When you’re a small business owner with a small number of employees, it’s often the case that you’re a crucial part of your business making money. You get stuff done and you deliver value to your customers. The issue comes in when you’re not there and whilst you might have a good team that can deliver what you do, what happens on weekends and what happens when your company is closed for summer? This is where company websites that assist businesses can come in handy, especially because they can operate 24/7 and 365 days a year.
Two benefits of company websites
There are two benefits that company websites can offer. They can either be tools to assist in marketing and sales qualification or tools that actually drives sales (ecommerce, etc). I’ll address each separately and discuss the benefits/caveats of both.
1. Marketing and sales qualification
If you’ve spent time on a sales call that you quickly realise won’t lead to a sale, you’ll understand the benefit of lead qualification. There are two sides to this: marketing qualified leads and sales qualified leads.
a. Marketing qualified leads
Marketing qualified leads (MQL) are leads that have committed to the next step in the process of being contacted, but might not be ready to purchase anything. The most obvious MQL is someone who fills out a contact form (although these might not be the best quality, they’re definitely hot leads). More highly qualified leads are ones that have opted in to receive a consultation about the service/s you offer, someone who has read many blog posts and finally completes a landing page or someone who has been interacting with your brand on social media.
Company websites can easily handle this whilst you’re away and quickly qualify leads while you sleep or drink cocktails on the beach. The more you can qualify a lead before a sales call, the easier that sales call will be.
b. Sales qualified leads
Once your website has successfully delivered marketing qualified leads, you’ll need to quickly investigate if the lead is sales qualified, so you don’t waste your time. A sales qualification process called GPCT (actually GPCTBA/C&I but that’s a crazy acronym) has been adapted from IBM’s BANT, which is a framework for seeing if a lead is ready for your product. I’d suggest reading the link I shared, but the premise is to first understand the customer’s needs and the current requirements. After that, you will delve into if this is something they can afford, if they can make the decision and what happens if they do or don’t hit their goals.
Sales qualification can be a very manual process, but if a lead isn’t ready then throw them back into the marketing pool with some intelligently placed marketing resources (blog posts or content offers that clarify one of their challenges). Even automating responses for form submissions with marketing content whilst you are away can keep your lead busy whilst you take a break.
2. Online selling
Selling something online is the biggest craze at the moment. Whether it’s an online store selling physical goods or an online booking platform that sells time slots for consultations, everyone wants to get their share of online sales.
If your business is selling online already, I have some side thoughts which match my ecommerce preparation post for Black Friday. If you don’t, what part of your businesses services/products can you sell online whilst you sleep? I’ll have to address that in another post.
For those that are selling online already (or intend to before they close up shop for 2018) just make sure you consider the following:
- If you have to ship product, what’s going to happen when you’re not around?
- If you offer support or if you need to handle returns, how will you ensure customer satisfaction?
- If something happens to your website whilst you’re away, will someone be able to fix the issue and bring it back up?
- Are your customers aware, if your entire company is closing down, of when and how to contact someone if it’s critical?
Does your company close for a break every year? If you do, how do you plan for everything to be “business as usual”? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below.