When Shopping Carts Aren't Your Thing

Online sales are growing, but the Internet still influences a lot more sales offline than it does online! Think Persuasion Architecture is simply for sweaters and backpacks?

Maybe you know WebEx? It's a great business solution for powering online meetings , web conferencing, teleconferencing , conference calling, and video conferencing services. They don't do shopping carts. The basic sales goal on the WebEx site is to persuade the customer to contact sales. In short, the WebEx site is a persuasive lead-generation tool.

To demonstrate the power of Persuasion ArchitectureTM, we worked with WebEx to modify an existing scenario for free trials. We identified six personas and created a new free trial persuasion scenario.

We increased lead revenue for that scenario by 7 figures.

You can pick your jaw up off the table now. It's within your power to do this too!

Think Personas and Scenarios

Persuasion Architecture™ looks beneath the surface of whatever it is you're selling to the underlying dynamic of how you sell and how your customers buy. At the heart of the process is understanding the complexity of your sale in terms of need, risk, knowledge and consensus.

When you grasp these dimensions, whether you're selling bubble gum, aircraft engines or communications solutions, you are able to design meaningful personas and persuasive scenarios that meet their needs. No matter what your business category or where your customers are in their buying process!

Like WebEx, our own company has a more complex business-to-business product and service offering. We routinely find that specific customer needs, budgets and personalities differ dramatically. So we've designed personas to help manage our own complex sales process and our array of offerings. Our goal is to equip site visitors with enough information to achieve their many distinct goals while helping them qualify themselves as potential clients.

We imply the objectives of each persona to provide them with content and paths to help each meet its own specific goal. To give you an idea of how you integrate personas with persuasive scenarios, here are profiles of some of our site visitors.

Barney S.

  • Barney owns a medium-sized, full-sized ad agency.

  • He's a competitive businessperson and logical decision maker.

  • Barney's primary objective is to extend clients' branding efforts online.

  • He wants to work with a consultant and use the methodology to ensure his clients get results from their online efforts.

  • He's potentially interested in, but unaware of, licensing and training options.

For Barney, we wireframe a conversion path that includes:

  • Information about and access to a conversion rate calculator to help him determine how well his clients are doing.

  • A systematic presentation of the methodology so he can assess competence.

  • List of available services, with bullet points to highlight the benefits of each.

  • Case studies. He'll look for similarities to his own clients.

Ben C.

  • Ben is an e-commerce director for a Global 100 company.

  • He's people- and relationship-driven.

  • His goal is to find a source to train his key in-house development team to understand conversion principles in design, copy, and content.

  • Another goal is to equip his team with skills to competently analyze site metrics, optimize, and improve conversion rates.

  • Although primarily interested in training, Ben may not be aware of licensing possibilities.

For Ben, we provide:

  • A testimonial page. He wants to know about experience and what it's like to work with the company.

  • Staff bios.

  • A list of training options. Ben needs a clear idea of parameters for the training relationship.

  • Methodical information, case studies with hard numbers, and a track record. He must sell his board of directors on the expense.

Mark S.

  • Mark's online business sells gourmet food and beverage products.

  • He's a creative, big-picture thinker.

  • Mark wants a total site redesign and to increase his conversion rate.

  • He's an avid reader of my newsletter and Bryan's column.

What we give Mark:

  • Testimonials from clients like himself.

  • A broad overview of the redesign process.

  • Bios of key personnel.

  • More information about what makes the methodology unique and flexible.

  • Easy-to-find contact information and options.

  • Training event information, which he may be interested in.

Jack M.

  • Jack is a well-respected branding and marketing consultant, working mostly offline.

  • He's competitive and very methodical. He thinks systematically. He loves reading and growing in knowledge.

  • Some client projects require Jack to get involved in site design and redesign.

  • He's an Internet newbie.

  • Jack builds teams and acts as a lightning rod for his clients' projects, outsourcing work to trusted contacts. He seeks a trusted contact for Web site projects.

  • He's very early in the buying process.

Jack needs the following from the site:

  • Information, information, and more information. He'll be interested in archives of articles and case studies.

  • A systematic, highly detailed presentation of the process, including pros and cons.

  • A glossary of terms he may not be familiar with.

  • A track record.

  • Assurance a variety of services are available.

Persona Power!

A robust persona group takes into consideration the level of experience a visitor has with your product or service. You can introduce pages and site elements accordingly. It doesn't matter how simple or complex a sales process is. Creating personas that embody the needs, motivations, and preferences of visitors results in a more persuasive website.

Not a single visitor need should go unmet on your site, nor should visitor motivations be ignored. You can use their preferences to delight them by introducing relevant content in their preferred style and manner. Site metrics can later measure the effectiveness of each persona path by setting up conversion scenarios for each.

You really can solve the dilemma of complex B2B sales and lead-generation processes. Use personas.

Volume 135: 7/10/06


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