No, I don’t want to talk to your sales team

Chris Rand

Chris Rand, Business Marketing Online

This is a guest post written by Chris Rand. Chris leads a UK-based online marketing agency and consultancy, tailored to manufacturers and distributors in the industrial, scientific and wider business sectors.

I’m constantly amazed at the number of websites which think that all they need to offer visitors in order to turn them into real prospects is a “contact the sales team” page. There are two huge flaws in this approach.

(Actually, let’s not call it an “approach”, because that makes it sounds like it was intentional. Most websites which just have a single “contact the sales team” page as the only next step for visitors have this because whoever designed the website didn’t really think about this most critical aspect of the site. So rather than an “approach”, we should probably call it a “lazy cop-out”).

Anyway, there are two huge flaws in this lazy cop-out.

The first is procedural, in that you’re making people go to another page to contact you, and when they get there they find it’s a generic page and they’ve got to tell you what they’re interested in. That, coupled with the fact that most “contact the sales team” forms are unnecessarily complicated, means that a fair proportion of potential prospects will just bail out in horror. There are plenty of other suppliers around, and they certainly weren’t sure you did what they wanted, that was why they were “making an enquiry” rather than ringing you up to buy something straight away. If you can’t put a form on every page, at least transfer the details of the page (and the product it described) to the form.

The second flaw is that plenty of visitors – in fact, the majority, I’m sure – don’t want to “contact the sales team” (and however you dress up the form, that’s what they’ll assume it is). Many visitors are much further back up the “sales funnel”. They might want your stuff in the future; they might just want some literature to see if you’ve got what they need; they might just want to read some testimonials to reassure them before they “contact the sales team”. Don’t let these people go away empty-handed. Give them information which demonstrates you understand their situation. Show them your satisfied customer testimonials. Offer them a free subscription to your newsletter or blog.

Maybe you’ll ask for their contact details in exchange for these. Maybe you won’t. But don’t assume they will all be keen to “contact the sales team” right now. Because they won’t.

You may have come across Chris over the past twenty years if you’re in the UK engineering sector: Chris launched the Engineeringtalk website and weekly newsletter back in 2000, building it to a circulation of over 50,000 and making it the UK’s top online publication for the manufacturing industry, before handing over ownership of the entire Pro-Talk network to Centaur Media in 2006. Before that, Chris was the editor of Industrial Technology magazine, taking it from its 1988 launch to market leadership within five years.

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