What is your company’s most critical sales asset? It’s not your commercial director or top-scoring account manager. It’s your website.
The first ever website – info.cern.ch – was launched by Tim Berners-Lee in August 1991. Almost 30 years later, over 60% of the world’s population is online and around 1.5 billion websites exist in the ether. Yet only a few of these successfully achieve what a website is really for: lead generation.
Website as 24/7 sales outlet
Compare this role with what account managers do. They have a crucial role: taking your product out into the world as they seek buyers and new revenue. An unavoidable fact, though, is that an account manager’s reach is limited. In any customer meeting, no more than four to six people will get to hear the story of your product. Your website, by contrast, is free of this limitation. This sales outlet operates 24/7 and even your very best account manager couldn’t hope to match its potential reach. Nonetheless, I’ve noticed that few companies take this view of how their website should function.
Take the manufacturing industry. The Netherlands has many great brands, with a few that belong in the Champions League of their niche. These companies easily turn over more than €100 million per annum. But a tour of their websites can bring tears to your eyes. Visitors quickly get lost and there’s no clear message. Those flashy elements may look cool, but do they serve any real purpose? Moreover – and we see this a lot – manufacturers invest most of their energy into sending information that is 95% product-driven. Their own products, along with multiple individual specs, are centre-stage. As a result, barely any visitors convert to customers.
From signboard to lead magnet
Name some names, you may be thinking. So let me give a concrete example: Veco – a company from Eerbeek in The Netherlands – which excels in electrochemical precision parts. Veco had developed a new metal processing method, which they call electroplating. This term appeared all over their website. The only problem was that this product was completely unknown within the market. No potential customers were searching online for electroplating. We amended the entire website and deliberately added the term electroforming – a more dated but significantly better-known technology, with a search volume 10 times higher. A simple example of how to transform a website from signboard to lead magnet.
Site as online trade fair stand
This involves quite a bit more, of course. A robust structure and some clear CTAs, for starters. Nor should you underestimate the importance of having the right content, discussing customers’ pain points, dreams and requirements. B2B often involves niches and people tend to search for very specific information. But the main point I want to make here is this: in just a few steps, you can transform your website into an online trade fair stand – a place to generate additional business. The investment required is almost always recouped. And anyway, why spend €100,000 a year visiting trade fairs when you can limit your website budget to a few thousand Euros?
So don’t just see the website as a balancing item in your marketing budget, dare to invest in it. Research shows that 93% of all search journeys nowadays begin online. Making your website potentially your company’s most important account manager.