That doesn’t necessarily mean that all of your prospects will conduct their digital research before speaking with a salesperson, but it does mean that your buyers do most of their research online. But are you doing as much to “train” your website to respond to prospects as you do your salespeople? And while you may have developed content targeted to different buyer personas, industries, company sizes, etc., your website probably doesn’t offer up the most relevant pieces of content to each person. But your website likely does not. But your website does this. It’s not just a wasted opportunity to get the prospect to engage further with your content and move them along the buyer’s journey, it comes across as tone deaf. For example, if you can recognize that a prospect is in the health care industry from his IP address, your website can present images and copy specific to that industry on that page in real time. The pages he clicks on and how he engages with those pages, the content he seeks out and what he reads can tell you what industry he is in (if it can’t be determined from IP address), the topics he is interested in, where he is in the buyer’s journey, and more -- depending on the content you have available on your site. It can also help you understand which actions the prospect has already taken so you don’t need to waste his time with irrelevant calls-to-action. Finally, if there is information that would be valuable to know but can’t be easily deduced through a person’s behavior -- such as a person’s role in his company -- you can deliver a simple survey while the person is engaging with your site.
The term “salesperson” can often evoke the stereotypical image of a used car dealer who will do anything to get a sale. But that’s an outdated image. The best salespeople today are skilled professionals who get to know all they can about a prospect. They do research in advance. They ask questions and listen carefully to answers. They tailor their pitches to each prospect and strive to match each one with the right product or solution for them. Progressive companies recognize this and spend a lot of money hiring and training salespeople to operate like this.
We all know that the internet has fundamentally changed the way business buyers conduct research. A frequently cited yet critical stat from SiriusDecisions is that 67 percent of the buyer’s journey is done digitally. That doesn’t necessarily mean that all of your prospects will conduct their digital research before speaking with a salesperson, but it does mean that your buyers do most of their research online.
With that in mind, you might consider your website a member of your sales team. It typically “meets” your prospects earlier and more often than anyone else in your company, and it furthers the relationships throughout the sales cycle. But are you doing as much to “train” your website to respond to prospects as you do your salespeople? Chances are, your website is the dumbest and least effective member of the team. Here’s why and how to fix it.
1. Your website shares the same message with everyone.
No good salesperson would talk to a junior-level employee the same way she speaks to a C-level executive. A marketing specialist at a tech company, for example, may want to know how easy your product will be to use and how long it will take him to get fully onboarded, while the CIO may want to understand how your solution will interact with the rest of the company’s tech stack and what ROI can be expected.
The same goes for prospects across industries and company sizes. A salesperson who doesn’t tailor her message to address the specific concerns of prospects in the financial services versus the retail industry, or to small businesses versus enterprises, is likely not very effective. Every prospect has different goals, uses different terminology and measures different KPIs. A good salesperson knows her company’s unique selling propositions for each type of buyer and knows how to best engage them.
But your website probably doesn’t do that. Your home page likely has one main message it uses with every prospect — one that has been carefully selected to appeal to the broadest audience possible. And while you may have developed content targeted to different buyer personas, industries, company sizes, etc., your website probably doesn’t offer up the most relevant pieces of content to each person. Instead, it requires prospects to find relevant content themselves.
2. Your website doesn’t listen to each person’s needs.
The needs of a prospect change dramatically depending on where he is in his buying journey. Is the product brand new to him? Then he’ll likely respond best to introductory and…