Today’s B2B website has a specific job. Like any other salesman at your company, it exists to produce business. Anything short of that is unacceptable. Below, I’ve broken down five components of a B2B website that’s built for success.

Professional design and copywriting

As a company with pride, you care about your team’s appearance. You dress appropriately, tuck in shirts, shave and look presentable. You care about the appearance of your office in the presence of customers. So why not give the same level of care to the most visible and visited asset you own — your company’s website? Customers will often make their first point of contact with your company online, through your website. If your site turns them off, this interaction might just be their last. A successful B2B website boasts clean, mobile-friendly design and bursts with professionally crafted copy written for your current and prospective buyers.

Resourceful business blog

Data from the customer base (over 10,000 businesses) of marketing software company HubSpot shows that “customers who write just 3-4 blog posts per month get 20 more monthly lead submissions, get 800 more monthly site visits, have 60 more Twitter followers, and have 50 more Facebook likes than customers who only write 2 blog posts per month.” But why does blogging work? Here’s why.

Blogging strategy is rooted in keyword research, where individual blog posts are crafted to satisfy search engine results for topics related to your products or services. Click-throughs to your website produce engaged readers who want more of your content because it offers them value. Visitors explore other areas of your site that expose them to lead-capture opportunities, and they enter your sales funnel voluntarily. A constantly-growing business blog is absolutely critical to a B2B company’s success in search engine optimization, qualified traffic generation and lead conversion.

Strategic conversion paths

Exposure and website traffic are great. But what happens when a visitor actually arrives on your website? He reads your content. If it’s bad, he leaves and probably never comes back. If it’s good and he’s ready to buy something, he might contact you. If it’s good and he’s not ready to buy something, he leaves and maybe comes back (if you’re lucky).

My point? If you don’t capture that visitor’s information now, you’re likely to lose him for good. According to a study by KISS metrics, 96 percent of website visitors are not ready to buy. Prospective customers must be nurtured through their buying process. They’ll buy when they’re ready – not when you’re ready. The bottom line is this:

You can’t nurture website visitors if you don’t know who they are.

A website conversion path is made up of four components.

  1. Some kind of valuable offer
  2. Call-to-action
  3. Lead-capture landing page
  4. Form

Offer something of value to your website visitor – something that adds utility to his job. This could be a white paper such as “10 considerations when hiring a [fill in blank] company”. Throughout your website, place calls-to-action that ask your visitor to download that white paper. When he clicks on the call-to-action, direct him to a page where he can download this guide, but ask for something in return. In other words, “sell” him your white paper in exchange for his name, email address, phone number, company name, and whatever other bits of information will help you qualify or disqualify him as a potential business lead.

This is the conversion path. The concept is very simple. It’s the route you map out for your visitor from the point at which he arrives on your site to the point at which he becomes a real lead. Learn more about turning B2B website visitors into leads here.

Marketing database and CRM integration

The best lead-generating B2B websites tie directly into a business development ecosystem. The website itself houses valuable content and conversion paths to convert strangers into visitors into leads. But then what? When integrated with a marketing database and/or CRM (customer relationship management) software, your website becomes a real part of your sales process.

When you use forms to pull in contact information from visitors, a marketing database (ideally a marketing automation system) can track that visitor’s activity on your site moving forward. This function enables lead monitoring and as a result, better email marketing.

To go a step further, syncing a marketing database and CRM system like Salesforce allows lead information to pass directly into the hands of a company’s sales team. Lead intelligence gathered through forms provide background and context before sales calls, and allow sales professionals to document their ongoing touch points with leads.

Website analytics

Nielson ratings or estimated ad impressions have no home in online media. Thanks to tools like Google Analytics, we now have cold, hard numbers — always up-to-date, accurate and readily available. Today, as a result, much less guesswork inhibits our marketing success than in years past.

Use your analytics software to measure success and failure. Are qualified visitors finding you in search engines, on LinkedIn or through industry websites? What content on your site (specific blog posts and pages) drive the most visitors to lead-capture pages? What promotion channels convert the most visitors to leads? Email? Social media? Examine your data not only to self-validate your efforts, but to adjust strategy. Let the data drive your future marketing decisions. Proceed by doing less of what fails and more of what works.

Thanks for reading. If you want to learn more about building a website that produces real leads and business for your company, I recommend downloading our new guide The B2B Website Planning Handbook.