As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post, the way people and companies buy services and products has changed. For example, did you know that 60% of the sales cycle is over before a buyer talks to a salesperson?
More than ever, people are opting to do their own research on products or services that they need, and they’re using the web to do it. Is your company website ready to answer the specific questions your prospects are asking?
Some research from earlier this month (June 2013) indicates “87% of B2B content consumers say that online content has a major (27%) or moderate (60%) impact on their vendor selection.”
The fact of the matter is that in today’s economy your website has to be your best sales tool. People are looking at your website to research products and services independently.
To reach prospects during the research phase of the buying cycle, your website has to be optimized for search engines so prospects can find your company website.
How to reach a prospect early in the sales cycle
- Start a blog. The advantage of having a blog is that your sales and marketing staff can easily publish information to your website without any code knowledge. Blogs usually include social media sharing buttons, which can help give your content more visibility.
- Blog about topics your prospects ask about. If you are truly listening to your customers as they go through the sales cycle, then you'll have no shortage of ideas to blog about. Simply answer your prospects' questions in your blog.
- Do your keyword research to know what prospects are searching for. Take note of the words prospects use to describe products and services. Hint: they might be different than the way you describe your products and services. Use Google's keyword tool to research those words and find out how many people are searching for those things each month. In your blog posts, use those words that people are searching most frequently.
- Include calls to action to offer collateral, checklists, buying guides, etc. for download. Blogging will help your prospects find you, but including calls to action to download more information or contact someone to ask a question will help generate sales leads.
- Use email to invite leads to subscribe to your blog or connect on LinkedIn.
Companies that are most successful using their website to attract prospects early in the sales cycle are the ones that pay attention to what their customers are asking about, and using website content to answer those questions to educate. People want to be assured that when they buy a product or service, it will solve their unique problem.