It’s 2019, but lots of small businesses are still struggling to understand how to use their websites for inbound lead generation. There are too many websites, especially in B2B marketing, that are too vague, poorly written, badly designed, thoughtlessly conceived, or all of the above. Your website should be a sales-generating machine. You’re not going to convert every visitor to your website into a paying customer, of course, but your website should be so well designed and well written that it makes it easy for every potential customer to buy from you, and it should increase the odds of converting every prospect visiting the site. The question you should ask as you walk through the customer’s journey through your website: “is this page/landing page/pop-up window/website feature making it harder or easier to convert people into customers?”

Here are a few tips for how to re-think your website to make it more sales-focused, based on the most important elements that your prospects want to see.

Answer Questions

Prospects are doing more research than ever before into the products, services and solutions that they buy. Your website needs to anticipate this, and provide detailed answers to the questions that your prospects are already asking the search engines. Be prepared to share a more granular level of detail: share user manuals, technical specifications, and be transparent about anything that the customer might want to know (without violating confidentiality or trade secrets).

For example, your customers might want to know about your implementation process for after they buy your solution – your website can address this. Your customers might have immediate questions about the early stages of the buying process – such as “how to get a live product demo.” Whether you use customer service chat bots or pop-up windows to offer live chat with a customer service person, make it clear that you are ready to talk with prospects whenever they’re ready to stop reading and start asking further questions about your solution.

Build Trust

In addition to getting questions answered, prospects are visiting your website to see if your company is credible and trustworthy. They want to get a sense for whether or not your company is legitimate and well-versed in dealing with the sorts of problems and situations that they have. There are many ways to build trust with a company website, and not all of them apply to every situation or industry. But in general, your website should be well-written and proofread (spelling errors and bad grammar are the kiss of death if you’re trying to look smart, meticulous and believable), the content – such as blog posts, infographics, and main website pages – should be packed with detailed information and good advice (not recycled clichés and fluff), and your website should have a certain point of view. Reading your website should give your prospects a sense of what it feels like to do business with your company.

Show Personality

Don’t be afraid to show some authentic personality in your website. Show the human faces behind your company, not just stock photos. Share your sense of mission – why are you in business, what are you trying to accomplish, what “fight” are you fighting in the world? More than ever, especially among Millennial customers, buyers today often want to align themselves with companies that have a sense of mission and personality. It might be tempting to play it safe and have a website that sounds bland and technical, but you’re often going to be better off by taking a stand – have some opinions about what’s going on in your industry, write your website with a colorful voice, use humor when appropriate. A touch of creativity and courage can help your company stand out from the rest.

Share Real-Life Success Stories

Prospects want to see real-life stories of how you’ve helped people like them to overcome their challenges – call it a “case study” or “testimonial” or whatever you want, but it’s crucial to have these stories front and center on your website.

Start the Sales Funnel

Your website needs to make it easy for customers to start the sales process, at whatever stage they’re ready for. You need to openly invite your prospects to sign up for a specific “next step” in the sales funnel – for example, by inviting them to sign up for a free download, sign up for your email list, or sign up for a product demo or a call-back from a sales rep. Different prospects might need different things or be at a different stage of their decision process – some might be ready to talk to a sales rep and start getting some proposals put together, while others might be at the beginning stages of doing their research and are content to just sign up for your email list until they’re ready to talk further. A good B2B website will have multiple options to get people engaged and entered into the sales process – and you should be able to track these new inbound leads and qualify and rank them as they come in.

Your B2B sales website needs to be versatile and well-planned. It doesn’t necessarily need a complicated design; there are lots of great website design templates and easy-to-use content management systems nowadays that make it easier than ever before to get a great-looking website up and running. But you need to plan for various possible questions and contingencies depending on who your prospects are and what they are hoping to get from your site. Whether it’s research support, live customer service, a detailed FAQs page, product demo videos, or other content that is specialized for their needs and questions, today’s B2B websites need to raise their game to capitalize on tomorrow’s opportunities.