The sales team strategy for selling a small business website must optimize how often representatives get in front of prospects. Building a sense of authority and business knowledge is crucial for the sales representative. A good rep must get to a conversation that talks about how the business is driving new customer acquisition. Small business owners typically report this as their major concern in getting or updating their website. Yet, because of the myriad of approaches that the prospect is exposed to, it’s important to coach reps how to use product knowledge strategically. Too much info will slow the rep and confuse the client. This may sound counter-intuitive, but one of the biggest mistakes we see our competitors making is hiring sales staff that know too much about the websites and hosting!
Typically the target, small business owners, have limited experience in the online channel. In fact, a local rep walking into a business demonstrates a huge value for some potentials, especially those that have yet to get their first website up and running because their chief pain point is solved by working with someone local.
Another common situation is the prospect who bought internet marketing services but feels burned by past vendors. However, if they did the website themselves or had their secretary or nephew design the site, we coach our reps to challenge the assumption that a proper local marketing effort can be done by someone with little to no experience.
There is a perceived notion that website projects will be a drain on the decision-makers time (finding out domain and hosting info, developing content and strategy, setting up email accounts) and energy since internet marketing and website products, while now an accepted step in business formation and start-up, still suffers from a lack of knowledge or savvy on the part of the buyer.
A sales plan must address the above sales situations. It also must build a culture of high-volume face to face cold calling. The biggest process mistake we see in scaling web hosting sales efforts is a lack of clear plan that helps the reps meet their daily activity.
Better lead intelligence, better routing, better tools to diagnose; all of these should be out of the box. Letting them just figure out how to get their calls done, usually results in a team not making a high enough volume of calls.
When developing a direct sales team in this space, we attract team members who can make 30 or 40 new business calls a day, demonstrate a basic understanding of small business marketing and are willing to follow our detailed and tested processes for closing the deal in 4 visits or less.
We invest in classroom instruction to accomplish this. The client will need to rely on sales representatives and account managers so sales team members are screened, hired and trained on their ability to build trust in a B2B sales setting.
Small business owners are enmeshed in running their business. The positioning and the questions reps ask need to help business owner’s discover two things. First, that web services are too varied for them to invest time in a full understanding. Secondly, what they are buying is not a website, but a way to marketing to new and existing customers online. This a subtle difference but a stronger value to the prospect.
Product knowledge needs to be used strategically in this sales arena. Unlike the retail energy market or many other B2B purchasing cycles, the amount of product knowledge in web development and marketing is nearly endless and sale pitches can run them off into the weeds.
For example, if a rep is explaining the finer points of how an Apache web server works, to an owner of a three location restaurant chain, they are in the weeds. All that will do is create uncertainty, confusion or fear in the prospects mind and extend the close beyond the three visits that are budgeted into the selling plan.
When we recruit and train 20 person website sales teams, knowing too little about websites is usually easier to handle than knowing too much. Generally, candidates with extensive web development experience are not a good fit (and too expensive to recruit anyways) because they don’t take to our sales coaching and don’t make enough calls in a day. They can’t resist the “free consulting” bait that prospects throw out.
The client needs to know about your team’s expertise, follow-up standards for customer service and ease of changing basic things such as product language, hours and specials. And they need to know how the site will drive new customers. “Free consulting,” need to be saved and integrated into follow up calls to pitch new services and ask for referrals.
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