If you are still relying on your sales team to generate all of your leads, you’re doing it the hard way. Time to put your website to work.
Thanks to the Internet, the way people buy has changed. Buyers want to do their own research without having to deal with a salesperson, when possible.
In the recent past, when a prospect wanted to research a purchase, he or she had to contact a salesperson early in the process to get information. At that point, the salesperson could guide the buyer and be in position to exert extra influence.
Now, various studies show that buyers are 60 to 80 percent through their purchase research before they FIRST CONTACT THE SALESPERSON! That means that when sales is finally contacted, most of the discussion is about price. The salesperson who is still in the “old” buyer/seller paradigm is severely disadvantaged.
So what’s a company to do if their salespeople don’t know who the prospects are and are contacted only after the buyer is ready to make a purchase? Fish where the fish are.
If your prospects are doing research online for a solution to a problem that your company solves, you need to meet them where they are – online. And the best way to do that is to publish remarkable content on your website that is helpful to your prospects (i.e., not just about your company).
But just generating more traffic to your site by publishing helpful content is not necessarily going to generate leads. That’s only half the battle.
Here are the four key things you must have to make sure you are generating leads from the traffic to your site.
The content offer (e.g. e-book, research report, recorded webinar) is most important. This is what catches the attention of your website visitors and gives them a reason to fill out a form to capture their contact information.
Your content offer(s) need to appeal to the type of sales lead you’re trying to attract. Ideally, it’s something your prospects will appreciate having. Your salespeople understand your buyers – ask them what offers their prospects would find appealing.
2. Calls-to-Action (CTA)
A CTA is a website button, image or text link that encourages a visitor to take an action by typically clicking on the button, visiting a landing page and filling out a form in return for your offer. They are the key trigger behind lead generation.
3. Landing Pages
These are where your website visitors “land” after they click on your call-to-action, and where they fill out the form to download your offer. Your sales team will use the information you request on this form to follow up. Not all leads are created equal, which is why with some experience, you’ll start thinking about lead scoring to prioritize the leads to contact first.
Make sure to provide the offer immediately – once the leads convert on a landing page, they should be redirected to a thank-you page where they can access the offer. Don’t rely on an email to provide the offer - it might not get through the prospect’s email system promptly (if at all).
4. Testing, Measuring, Iterating
Offers, CTAs and landing pages are the core elements of the lead conversion process, but you can’t stop there. In order to improve your lead generation process, you need to constantly measure and experiment.
Some things you should measure include the click-through rate of your CTA, your landing page’s conversion rate, and the number of new leads and sales an offer resulted in. Ideally, you’ll want to constantly test your offers, CTAs and landing pages. Don’t be afraid: you can always switch back if the old version worked better.
Generating leads on your website is perfectly acceptable to today’s buyer provided that you are offering valuable content. But just as important, it enables your sales team to spend less time generating leads and more time closing sales.
This article originally appeared in Inside Business - The Hampton Roads Business Journal, on February 16, 2015.)