As we identified in the first blog of this series, while 70% of SMB customers say they see online as their preferred method of choosing cloud services, only 10% of cloud service sales are actually completed online. Customers blame poorly designed websites that are hard to navigate, making it difficult to understand what they are buying, with no easy way to get questions answered before making the purchase.
In our second blog, we identified several important conditions that must be met for your online marketing and sales efforts to be successful, including effectively directing traffic to your website, optimizing the online shopping experience, and making it easy to buy.
But clearly, with only 10% of sales being closed online, it’s obvious that the vast majority of customers still need and expect additional “off-line” assistance before they pull the trigger.
Take a multi-channel approach to ensure ALL your customers find it easy to buy from you.
While you can and should be fielding an excellent, high-functioning, easy-to-navigate online sales channel, it remains absolutely critical that you continue to focus on and improve your other sales channels to assist customers in making the purchase decision.
Following are the three critical pieces of your “multi-channel” marketing and sales strategy that will help you close sales that start online, and meet your customers when and where they want to interact with you:
- Direct Sales Force: For larger SMB customers with more complex needs, your website and online market will most likely be used for research purposes only. A face-to-face meeting will help you with discovery, and help you establish a relationship with the client that extends beyond the initial contract.
- Inbound and Outbound Telesales: Make it easy for your online customers to contact you with questions, or capture their contact information and call them to qualify and understand their needs. Inbound and outbound call resources are a cost-effective option that enables you to follow up online leads, and allow customers with questions to get answers and make informed decisions.
- Resellers: By partnering with resellers of related services, you can gain access to qualified customers who often consider their reseller to be their “trusted advisor.” We will discuss the benefits, and pitfalls, of establishing a reseller channel in a future blog series.
By deploying a highly functional online market and complementing it with a multi-channel sales strategy, you will capture and close more of those 90% of customers who aren’t yet buying cloud services online.