By: Laurel Natale, Lead UX Strategist at Brownstein Group

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t force it to increase its quarterly supply chain purchase orders. (Or something like that.)

For B2B companies, closing a deal is a complicated, tenuous process dependent on multiple sales within the sale – they need to sell a customer on making a change, on buying a new product, on paying a new price and on starting a new relationship. In the old days, salespeople in the field could convince a prospect with some fast talk and a handshake, but now customers require websites with much more granular detail. As a result, B2B companies need to supply the right information in the right way so a visitor can receive, absorb, acknowledge and then (importantly) take action.

This website interaction comes down to the user experience (UX) design, and involves a tremendous amount of strategic thought and attention to detail. But even the best UX designers aren’t omniscient, and to properly ensure you’re interacting in an efficient way with your visitors requires testing, evaluation and tweaking. For instance, discovering if your user is continually interacting with your website, clicking on videos and downloading material will give an indication they are receiving and absorbing the information, while knowing they came back to your website will tell you they are finding it useful.

UX metrics work in conjunction with sales and brand KPIs to help you gain a deeper understanding of your users and enable you to create a holistic experience that will produce real business results. But how can you ensure you’re tracking the RIGHT user metrics? After all, when it comes to UX, it’s not just a popularity contest that ends with the most clicks. Smart B2B companies need to dig in much deeper and not just focus on increasing users, but also influencing their behavior.

Here are 5 solutions to some common tracking errors:

  1. Track LOYALTY, not SALESAs the saying goes, “You can’t buy loyalty. We know, because we tried.” For genuine success, you need repeat customers. A great way to measure website loyalty is to use a ‘Net Promoter Score’ to ask your users if they would recommend your website to a colleague. The higher the score, the more confidence you can have that your website is fulfilling its purpose. If you get lower scores, follow-up with a survey to uncover what and where on your website you’re frustrating users.
  2. Track ENGAGEMENT, not CLICKSAlways assume your visitor has an agenda when they visit your website. Even if they click on a certain item, it might be in search of something else and (if they don’t find that item) they will bounce. Instead of claiming victory for that one click, ask yourself some tougher questions. For example, you might notice that users are clicking on your homepage video, but did they stay to watch it? Adding elements such as interactive product videos and downloads can give deeper insight into how users are interacting with the pages and the information on it.
  3. Track HAPPINESS, not BOUNCE RATEThere could be any number of things that cause users to leave your homepage. Simply tracking bounce rate only alerts you that something isn’t working, but finding out what MADE users unhappy provides insight on how to fix the problem. For example, instead of measuring how many sales were made within a given time period, examine that same timeframe to see how many of those sales came back to the site after their purchase. This will reveal if your customers are happy advocates or reluctant buyers.
  4. Track ADOPTION, not SIGN-UPSAlthough sign-ups are a positive metric, it’s important to remember that sign-ups aren’t users. Did they return? How often?  Tracking the percentage of users that adopt your product after signing up can be much more insightful over the long term. Consider this: if your website has an account creation feature, measure how often those users return after creating an account in a certain timeframe. If you have a high amount of sign-ups but little interaction with website after that signup, you know you need to revisit the customer journey to help turn them into actual customers.
  5. Track TASK SUCCESS, not TIME ON PAGEJust because a user is spending time on your website doesn’t necessarily make it a good thing. For example, if a user is having trouble finding something, their level of consternation will only increase the longer they are searching. A better measurement would be discovering if they actually completed the task they set out to do. Try asking users if they were able to complete their desired purchase and find what they were looking for. The same way a waiter asks if diners enjoyed their meal, this feedback will only help future customer service.

Remember – in B2B sales, you can do everything right and still fail if the website experience stinks. Invest the money now so you’re not losing it later.

Laurel Natale is the Lead UX Strategist at Brownstein Group, where she is watching you. Read more of Laurel’s stuff on her Medium page at: https://medium.com/@lnatale