As weird as it sounds, it’s the norm for businesses with sales cycles that might be as long as several months to a year and that might involve multiple decision makers and influencers to utterly fail to take these factors into consideration when constructing their website or selecting an analytics package.
In fact, whenever I work with B2B and complex sales clients it’s a sure bet their website won’t:
If a sales manager needs to justify a training expense to his CEO and CFO, wouldn’t it help to provide your inside champion with messaging and tools to help him make his (read “your”) case?
It’s usually good to have sections of your website and messaging designed specifically for those secondary decision-makers and influencers that need to sign-off on the decision of your inside champion. As an analogy to the consumer world, would you really want to construct a website that sells engagement rings without providing content and messaging for the prospective fiancee?
To keep with the consumer analogy, let’s say you’re considering having a pool put into your back yard. Assuming that one of your local pool suppliers/installers had a website with valuable early and middle stage content, how many times might you visit their website before actually contacting them and becoming a lead?
Needless to say, the exact same patterns of behavior occur for B2B sites as well. And yet most B2B sites don’t have defined content and conversion points for their early and middle stage visitors. Your prospective leads are going to go somewhere to get their questions answered, shouldn’t it be on your website not your competitors?
While early and middle stage conversion points help a Web analyst/website optimizer get a better handle on a sites overall success in engaging early and middle stage buyers, it still leaves them guessing at the big picture, simply because they can’t track a lead generation or sale all the way back to that prospect’s first visit to the Website. This can be crucial for gauging the real success of a PPC campaign. Key words that might look unprofitable (because they target earlier stage buyers) might be spectacularly profitable – but only after the 8th (or 20th) visit to the site. Unfortunately, if you can’t track visitor behavior over multiple visits, it’s difficult to get a handle on real – vs. false- measures of keyword performance.
While I love, love, love Google Analytics / Google Ad Words, this is exactly one of these tools shortcomings. And it’s one reason that we insist that our OnTarget clients install our software in addition to GA/GWO: OnTarget can bracket visitor behavior through keyword entry and track individual visit behavior over multiple visits. It’s a wish-list come true for us Future Now Persuasion Architects and can be a positive boon for our On Target clients.
So there you have it: start matching your B2B and complex sale website to the real complexity of your sale. I’ll be writing follow-up posts with exercises and steps on how to do this, but in the meantime, would it be too forward of me to suggest you sign up for On Target?