Jumping B2B Hurdles: Lead Generation and Complex Sales

We recently discussed steps to increase and optimize a site’s ability to generate leads. We looked at suspect, prospect, and lead customers, as well as different tactics to persuade visitors in all stages of the buying process.

What if your company has a complex business-to-business (B2B) product offering? And what if specific customer needs, budgets, and personalities drastically differ? Simply accounting for a visitor’s buying-cycle stage doesn’t suffice.

We suggest using personas to help manage a complex sales process, an array of product service offerings, or both. There’s no better illustration of this than our own newly crafted personas. They’re the ones we’ll use for our company’s upcoming site redesign.

A Little Background

Our firm offers an array of services and deliverables, including content, training, copywriting, one-time conversion assessments, redesign services, and long-term consulting relationships. We also offer licensing options, allowing larger companies to employ our software and methodology using in-house teams to do the work.

Our clients range from small up-and-coming startups to multimillion dollar companies. We take on some short-term clients and offer some aspects of our methodology ô la carte.

The Objective

Needless to say, the offerings are complex. We must equip site visitors with enough information to achieve their many distinct goals while helping them qualify themselves as potential clients.

A broad array of intricate services can make the job seem a bit of a tangle. Persuasiveness always requires legwork, but it’s made much more manageable through the use of personas.

Meet Our Personas

We imply the objectives of each persona to provide them with content and paths to help each meet its own specific goal. (We don’t have space for all of them, or every detail.)

Let’s meet a few of our site’s visitors:

  • Barney S.:
    • Barney owns a medium-sized, full-sized ad agency.
    • He’s a competitive businessperson and logical decision maker.
    • Barney’s primary objective is to extend clients’ branding efforts online.
    • He wants to work with a consultant and use the methodology to ensure his clients get results from their online efforts.
    • He’s potentially interested in, but unaware of, licensing and training options.

    For Barney, we wireframe a conversion path that includes:

    • Information about and access to a conversion rate calculator to help him determine how well his clients are doing.
    • A systematic presentation of the methodology so he can assess competence.
    • List of available services, with bullet points to highlight the benefits of each.
    • Case studies. He’ll look for similarities to his own clients.

  • Ben C.:
    • Ben is an e-commerce director for a Global 100 company.
    • He’s people- and relationship-driven.
    • His goal is to find a source to train his key in-house development team to understand conversion principles in design, copy, and content.
    • Another goal is to equip his team with skills to competently analyze site metrics, optimize, and improve conversion rates.
    • Although primarily interested in training, Ben may not be aware of licensing possibilities.

    For Ben, we provide:

    • A testimonial page. He wants to know about experience and what it’s like to work with the company.
    • Staff bios.
    • A list of training options. Ben needs a clear idea of parameters for the training relationship.
    • Methodical information, case studies with hard numbers, and a track record. He must sell his board of directors on the expense.

  • Mark S.:
    • Mark’s online business sells gourmet food and beverage products.
    • He’s a creative, big-picture thinker.
    • Mark wants a total site redesign and to increase his conversion rate.
    • He’s an avid reader of our column.

    What we give Mark:

    • Testimonials from clients like himself
    • A broad overview of the redesign process
    • Bios of key personnel
    • More information about what makes the methodology unique and flexible
    • Easy-to-find contact information and options
    • Training event information, which he may be interested in

  • Jack M.:
    • Jack is a well-respected branding and marketing consultant, working mostly offline.
    • He’s competitive and very methodical. He thinks systematically. He loves reading and growing in knowledge.
    • Some client projects require Jack to get involved in site design and redesign.
    • He’s an Internet newbie.
    • Jack builds teams and acts as a lightning rod for his clients’ projects, outsourcing work to trusted contacts. He seeks a trusted contact for Web site projects.
    • He’s very early in the buying process.

    Jack needs the following from the site:

    • Information, information, and more information. He’ll be interested in archives of articles and case studies.
    • A systematic, highly detailed presentation of the process, including pros and cons.
    • A glossary of terms he may not be familiar with.
    • A track record.
    • Assurance a variety of services are available.

Power of the Persona

It doesn’t matter how simple or complex a sales process is. Creating personas that embody the needs, motivations, and preferences of visitors results in a more persuasive Web site.

A robust persona group takes into consideration the level of experience a visitor has with your product or service. You can introduce pages and site elements accordingly.

Not a single visitor need should go unmet on your site, nor should visitor motivations be ignored. You can use their preferences to delight them by introducing relevant content in their preferred style and manner. Site metrics can later measure the effectiveness of each persona path by setting up conversion scenarios for each.

You really can solve the dilemma of complex B2B sales and lead-generation processes. Use personas.

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