We all search trusted and new websites, measuring a company’s value by the products and services offered, their specialties, expertise, markets served, their knowledge, experience, and more. We want providers to prove they understand our needs and will deliver the needed results. If your site does this correctly, buyers will reach out through live chat, Q&As, even picking up the phone and calling! How is your site’s lead-development working?

A 21st century website is a sales tool, not a digital brochure. Industries have been born and bred on the one-to-one sales methods. Yet today this is a limited, outdated way of developing all your new business. Although this may seem foreign to you, if you ignore this, you’re giving business to your competitors. How does that feel?

Salespeople will continue to open and especially close sales, but you can develop hot leads to increase your closing ratios. It’s inaccurate to think you can compete effectively if you don’t embrace the changing world. This doesn’t just apply to marketing methods but to most business issues. Change is a guarantee that we get in life. The better we adjust, the stronger our businesses are. Websites, social media, content development and marketing is not the future. It’s now!

I’ve heard every excuse why companies can’t do this. “We don’t have time, anyone to write, or...” Let me translate this: “I don’t want to spend the money; don’t think it’s important or don’t get it!” Your website’s a 24/7/365 salesperson, who teaches, trains and communicates with your prospects! What’s a 24/7 salesperson, that you have control of, worth to you?

Websites get inside organizations, to the decision-maker, opening doors that are closed, finding buyers when they’re ready to invest and explaining how you solve problems and why you’re the better choice. If your site doesn’t properly represent you — if you’re not aptly selling yourself — then you’re pushing buyers to other more comprehensive and useful websites. Don’t copy your competitors. Design your site to outmaneuver theirs.

Your site’s search parameters should match with what you sell and your ideal customer’s needs. Code your site so the search engines bring it up when someone searches for your products and services. Search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial to your results. If it’s not well- articulated, you’ll lose out on perfect opportunities. Analytic software ranks every website on the Internet. There’s new software developed all the time, so this is an ongoing task to manage.

Some companies turn to their IT departments to develop their site as they write code. But code is not enough. Eye appeal draws folks in and says volumes about your professionalism. Browsers want succinct content pages, linking to more detail, so they can quickly and easily learn. It’s not about what you want to tell them, it is about what they want to know. Too often websites, and salespeople, show up and throw up everything they want a client to know, without ever asking about their needs. Talk about a glaze-over! This is why your site should speak at many different levels and to many issues.

Do you have a prospect database where you engage buyers — teaching them things? Do surveys, learn what they want, provide whitepapers, be their ally. The best websites are an ever-changing sales tool that improves and expands over time.

A good site allows your salespeople to walk customers through relevant content, which is shared with their buying committee. As new content is developed, sales should push it along to prospects, staying top of mind, as a valued resource. Highlight events you attend, what you learned, new product information, communicating your value and expertise, while keeping your site alive in the search engine’s eyes.

This is in your best interest both financially and professionally. Your site is an investment in business development and sales, not a line item in a budget or a cost of doing business. Use your site to expand your reach. There are targeted databases to spread the word if you don’t have one.