Most of the accessibility guidance out there focuses on teaching you how to be more mindful of how the public might use your website and other digital content. Of course, being more inclusive of customers, prospects, and the general public is critical. But what if your customers are other businesses? Is accessibility still important? Yes, in fact, it's critical.
Some of the defining characteristics of business-to-business marketing (or B2B) are that it's often relationship-based, featuring a long buying cycle and a lot of research. Looking at those points provides a framework for understanding exactly why accessibility is so important in B2B content.
Interestingly, albeit unfortunately, this aspect of B2B sales is sometimes used to defend not creating websites and supporting experiences that are accessible by default. The line of thinking goes something like this:
Our customers know us and we know them. People in our industry don't have disabilities and if they did have a need or an issue, they'd tell us and we could deal with it then.
About a quarter of the adults in the United States have a disability, but most disabilities aren't immediately apparent and it isn't the job of an individual with a disability to advertise it. Whatever industry you operate in, whatever businesses you deal with or sell to, you can be sure that there are individuals who have disabilities that impact how they use digital content.
Having accessible materials can only strengthen the relationships that are so important in the B2B world.
Long buying cycle
Impulse and emotion are usually thought to be characteristics of consumer purchases. In the business world, buying can take a little longer for any number of reasons: decision-making, complexity, negotiating, to name a few.
A long buying cycle, whether it's a one-time purchase or part of an ongoing relationship, means that the user experience matters for a long time, too.
Make no mistake, businesses are people, and the full sales funnel or buying cycle needs to be accessible. The more pieces of that chain that are broken by inaccessibility, the weaker that chain becomes and the less likely it is that there's a transaction at the end of it.
Lots of research
Consumer purchases can certainly be important. In B2B sales, however, the customer is buying on behalf of the company and what they buy needs to deliver.
This can translate into lots of research.
B2B customers will want to fact-check you after your demo, compare your offerings against your competitors', and learn whatever they can to have confidence that what they're buying will benefit the company in the way they expect and at a cost they can justify.
To position your company in the best way, make sure all digital content is accessible to individuals with disabilities. From the main site to mobile apps to social media posts, make it as easy as possible for prospects to learn about the value your product or service brings to their organization.