A Marketer's Lens By Danette Amstein
Danette Amstein is a managing principal for Midan Marketing - a full-service agency that solely focuses on supporting the meat industry.

5 things you should demand from your sales partner

(The views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly those of the author.)

For most of the country an in-person sales call is a faint memory. We all went into lockdown in March assuming it was going to last only a few weeks. Now, here we are getting ready to flip the calendar to a new year and we’re still waiting to resume in-person meetings.

For most of us in the meat industry, the focus of 2020 was not so much on growth, but rather on survival: keeping the supply chain full to keep customers’ orders filled.

As we look to 2021, it’s time to consider how we’re going to grow, especially when the traditional sales call may still not be possible for a couple more months. We have to think differently. One key shift is in how we think about company websites.

Most sales team members consider the company website a “marketing tool.” That used to be the case. Now, however, your website is your 24/7/365 sales partner that helps you more quickly move your prospect through the sales funnel and on to the PO.

This has been happening for some time. Like many things, COVID-19 just accelerated it. Let me build my case: Millennials are now manning many of the buying desks.1 Even before COVID, they preferred to start their search online vs. with a human. In 2018, Accenture, reported that most B2B buyers are nearly 60% of the way through the buying process before they want to talk to a member of your sales team.2

That is why it is important for all sales teams to look at their company website as a partner. And we all know that success often hinges on having confidence in our partners.

Wait — what? You haven’t spent any time with your sales partner lately? You don’t know what it says about the brands/products you are trying to sell? Ummmm… might I suggest using some of this work-from-home time to get better acquainted.

In fact, now is the perfect time to make sure your website is tuned up before the new year. Here are five things you should be demanding from your digital sales partner:

1)     Lightning fast response time. If you click on a page of your website and you wait and wait and wait, you might as well be watching $100 bills floating into the sky. On average, visitors won’t hang around more than three seconds for a page to load before they move on.3 Three seconds. If your pages aren’t loading quickly, you probably want to request assistance to speed things up.

2)     Speak their language. Tomorrow morning grab a cup of coffee, sit down in front of your laptop, open up Google and type in keywords or phrases that your customers use when they are interested in one of your products. I’m not talking about generic words like “beef” or “pork” or “meat” but words that help differentiate yourself from the competition — “Heritage Duroc pork” or “pre-marinated beef cubes.” See where your company/brands come up in the search listing. What about your competition? Who’s first? If you can’t find your company or product, your sales partner is not carrying its weight. That means your search engine optimization needs an overhaul. Why is this so important? Because pre-COVID research tells us B2B prospects were doing 12 searches, on average, regarding a product or service before really spending time on a website.4  If your company doesn’t show up in the search, the chances of your prospect landing on your website rapidly diminish.

3)     Look professional at all times. It used to be that most B2B website visits were conducted using a laptop or desktop with a good-sized monitor. That is so 2019! Now, mobile rules. In fact, 71% of consumers say that since COVID started, they spend more time consuming content on their phone.5 That means your site has to create a great first impression not only on a big monitor but the small one held in a hand, and every size in between. Scroll through the website on your phone. Try it again on a tablet. While you scroll, change from portrait to landscape orientation and back again. If something isn’t working right, best to get it fixed pronto.

4)     Be able to make the right connections. A website as a sales partner is only as good as its form functionality. If you haven’t taken your Contact Us form for a test drive, it is time to do so. Make sure it works! By “works” I mean determine who answers you and how quickly you get a response. Finding a new customer is hard enough, if they take their time to reach out and no one gets back to them, well ... irreparable damage done.

5)     Serve up purposeful content. In the digital world, content is king. You need your website to have the information your prospect will be looking for. If they invest time on your site, they are going to expect to be rewarded with the information they need. And (bonus!) good content helps elevate your position in searches too! Use links to the site in follow up emails to help direct your prospect to additional product offerings or brands that might not have been discovered yet.

I could keep going but starting with these five will help you (and your partner) close more sales faster.





5 GlobalWebIndex, Coronavirus Research May 2020


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