Of course you have a website for your company. It's 2017, after all. But is your company site doing its job as front-line sales rep? Is it just a polished landing page or is it helping customers make the best decisions about their purchases?
Jennifer Polk, a research director for Gartner, turned her talent for analysis onto her own experience of purchasing a car online. And even though you might not be selling cars, or even though people like Jennifer don't shop for your light manufacturing product, her insight is still relevant.
As Polk points out, even for businesses selling industrial equipment, your customers are going to take advantage of online tools. Their experience with shopping on Amazon conditions them to expect comparable information and service from other businesses with an online presence–including yours.
The only question is whether they're going to research, compare, evaluate, assess, apply, or order using your e-commerce tools or your competitor's.
The statistics that Polk references point in this direction. More satisfied customers are those who can travel to the sales site to efficiently close the deal. And this is possible because they could search at their leisure (in their comfy clothes).
The benefits accrue on both sides though. Yes, your customers get what they want, but you also get a shorter sales cycle, more insight into your customers' behavior and preferences, plus a clearer measure of how your marketing efforts are working. And let's not forget the value of a satisfied customer.
To get this ROI for your e-commerce site, Polk explains 3 vital factors that you need to have in place:
1. A buying process that the customer controls
2. Digital content that enriches the customer's decision-making
3. A sharp, unified CRM system
The first item begins with a mindset, where you no longer approach customers as targets but as people you want to support. The second factor is one way you can support their goals and simultaneously build your reputation as a business they can trust. The third point is a matter of finding the right tool: a software suite that will support YOU in your efforts to earn customer satisfaction. Read more about the CRM functionality in aACE 5.
With these competencies and technologies in place, you can feel confident that your front-line sales force is working hard for you.