When you look at the sales process of any business, you can broadly break it up into three significant components:
- Generating the lead
- Engaging with the lead
- Closing the sale
Of course there is a lot of before and after, such as identifying the customer segment, marketing the product, shipping, installation, configuration, etc – however in the eyes of the sales guy, he’s going to focus on the above three components in order to drive his success.
If we explore the first component in the context of web generated leads, the company’s own website is a critical part of this generation process. It also tends to attract a lot of investment so that traffic can be driven to it.
Unfortunately, whoever you speak to from the company always tells you that their website is “in the middle of being updated/upgraded/changed/revamped/reworked/<other word to describe ‘incomplete’>”. I put this down to the fact that after the very short honeymoon period of a website being updated (the honeymoon usually lasts about a week), people begin to think about what else they could do to make the site better.
Making the site better (generating the lead)
Those that have the budget, and the capability, actually continually evolve their websites, using advanced methods of visitor analysis such as:
- A/B testing
- where you try different variations of your site on different people
- see Unbounce, Optimizely, ChangeAgain.me
- conversion rate optimisation techniques
- pop-ups, roll overs, and other techniques to coax people into leaving some of their details before they abandon the site
- see quicksprout, kissmetrics, bounceexchange
- click trail and heatmap analysis
- ongoing reviews of how and where visitors click things and scroll across pages
- See crazyegg, heatmap.me, inspectlet
There is an entire science behind this exercise of experimenting with visitors, and seeing what drives them to engage with the site and raise a lead, and furthermore – to deliver the highest value through those leads.
If you use an agency to manage your site – you should definitely be asking them how they know any site design changes, or new introductions, are going to affect your current visitors. Simply by adding a brightly coloured “Send us an email” button at the top of your front page – you may turn off more visitors than you encourage.
Handling the customer (engaging with the lead, and closing the sale)
“For every sale you miss because you’re too enthusiastic, you will miss a hundred because you’re not enthusiastic enough.” Zig Ziglar
Once the lead is in, how do you handle it? Your website has done the first part of the sale for you, and has encouraged a customer to take the first step of reaching out to you. This is a bit like the other person leaning in for the kiss – they’ve made the first step, and now the rest is up to you.
If you leave them hanging, it’s not going to go down so well.
The most important part is to let the other party know that you’re interested as well. Adding them to a mailing list is not going to do this.
A lot of leads get lost in “the process” – they enter a CRM, or a spreadsheet, or an inbox, and response times are measured in hours. In some cases, response times are measured in days. The biggest threat you now face is the back button in the browser. Once they’ve raised a lead on your website, in many situations, the customer’s work is done. They have nothing left to do on your site.
Think about that for a moment – your visitor has nothing left to do on your website.
If you don’t engage with them, they’re going to go back to where they were previously and be greeted by your competition. You need to design a process where your team can respond to the customer quickly, and appropriately. Getting an inexperienced secretary to proxy your kiss for you, is not going to do you any favours, and can even damage any potential that existed.
Look at your website sales process end to end. We’ve done tests on organisations that we used to be part of where we would call the number for the sales line published online at lunch time – that’s a huge step for a customer to take – and then been greeted by answering machines, or phones that don’t stop ringing. What happens when someone fills in your “Contact Us” form?
Want to know how to get more business from your website? Check out the following posts