A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about the newest member of your sales team. Spoiler alert: it’s your website. Your website may be the first interaction that potential consumers have with your brand (and anonymously, no less). Therefore, their decision to pursue a relationship with your brand hangs in the balance of your web experience. That’s why it is so important to put your best face forward with your digital experience.
So now that we’ve established that your website is a member of your sales team, let’s find out just which sales persona most closely describes your digital sales team representative – aka your website.
The Used Car Salesman
This is the sales guy that first comes to mind, right? Websites not excluded! This is the website that uses a lot of flashy gimmicks to try and coerce, cough, I mean, encourage, conversion. Visitors will land on the site to find product information scarce but offers plentiful. In place of product value and features, visitors will instead find offers for free shipping or a free consultation. Some of the offers probably aren’t actually “offers” and are expected service details while other offers appear too good to be true and usually are. The conversion rate of a Used-Car-Salesman site depends upon whether visitors are willing to sacrifice product quality in favor of perceived value.
Depending on the product being sold, a Used Car Salesman site may convert but a site that lends itself to more credibility would almost definitely perform better.
The Typewriter Salesman
Firstly, let me just say that I have nothing against typewriters (full disclosure: I have one!) but I think we can all agree that typewriters peaked over a decade ago. At this point, a typewriter salesman could probably be classified as out-of-touch. This brings us to the Typewriter Salesman website. This site, while full of relevant product information, is so out of date that it diminishes the credibility of the information. They often have long conversion processes, too, for lack of modern design. As you work (yes, work) through the conversion process on one of these sites, you can practically picture a salesman filling out long paper forms by hand to take down all of your details, which will later be added to a physical rolodex. These sites can also be identified by their use of animation. Cross a Typewriter Salesman site with a Used Car Salesman site and consider the conversion rate to be next to nil.
The moral of the story: never underestimate the value of a modernized website. This is one of the most common pitfalls that I see. These sites often have high bounce rates because visitors leave before taking time to read the content. You would probably emphasize the importance of first impressions with your real, live sales team so don’t let your site be any different.
The Must-Upsell Salesman
Now, to be fair, upselling is not a bad thing. Quite the opposite. However, we’ve all met the sales guy that seems so intent on getting the upsell that he almost risks the whole sale for it. I almost dubbed this one the “Gets-in-His-Own-Way” salesman because it’s true. This is a site that makes the conversion process difficult for the consumer, in hopes of selling something a little extra. For one, never should a site make conversion more difficult. The aim should always be to make the conversion process as simple as possible. Many sites do a great job of showing consumers products that are relevant to what they are viewing. Amazon is a great example of this.
Now let’s take Vistaprint. After you’ve selected and approved your design, the first upsell is paper. Simple enough. I might want to buy fancy paper, so this step seems natural. Then the next page loads and they want to sell me nicer envelopes. This is less natural and I’m starting to feel nickel and dimed. I pass on the envelopes and the next page loads. Now they want me to buy matching envelope seals. No, Vistaprint, really – just take me to the cart! “But wait,” Vistaprint says, “Don’t you want a mousepad that matches your invitation? A pen? A hat? A car door magnet? Thank you notes? A stamp? A business card? A refrigerator magnet? A Lawn sign?” At this point, the upsell is way out of the range of natural. Picture this website as a sales guy and you begin to get the sense that maybe he is desperate and deranged. (And yes, Vistaprint really does suggest all of those things and more before taking you to your shopping cart.)
The Moral of the Story: Upsell but upsell selectively, deliberately and with relevance.
The Carly Rae Jepsen Salesman
Hey I just met you, and this is crazy, but give me all of your personal information now. This is a site that, while appearing modern and credible, requires visitors to hand-over information uncomfortably soon – and before learning anything about the brand or product. If this website were a live sales-person, it would be the kind that tries to force you straight into a shady contract with no details up front. Instead of leading customers throughout the buying cycle, this site tries to force them lower into the funnel – ready or not.This site is pushy and nobody likes a pushy salesman. The conversion rate on this type of site often depends on how much information is required and how well the brand is established. But keep in mind, your site is only one member of the sales team. The rest of the sales team fielding the leads likely finds that many of them are junk. When people aren’t ready to give information, they give fake contact details.
This site can also be identified by the loads remarketing ads you’ll see after visiting (across several channels), which run free of impression caps. The remarketing ads will use the same Carly Rae Jepsen messaging as is on the site. Yes, these are the remarketing ads that give all of remarketing a bad name.
If there’s something to be learned from the Carly Rae Jepsen site, it’s this: don’t muddy your pipeline by trying to force people into it before they are ready.
The Salesman That Everybody Hopes For
Let’s face it – these consumers have come to your site in search of something. That means while you’re hoping they’ll be your next sale, they’re also hoping your product or service is the right fit. This is the site that seemingly understands your needs and helps you to find the right solution – either by use of filters or well-organized navigation. The site is modern and makes use of trust symbols, which supplement the already credible nature of the site. Information about the product features and value proposition is available and enough content is provided to both convince consumers to convert and to qualify leads before any information is exchanged.
Which sales personas did I miss? Tell us in the comments! Looking for more ways to improve your site? Check out this recent article about A/B tests to improve CRO.