Heatmaps – The Hot Diagnostic Tool for B2B Marketers!

Heatmaps are one of the most effective analytical tools to help B2B marketers better understand customer behavior, analyze data, and derive qualitative insights to increase conversions.

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From generating quality leads to driving more traffic to your website, the efforts invested in B2B marketing are nearly twice as more as compared to any other industry, especially B2C. Each lead is a potential customer, which means everything done in the process demands utmost precision – taking the right steps to highlight your brand’s USPs, personalizing customer experience, optimizing sales funnel, offering a fluid and easy-to-navigate website, and so forth.

Also, low traffic and low search volume are a constant fight for most B2B companies. It makes it difficult for them to gather accurate information and derive definitive conclusions about conversion rates and the performance of their website.

So, how to ensure that the efforts you’re putting in to make your B2B marketing campaign success will definitely show results? This is where tools like heatmaps come into play.

Heatmap is a smart analytical tool that makes use of color-codes to highlight webpage areas where customer-attention is concentrating the most. The hotter the area, the more traction it is getting, and vice versa. Typically, shades of red depict the highest customer-attention-grabbing areas, while shades and blue and green represent the opposite.

Let’s move forward and see how heatmap optimization can help you maximize your B2B marketing efforts and achieve business ROI.

Heatmap Optimization – How it Serves as a Hot Diagnostic Tool

Heatmap optimization serves as a handy and powerful tool for B2B marketers. It provides useful data (in the form of graphically represented color codes) about page areas that are performing well or need improvement, and form hypothesis to optimize them to increase conversions and retain customers.

1. Heatmaps offer an Instant Overview of Essential Web Performance Parameters.

Unlike other analytic tools, heatmap allows B2B marketers to study essential web performance parameters. They highlight the areas of problems or opportunities and enable marketers to make informed decisions.


2. Heatmaps help Understand Numeric Values in the Form of Visuals.

As they say, “a picture speaks a thousand words.” Similarly, “a single heatmap speaks a thousand numbers.”

Hard statistical numbers entered in a spreadsheet may tell you that a particular page has low user engagement, or that a given page element is not yielding the results as expected. Here, heatmaps quickly reveal the pain points or distractions that a visitor encounters, detail upon the exact reasons, and enable B2B marketers to take necessary actions before their conversion rate falls.

3. Heatmaps Make Web Design Learning Quick and Easy

In the case of web design, gathering important learnings can help B2B marketers understand their site and audience behavior in a better manner. While surveys and forms have their own role to play, they are certainly prone to some form of bias – what they reflect may not necessarily be the exact thing users do on your website.

Here, heatmaps come in handy. They serve as a better and more powerful tool to analyze the navigational patterns of users on your site which helps gather data that’s accurate and untampered in nature. Combine heatmaps with A/B testing, and your learnings become predictive without being obstructive.

For instance, Sumo is a SaaS-based company that used heatmaps to study the performance of various elements of their homepage. The study revealed that:

  • The “About” page link got maximum clicks.
  • Visitors clicked on “Get Started” and “Watch Video” the most.
  • Visitors clicked on the down arrow even though it did not work.
  • While the individual tools got a lot of clicks, the ones highlighted on the right side of the page got fewer clicks.

Source

Sumo used these insights to made necessary amendments which eventually helped them to get more conversions.

4. Heatmaps Help Analyze the Performance of CTAs

Every call-to-action button placed on your website has its own conversion goal. It is important to assure that it’s receiving the desired attention as you’ve planned. Here, heatmaps help in checking the effectiveness of your CTAs – whether or not your visitors are clicking on them and taking the desired action.

Combine heatmaps with A/B testing to better understand your user’s insights and maximize performance by implementing the changes noted in the process.

5. Heatmaps help Reduce Form Rejections.

Forms play an essential role, especially when it comes to B2B businesses. They help in gathering essential information about customers visiting your site. Such information is crucial from the sales point of view. Optimizing them can significantly help in improving conversions. While many theories follow on how to use a form, or what must be its content, the ideal way to test which type of form would yield the best results, make use of heatmaps.

Let’s take an example of a SaaS company. Analyzing that most people were not filling their form placed on their checkout page. Using form analysis, they found out that the hesitation time on the “Referral Code” field was high. Basis this finding, they formulated a hypothesis that people were not able to find the Codes to avail discounts which were pushing them to abandon their purchase.

As a final check to solidify their hypothesis, the CRO team at the company decided to check the heatmap for the checkout page. They discovered that it was the navigation bar at the top which was the source of distraction for the users. They were clicking on the ‘Plans and Pricing’ tab here. This completely changed their first hypothesis.

In a nutshell, heatmaps offer an additional lens to find out qualitative insights to help you discover problematic areas and make necessary amendments to enhance conversions.

6. Heatmaps Help Understand How Visitors Interact with Content

Inbound marketing and content marketing are two powerful tools for any B2B business. Hence, having well-crafted content that’s sufficiently infused with valuable information on your website is highly essential, especially from traffic and conversion standpoint.

Scrollmaps, another form of heatmaps, offer useful data on the performance of these two key elements. They provide strong, reliable information about how visitors are moving through your content – how far they’re scrolling through the page, the parts where they are getting distracted, the links they’re clicking, and so on. Such information can help you analyze where to place your CTA and important links to increase lead generation.

Bottom line

Heatmaps are one of the most effective analytical tools to help B2B marketers better understand customer behavior, analyze essential data, derive valuable qualitative insights for website optimization and form better hypotheses to increase conversions.  

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Insights From eCommerce CRO Apex Predators: Booking.com

(The following article derives source from Harvard Business Review’s case study about Booking.com’s hallowed experimentation culture.) 1,000 concurrent experiments. Tests that can be deployed across 75 countries and 43 languages in under an hour. A/B tests that cover a span of 1.2 million hotels, homestays, and inns—if ever there was an organization that bleeds CRO […]

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(The following article derives source from Harvard Business Review’s case study about Booking.com’s hallowed experimentation culture.)

1,000 concurrent experiments. Tests that can be deployed across 75 countries and 43 languages in under an hour. A/B tests that cover a span of 1.2 million hotels, homestays, and inns—if ever there was an organization that bleeds CRO from its cultural veins, it must be Booking.com.

Having pioneered Conversion Rate Optimization as a category, most of our e-commerce (and the world, at large) customers naturally pose poignant questions around distilling a CRO-centric culture in their organizations. More specifically, most questions encountered were about

  • Culture – “How can I reinvent our culture to worship CRO?”
  • Process – “Is there a template we can follow?”
  • Motivation – “With 9 out of 10 tests failing, how can we stabilize the morale of our marketing team?”

This article answers some of the questions by ways of stories gleaned from the study.

***

Booking.com serves as the proof that CRO cannot merely serve as a growth lever: CRO has ascended to taking the mantle of a fulcrum instead. Below, we summarize key insights  from HBR’s comprehensive case study about what makes Booking.com an apex predator in the experimentation food chain.

Binding the threads together—decentralization, heuristics on failed tests, the flywheel effect, and a steadfast reliance on data.

Decentralization

In Booking’s embryonic stage, a key tenet paved way for much of its currently prevalent experimentation culture  – all employees had the freedom to run an experiment without feeling trapped in the rut of decision-making bureaucracy. They did not have to draft a meeting agenda, defend hypothesis around the test, and answer uncomfortable HIPPO questions around the context for implementing a particular test. There were several direct and indirect benefits from a decentralized outlook toward CRO.

  • Volume: The collective volume of experiments witnessed an exponential uptick. At the time of writing the case study, Booking reported a frequency of 1,000 concurrent experiments.
  • Power of compounding: Similar to your average stock market portfolio, Booking was a recipient of windfall gains, owing to the power of compounding by continuously investing in an “infinite testing loop.” Assuming an industry standard of 10% success rate at an average 1% uplift in revenue per test, following are some total revenue uplift statistics around various concurrency ranges.
Number of concurrent tests
Success RateRevenue Uplift Per TestNumber of Successful TestsTotal Revenue Uplift (Revenue Uplift Per Test * Number of Successful Tests)
10010%1%1010%
50010%1%5050%
100010%1%100100%
150010%1%150150%
200010%1%200200%
  • HIPPO takes a backseat: Some leaders tend to believe that their understanding of customers is stronger than employees downstream. Booking humbled many a leader by ensuring that no changes suggested by them were published without an A/B test proclaiming victory. In fact, their first American CEO was served empirical evidence of Booking’s testing culture when a logo he suggested did not enter production without a test validating its success.

“When Booking’s previous CEO first arrived from the US, he presented a redesigned logo to the staff. People said “that’s great; we’ll check it with an experiment.” He was baffled but had no choice. The experiment would determine if the logo could stay.”

Excerpt from the study

Investigating Failures: Gold at the Far End of the Rainbow

Unlike a typical CRO environment where failed tests are archived never to be looked back again, Booking has a novel lens to view failures. Through a combination of heuristics and qualitative data, the experimentation team analyses failed tests to unearth more behavioral signals.

For example, in one of their many failed experiments, the team tried to analyze the impact on conversions by showcasing “WiFi Signal Strength” for all properties. Their hypothesis was valid; guests, especially business travelers, prioritize Internet speed as one of their primary booking criteria. The test tried to measure conversion impact by displaying a banner “WiFi Strength – Strong” on the listing. Much to their surprise, the test failed to deliver conversion uplift. But the experimentation team did not stop there. By interviewing consumers in their Research Lab, another fascinating insight stood out—guests wanted to know if the hotel’s WiFi would allow them to watch Netflix or deliver emails without interruption. In scientific parlance, the team approached the problem from the Jobs To Be Done standpoint. Internet wasn’t important—jobs done through the Internet were. Almost immediately, the team ran another test; this time with labels like “Fast Netflix Streaming.” The new test drove the team back to its winning ways by delivering comprehensive wins against the control.

“For example, we were sure people cared about the quality of WiFi in their hotel rooms. We tested a feature that displayed WiFi speed on a 1–100 scale, and customers did not care. It was only when we showed whether the signal was strong enough to do email or watch Netflix, that customers responded favorably.”

A/B Testing: The Flywheel Effect

On a scale of strategic to tactical, a long tail of companies pits CRO in the middle while the normal distribution of the curve veers toward tactical. We have documented myriad reasons why customers purchase a CRO platform for the first time:

  • “We have a website redesign underway. We want to evaluate if visitors can navigate (the new design)” – Midway
  • “We spent $100,000 on new ad campaigns and visitors aren’t converting!” – Tactical (and reactive!)
  • “Our new Chief Product Officer has suggested new versions of in-app nudges. We are not too sure (of them working)” – Tactical (and vengeful!)

Not Booking; it reinvented the playbook. From the day of Booking’s inception, A/B testing is perceived as the treadmill that introduces a flywheel effect for revenue, as explained below.

Ensure Great Customer Experiences –> A/B Testing –> Improve Product Experience –> Increase Conversions –> More Word of Mouth –> Better ROI on Marketing Campaigns –> More Sellers Willing to Be a Part of the Platform –> More Inventory at Better Rates –> Great Customer Experience

Booking’s CRO Mental Model


In God We Trust, for International Expansion, Bring Data

Most international expansions are a non-cognitive exercise. After organizations have decided to expand their footprint to international waters, the country’s financial (or political) capital is generally chosen as the headquarters. Quite naturally, when Booking.com announced its arrival in Germany, most analysts and industry watchers expected to meet them in Berlin.

They were in for a disappointment. Mining troves of customer search data, the team quickly came to an unexpected conclusion—Dutch nationals (Booking originated in Holland) were making a beeline for a Ski hamlet in an obscure, remote hinterland named Winterberg. The revelation came as a surprise, and senior executives who had started hunting for lodging in Berlin had to change plans overnight. Booking.com chose Winterberg as the face of its Germany operations.

“We operated only in Holland when I started. Our country is so small but Dutch people travel abroad quite a lot. To follow demand, we built an international platform, while our competitors in larger countries focused on their home markets. Conventional wisdom suggested to start in Berlin where you expect most Dutch tourists. But we decided to check which city comes up first in customer searches. It turned out to be a village called Winterberg, a ski paradise for the Dutch. So we followed the data and open our first office there”

***

Frameworks, mental models, templates—in our yearning for a standardized CRO toolkit soaked in proven success, we are guilty of ignoring that templates are akin to DNA; no two can be the same. Booking.com embedding an experimentation-centric way of life might have multiple contexts (cultural, founder ideologies, core team principles and/or sheer bootstrapping-induced “hustle”)—merely replicating the Booking school of thought might lead to an unhealthy disruption.

Instead, organizations should strive to document their unique A/B testing-induced flywheel as a part of an initiation to future CRO programs. Booking understood that A/B testing goes beyond conversions; it had the potential to shift the travel ecosystem. It was a win-win—customers, and sellers won collectively.

How would your A/B testing flywheel look like?

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SiriusDecisions Summit 2018: Bound Event Guide

One of the best events for B2B Leaders is right around the corner…are you ready for SiriusDecisions Summit 2018? It’s a big event, with 3,000+ attendees, 120+ vendors and all the frameworks and case studies you can dream of. I’ve waded my way through the “Sirius” puns, poured over session summaries, sifted through the Sirius […]

The post SiriusDecisions Summit 2018: Bound Event Guide appeared first on Bound.

One of the best events for B2B Leaders is right around the corner…are you ready for SiriusDecisions Summit 2018?

It’s a big event, with 3,000+ attendees, 120+ vendors and all the frameworks and case studies you can dream of. I’ve waded my way through the “Sirius” puns, poured over session summaries, sifted through the Sirius blog, and scouted every open-invite afterparty. Here is everything you need to know about SiriusDecisions Summit 2018.

Our team is excited to share this experience with you. Come say hello at booth 412!

Guest Keynotes

Last year I walked into Summit thinking how the heck does Jewel relate to B2B Marketing? As it turns out, Sirius event planners know what they are doing. I scribbled countless notes about lead nurture vs. nature and authenticity in marketing: “underneath, we’re all looking for the same thing: an authentic human experience.” You know that got my personalization juices flowing.

Jewel keynote on creating an authentic human experience

This year’s keynotes are Molly Bloom and Platon. If these speakers are good enough for an Aaron Sorkin feature film and the World Economic Forum in Davos, respectively, then we must be in for a treat. I expect we’ll witness masterful storytelling on the topics of authenticity, leadership, collaboration and ambition.

Analyst Keynotes

SiriusDecisions is known for dropping big ideas in the analyst keynotes. The 2017 big reveal was the Demand Unit Waterfall®, which shaped the conversation for the whole conference. While I don’t expect such a core announcement in 2018, we can expect the keynotes to guide the themes of the conference.

SiriusDecisions Summit Keynote Preview

Visit the Summit website for keynote overviews. The links below are to Sirius blog posts that give a little more insights into the keynote topics.

If you see these analysts out in the wild, go ahead and buy them a coffee or drink. They work really hard on these presentations. I also recommend following these keynote analysts who are active on Twitter throughout the conference: @julieogilvie, @KerrySirius, @gcanare, @Marisa_Kopec.

Sessions

The full 2018 Summit agenda features three praiseworthy changes.

  1. The 2018 Summit is condensed to three days, a half day less than previous years. This is a good move because that last half day was rough for travel arrangements (and fell after the Green Tie Gala) so attendance was low. Somehow, they still managed to squeeze in about the same amount of session time with the condensed schedule in 2018.
  2. There are 12 tracks to choose from in 2018, up from seven in 2017. The new track structure dedicates more focus within sales, product, brand, and customer engagement functions. SiriusDecisions has long advocated for alignment between the different facets of the revenue organization, so this update is feels like they are finally walkin’ the walk.
  3. Did somebody say role-based breakfast?! I’m so excited for the introduction of role-based breakfasts in 2018. Sessions, as educational as they are, are a one-way communication. Summit isn’t short on networking opportunities, but role-based networking time is valuable for getting inspiration and validation.

Personalization Strategy: A Custom Track

We recommend the following sessions to create your own personalization strategy track. Stop by our booth 412 to learn how Bound insights and personalization helps your demand, ABM, portfolio and content strategies.

Wednesday

  • ABM Infrastructure: A Capabilities-Driven View of the Stack That Drives Growth
  • Creating Demand Maps to Power Account-Centric Planning

Thursday

  • Activating Persona and Buyer Insights for Demand Creation or SiriusLab: Implementing Nurture Programs in a Demand Unit World
  • The State of B-to-B Content: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
  • B-to-B Demand Creation: By the Numbers

Parties

What would SiriusDecisions be without parties? It is held in Las Vegas after all.

Quick overview of the SiriusDecisions-hosted parties: Fall Out Boy is headlining the Green Tie Gala. The Titanium Celebration is now earlier and in the marketplace, packing in all the networking while freeing up the evening for unsponsored events and dinners. Dress code tends to range from the business casual to business chic (there is the occasional green suit for the gala…costumes optional).

…and moving on to more pressing matters: RSVPs for outside, not-Sirius-sponsored parties hosted by a range of vendors. I’ll just cut to the chase:

 Date  Time  Event Name  Location  Registration URL
 May 7  5:30 PM  ABMargs  Border Grill  bit.ly/2HqBbvW
 May 9  7:00 PM  ABM Royale  Skyfall Lounge  bit.ly/2uOsJk1
 May 9  7:00 PM  Marketing Mingle  Foundation Room  ora.cl/T5FX0

 

Want to hang with Bound?

Bags packed? Request a meeting or visit us at booth 412 (memorized it yet?). Need a ticket? Register with code SPONBOUND for $400 off. Can’t make it? Bummer. You can follow along on Twitter using @bound_360, @Stephanie_Bound, and #SDSummit. When the FOMO resides, go ahead and request a personalization strategy consultation.

Final Notes

Download the event app. Wear comfortable shoes. Bring a jacket (conference centers are cold). See you in Las Vegas!

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