[Webinar] Test Ideas to Optimize Every Step of the B2B Funnel
Hi, I'm Arun Sivashankaran, founder and CEO at FunnelEnvy. I recently hosted a webinar with Optimizely called Test Ideas to Optimize Every Step of the B2B Funnel as part of their Spring Into Action Webinar series. At FunnelEnvy we work with a lot of B2B customers through our Account Based Marketing & Personalization platform and Conversion Optimization services so we know that your success with optimization depends on your ability to come up with effective test ideas.
On the webinar we covered:
- B2B's unique challenges with testing
- Testing ideas for multiple types of B2B customer journeys
- Personalization and account target testing ideas for enterprise accounts
Unlike their B2C counterparts, B2B marketers face some unique challenges in their optimization and testing efforts. In light of these challenges, it’s essential to develop an effective strategy based on your specific market characteristics and customer journey. One way we do this is to start with determining testing goals. This helps us to define a strategy and build our ideas.
B2B optimization goals often include:
- Increasing key conversion rates such as leads, registrations or trials.
- Improving engagement at a lead or account level.
- Increasing velocity through the funnel or customer journey.
- Reducing customer churn (increasing Customer Lifetime Value) for SaaS or subscription models.
- Increasing account renewal or expansions.
- Increasing referrals
B2B markets fall somewhere in a spectrum between small, high velocity deals with lots of customers (common when selling to SMBs) or fewer, high margin customers with longer sales cycles (selling to enterprises). In the former you can adopt tactics that look similar to B2C optimization, whereas when selling to enterprise, strategies such as Account Based Marketing are becoming increasingly popular.
Related to the characteristics of your specific market is the journey that a customer takes with you through the entire lifecycle of interaction - from first learning about your company (visiting a website) through becoming a customer and ultimately ending a relationship. There are three common customer journeys that we see for B2B.
- The Day Trip - Common with businesses selling to SMBs, this a short, high velocity customer journey where most of the user experience happens on site. In this scenario you’re customer visits the website, signs up for a trial and ultimately converts to a registered customer. Here, your goals for optimization might include initial visitor engagement, increasing signups (trial conversions) and post-trial engagement and conversion. Tests for these goals often center around landing pages, forms, SEO/blog content and specific pages such as pricing pages.
- Multi-City - An expanded customer journey with more steps and which also includes a sales interaction. In this scenario you may be primarily concerned with moving customers through the journey more quickly, and increasing conversions rates between steps of the funnel. To do this you need to be able to target by the depth of engagement - or the specific state the user is in within the customer journey. One approach is to use the on site interactions (links, pages visited, etc) to identify target audiences, and to test personalized interactions with the user.
- Business Class - Focusing on enterprise market characteristics, this uses Account Based Marketing for deep, personalized interactions with high value accounts. The test ideas at this level are going to require that you have the ability to identify firmographic characteristics of your visitors and apply them within your optimization platform. Personalization for these types of visitors can include landing pages or gated content like ebooks that contain specific content based on the visitors industry.
Targeting based on the specific stages in the customer journey (engagement depth) can be very effective to increase velocity through the journey. If your organization is embracing Account Based Marketing testing a more personalized experience based on account characteristics can create a deeper engagement with your high value target accounts.
What can you do to move your test ideas forward today? Here’s a checklist:
- Map out your customer journey - particular the stages the customer goes through and the segments / dimensions that you segment them.
- Clearly define the KPIs & metrics that quantify the journey and which you will improve through testing.
- Find areas of friction in the journey through quantitative (analytics) and qualitative research
- Come up with test ideas to alleviate this friction
- Define targeting criteria for your tests and integrate data sources if necessary
- Turn your ideas into well structured hypotheses, ideally with a proposed change, expected result and supporting evidence. Prioritize those hypotheses based on potential impact and level of effort to test.
In light of the opportunities and challenges with B2B it’s essential to understand your market characteristics and customer journey to identify the most effective strategy and testing opportunities. The more context (and data) you can integrate into your optimization platform the more relevant and personalized your tests can be.