How much of your sales process is happening without your sales team? Studies have indicated that up to 70 percent of the buyer’s journey is complete before a potential client even contacts you or engages with your sales team. New studies from Sirius Decisions dispute that, but indicate that 67 percent of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally. While B2B decisions are still largely made with extended conversation between the prospect and your sales team, getting into that conversation is a critical first step. And, the best way to do that is to ensure you have a website that is well built and optimized. Your website is your best salesperson, and they will work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. However, like any salesperson, you need to make sure your website has the information they need to be considered authoritative, credible, and trustworthy.
Clean, polished and ready to woo you, Don Draper is the consummate sales professional. With clients, he shows enthusiasm, expertise and interest. He generates interest and a desire to engage from these clients, just as we all want our websites to do. Setting up your website with beautiful design, easy navigation and compelling content will engage your buyers as much as Don Draper would. You have to ignore Don’s private life and persona to understand this comparison, but his presentation is always spot on—just make sure your website doesn’t have a secret dark past!
We’ve all met this guy before, and if you’re like most people, you didn’t even make it through the whole video clip. He’s sloppy, difficult and forceful. In a website, this translates to bad navigation and not enough quality content that answers your buyers’ questions. Like the salesman, if the website doesn’t provide the information a potential buyer needs to make a decision, he or she will leave and go somewhere else (likely your competitors’ sites). Additionally, if the site is not clean and approachable in terms of design, it will scare off visitors, even if it does have the information they need.
Shelley Levene of Glengarry Glenross embodied the type of salesman who didn’t feel he had the tools to win, and he tried to find easy ways to make money without trying too hard. Once very successful, he’s been in a long slump and desperately needs to close business. Levene is like an old, outdated website, targeting the wrong audience. If your site looks out of date, it tells your buyers that you also are. Levene is set up for failure—just like your website is if it isn’t up-to-date, speaking to your target audience, fully functioning and engaging.
Since most consumers do research before filling out a contact form, your website is likely the first interaction a potential client will have with your business. Making sure that first impression is polished, professional and helpful is imperative. So, now that we’ve identified traits that would leave a bad first impression, let’s look at ways you can spruce up what you have.
Just as you would ensure a salesman representing your organization had the right knowledge, tools and ability to communicate with your clients, you need to make sure your website has the same. How you choose to talk about your services, products and company also speaks highly about your company culture. In fact, using some of the same criteria you would use to hire a member of your sales team can help in planning out your website:
A good salesperson provides the information prospects need to make a decision and helps them toward a next step. With a website, you can accomplish this with good content and calls to action. To do this, you can interview your current clients to find out what information they needed to make a decision and why they decided to work with you. Make sure that each piece of content, whether a service page or a blog, also allows your users to easily navigate to other pages, information or contact forms to help guide them through the buyer’s journey.
A good salesperson is also responsive, clean and organized. This translates to your website in terms of great design, easy navigation and ensuring you have good site speed. If you love navigating around your website, and get lost in its web of content spun through helpful internal links and call to actions, chances are prospects will too. Once you’ve identified improvements that will make your website the best 24-hour salesman you have, it’s time to decide whether you can update your current website or if you need to completely redesign. If your business goals indicate that you should choose the latter, download our website migration guide to make sure your redesign goes smoothly without losing keyword rankings and SEO value.