Creating web presence: then versus now
The birth of the internet meant companies who wanted a web presence turned to their IT director to manage the technical process of getting a website up and running. This was usually a time-consuming and expensive exercise. The (non-digital) marketing department had to brief a technical designer and web developer, and considerable time and project management effort was required to pull the whole thing off. Styling, functionality, data-capture, even analytics and tagging, all had to be manually coded, so last-minute copy or design changes were not appreciated! Websites were seen as elaborate brand extensions and visitors were all expected to follow the same journey.
Nowadays, a web presence can be created in just a few minutes, using drag-and-drop templates. Functionality such as forms, surveys, personalization and localization can all be done using pre-built widgets. Landing pages and dynamic content mean that user journeys can be quickly customized for a specific visitor segment.
Your website as growth driver
The Covid pandemic has accelerated the requirement for companies to have their website as a growth driver tool, instead of a digital brochure. Buyers in the B2B-market do their research online first, compiling and narrowing down a consideration set before investing time in interacting directly with a salesperson. These inbound leads are valuable because they are qualified, and they are also cost effective as the buyer has self-qualified through their online research.
Think back to before Covid, where a salesperson could look up a telephone number for a company, call reception, and get connected to the relevant buyer to begin a sales conversation. With people working from home, B2B cold calling has become exceedingly difficult. So too are tradeshows and conventions. Salespeople are no longer engaging with passing foot traffic and starting sales conversations. The conversation opportunity arises later in the sales process, and the website is often the main – or only – touchpoint in the buying journey. Salespeople, normally not very involved in the website, are realizing that the website needs to support, enhance and even replace their engagement with buyers. A website should not just be a digital brand presence but a flexible, scalable, driver for business.
Traditional versus modern CMS
Traditional CMS are in the domain of the IT team and include Drupal, WordPress, or even custom developed platforms. They require service level agreements for hosting and software updates and carry a technical responsibility that must be supported by a skilled IT team. Time is spent managing plug-ins, security patches, technical documentation, and content updates. Functionality must either be coded in house, or a plug-in researched, tested, and implemented. Integrations between platforms require API development, documentation, testing and ongoing active management.
A modern CMS, integrated into the marketing and sales platforms, will enable the organization to focus on the customer and on integrating the website into the commercial process. Its intuitive drag-and-drop interface will allow sales and marketing teams to easily create and adjust content. Integration with the CRM will mean that leads are captured, and user behavior onsite is made visible to the salesperson. A modern CMS – a good example is HubSpot – is SaaS (software as a service) so there are no patches to install or updates to run. The hosting is in the cloud, so no servers and hosting agreements need to be maintained, and security, speed and functionality are always being improved.
This transition from transitional to modern CMS will mean that organizations can move from a siloed approach and rather operate as an integrated team. IT can focus on business-critical issues instead of updating copy. Sales and Marketing can focus on creating customer journeys that drive sales. And most importantly, ROI can be measured precisely.