There is a myth that web sites are difficult or unimportant when it comes to big ticket items or B2B sales, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
What do we know about the way that purchasing decisions are made within big organisations?
Conventional wisdom would have us believe that decisions are made in a linear fashion – someone in a firm has a problem; they look for a strategic solution and then they compare providers to find the best one. The classic sales funnel. But life isn’t like that.
Gartner’s Jobs-to-be-done sales framework shows that the procurement process in an organisation looks more like a number of repeating activities that occur for different stakeholders and departments.
You can exploit the need for multiple stakeholders in an organisation to gather information about your products by creating a website that acts as a permanent salesperson, without having to invest in round-the-clock care.
Everyone knows that a website is a place where you can tell your customer about your product, but if you understand some simple data points, your website is also a place where customers can tell you about their needs too. And understanding their needs is the first essential step in providing a solution.
Here are 5 actionable steps that you can take today in order to turn your website from a brochure into a full-scale sales machine.
- Understanding your Website Analytics and installing Google Tag Manager
To understand what your customers need from your website you need to know how they are using it.
If most of your visitors are coming to your Product Page but leaving without contacting you, then you know that something is “wrong” with the product page. In the same way, if they come to your Contact Us page but most of them leave without getting in touch, this is a good indication that there’s an issue here too. But in order to fix the problems, you need first to be aware of them.
So how can we learn what our users are doing? The answer to this is analytics platforms, you may already be aware of Adobe or Google Analytics (GA) and you might have clicked around the in-built analytics section of your website editor if you use one of those. But really learning how to interpret your website analytics is an excellent way to identify ways to make the purchasing experience better for your customers and therefore increase sales.
To get started there are a number of resources across the web, including the Google Analytics academy which provides a great grounding.
One strong recommendation we have is to use Google Tag Manager to handle your Analytics integration. You can use Tag Manager to install almost any analytics system, but its biggest advantage is that it can help you stay organised when you start tracking events and implementing the advertising tracking pixels required for advertising campaigns.
If this is not really in your wheelhouse, don’t worry, many agencies have the skills needed or if you would prefer, we can help you directly.
- Understand where your customers are falling off
Once you have an analytics solution installed on your website, your next step is to understand the data that is being recorded.
In general, there are two things you need to know about your website visitors. Where are they coming from and what are they doing on the website?
If you are using GA, you’ll find this information under the Acquisition and Behaviour sections (or Engagement if you’re on the recently released GA4). Depending on where your traffic is being generated, GA has some predefined acquisition channels.
- Direct means that a user typed your web address into the search bar of their web-browser
- Display is a specific form of paid advertising,
- Paid Search is another specific type of paid advertising,
- Social means the user followed a link from a social media post,
- Organic Search means that a user arrived on the page by clicking on a search result on Google,
- Referral means that the user arrived on your website after clicking a link on another site.
Drilling down into these sections will show you what the user searched for, what website is linking to you and what posts are linking to you, so that you can focus on this information to increase the amount of traffic to the page. Don’t forget that more traffic is more opportunity for your website to be selling, so increasing the number of visitors to your site forms the very foundation of website sales activity.
- Retargeting campaigns
It is well understood that creating sales requires multiple touchpoints with your potential leads. Luckily, your website provides you with a way to communicate with them whilst they’re on your site but also once they leave. You can do this through a retargeting or remarketing ad campaign.
These advertising campaigns use the data that you gather in your analytics platforms and 3rd party tracking cookies, to identify users who have performed some action on your website such as visiting specific pages or who have downloaded a brochure. In sales terms addressing these people is the difference between cold-calling and visiting someone who knows your brand and has engaged with it.
In order to set up a retargeting campaign, you need to implement tracking tags for the platform on which you want to be able to reach your remarketing audience. When we set up a website for clients, we implement remarketing tags for Google Ads, LinkedIn ads and Twitter Ads by default and we add whatever else we might need as we come to it.
Implementing these tags is similar to implementing an analytics solution, so if you’ve done that, you’re going to be familiar with the process. Almost all platforms will provide you with a snippet of code that you put into the <head> tags of all the pages you want to track. This is made much easier if you implement these tags through Google Tag Manager, which is another good reason to go that route if you can. Again, get in touch if you need to.
- Build authority and overcome objections
To make sales, you obviously need to position yourself as a good solution to a problem.
In order to do this, you need to create authority on your website. One part of this is having a professional looking site that conveys information succinctly and with expertise. But generating authority on your own can be very difficult as consumers rightly identify your bias.
You can generate some authority by creating a demonstration of your expertise or by effectively by offering guarantees and other similar ways which show you are confident in your product.
However, one of the simpler ways of demonstrating the value of your product is to use testimonials from happy customers and endorsements from other well-known experts in your field. If you can demonstrate these endorsements during your prospects’ sales journeys then you can resolve the most fundamental question anyone has when making a purchase online, “Can we trust what we are hearing?”
- Make it easy for customers to purchase directly through the website
The final step in turning your website into a 24/7 sales machine, is to make it easy for your customers to buy directly through the site.
For products that lend themselves to an eCommerce strategy, this is fairly straightforward. With tools such as Squarespace or Shopify, it becomes easy to manage inventory, transactional emails and take payments professionally, improving your customer’s experience and perception of your company.
For services or big-ticket items you should still make it easy for your customer to buy from your website. Many services can be packaged in such a way that it can be sold online. Our own Quick Study Research is a case in point, where we research a fixed number of questions (usually 5 but sometimes 6) with a guaranteed 100 respondents. The cost is always the same and discussions are limited to the research audience and the topic of the questions – not the sale itself. This way your sales team only needs to get involved with people who are already purchasing.
If you are a service provider what could you package and sell directly from your site? It’s definitely worth thinking about.
If it simply isn’t possible for you to sell directly on the website, then your contact details are the most important things for you to display. Make sure that anyone who has questions about your products can reach you through a variety of contact methods. Be upfront about when they are likely to hear back from you and make sure your sales infrastructure is robust enough to handle these enquiries. If a customer has to wait 48 hours to get information after they expect to hear from you, you will lose the sale.
Your website is key to scaling your business effectively. If you have a good website that makes it easy and pleasurable to buy from you (and buying should be a nice experience!) then you do not need to have a team on standby 24/7 in order to keep the sales coming in. No website is ever finished and some optimisations take much longer than others, but with a bit of reading and self-confidence, following the 5 steps outlined above could take as little as a day to implement and take your business to the next level.