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5 Ways Your Website is Killing Sales

Posted by Doug Davidoff

Nov 21, 2017 3:30:00 PM

5 Ways Your Website is Killing SalesThe biggest change over the last decade in B2B sales is the importance of your website and web presence. In 2007, your website supported and augmented your sales reps. In 2017, your sales reps augment your website. Make no mistake, your website is your number one, most important sales resource. An effective, sales-ready website positively impacts everybody - customers and salespeople alike.  

There are a number of advantages in this new world for growth-focused organizations. Your website works 24-hours/day, never calls in sick, doesn't complain and delivers the precise message you instruct it to, every time. Done correctly, your website also provides you with insights into what is on the buyer's mind, where they are in their buying journey and what key issues they're looking to address.

Unfortunately, it's still a very small minority of companies that are taking advantage of the power of their website. What's worse, the majority of business websites are sales killers. Despite your best efforts to enhance marketing and improve your sales efforts, what your website is, speaks so loudly no one can hear what you're saying (to paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emerson). Believe it or not, your website is crucial to your success. By the way, don't compare your website to others in your industry. That's not who you're competing with. A phenomenon called liquid expectations means that the experience (and expectations) that your customers and prospects have developed in areas having nothing to do with your company or industry, impact their expectations as much as anything.

Here are five of the most common ways that we see websites kill sales...make sure none of these apply to you.


Failure to Clearly Communicate a Strong Point-of-View 

MessageTM

 

When someone lands on your homepage, the page will have one job to do. It must, in under 5 seconds, answer these four questions:

  • Who are we?
  • What do we do?
  • Why does it matter?
  • Why should the visitor care?

Everything else on your homepage is secondary.  

It doesn't stop on your homepage though. Every page of your website has a responsibility for telling your story and delivering a strong point-of-view. Images, layout and design are all nice to have and are important to optimize the results you can derive from your website, but stop running past the most important job on your site.

The second job on every page is to spur action. I regularly review websites as part of the work we do for prospects and for our own prospecting. I'm exhausted by the volume of web pages (and images) that leave me with two questions: so what and who cares?

Be clear, bold and precise.  

Serving as a Glorified Brochure

As I regularly say to salespeople, "Nobody cares about your stuff." When 70% or more of your website is static and focused on you, you are clearly communicating to everyone that you are merely a commodity. I laugh every time I see a website where the message uses terms like "forward thinking," "customized solutions," "leader in our (fill in the blank)," etc., but the site hasn't had a new piece of content added to it in over six months.

Yes, you need to share the details, specs, and benefits of your products and services, but if more than 1/4 of your site content is about you and your products, you can bet it's costing you leads, sales, margin and profit.

Designed for Looks

I know. The video in the hero image looks really "cool." The animated effect of your images flying in is exciting. Your hero image slider enables you to communicate more "above the fold," and it looks very professional as well. It's all great, except that those things kill conversions. Now, this is not to say you should never do these things. 

When you're building and managing your website, you need to think about things through a different prism. What you're doing is hiring your website, and each individual web page, to do a job for you. It's crucial to be clear what that job description is, and how you'll monitor and measure the effectiveness of getting the job done. 

It's Luke Skywalker, Not Yoda (the We-Do's)

Every day I see marketers, websites and salespeople make the crucial mistake of mistaking their products/services as the hero of their story. They expend untold energy in an attempt to get visitors, leads and prospects to understand all of the amazing and great things they do. The problem is that, at the end of the day, it still boils down to a confusing pile of "we-do's."

You (nor your offerings) are the heroes of your story. Your customer is. Your customer should have the starring role in the design, development and implementation of your website. Your customer is Luke Skywalker. You are Yoda. The story that unfolds on your website needs to be about what you enable your customers to do. What are the problems they solve, and the opportunities they capture?  

Failure to Provide the Data and Signals to Enhance Actions

I am constantly amazed by what I am able to learn as a result of prospects visiting my website. I share with my sales team that I'd just as soon have the first few interactions with a prospect occur on my site. I teach them to find ways to get people to the site, even if it may appear to slow down the process. The reason is that everytime a prospect touches my site (and often even when they don't) I'm able to pick up cues about how to refine our approach with them specifically and with the market in general.

I've even been known to launch paid campaigns to drive traffic to specific types of pages that I know are not right. Sometimes I'll create a web page to express an idea or approach that I think could be valuable. I'll pay to drive traffic there because I'm able to learn where I'm on target and where I'm off faster and less expensively than any other alternative. The power of insight that exists on your website is literally awesome.

I'm aghast at the number of companies who claim to have a real desire for serious growth that either don't have the tools to gain this intelligence or don't spend the time on strategy and execution to profit from it. Your prospects expect you to personalize your approach to them and to realize what it is they want and how they want it, without them telling you anything directly. Your website makes this happen and you simply cannot afford not to take advantage of it any longer.

The Executive's Guide to Winning Sales with Today's New Buyer 

Topics: Performance, B2B Sales Strategy, Demand Generation