Making a sale for your industrial product or service is almost always challenging. For every sale that might land in your company’s lap, your sales team may have had to aggressively pursue dozens of qualified leads. That said, some customers are tougher than others. There are three in particular that can take longer and cost more for your sales team to successfully move down your sales funnel. To mitigate these challenges, it’s important to invest upfront in strategies that help support and vet potential customers before they ever get as far as actual contact with your sales team.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at three “tough customers” and the specific website strategies you can use for supporting and vetting each.

magnetic pull

The Researcher

True to their name, the Researcher is typically on an information-gathering mission, and your company is most likely only one of many they are investigating. Because Researchers are in the early stages of the customer journey, they tend to approach their research with “entry-level” questions.

They may be unclear, for example, about the scope, scale, and cost of their actual needs, as well as their budget constraints. (The project they’re looking for support may not yet be approved, or may not yet even formally exist.)

Researchers are often doing double duty as “brand sleuths.” They’re not only trying to get questions answered, but they’re also trying to get a basic feel for the company they potentially do business with.

You can support the customer journey of the Researcher by ensuring your website’s design does justice to what your business has to offer, especially in terms of differentiating it from your competitors. Ensure that it has a clean, modern, easily navigable design, generates a favorable brand impression, and creates a memorable impact.

Your website’s homepage should clearly communicate your value proposition and services, along with the markets, industries, and technologies in which your industrial company specializes. And while customers of all kinds will appreciate an FAQ section where they can easily find answers to commonly asked questions, this can be especially useful to Researchers.

At Pivot International, we recently updated our website to make it even easier for customers at any stage of the buying process to understand who we are, what we do, and how we help companies worldwide bring winning products to market.

Within our site, customers can find a resource library with free eBooks for guiding them through the product development process. They can also learn about our nearly 50-years of experience in delivering advanced supply chain solutions, and easily pinpoint the locations and capabilities of our global company.

The Skeptic

True to their name, the Skeptic approaches your company with an unusually critical eye. The Skeptic may simply be exceptionally shrewd, although it’s also likely that they’ve had a negative experience with another supplier and are exercising an abundance of caution.

The Skeptic, unlike the Researcher, is often well aware of the scope, scale, cost, and budget constraints they’re working with. But they are nonetheless unprepared to commit to taking further action. (Like actually contacting your company or speaking to a member of your sales team).

Your website’s job is to help them reach this tipping point, not so much by telling them about your services, markets, industries, and technologies, but by showing them.

Skeptics need to see your expertise — what your company has accomplished. It’s not, of course, that other customers aren’t interested in this. But for the Skeptic, more than any other tough customer, “seeing is believing.”

For the Skeptic, it’s especially important to include an extensive product portfolio on your website. On the Pivot site, for example, customers can see our product design, engineering, development, and manufacturing expertise in more than a dozen portfolios that span over fourteen industries. These portfolios include color images, technical specifications, and the Pivot company (there’s eight in all) that played a key role in the process.

Your Competitor’s Customer

Of all tough customers, this one is probably the toughest. As Newton’s first law of motion tells us, a body at rest tends to stay at rest. Once a customer has gone through the lengthy process of settling on and partnering with a given supplier, the odds are low that they’ll be open to alternatives.

The time has never been more opportune for effectively reaching your Competitor’s Customer (CC). While it’s true that a body at rest tends to stay at rest, the global pandemic has generated a wide-scale state of unrest, economic upheaval, and supply chain disruption that continues to put many companies in a state of transition or outright volatility.

This means that CC’s, who under normal circumstances would be largely immune to switching suppliers, are primed and willing to do so, provided you can effectively address their needs and offer clear solutions and pathways forward.

Part of this is making sure your website’s SEO (search engine optimization) is up to date with the search terms customers are using to identify new partners to help them meet emerging needs and seize market opportunities.

For example, when disruption of global sourcing networks and regulatory changes were passed that restricted China-based manufacturing of security-sensitive components, Google searches for secure, cost-effective, alternative suppliers skyrocketed. Because our teams at Pivot were tracking these trends and proactively updating our SEO, customers impacted by pandemic-driven challenges were able to quickly identify us as the solution they were looking for. Simply by optimizing our SEO, we were able to successfully attract new customers, including CCs, using only our website.

Making sales for your industrial products or services will never be easy, but the right website strategies can simplify, streamline, and expedite your sales process. If you’re seeking a proven supply chain partner, Pivot delivers the one-source solutions that can help your company move successfully forward. Contact us today for a no-obligation consultation to learn more about how a partnership with Pivot can help your business grow.