Your Website Is a Virtual Sales Rep for Your CSB Business
By Dave Zwicker
Your most important sales and marketing asset is right under your nose — it's your company website. If you don't already, begin to look at your website as a virtual sales rep for your business. Once you adopt this mindset, you will begin to think very differently about how to leverage this critical asset to engage with your target audience, generate sales opportunities and grow your business.
Think about it. What is the first thing you do when you are looking for a new product or service? You Google it, don't you? Then you follow those links to websites that look interesting and form first impressions about the vendors and suppliers who are there to greet you with relevant information.
As you consume content, you are beginning to form opinions and develop evaluation criteria for a future purchase decision. It's how business is done in every segment of the market, from automobiles to IT services. Nothing new so far, right?
Now let's take the concept one step further. What if your website could do everything a sales rep does to attract new visitors to your website and guide them through the entire sales process? That's right, utilize your website to address every aspect of the sales cycle:
- Deliver a perfect 60-second elevator pitch
- Determine business and technology requirements
- Suggest appropriate IT solutions for each vertical industry
- Provide business value with supporting customer evidence
- Help potential buyers take that critical first step towards purchasing
The beautiful thing about your website is that it provides the perfect platform for creating the perfect virtual sales rep. You can literally engineer and automate every aspect of selling to your target audience via your website, measure its effectiveness and continuously optimize its performance. The key is in taking a scientific approach by using a marketing automation platform to serve up relevant content for a well-defined buyer persona that is mapped to the stages of your buyer's journey. This is the science of inbound marketing.
Are you leveraging your website as a virtual sales rep to drive business growth?
Here are some metrics to help you make that assessment:
- How many unique visitors come to your site each month? The number should be in the hundreds or thousands. If not, you probably have not optimized your site for search engine rankings and/or you need a better and more consistent social media presence on the Web.
- How many of those home page visitors convert into Web leads? The number should be at least 5 percent and ideally it's a much higher percentage than that. If not, you probably don't have a well-designed landing page strategy with content offers and a call to action.
- How many of those leads convert into sales opportunities? It should be a number between 20 and 30 percent or more. If not, you are probably not engaging in lead nurturing campaigns to move buyers through the buying process.
- How many of those opportunities do you close? This should also be a number between 20 and 30 percent or more. If not, you probably need an offer strategy to motivate buyers to take the first step towards a purchase decision.
Your website is already a virtual sales rep for your business, there is no question about that. The real question is: How effective is this virtual sales rep? Is it driving business growth or is it having only a minimal impact on your success or perhaps even holding you back?
If you want to assess the state of your inbound marketing, feel free to download this Inbound Marketing Checklist. I developed this checklist for IT channel partners to score their own use of inbound marketing techniques. There is also a funnel metrics calculator included with the checklist to help gauge the volume of Web traffic, unqualified leads and sales-ready opportunities that should be generated and converted by your site to meet your deal acquisition and revenue targets.
If you would like to attend a webinar on this subject, please register here.
Let me know if this helps, or if you have any questions or comments about how to use it. I always value hearing feedback from channel partners on the topic of leveraging their websites to fill the sales funnel and to drive higher rates of business growth.
Dave Zwicker co-founded CSBcommunity.com, an online business-building center for cloud service brokers (CSBs). The CSBcommunity.com website is operated by CSBexcellence, a consultancy also co-founded by Zwicker, which offers an inbound marketing tool kit for CSBs. The CSBexcellence team guides channel partners through a structured methodology for creating a scalable and profitable CSB business and implementing a “lean" inbound marketing engine for fueling the sales funnel and driving business growth. During a successful marketing career spanning three decades, Zwicker has held executive assignments with leading technology companies offering voice/data systems, security solutions, application performance management software and managed voice services.