44%); and
  • Research (41%).

By comparison, fewer say they will complete a form to download case studies (24%), an interesting result given that they view case studies as important assets in establishing a vendor’s credibility. (Perhaps they feel they shouldn’t have to complete a form to access them?)

For general inquiries, excessive form field requirements (69%) count as a bigger deterrent than asking for too much personal information (65%) or an automatic email subscription (55%). For something of a higher value, such as a demo or an RFQ, buyers want to establish some trust first, with 66% saying they are deterred by “something about the form or required information [that] raises ‘flags’.” Not far behind, excessive form field requirements were cited by 59% as a deterrent to completing a form to access a demo or RFQ.

A recent study from Formstack found that lead generation forms average 11 fields and a conversion rate of 17%.

In terms of the personal information buyers prefer not to share in a form, phone numbers (58%) and address information (53%) topped the list, likely due to the high number of solicitations buyers receive each week. By comparison, just 16% said they prefer not to share their email address.

As with last year’s results, buyers again said that blogs and social media don’t have a large influence on their vendor discovery and decision-making processes. Specifically:

  • Only 12% definitively said that B2B company blogs aid them in the vendor discovery process, with 19% saying the same about social media;
  • While 4 in 10 said these channels sometimes help them, more than one-third reported that blogs (34%) and social media (38%) do not play a part at all in their discovery process;
  • Similar breakdowns were found for these channels’ roles in establishing credibility, with only about one-fifth saying they definitively do;
  • Buyers were generally as likely to say that social media activity and blogs don’t establish a company’s credibility as they were to say they “sometimes” do;
  • Respondents were more likely to say that a company’s social media activity and blogs are not a factor in the vendor decision-making process (46% for each channel) as they were to say that these channels have a lot (3% each) of impact or that they’re important but not a deal-breaker (20% each).

In other results from the survey:

  • Product and service (86%) and contact (64%) information are what buyers most want to see on a vendor’s home page;
  • Lack of message (46%), absence of contact information (44%) and animated ads (42%) are the website elements most likely to annoy buyers and cause them to leave;
  • Buyers are more likely to define a slow loading site as one that takes 10 (42%) or 15 (34%) seconds as opposed to 5 seconds (20%);
  • 4 in 10 smartphone and tablet owners search for B2B products on their devices;
  • Just 6% of respondents said that the lack of a mobile-friendly website impacts the buying process a lot (6%), and although one-third consider it important but not a deal-breaker, most are neutral (31%) or don’t consider it a factor (30%) in the buying process.

About the Data: The study notes its methodology in part as follows:

“Conducted in October and November 2014, the survey was taken by 262 people. Survey respondents include Presidents and CEOs, COO/CFO/CTO/CMOs, Managers / Executives, Directors and VPs, Analysts and Specialists, and Consultants… The majority of respondents were between the ages of 25 and 64, with 67% between the ages of 36 and 64… More than half, or 63% were male, and 37% female. Approximately 94% of respondents were from the United States.”

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