The answer is—very good things. Technology is changing everything. Today, you can do more, measure more and do it all more affordably than ever before. This is also true when it comes to attaining new business.
The Most Important Thing to Know. Your website has become the center of all sales and marketing activity. Whether you treat it that way or not, your prospects and competitors most certainly are. Technology has enabled prospective customers to attain what they need to know about your company on their own through the Internet. In fact, 70% of their decision is made before your first conversation with them. In PART ONE, we pointed out the impact these changes can have on your new business effort. In PART TWO we will address five actions you can take to improve new business performance. The very first thing you need to do is take a hard look at how your website is structured . . .
1. Is your website designed for YOU or THEM? If your website looks like a brochure about your company it will not be an effective new business tool. Prospective customers come to your website for one purpose—to determine if your company has what they need to meet their needs. Make it easy for them to find objective information they need to make that determination (and defend it to their superiors) and you stand to be a finalist for their business. Ensure your content addresses the decision points they are looking for such as:
- What your organization does to assure quality.
- Your track record for on-time delivery.
- How you will assure their project comes in on budget.The skill of your employees.
TIP: Tap into the experience of your sales team to better understand the type of decision points that must be resolved before closing the sale.
2. Does your website include the assets they need to support their decision? When you are thinking about content on your website strive to account for all viewer preferences and provide “content assets” (narrative, videos, informative “e-books”, brochures, catalogs, photo-galleries, video, blog posts etc.,) that will best demonstrate your products and services are an ideal solution for their needs. As an added incentive, if you make these assets relevant to their decision you will be more successful in gaining their contact information for follow-up by your sales team.
TIP: Make it easy. Make it relevant. Make it about them—and you will ensure your company becomes a contender for their business.
3. Getting Decision-Makers to your website. Getting prospects to your website used to be focused on SEO-Search Engine Optimization — the order in which your website appears when similar services are searched. Today an SEO strategy is all but dead. Today it is about how relevant your content is and what you are doing to make target audience groups aware. In addition to outbound tactics such as traditional sales, advertising, collateral and email programs, getting prospects to your website today includes: search & display advertising, re-marketing and leveraging social networks such as LinkedIn, and YouTube. The good news is, these tactics are not only affordable they are measurable and fine-tuning your effort to maximize results is timely and cost effective.
TIP: Ensure your website is set up with unique landing pages to capture prospect contact information for sales follow-up.
4. Leverage your existing customer base. In today’s world, what others think about you matters. It is part of their decision process. Make sure you take the time to follow-up every order to better understand how satisfied your customers are with their decision to trust your organization. Use such resources as “Survey Monkey” or “Constant Contact” to send out a simple survey to capture their comments. Post the results on your website. There are many opportunities for prospects to leverage their network to find out about your company. A pro-active survey helps to keep you in control of their impression of your company.
TIP: Align survey questions with the decision point your sales team has identified.
5. LASTLY, Don’t blame the Sales Department. The game has changed. The cold-calling/“rain-making” role of sales is being met with diminishing success in today’s self-serve world. Getting a foot in the door —let alone getting to the right person has become increasingly difficult. As a result, the skill sets they need to be successful are changing. Cold-calling/rain-making tasks are now more a function of marketing than sales. The sales skills needed today are more focused on the ability of your team to cultivate relationships and CLOSE the sale. If your organization can adapt to this change it will compete very well.
TIP: Invest in marketing tactics to ensure the Sales Team has access to qualified leads and “closure” training to ensure a strong ‘close-ratio”.
Taking these steps and thinking with a customer perspective will significantly enhance the ability of your organization to compete. While taking these steps require an initial investment of time and money, the ROI promises to far outweigh the initial investment. Do it right and watch your new business improve in terms of new leads and sales closures.