In the modern age, the world of business has shifted largely from the brick and mortar shops and boardrooms into the digital frontier. There is an ever increasing amount of both businesses and consumers who choose to conduct all of their research, transactions and support functions online. The benefits are obvious: while it used to be that your customer pool was limited to whomever was within driving distance, or who subscribed to a magazine that mentioned your business, now, anyone is the world is a potential customer.
With this shift has come an inescapable need on the part of businesses to re-evaluate nearly every aspect of their operation. How do we interact with our customers? How do we market to customers halfway around the world? How do we ensure that we can ship to a customer in Taiwan? These are common questions that every business has had to ask itself over the past decade, and struggling to find answers that will grow a loyal base of customers, while generating a healthy profit. While there are no simple answers to these pressing questions, in the digital age, it all begins with your website.
If you haven’t stopped to consider what you want your website to do for you, or you don’t know how it’s doing, you’re already falling behind. Now, more than ever, it’s crucial that your company’s website serve as your primary sales tool for the following reasons:
It’s Your Always Available Sales Consultant
Put yourself in this scenario: you need to buy a tailored suit, one that you won’t be able to find in a JC Penny or Belks. To find it, are you going to drive around your neighborhood looking for tailors? Are you going to check the newspapers and bulletin boards? Probably not; I feel safe in assuming you’re going to do a Google search. If that’s how you’re finding businesses to suit your needs, what do you think your customers are doing?
Your website is now your primary resource for educating potential customers about who you are and what you do. There’s nothing that can replace the money making power of a tried and true sales team, especially in the world of B2B, but prospecting and closing the deal takes time, effort, and doesn’t always offer an ROI like you hoped. With a website, you’re creating a resource for people to discover you, learn about you, and potentially, even buy from you, all without getting out of their chair.
In addition, your sales team can focus on your hard targets without having to entertain every curious online browser, letting your website handle that load, so your rockstars can focus on true money making activity.
It Isn’t Limited By Geography or Time Zones
I mentioned at the beginning that online business has nearly removed every barrier there is to doing business anywhere in the world, and that businesses have thrived because of it. That’s absolutely true, but the fact remains that people operate differently in different parts of the world, and at different times.
Your sales and marketing teams need sleep and vacation time to operate at peak efficiency, and your customers may be operating in a completely different zone from your own. To fill in that gap, you need an efficient, informative, professionally designed website that your customers can access, day or night.
In order to make sure your site is supporting your international customers, have language options available, hire as many customer service representatives that are multilingual as you can, and have an FAQ or Information page that specifically addresses international buying and shipping. It will go a long way in helping your business have an impact all across the globe.
It Isn’t Limited by Schedules or Meetings
In sales, time is money, and money is volume. The more prospects you can touch base with in a day, the higher a chance you’re going to land a convert, so can you really afford to talk to that small business owner for a half hour, only for him to turn you down? On the other hand, it’s very hard to grow the kind of relationship that is so essential to good sales in 15 minute increments over the telephone, so how can you not take the time to engage your clients?
This has been the dance on the razor’s edge that sales professionals the world over have been grappling with for decades. It’s hard to strike a balance between time spent and time wasted when you’re striving to reach your sales goals, and you never 100% know that your sales call will lead to a deal.
But websites aren’t limited to 15 minute sales calls, and you don’t have to work around meetings. Your website will always be there where your customers have five minutes or five hours. With that sort of flexibility, you can afford to pack in much of the information that you’d normally cover in a cold call or initial follow-up, and so when your customer does reach out, they’ll prioritize their time for you.