Organizations have come to realize that websites are not static, however many continue to treat their websites as a passive, though pretty, information piece. Your website is always available to anyone with Internet access. Wouldn’t it make sense to treat your website as your virtual salesperson, always at the ready to engage with any viable prospect who browses by.
Is your sales team directed to dress well, talk knowingly about the company, and then walk away from a prospect? I suspect your expectations are much greater. Salespeople are trained to ask questions and learn about the prospect, their goals and pain points, and determine how your company can help them. Then they are trained to ask for the sale. A salesperson must go beyond informing in order to make the sale. Why not include business development as an online goal and add your website to your sales team?
If you already have a well-functioning website that talks about your organization and has plenty of pretty photos and pithy marketing statements, then you may already be doing a decent job of supporting your brand. But that is still wasting what could be your organization’s greatest sales tool. Engaging with your market can certainly start with marketing-oriented positioning statements, along with photos and videos that highlight benefits of dealing with your organization. But that engagement can be moved through your sales funnel with the goal of nurturing a new customer. And that’s where inbound marketing comes into play.
The most effective route would be to subscribe to a structured inbound, or automated marketing software solution. There are many options and some are more suited for a specific size or type of organization, so do your homework. PROSAR deals mainly with SMEs; after our due diligence we partnered with and recommend SharpSpring. Regardless of which software you chose, there are inbound tactics that you can employ to make better use of your website.
Here are some basic, yet critical, steps to turn your website as an active and productive sales tool:
- Determine goals and a process for your online sales nurturing
- Develop a keyword and SEO strategy to guide your content and online efforts
- Include (and continue to add) relevant and informative information targeted to your primary audience
- Support your online presence and drive website traffic with appropriate social media activity
- Engage your audience with rich content (images, videos, interviews, infographics, animated presentations, etc.)
- Provide additional, gated content and value-added resources (gather contact info and permission to contact)
- Monitor website and online behaviour of your qualified leads
- Develop automated email workflows to further engage and nurture your qualified leads
- Determine the specific needs and pain points from your qualified needs, and demonstrate how you can help to address them
- Include special offers and “sales asks” for leads as they progress through your sales funnel
- Personal follow-up to gain more detailed information, hone your solution and close the sale (Yes, it typically still requires a person to make the sale.)
These are implemented via a content generation plan including regular blogging, calls-to-action, effective landing pages, dynamic email campaigns, ongoing website monitoring and assessment, and an over-arching strategic plan to guide the whole process. (A process which is structured and manageable with a good software solution.)