Looking with Your Prospect’s Eyes

As we cruise down the digital highway, it’s becoming harder and harder to distinguish one website from the next. Everyone has the same real estate, the same format, the same icons, and the same colors.

Time has sped up (or has our attention span gotten shorter?). The websites go by faster and faster. There is no time, energy, or interest to read fatuous copy stuffed with impenetrable platitudes (exactly what do they do for a living?), and it is more important to understanding a website and its five roles.

Yet, websites are the primary way B2B companies represent themselves and their products to prospects in the 57% of the consideration process that occurs online and before direct engagement.

The Critical Five Roles for Understanding a Website

So what does a website have to do to stand out and deliver value? What are the qualities that competitively distinguish your company and resonate with your prospects? The following can lead to understanding a website and its top five roles:

1. Relevance: Let me be blunt. I don’t care what your product looks like. That’s not why B2B prospects are (maybe) on your website. I’m here because I’m hoping that I find something in the next few minutes that will improve my company and career. This isn’t B2C. What I, a B2B prospect, care about is what’s in it for me.

Which means that before you put your fingers on the keyboard to write, you’ve got to understand how I see my business, my challenges, and goals. That will give you the credentials to explain to me how you can help. I want to know how relevant you and your product are—how can you help me achieve my goals.

2. Advocacy: A successful website is a cheerleader, going beyond simply describing what your company and products do and advocating for “why” they are needed. Most websites provide features. Your website should provide benefits and should speak directly to the needs of the different members of the buying center. Give them the insight they need to become your advocate.

3. Differentiation: Understand who your competitors are. Identify the specific companies that your prospects are also evaluating. Look hard at them as you develop and communicate your compelling competitive differentiation. Embrace that your website is your digital sales force. Differentiation must be active and engage the visitor in a conversation.

4. Demonstration: Prove it. Provide credibility. Support your claims with studies, research, and detailed, attributed case histories. Talk about the problems and successes. Give prospects a reason to believe that your product or service delivers in the real world.

5. Credibility: Support your claims with social proof—client testimonials with a real name from a real company that speak to definable attributes. Show that it’s not just your product, but the combination of product and company that yields a superior solution.

Convince prospects that your company provides a value-add by understanding and valuing the relationship. Your website is one of the first experiences of what it’s like to work with your company. We have found that many deals are won not because a provider has a truly superior product (this is rare) but because the client finds they like one provider (the company) more than other. Never underestimate the power of being “easy to do business with.”

Through Your Eyes

After digesting these five roles for understanding a website, it’s time to make your website a stronger communicator of your message. Take this free website self-assessment to identify the top area to address and engage others in the process. Let us know what you think!