10 Reasons B2B Companies Under Invest On Web Sites

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Jakob Nielsen’s June 1st Alertbox, “on B2B web site usability”:http://www.useit.com/alertbox/b2b.html, inspired me to catalogue the resistance I almost invariably see when speaking with our B2B customers and prospects about their web sites.
Here are my *Top 10 Reasons Why Business to Business Companies Under Invest in Their Web Sites* (and my reasons why they are all myths that need to be debunked):
* *Number 10:* “We are not involved in e-commerce because we don’t sell our products online.” (People don’t buy cars online either, yet “60% of new car buyers have spent 4.9 hours researching”:http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20060216.gtwhinternet16/BNStory/specialComment/ their purchase online.)
* *Number 9:* “Our sales process is much more complex than B2C sales so it can’t be done online.” (Is it possible you just haven’t mapped out your sales process well enough to know how? Aren’t there a lot of questions different types of prospects ask over and over that you could answer online for those researching your product?)
* *Number 8:* “We have never received a lead or sale from our web site so it doesn’t matter.” (Umm… Shouldn’t that be your first clue there may be a problem?)
* *Number 7:* “Our customers don’t look on the Internet for information in our industry.” (Sure! The Internet is probably only used for e-mail and retail shopping anyway! That’s probably why directories in sleepy industries such as “Frasers’, Canada’s industrial products directory”:http://www.frasers.com/, only get 28,000 unique visitors per month.)
* *Number 6:* “Our customers come from referrals and are closed by salespeople so it doesn’t matter.” (And, of course, they would never check your site before a meeting, and especially not before someone else in their company authorizes the purchase order.)
* *Number 5:* “Nobody searches for what we do.” (Because last time you checked the numbers they were….?)
* *Number 4:* “The people that do search for what we do aren’t our customers.” (Because you’ve never got a good lead from your site? Re-read Number 8.)
* *Number 3:* “Our product information changes too frequently so we just don’t put any of it online.” (I suppose it is cheaper to cut down trees, and more efficient to reprint sales binders again and again?)
* *Number 2:* “Our customers are CEOs and Presidents, and they don’t have time to look at our web site.” (So they also don’t have time to do _any_ research before making a major purchase?)
And *the number one reason* B2B companies under invest in their web sites? “We don’t want our competitors to know what we are doing!” (Eureka! It’s better just to keep everyone in the dark about the company! Putting the entire sales load on reps is a time-tested model that is incredibly expensive and inefficient – surely it will never go out of style as long as we are in business.)
I am sure no-one reading One Degree still holds on to these myths – but it is incredible how many in the non-Internet business world still do. Every time I go to a sales meeting I could check off three to four of these myths.

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