Your website is likely the most underutilized revenue generator in your organization.
What makes a website a key revenue driver? When we talk about revenue attributed from your website we’re really talking about the usability of the website and the content on the website. Within that umbrella are huge contributors like design, development, information architecture, and copywriting.
Websites are no longer brochures. Buying behavior is changing.
With the proliferation of software products, people are using sources like review sites and communities to make their decision. In G2’s recent software purchasing behavior report they found that 67% of respondents made a purchasing decision before even requesting a demo. These are buyers at mid-market to enterprise sized companies spending on average 100K-150K during the sales process. This is huge, right?
To further illustrate, our company recently made a large investment (at least we think so) in HR software to manage things like payroll, benefits, etc. We first heard about the product from a peer of ours while out for lunch. I described our problem and he used an HR software product he loved that would solve our problem. We went to their website to dive deeper into the product, features, and pricing. We had already made a buying decision prior to jumping on a demo.
Large buying decisions are being made offline in areas that are hard to track. More than ever, buyers are using trusted sources like colleagues, review sites, communities, and LinkedIn to learn about software products. Buyers go to software company websites to take a deeper dive into the product, features, pricing, and resources that will help them make a decision.
The website plays a pivotal role in the decision making process. If buyers are using social channels (online & offline) and review sites to make decisions, then your marketing website is the next adjacent resource a prospective buyer will use to vet your products and solutions.
So what needs to happen on your website for buyers to verify that your software will truly solve their problem? Here are 3 factors to consider:
Creative & Messaging:
Not enough time is spent on creative and messaging during a website rebuild. Stakeholders go back and forth between what they like and dislike about the design and it gets watered down to something basic and colorful. The reason why most B2B SaaS websites look the same right now is because stakeholders are drawing inspiration from common B2B SaaS websites. Software companies look at Slack’s website as inspiration but the thing is, by the time your website is done, Slack’s website may look completely different. They know the power of using forward thinking design styles and have the power and team to change the design and lead the pack. They’re constantly adapting to ensure that users are getting access to information timely and that they are able to navigate through the website successfully.
The takeaway for B2B SaaS companies is to not be afraid to develop your own unique design direction. SaaS companies are each trying to carve their own path and create their own category leadership. A way to contribute towards that goal is to prioritize creativity and messaging - not being afraid to explore design concepts that break the mold of every other B2B SaaS company.
Repetitive Design Patterns and Layouts:
Most stakeholders get hung up on the home page design. A lot of time in design and revisions gets spent on the home page. While it’s crucial that all parties agree on the direction of the home page, very little stakeholder attention is directed towards the interior pages of the website. Keep in mind that over 50% of buyers are making a purchasing decision prior to engaging sales. This incentives stakeholders to think through how each page engages buyers. Good design enforces repetitive patterns on interior pages so that users adapt to the patterns of the website and can find information easily. A good website design and development agency will think through how each interior page speaks to users while maintaining consistency within the components on the backend.
It’s not 100% out of the question to break the mold of consistent design patterns to solve a big communication problem. Oftentimes a different design style or animation implementation can help users better understand a complex service offering. Katheryn Whitenton talks about when it’s OK to be inconsistent with UI Design in her Nielsen Norman video.
Speed and Ease of Use:
A slow website will only increase your bounce rate. Website speed optimization is huge considering the buying process. In the most basic way, users are less likely to convert if users are having to spend an unnecessary amount of time waiting to learn more about your software product. Several factors contribute towards the speed of your website. We broke down the 5 common pitfalls and what to do to fix them.
It’s worthwhile to use website usability software to gather qualitative information about where users are having a hard time using your website. It’s also worth noting areas where users are successfully using the website the way it was intended to be used. If users are flowing between resources easily - those are patterns worth noting. Maybe users are having a hard time moving between product feature pages and there are design patterns that are working elsewhere on the site that could be applied there. Usability impacts the users ability to get what they are looking for in a timely manner.
When we think about generating more revenue out of a B2B SaaS website, we’re talking about understanding the buying process and applying thoughtful design and messaging to the website. Most companies get halfway there. They “refresh” their website with a new home page and copy. It’s likely that users enter the website through an alternative page so the design patterns and overall usability matter throughout the website.
The reality is that buying decisions are influenced in areas that we cannot always track and your website is viewed as the source that verifies the product offering meets the buyers needs. When we invest in creative, messaging, and quality web development, we are making an investment in our customers. So building trust and educating buyers on our website produces a return on investment.