The ultimate guide to B2B conversion rate optimization

What if you could boost sales without more traffic?

Imagine…

More revenue from the same ad spend. More leads from the same campaigns. More signups from the same visitors you’re already attracting today.

B2B conversion rate optimization is the secret weapon that makes this possible.

It’s not just about driving more traffic; it’s about making the most of the traffic you already have by fine-tuning your marketing funnel, building custom-tailored landing pages, streamlining the user journey, and A/B testing like crazy.

Let’s dig into the details.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. What is B2B conversion rate optimization?
  2. What is a good B2B conversion rate?
  3. How to improve B2B conversion rates
  4. B2B CRO metrics to measure along the way
  5. The best B2B CRO tools to drive more B2B sales
  6. Why B2C conversion optimization strategies don’t always work for B2B
  7. How to get more conversions with Unbounce

What is B2B conversion rate optimization?

B2B conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the systematic process of increasing the percentage of prospects who take a desired action, often on a B2B website or landing page. The desired action is typically filling out a form, downloading a gated resource, or completing a purchase.

But there’s far more to it than just tweaking a button or changing a headline.

Imagine you’re at a busy trade show, where every conversation could lead to a big sale. B2B CRO is like working toward having the best pitch at the show, fine-tuned through every interaction to maximize the impact and returns.

It isn’t just about making minor changes; it’s about deeply understanding what drives and motivates your prospects, and then crafting experiences that speak to those motivations.

Whether you’re focused on improving the visitor experience on your sales pages, personalizing your interactions, or simplifying the path to conversion, every tweak and every CRO test aims to make your “digital trade show booth” as compelling as possible.

How to calculate B2B conversion rate

The formula for calculating conversion rate is quite simple in practice, but you’ll first need to decide which elements will make up each variable in the formula.

First, here’s the formula:

B2B conversion rate (CR) = (desired actions taken / opportunities for desired action to happen) x 100

Put simply, it’s your success rate of a given action.

  • On a landing page: CR = Form submissions / landing page visits
  • At a conference booth: CR = Badge scans / booth visitors
  • On a product page: CR = purchases completed / product page visits

Conversion Rate Formula

What is a good B2B conversion rate?

In our Conversion Benchmark Report, we analyzed 44,000 landing pages and 33 million conversions and found a median conversion rate of 4.3% across all industries.

While that number is helpful as a reference point, the truth is conversion rates can vary significantly by industry or business model—especially in B2B. If you’re selling a B2B SaaS platform with a 6-figure annual contract value, your conversion rates are going to look a lot different than a $20/mo productivity SaaS tool.

Average b2b conversion rates by industry report by Unbounce

Average B2B conversion rates by industry

For a complete breakdown of conversion rates by industry, check out the Conversion Benchmark Report (it’s free). As you can see in the chart above, 4.3% may be the overall median, but there’s plenty of variance from one industry to the next.

To extract just a few for reference:

Software as a service (SaaS)

  • SaaS category median = 3.0%
  • SaaS subcategory median range = 1.8% – 6.2%
Average b2b conversion rates by sub-categories - report bt Unbounce

Business-to-business services

  • B2B category median = 3.5%
  • B2B subcategory median range = 2.8% – 6.3%
B2B Conversion benchmark report

How to improve B2B conversion rates

A joint study by Econsultancy and RedEye found that only 28% of companies are satisfied with their conversion rates, while 37% reported being either quite dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.

One major cause is marketers frequently missing out on some optimization opportunities that would improve their B2B conversion rates. The reality is, there’s a ton that goes into B2B conversion optimization and it’s easy to miss a few things that could make a big difference.

Let’s explore some of the best ways to improve conversion rates, specifically for B2B businesses.

1. Create compelling landing pages

If you’re relying entirely on your homepage to do all of the heavy lifting on your website, prepare to be severely underwhelmed when you look at your performance data.

Instead, create specific B2B landing pages for each offer, desired conversion action, audience segment, product feature, etc. This will let you narrow the focus for the visitor down to just that one thing, rather than trying to speak generally to everyone through your homepage.

  • Homepage -> visitors of all shapes and sizes (aka buying stages and industries)
  • Landing page -> specific visitor of a predictable shape and size

If you already know how far along the buying journey a visitor likely is and which industry they’re likely in based on which landing page they’ve landed on, you can heavily tailor the messaging and positioning of that page to them.

More tailored messaging means a higher likelihood of conversion.

b2b landing page vs homepage vs website

2. Simplify customer experiences and the buying journey

The most straightforward step can also be the most overlooked.

Many B2B companies tend to overcomplicate their sales funnels and customer experiences, which doesn’t help their conversions.

Instead, they lose potential conversions because some of their leads get tired of the whole process. They leave the website with an abandoned purchase or signup form. According to the Baymard Institute, 22% of customers report abandoning their purchase because the checkout process was too long or complicated.

You need to minimize the steps required for people to convert. With this in mind, reconsider your sales funnel stages and look for opportunities to simplify the whole process:

  • Is there any step you can remove from your sales funnel?
  • How many stages do potential buyers have to go through to be considered a conversion?
  • Are all of those stages absolutely necessary?

3. Simplify your website and landing page design

Similarly, you should simplify your landing page experiences by keeping your design and layout simple. The main focus should be on what’s most important—your compelling copy and actionable CTA.

Your site design can deliver better conversions because, according to BigCommerce, it’s the critical factor influencing the buying decisions of 76% of B2B buyers.

Remove any unnecessary design elements that could be distracting your visitors. Do you really need to highlight your company events on your landing page? Or what about that low-quality image that takes over the entire screen?

B2B conversion rate optimization buying and selling stats

4. Simplify your landing page forms

You should review your signup forms and sign-in pages to see what you can remove or improve. Perhaps you don’t need to ask for their company address unless you deliver a physical product. Or you could start by giving them a one-click sign-in option where they sign in using their social media account.

For instance, Venture Harbour made three simple tweaks to its homepage design.

  1. They simplified the hero section of the page by replacing the CTAs and buttons with a simple message to relay their key selling point.
  2. Rather than selling its services through its hero section, Venture Harbour also opted to showcase compelling copy highlighting how they have helped other businesses. Instead of making baseless claims, they showed proof of the results they could deliver.
  3. They improved their forms by switching to intuitive multi-step forms to capture customer information without losing their interest:
Turning B2B idea into reality with CRO

The impact?

Together, these three tweaks increased their conversion rate by 500%.

Every form field you add should be put under the microscope before you go live. Is that field truly essential at this stage of your sales funnel—so essential that you’re willing to sacrifice lead volume to add it—or can you get that info down the road?

5. Distribute your content and landing pages (strategically)

After you’ve written your landing page copy—with Smart Copy if you’re a savvy Unbounce user—and published the page, the work isn’t over. You still need to promote the page to actually attract visitors.

Some B2B companies go all out when promoting their content or landing pages. They share it everywhere, send notifications about every new piece of content to every subscriber, and throw dollars at boring PPC campaigns that aren’t all that inspiring.

While this blast of content may seem like a good idea if you want people to consume your content, it may not necessarily boost conversions. It could even annoy people if it isn’t relevant to them.

Instead, try taking a more strategic approach to distributing your content.

This is easy to overlook when you’re busy, but it can help you plan how to promote your content and offers to specific leads and audiences based on their segment.

This means you will show them more relevant content that will likely guide them through the sales funnel. For example, you could promote how-to style content or informational guides to prospects early on in the funnel, then push case studies and testimonials to audiences further down the funnel.

6. Run retargeting ad campaigns to win back non-converters

One of the best levers you can pull to distribute your landing pages effectively and boost your conversion rates is to run retargeting ads on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

With the proper tracking codes in place on your website, retargeting ads allow you to build advertising audiences based on actions visitors did (or did not) take on your website.

Retargeting in B2B

For example, you could run a Facebook ad campaign that targets people who reached one of your core landing pages but didn’t submit the form. If they reach that page, there’s a good chance they’re a qualified prospect worth trying to win back. Thus, you can confidently put a budget behind the ad campaign.

7. Run A/B tests throughout your sales funnel

Yeah, we saved the best for last.

Guilty.

The reality is, there’s no better way to improve conversion rates over the long term than to run A/B tests consistently.

To put it simply, A/B testing lets you pit two ideas or concepts against each other to see which performs the best—often based on which is more likely to lead to conversions. The very definition of A/B testing is all about how to improve conversion rates.

After you’ve built what you believe to be a compelling landing page with a simplified customer journey, design, and form, and after you’ve spun up your distribution engine to try traffic to the page—it’s time to start testing.

There will quite literally never be a shortage of A/B testing ideas, either. You can test:

  • Headlines
  • Hero images
  • CTA button text
  • CTA button colors
  • Landing page layout
  • Overall product positioning
  • The length of your lead gen form
  • What you say on your thank you page
  • What you ask for in your confirmation email

And the list goes on.

If you can think of it, you can test it. If you have an idea on your commute to the office (yes, even if that commute is just walking downstairs to your home office) for a new landing page headline that you fully believe will crush the current one… Test it!

Our version of the Ted Lasso “Believe” banner here at Unbounce is simple:

Always be testing.

iterative A/B testing with Unbounce

B2B CRO metrics to measure along the way

The specific metrics you ultimately track will depend on the type of business you’re running marketing for, which assets you’re promoting, how long your average sales cycle is, and so on.

That said, we’d recommend monitoring two overarching CRO metric categories.

Primary conversion metrics

These are your bread-and-butter CRO metrics. Without measuring them, it’ll be impossible to optimize for conversions in any systematic way.

  • Landing page visitors: How many people reached your landing page.
  • Conversions: How many times your desired action happens.
  • Conversion rate: Total conversions over total landing page visitors.
Shocked meme

Obvious, yes, but still worth stating.

If you don’t have accurate conversion tracking in place, that’s step one. Before you can plan A/B tests to improve your conversion rates, you need to know your conversion rates and have the ability to track improvements (or declines) over time.

Marketing efficiency metrics

This is where the aperture opens up a bit more. Again, the specific efficiency metrics you measure will depend on how you’re driving traffic to your landing pages, how long a deal takes to close, the average size of a deal, etc.

If you’re running PPC campaigns:

  • Click-through rate (CTR): Shows how many people clicked on your ad after seeing it, giving you a sense of how appealing your ad is.
  • Cost per click (CPC): The amount you pay every time someone clicks on your ad, helping you gauge how much your traffic is costing you.
  • Cost per lead (CPL): How much you’re spending to get one lead, crucial for understanding the cost-effectiveness of your advertising.
  • Return on ad spend (ROAS): Return on ad spend, or how effectively you’re turning ad dollars into revenue or pipeline value.

These metrics will help you run efficient and effective ad campaigns. If your cost per action metrics (i.e. CPC, CPL, etc) are climbing and ROAS is falling, you may need to focus your CRO efforts on the traffic acquisition stage.

If your sales funnel involves multiple touchpoints:

  • MQL to SQL rate: The percentage of leads that become serious sales prospects, indicating how qualified your initial lead generation is.
  • Average deal cycle: The average time it takes to close a deal, helping you understand how quickly your sales process moves.
  • Average deal size: The typical amount of revenue each deal brings in. Higher deal sizes mean more returns from the same amount of inputs.

These metrics help you measure lead quality over time. If very few MQLs become SQLs, you’ll need to focus on attracting more qualified visitors to your landing pages. If average deal cycle length is getting shorter and deal sizes are growing—you’re moving in the right direction.

If you’re in ecommerce:

  • Add to carts: Counts how often people add items to their shopping cart.
  • Added payment info: Tracks how many people enter payment details, a sign they’re closer to buying.
  • Cart abandonment rate: The rate at which people leave their carts without buying, pointing out possible snags in your checkout process.

These metrics will help you monitor how effectively your product pages are moving visitors through the micro-steps along the way to the ultimate conversion action—completing a purchase. They’ll help you spot leaks in your bucket.

The best B2B CRO tools to drive more B2B sales

Of course, all things CRO get an awful lot easier when you have the right tools in your toolbelt. We published a comprehensive guide worth checking out that covers 33 different CRO tools you can use to level up your conversion rate optimization efforts.

To give you a snapshot, we’ve pulled in quick summaries for a few core categories:

Analytics CRO tools

  • Heap: Automatically captures every user action on your website or mobile app, helping you understand all user behavior without needing to write code for tracking.
  • Adobe Analytics: Provides advanced analytics capabilities to measure customer interactions across multiple channels, offering deep insights into user behavior.
  • Mixpanel: Focuses on user interaction with web and mobile applications, offering detailed insights through event tracking and cohort analysis.
  • GA4 (Google Analytics): The latest iteration of Google Analytics, providing cross-platform tracking and AI-powered insights.
Heap CRO tool screenshot

A/B testing CRO tools

  • Unbounce: Allows you to build and test custom landing pages without coding, helping you to increase your conversion rates.
  • Kameleoon: An A/B testing and personalization platform for real-time UX optimization and increasing conversion rates.
  • Optimizely: Offers A/B testing, multivariate testing, and personalization, making it easy to run experiments across your digital channels.
  • Optimonk: Focuses on capturing and converting more leads through targeted popups and messages based on user behavior.
  • A/B Tasty: An easy-to-use platform for A/B testing, user engagement, and personalization designed to boost conversion rates.
Unbounce A/B testing tool software

Audience research and testing CRO tools

  • Typeform: Creates interactive forms, surveys, and quizzes to engage and learn more about your audience.
  • Survey Monkey: A versatile tool for creating surveys to gather user feedback and insights to inform business decisions.
  • Hotjar: Provides heatmaps, session recordings, and user feedback tools to understand user behavior and improve site usability.
  • Crazy Egg: Offers heatmaps and visitor recordings to show how users read and interact with your website, helping to inform design changes.
  • UserTesting: Allows you to get real-time feedback from your target audience, observing how they use your products and where they encounter issues.
  • Five Second Test by Lyssna: Helps gauge first impressions of your designs, assessing what information users absorb quickly.
  • UserVoice: Collects and organizes feedback from your customers, enabling you to make more informed product decisions based on user insights.
Typeform CRO tool screenshot

Why B2C conversion optimization strategies don’t always work for B2B

At the end of the day—B2B or B2C—you’re speaking to humans. Even in a B2B purchase, there’s still a person on the receiving end of your marketing. Because of this, some CRO principles and strategies apply universally across B2B and B2C, like social proof to build trust, decreasing friction to reduce anxiety, writing compelling headlines to create clarity for visitors, and more.

But there are a few core differences between the two:

1. How many people are involved.

  • B2C purchases often involve one person.
  • B2B purchases often involve more stakeholders.

2. How long a purchase takes to close.

  • B2C purchases can be more impulsive and happen in the moment.
  • B2B purchases typically take more time and approvals.

3. How large each purchase is on average.

  • B2C purchases are often smaller.
  • B2B purchases can be substantial.

Because B2B deals are often more complex, involve more people and approval stages, and take longer to come together as a result, some urgency-focused strategies that work well in B2C may not have the same impact in a B2B setting.

For example, limited-time discounts and countdown timers can lead to more B2C conversions since you’re speaking to one person who’s often the sole decision maker, and the dollar amount is often within their “impulse buy” zone. Convince a buyer that they need to act quickly or the deal will go away and you have a decent chance of getting them to act.

On the flip side, those same tactics may not be as effective in B2B. The limited-time discount could be compelling, but they won’t have the same impact if the prospect still needs to get approval from multiple departments within their organization and then wait a few weeks for procurement and legal to complete their processes.

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How to get more conversions with Unbounce

If you skimmed the entire post and are only reading these 50 words, here’s what you need to know about B2B conversion rate optimization:

    • Build compelling landing pages and optimize them to drive as many of your desired actions as possible (form submissions, button clicks, trial starts, etc.).

    • A/B test headlines, landing page layouts, form structures, and any other element within your B2B marketing funnel that you believe could move the needle.

    • Identify the metrics that matter for you and optimize them.

    • Take advantage of the CRO tools at your disposal so you don’t have to do everything on your own or from scratch.

B2B conversion rate optimization can be more of a marathon than a sprint (especially when compared to B2C) given that B2B sales can take months to close. Of course, Unbounce can be your best friend throughout the entire CRO process as well.

Within the Unbounce platform, you can:

And don’t forget: Always be testing.

conversion rate optimization (cro) blog cta

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