John Jantsch followed up his recent article on Disciplines of the New Sales Professional with a second instalment. This post focuses on the practices that every sales professional must have if they hope to excel in today’s environment.
As the business world evolves, so too must our skill sets. Jantsch suggests that “These are the skills that sales professionals will need to acquire and that organizations need to support, train and look for.”
Demian Farnworth makes a good case in his recent article: “good content writers got squeezed out during the early days of Google’s PageRank algorithm. As I’ll explain later, the importance was placed on the page, which created a nasty race to the bottom as far as writer’s value was concerned.”
Fortunately for the struggling web writer, Google’s turning that around, and Farnworth goes on to point out 20 new ways writers can succeed with modern Google rankings.
Check it out: How Google’s PageRank Algorithm Screwed the Online Writer (and What They Did to Fix It)
My first job after uni was working at a small publishing company. One of my boss’s favourite sayings was, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”
It was a reminder to his staff that the first step in any project is to establish what you want to achieve i.e. setting goals or targets.
Why you must have goals
In my experience few websites have any goals. Often they’re built on the reasoning, “We’ve gotta have a website because everyone else has one.” Even now, many people think a website is a kind of marketing panacea. They think that by simply putting a website up they’ll be deluged with sales enquiries. Unfortunately it ain’t so.
Realistic and achievable goals for a website fall into the following categories:
Sales lead generation
A website can deliver sales leads directly (e.g. by prospects emailing you to arrange a consultation or providing their contact details in exchange for a white paper or special report) or indirectly (e.g. by prospects visiting your showroom after finding out about your products online).
Making sales directly from your website.
You can serve your customers better by providing customer service online. This can range from FAQs on common customer queries to a 24/7 online help desk.
You can cut costs by automating processes online e.g. online billing, data gathering, delivering information, and human resources procedures.
One, or a combination, of these goals should be the primary focus of your website. Once you’ve selected your goals you can develop strategies to achieve them. Don’t even think about calling a website developer until you’re clear about what you’d like to achieve with your website.
There is a Zen Buddhist riddle that goes: If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?
The question you should be pondering is: If a prospective customer visits my website, but doesn’t leave their contact details, how can I convert them into a customer?
Gathering sales leads
If you want to generate qualified sales leads from your website (and you definitely should if you’re selling business-to-business), you don’t want visitors to leave your site without registering their contact details.
Why? Because if you don’t have their contact details there’s no way to follow up with them. And consistent follow-up is the way to convert prospects into customers.
Make them an offer!
So your site should include compelling offers to entice visitors to register their contact details. Offering a free report, guide or white paper is a tried and tested method of obtaining prospects’ email addresses.
Once you have a prospect’s contact details you can deliver stay-in-touch marketing – online and/or offline. Over time you will convert prospects into customers.
If your site doesn’t offer enticing incentives to get visitors to register their contact details you’re not maximising the marketing potential of your website.
Things to do
Write a special report on your area of expertise.
Make the report available for download on your website.
Capture prospects’ contact details using your special report as bait.