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How to use your B2B website as a sales tool, Part 1: Interactives

‘Invest once and extend’ — Display, educate and convert with budget-friendly interactives By Tanya Decarie Apr 29, 2019

B2B products are hard to explain. Whether you’re looking at industrial machinery, chemical compounds or a software platform, they often involve highly complex subject matter with niche applications.

That makes it easier to narrow down a target audience, but it also stifles your ability to communicate the product’s features in a clear, concise way.

You could try dancing around the issue with a whitepaper or convoluted spreadsheet, but do those garden-variety tactics help your audience easily absorb the relevant information? Do they support the sales process at any point in the funnel? Do they make it fun?

Chances are the answer is: “Not so much.” In cases like these, the right mix of creativity and technology makes for a level of engagement other B2B companies only dream of.

That’s the recipe for interactives.

Example: Viewing valves in 3D

A leading valve manufacturer creates 3D models of its products. We used these models to develop an interactive 3D viewer, which lets users examine products and parts from every angle by rotating and zooming in with a mouse.

“The 3D viewer is all about making a splash,” says Chris Fantauzzi, Front-End Development Lead at Motum B2B. “Because it’s made with existing assets, it also stretches their buck.”

Interactives: A multipurpose marketing tool

“When people click through and interact with a product, it’s easier to make that sale,” Chris says.

Interactives engage users by letting them digest information at their own pace. This helps sales staff explain concepts, give product details or highlight features while allowing marketers to measure interactions. You can’t do that with a chart, whitepaper or spreadsheet — or a video, for that matter.

“It’s the digital version of ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’,” says Mark Whiting, Vice-President of Technology at Motum B2B.

Here’s how it works. In a recent project, a client provided our team with a video of a car spliced into segments. We used it to create an interactive tool promoting their car battery materials.

“This was a case of performant animation used in an interactive way,” Chris explains. The interactive displays the car with several clickable pins that load unique animations and descriptions for each product. “It’s also powered by Craft CMS, which lets the client add more pins and relate new products on the website to update the interactive on their end.”

Example: More mileage from the car interactive

After creating the clickable car interactive, Chris used Craft’s naturalization features to add languages for the client’s German and Chinese business units. He later transformed it into a progressive web app (PWA) — a lightweight, cost-effective app that uses web technology to deliver cross-browser compatibility — for an upcoming tradeshow.

“The process pulls all the app’s files offline, essentially taking a snapshot in time,” Chris says, adding that clients always have the option of going back online to update the interactive.

‘Cost-effective ways to do ambitious things’

For B2B firms concerned about shelling out the big bucks for an interactive, Mark has one big piece of advice: “Invest once and then extend.”

In the car interactive example, the initial investment fueled several stages of evolution to meet different needs. You can also save more by basing the project on existing assets rather than creating everything from scratch.

Chris says that Motum B2B develops new tech in partnership with clients. Rather than advocating off-the-shelf solutions, we custom-build interactives for each individual scenario.

“We’re good at finding cost-effective ways to do ambitious things.”

Budgets are always top of mind for B2B companies, which is why we don’t advocate creating an interactive for its own sake. Each project should begin with a conversation about goals, pricing and needs.

“It’s important to talk through expectations early on,” Mark says. “Metrics, languages, mobile functionality, measurement goals, the possibility for expansion down the line — it can be as big or small as your budget allows.”

“Interactives don’t have to cost an arm and a leg,” he adds.

Example: A number-crunching data chart

Another one of our clients needed a data visualization tool. Based on the math from an advanced Excel sheet, we created an interactive calculator powered by JavaScript. Users select different values to generate a chart comparing the long-term cost savings of different products.

“It shows ROI over time, which is difficult to get across in a non-interactive way,” Mark notes.

Jazz up your sales and marketing

Do you need to show off a product that can’t be easily lugged to a tradeshow, but a picture won’t do it justice? Do you want to demonstrate your product’s compatibility with other systems, help customers filter through different product categories — or just try something new and different? An interactive can help in all these instances.

When people are new to your products, an interactive gives them a reason to dig deeper. It can also be that final push you need to make a conversion.

“When interactives are well-made, people often bookmark them and return to them later,” Mark says. “They’re useful at all stages of the funnel.”

Besides that, he adds, they bring some undeniable sparkle to the sales process.

“Interactives are fun. Who says B2B has to be boring?”