In 1989, Stephen Covey rewrote the book on time management, with his book The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People. Covey described how successful managers, owners, and sales people focus too much of their time on “urgent issues.” This becomes a form of firefighting, and prevents us from spending time on issues that are important. We should be focusing our time on strategic and directional activities that generate new opportunities—but often don’t get to them because we are focusing on the day-to-day priorities. Is your technology business focusing on urgent or important issues?
In the imaging and technology business, the classic example of this is hitting sales quotas. Have you ever found yourself telling a potential vendor “can you call back at the beginning of the month, I’m focusing on closing sales, because it’s the end of the month…?” Of course sales are important, but this is also a huge “tell”.
Over the past several years I’ve met with dozens of dealerships that have truly terrible websites. There is no sugar coating it, they are bad. If a sales rep went out and presented to a prospect and that prospect searched for the company online, they would likely not buy based on the state of the company website. In fact, 94% of B2B companies do research online before buying. So it’s a safe bet that a prospect will look at your site before making a buying decision. How is it possible that resellers still accept that their sites don’t need to be torn down and rebuilt? This is a classic example of how a Quadrant II/Important Issue starts to impact your Quadrant I/Urgent Issues, like closing sales.
Back to Stephen Covey. Websites are important; making quota is urgent. Every month the battle to hit quota gets a little harder. In simple terms, lack of a better online web presence PREVENTS many sales reps from achieving quota.
There is not one dealership in the imaging channel today that can sustain its current revenue, never mind grow, without changing their strategic direction. Not one.
A website is the starting point for change. If you wish to sell managed services, increase penetration in accounts to sell more laptops, cloud services, telephony, and hardware, then it must be done through your website. I can envision no sales model that can circumvent a sub-par website.
The most important investment you can make in your company today is to arm your sales people with the ability to interact with customers and prospects online. Doubling down on sales people to sell face to face is not a winning strategy. I AM NOT SAYING FACE TO FACE SALES ARE DEAD! I am saying that face to face sales without an online component, is.
How much should you invest in a good e-commerce website? $10,000 to build and $300-$500 a month to manage. That’s about equal to the cost of hiring a new sales rep (including headhunting fees), after the existing one you have moves on to a company that has a strong strategic direction.