A prime example of premature celebration.
You’ve implemented a killer content strategy and hosted a few well-received webinars, your competitor’s employees surreptitiously check your blog every few days to stay up to date. Your social acquisitions have spiked and as a result of the buzz, your SEO has been bumped too. Your visible confidence and success has attracted both individuals and companies, who are poking their noses over the top of the sales funnel. You’ve won right?
Nope. Unless the product is content, content is not enough. Like any business in any industry, all the slick marketing in the world counts for naught if you have no product to back it up, and/or no system set up for effective handling of new leads.
– A sharply executed content strategy does not excuse, nor compensate for sloppy customer service and a clunky UX.
– Contingency planning: make sure your business plan can withstand the unexpected.
– A potential customer will judge your product on the strength of your website; make a good impression.
– Remember that just because they’ve expressed interest, doesn’t mean the deal is done.
Many promising leads can be lost right from the word go. Say a potential lead is looking for a business solution and is on a deadline. He/she attends your webinar, is impressed by what they see, and they send a brief email to your sales address expressing cautious interest. However, you’re swamped in correspondence and you take more than a week to write back. They weren’t willing to hang around when your competitors are keen to give them an alternative. Sometimes this situation can be worsened to create a perfect storm, maybe one or more of your critical employees takes ill, maybe there is website/email server disruption and your office is flooded with phone calls, most of which go unanswered. There are steps that can be taken to automate the initial lead-handling process by a variety of companies, including Marketo, Hubspot and Eloqua, and even just email-handling by companies like Mailgun. These companies can help implement a system whereby handling initial leads is done automatically and requires zero man hours.
Careful choice of ISP helps prepare your business for the unexpected. A small company might be tempted to go for a non-commercial plan or the cheapest business plan available and int he early days when margins are whisker-thin, that’s not an unreasonable decision. Once you start to grow however, upgrading this might be something to consider early on. If a sudden rush of traffic (which is supposed to be a cause for celebration) takes the website down on a Friday evening and your network engineers don’t come back into work until Monday morning, you’re going to be in a pickle. Dedicated commercial network plans will include redundancies and backups to that your most critical point of sale: the landing page, never goes offline, and often includes useful extras such as business phone lines and cloud storage solutions.
Sometimes the UX is the source of the problem. Covered in more length in my previous post, an intuitive and effortless process for the user is required and in this day and age, expected. If your sales page is complicated or buggy, this is generally fairly easy to track down through a cursory look at your analytics and customer feedback, but that makes it all the more inexcusable when it actually happens. A poorly put together website speaks volumes about the quality of your products.
Delicate handling of individuals will reap benefits. No one wants to be beaten over the head with a sales pitch, especially a sales pitch that they know has been used on everyone else. Car salesmen are famously bad at this. A wise customer will be sharply aware that they are not spending their own money, and will not be given to impulse purchases. If content drew the customer in, content might be your best bet to retain them and they’ll pursue the sale themselves. If the specific topics they are interested in/problems they have can be identified and a dialogue can be established, it can be the beginning of a solid and productive relationship.
Of course your conversion rate is never going to be 100% no matter how well you’re doing, but some of those lost leads can be chased down with retargeting. Retargeting solutions can be provided by several companies online, not least us, and will be able to help your business identify and specifically target lost customers in order to bring them back into the sales funnel, and to complete their purchase. We offer a competitive retargeting package with a free initial assessment, check it out!
This all might sound a touch gloomy but in reality, if your product is good and your pitch is good, once you’ve gained a lead you’ll likely be seeing a decent conversion rate. Most B2B professionals aren’t so highly-strung as to be put off a major business decision by an inappropriate font. If you want to absolutely maximise your numbers though, and you will, then careful consideration of every aspect of the acquisition/sales process and the UX is a great place to start.