A brand’s site must be designed with end users’ needs foremost. While there can be variation in primary navigation menu structure and content from site to site, a brand site should enable customers to efficiently achieve the objectives and find the information required to make a purchase decision—even if that decision is ultimately made offline (e.g., through in-person sales).
To do this, B2B brand sites have to hit the basics. All brand sites tracked in Gartner L2’s report on the topic should include clear calls to action, like Contact Us and primary navigation features such as access to resources or guided selling tools and content. Unfortunately, these features are missing on many Index sites. General company information, such as About Us, is the most prevalent primary navigation feature, yet over 10% of brands still fail to meet that baseline expectation.
Analysis of brand sites illustrate the degree to which B2B manufacturing brands make use of their site to prescribe and set a path for B2B buyers. Brands consistently use primary navigation menu items to direct site visitors to more generic About Us, Contact Us and News content, but would benefit from pointing customers to more meaningful and impactful resources. Simple steps to find a distributor or supplier were found on just 45% of all tracked sites, and only 39% of brand sites provided explicit navigation links to Sales or Support. Only 31% of brands provided links to Parts or Product Service—a critical step for buyers performing routine maintenance or considering an upgrade. Inclusion of links to Financing or Reimbursement were also in short supply. While perhaps the most intuitive step of all, links to “How to Buy” were only found on 13% of brand sites.