4 Ways to Turn Your Site Into Your Best Salesperson

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Salespeople are expensive. According to a 2007 report from Sales Benchmark Index, the average rep costs $176,848 each year (including compensation, commission, and work expenses). That comes out to approximately $287.56 per sales call.

Given these numbers, it’s no wonder many organizations are focused on cutting down—or even eliminating entirely—their sales teams.

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Enter: The touchless (or self-service) model. Traditionally, a company’s marketing department would be responsible for passing a certain number of leads to the sales force every month or quarter. Once a salesperson had decided the lead was worth her time, she’d reach out to the contact and attempt to guide him through the purchasing decision.

In a touchless world, the buyer guides himself. Instead of listening to the salesperson recount the product’s benefits, he reads this information online. Rather than sitting through an online demo of the product, he signs up for a free trial or watches a product video.

Not only does the company save money, but the buyer gets to walk through the process at his own pace. It’s a win-win.

To make this possible, your interface must act as your salesperson. Incorporate some or all of these four elements to facilitate touchless sales. If you’re not ready to completely automate your sales process, these features can also help you shift some of the burden from your sales team to your website.

1. ROI Calculator

Before your prospect decides to evaluate your product, she needs to verify its potential impact on her life.

An ROI calculator is an excellent tool for letting potential customers calculate just that. Although most calculators show you how much money you stand to save with their company’s product or service, your calculator could compute productivity, time, efficiency, or convenience savings.

If your product has a range of benefits, you could build the calculator to display multiple returns. For example, maybe your clients typically increase their employee engagement rates by 30% and shorten their average time-to-hire by 10 days. Once a prospect has plugged in the relevant data, she could learn both her company’s “anticipated engagement increase” and “anticipated decrease in time-to-hire.”

Take a look at Trimble’s ROI calculator. It predicts how much more productive your construction crew will be as well as your return on investment for year one, two, three, four, and five.

Trimble ROI Calculator

Trimble ROI Calculator

2. A Resource Library

Your typical sales rep probably gets one question he’s never heard before out of every 100 questions prospects ask him. Now imagine the odds of someone asking him a question that neither he nor the salesperson sitting next to him have previously received. Those odds are pretty low.

Instead of having your sales force repeatedly give the same answers, create a knowledge base. This resource empowers potential customers: Now they can find information instantly rather than relying on a salesperson. It’s also far more efficient.

If you currently have a sales team, ask them which questions they receive most frequently. Turn each of those questions into mini articles.

If you don’t have a sales team, interview prospects to discover what they’re most interested in learning about along with the aspects that confuse them.

Segment

Segment’s FAQ section is a strong example. It’s extensive but not overwhelming; wisely, the designers decided to display less common questions in a different section. The FAQ is also well-categorized and easy to navigate. Imagine TK

3. Use Strategically Timed Paywalls

Timed paywalls

Apple Music

For a touchless sales model to work, the prospect must discover your product’s value on her own. It’s the show, not tell, approach.

There are a couple different ways to implement this strategy. First, you can design a free trial. Apple gives new customers access to its music streaming service for three months at no charge. After that, they can either pay $9.99 per month or cancel.

The idea is simple: Customers sign up for Apple Music because it’s free, educate themselves on its features and UI, and build up their music library. Just when they’ve become hooked on the product, their free trial ends.

The second option is offering two versions of your product: a free, limited (a.k.a. freemium) version and a paid premium one.

Dropbox is the classic example. Their Basic plan is free and comes with two GB of storage, while its Pro plan gives you a terabyte of storage for a monthly or yearly fee. Two GB isn’t a lot. Some users max out their storage and then, rather than migrating their files to a new platform, upgrade.

As of March 2016, roughly 175,000 of Dropbox’s 500,000 customers were paying.

The key? Getting your users to invest time, energy, and/or personal data into your product. You might assume that would require months or at least weeks, butTypeform accomplishes it in mere minutes.

The Typeform homepage prompts new visitors to create a first survey. The layout is clean and friendly-feeling, the instructions are clear, and the process is straightforward. To save your form, you must create an account. Typeform also prompts users to upgrade at key points throughout the creation flow. For instance, you’re asked if you’d like to make a ‘Thank you’ page for people who have filled out your form—a feature that’s only available with a paid subscription.

4. Expanding Trials

Most people won’t request a shorter period of time for a music streaming service. However, if your product is more utilitarian, a 30-day trial might actually put people off. One month is a long time—and if someone’s not sure they’ll buy, they might be scared by the commitment.

ProdPad has come up with an alternative strategy that can be more successful. Its free trial is only seven days long. However, completing certain milestones earns you more time.

Prodpad Expanding trial

Not only does gamifying the trial automatically engage users, it also allows ProdPad to promote key actions that lead to conversions. For instance, adding an idea grants you one free day. Setting up a user persona is worth two free days. Time in the platform becomes a reward rather than a gimme.

To use this strategy, identify the key actions or behaviors of your best users. Depending on your business model, “best” could mean paying (versus free), “premium” (versus basic, pro, etc.), most engaged, or least likely to churn.

For example, maybe 85% of customers who are still active 10 months later invited another person from their company to your platform within a week of signing up. That’s a strong indication bringing in a second user increases retention. Encourage this step by extending the free trial for, say, two days if the user adds a coworker to her account.