A while back, I sat down with a B2B sales expert, Frank Belzer from Kurlan & Associates, who is an author and has a lifetime of experience in sales. I wanted to understand how websites impact the sales process, because if we were going to design and build websites that provide leads for sales people, I wanted to understand how we could make them better not only for a customer, but also for a sales person.
What I learned was truly amazing, and I want to share that with you today. I heard living proof that times have changed, and that sales people have to learn how to cope with advancements in technology that make their prospects incredibly educated.
So what did I learn from the B2B sales expert?
“Your website should be your extra sales person.”
To me, this is not news, but to many it is. I’ve written before about how your website needs to be accountable for generating revenue for your company and how it should be your best sales person.
Belzer went a step further: “It’s not a healthy attitude to think that your company website is passive.”
Your website interacts with your clients and prospects daily, and it provides information and is a resource for your customers and your prospects. Are you treating your website as an extension of your sales team?
“You should be investing money in your website. It should be your #1 lead generator.”
Many companies hesitate to hire a firm to manage their website presence, yet you probably wouldn’t think twice about hiring a sales rep at a base salary of $40k - $50k per year.
When you think about the importance, the potential and the responsibility your website carries, it’s probably worth investing what you might pay a sales rep. To meet the needs of prospective customers, your website has to be active, be up to date (websites can get out of date very quickly), and useful.
Belzer says that the website should be the #1 lead generator on your “team.” “You have to get out of your bubble and truly consider what your prospects are looking for” to generate new leads for your business.
“Sales and marketing teams need to work together.”
Belzer says that one of two things happen:
- Marketing has a different idea of what the website should be doing and what the customer actually wants.
- Sales and marketing teams don’t know what customers want.
For years, marketing and sales have been divided into 2 different silos, but technology has forced these two groups together.
Marketers must engage with sales people to understand what type of content and messages resonate with prospects. Sales people need to engage with marketing to contribute to content like blogs. Marketers have to realize that sales people can write great blogs too. A great blog post is one that is helpful to prospects, even though it may be rough around the edges.
Survey your clients, talk to them in a consultive way, and even if their responses are not what you expect, you need to design and write your website around those needs.
“Your prospect may be more knowledgeable about your product and your industry than your sales people.”
Most prospects have not just looked at your website and read your content, they have also been to competing companies’ websites and perhaps other resources as well during the course of their research.
When a prospect contacts you, they may be more knowledgeable about your industry and your products than your sales people are. The tide has turned in sales, and companies that can be a provider of information and knowledge will come out on top.
Sales people are no longer the only source of information for prospects. By the time a sales person gets involved, your prospects are suffering from information overload. Sales people that show up to a meeting with a “show up and throw up” approach will probably irritate your prospect.
Having a great conversation and being more consultative is the right approach.
“If I’m a buyer, your company looks the same as others.”
Let’s face it, most buyers see your company website and it says the same things your competitors do. Phrases like “great service,” “quality,” “expertise,” etc. don’t separate you from your competitors.
Your prospects are good at seeing through the "bull." People can sense integrity, and what your company says on your website matters in building trust quickly.
Have you spent time working on your unique selling proposition (USP) to truly differentiate your company from competitors? Can you offer helpful educational resources on your website that stand above information offered on your competitor’s websites?