No matter how your prospects originally learn about your company and its products or services, your Website is now frequently the first place they go to learn more. And what they see, learn, and experience when they get there will help them move forward with their consideration and buying process. Or it will scare them away.
In short, your Website has become critical to your company’s success in generating business-to-business leads and closing sales – and needs to be treated accordingly.
Your prospects have many other choices available to them, including your competitors. With the resources of the Internet at their fingertips, the prospects are now in control and don’t have to identify themselves unless they want to. If your prospects visit your Website and it doesn’t do its job, they leave and sales opportunities go with them.
Hopefully you’re starting to see the absolute necessity for an exceptional Website, one that helps attract b-to-b leads, then move prospects from simple awareness to serious consideration. Your site should answer enough of your visitors’ questions to keep your company from being prematurely disqualified from a short list of candidate companies. It should encourage b-to-b leads and prospects to identify themselves by responding to your offers. And it should make it easy for prospective customers to request additional information or contact from your sales representative.
So, you say, “How do I accomplish all of this with my Website?” Here are seven recommendations:
- Start by buying the book Don’t Make Me Think by Steve Krug. It’s a quick read, yet full of helpful hints and ideas to make your Website easier to navigate. It even made me laugh out loud at times, something I’ve seldom experienced when reading a business book. It’s available at most online bookstores or at Krug’s Website at www.sensible.com.
- Be sure your Website quickly makes it absolutely clear what your company does and whom it does it for. Most business-to-business marketers are pretty good at describing the products or services they provide and the applications they support. But most of their Websites fail to clearly describe the types and sizes of businesses or institutions they serve and the geography they cover. Be sure yours does, as your Website visitors are trying to quickly figure out if your company is a good fit for them.
- Clearly explain why your company is a better choice than the competition. Your prospective customers are trying to decide between your company and, probably, many others. Help them along in concluding that your company is their best choice.
- Back up your claims. Everyone in this business claims to be great at what they do. Stand out by proving the claims you make on your Website. If your company has earned special certifications, say so. If your people have years of business and technical experience, and advanced certifications of their own, mention it. If your company has won awards, say so. List a sampling of clients and industries that you serve, to prove that you already know your visitor’s business.
- Tell site visitors what it will be like once they become customers. Don’t just explain your support and training resources. Salt and pepper your Website’s pages with testimonials from happy clients as proof that your customers really are satisfied.
- Include lots of offers on every appropriate page of the site. This is the key to getting b-to-b leads and prospects to identify themselves and start sales-winning relationships. Use multiple offers-each designed for different stages of your prospects’ buying cycles. For example, offer such information as white papers or info kits for those b-to-b leads just beginning the process. Offer checklists or Webinars for people further along in the buying process. And offer in-depth seminars, demos and on-site evaluations for those well into the buying process.
- Make it easy for your prospective customers to take the next step. Make sure to list multiple ways to contact you (phone, e-mail, links to request forms and such) on every page of your Website. Don’t just bury it under a “contact us” link hidden in the margins.
And, finally, a bonus tip: Do your best to make most of the information discussed above available in the headlines, main body copy and menus of your home page, so prospective customers can’t miss it.
Your Website can be an excellent source of b-to-b leads. Generate more business leads by making the most of it.
M. H. “Mac” McIntosh is president of North Kingstown, RI-based b-to-b marketing consultancy Mac McIntosh (http://www.sales-lead-experts.com/).