Align Industrial Websites with Sales Process

If you want your industrial website to generate qualified leads and drive sales (Who doesn’t?), make sure the site is aligned with your sales process. Without this critical link, your newly redesigned industrial website may be nothing more than eye candy that does very little for your sales.

In my daily conversations with manufacturing and industrial companies, I find the mindset is still very much centered on marketing the old way. They want their site visitors to call and their crack sales team will take care of everything to close the deal.

Even though these people have read all the industry studies, they have a very difficult time accepting the fact that their buyers are no longer willing to engage with their salespeople until they need a quote. Now it boils down to price and delivery time.

It is too late by then. You can talk value until you’re blue in the face but your customers and prospects will push back on price. Your industrial website has missed a great opportunity to frame the discussion in their minds in the early stages. (Read my post, Inbound Marketing Must Set the Table for Industrial Sales).

Here are some of my thoughts to help you better align an industrial website with your sales process.

  • Define your sales process in details. You may have a clear picture in your head but until you put it down on paper, you will miss several smaller steps that lead to the conversation between the customer and your sales team
  • After the sales process is clearly mapped out, examine what steps can be handled by your website
  • Focus on creating content and applications that will help your visitors make interim decisions before getting to the RFQ (See my post Industrial Marketing Content that Helps Buyers)
  • It is highly unlikely that industrial buyers will move to the RFQ stage after their first visit. Plan lead nurturing content that your website can provide to move leads from the top to the middle of the sales funnel (See my post Lead Nurturing Is Not A Marketing Option, It’s A Sales Necessity)
  • Create a formal procedure for qualifying leads before handing off to sales for follow up action. Asking sales to do the pre-qualifying is a colossal waste of their time and will only reinforce their impression that marketing generates “crappy” leads

Even though the last bullet point is not directly related to your website, it is important for optimizing the processes of handoff between marketing and sales.

What steps did you take to align your industrial website with your sales process? If not, what do you plan to do for better sales alignment?

4 replies
  1. Bob McCarthy
    Bob McCarthy says:

    Excellent post Achinta

    You’re right. This is a difficult transition for many industrial companies that have always used their websites to display their wares and left the selling to sales.

    It’s going to take a while for them to see the value in using their websites to generate leads for the long haul.

    It’s going to take some convincing for them to see how marketing can support the long-term sales process with multiple lead nurturing “touches.”

    And it’s going to take some real numbers for them to believe that it’s better to have your sales people focus their time on qualified leads rather than on prospecting and early stage lead nurturing.

    I believe it will happen for every company in time, but those who embrace this new approach today will have the competitive edge moving forward.

    Reply
    • Achinta Mitra
      Achinta Mitra says:

      @Bob,

      Thanks for your thoughtful comments and your kind words.
      I agree with your take — it is going to take time and those who embrace the idea of a website being a serious sales tool will gain an edge. Showing site statistics and hardcore data have been invaluable to me in converting some non-believers. Measurement is the new currency of industrial marketing! The tide is slowly turning and many of these companies are beginning to accept the fact that buyers are in charge now. Industrial websites must serve their needs first and not just be a platform for the vendor to push out marketing messages.

      Reply

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