How To Remove Friction From The B2B Buyer Journey



Have you ever heard the trite marketing cliche: “If you confuse, you lose”?

Well if you annoy leads, you lose too.

The data is clear: customers are more likely to make a purchase when you reduce friction. Even with B2B, you are still dealing with people who are trying to get their job done. Make it easy for them and reap the financial reward.

When you introduce friction by slowing down, complicating and increasing the difficulty for the buyer, you run the risk of irritation, frustration and anger. Ultimately this leads to fewer sales.

Friction can take on many forms, so let’s look at a few ways you can remove the hidden barriers that are holding your buyers back.

#1 Brand friction

At the heart of brand friction is a lack of trust. If your business is new or relatively unknown, you’re going to have to do the legwork to win the prospect’s attention and trust.

  • The prospect’s research of your company prior to engagement will form their view of you. Does your content speak to their pain points?
  • With the information you have available to you, are you able to segment and tailor your content towards them?
  • Is there some level of professionally recognised accreditation in your field?
  • How have you helped others? Can you demonstrate social proof in the form of reviews and case studies?
  • Do you have an active and frequently updated social media presence? You don’t need to be posting three times per day, but those recent timestamps tell your prospect that you are actively trading and connecting to an audience.
  • It sounds obvious, but a professional looking website with an attractive design matters. Imagine reaching out through cold email, only for the prospect to follow that domain and find no website. Super sketchy. Would you be inclined to work with a company that doesn’t put a public face to their domain?

#2 User experience friction

(Lack of) speed kills

Data from Akamai suggests that 30% of site visitors expect a page to load in one second or less. 18% of site visitors expect an instant page load.

Every additional second visitors to your website spend waiting for a page to load increases the likelihood they will click off and go elsewhere.

Use tools like Pingdom to test your website for speed, then optimize as required.

Go paperless

Coming to you live from the University of “Duh”: if you have a sales process that involves the dreaded print, sign, scan, upload and send loop, cut it out!

It’s 2022. Keep the forms digital.

Invest in copywriting and design for clarity

Thinking requires the brain to spend calories, and the brain wants to conserve calories. Even if it seems obvious to you, spell everything out clearly and sequentially. Don’t force the prospect to hunt around for what they are looking for or they’ll click off.

The primary purpose of a website is to encourage the visitor to take the next step in the buyer’s journey. It’s on you to make that clear and easy to do.

Balance the number of form fields when qualifying

If you’re seeing a large number of visitors bounce part way through your questionnaire, consider reducing the number of fields prospects are required to fill in.

There’s a balance to be struck here with B2B. Capture too little and you may end up with too many unqualified prospects, wasting your sales team’s time. You’ll need to test and retest to get the balance right for your offering.

Optimize your payment/checkout process

Where the sale isn’t the result of setting up an account with invoicing, the entry point for your service may be a checkout/subscription function.

Everyone’s heard of the impact of Amazon 1-click so I won’t bore you with that. Having a multi-page sequence in your payment process can reduce conversions. Reduce the process to as few steps, clicks and inputs as possible.

Don’t make your customers work harder than they need to in order to give you their money.

Too many points of contact and too much repetition

It’s possible there will be multiple members on your sales team that will need to interact with the customer. If the team member comes in having to ask for information that’s already been provided, you’re going to alienate your customer.

If you need to introduce a new team member to an account, you have an opportunity to explain to them what their role is and how their involvement will further provide benefit to the customer.

All customer data and notes should be stored in a CRM to reduce having to ask for the same information twice.

Package related content together

Capitalize on your prospect’s attention by promoting related content side-by-side. This way you have multiple opportunities to demonstrate value. Much like the way these articles are grouped by topic.

#3 Buyers buy in teams- reduce ambiguity for them

According to Gartner’s Big Book of Buyer Behavior (2020), the average complex technology purchase can involve 14-23 decision makers. If you’re able to interview before or during onboarding, make sure you understand the team’s overarching goal, and the barriers the key players face.

The tighter your ICP definitions, the more likely you are to be to respond swiftly to objections a potential stakeholder may have.

#4 Businesses are made up of people

When you break it down, a B2B sale is solving a problem for people as well as the business. Treat these people with consideration and make it easy to do business with you.

In many cases, friction in B2B sales is unavoidable. The products and services are often more complex, and it just needs more interaction, more inputs and more interpretation. There’s a difference between the type of friction that is necessary to move the sale forward, and the friction that arises from thoughtlessness or oversight.

As long as you can justify each aspect of friction to your prospect or recently onboarded customer, and that justification makes sense to them, you should be able to continue moving forward.