Why Your Website May Fail as a Sales Tool, Part ll

A Disconnect Between the Tactic + The Business Impact of the Tactic

Vendors can’t answer these questions and, as, service providers, the risk of taking such responsibility far outweighs the reward of the associated fees.

In the absence of answers, companies end up commissioning vendors that may be famous for a creative approach but that approach has no grounding in sales and marketing.

What about digital marketing firms, then?

In theory, a digital marketing firm should be able to consult you on fine-tuning your marketing strategy. In practice, though, most of these vendors will not consider the high-level business goals.

Instead, they will work in their own silos, making choices and driving a strategy based on how Google will index your site or how tactical best practices dictate. In the end, they will show you numbers that look like an improvement over what you had previously.

But these vendors will rarely if ever, differentiate vanity metrics that show “success” from a digital marketing perspective with metrics that show success from a business perspective, metrics such as investment + return of investment.

A common complaint of companies against digital marketing vendors is their inability to quantify the business impact of what they do. For this same reason, the strategies they create and deploy on the company website have a natural disconnect with what this website needs to do (make money).

Misalignment between vendors and business goals often leads to failed marketing strategies.

Too Many Chiefs, Not Enough Indians

Or, to quote Charles Kettering:

“If you want to kill any idea in the world, get a committee working on it.”

Another major culprit undermining your organizational alignment is the lack of internal consensus.

When it comes to websites, I’ve seen that both small and large companies struggle to prioritize the macro goals of their website. They struggle to define goals that align the website’s primary function which is to typically acquire new customers and retain existing ones.

This often happens because there are numerous internal stakeholders involved in the process of building a new company website. More often than not, the priorities of internal stakeholders are in conflict with one another.

To resolve the conflict in the company’s best interest, we need alignment that creates a shared perspective between departments and stakeholders.

We need a framework that allows us to gather and preserve these different views. A framework that converges conflicting opinions and weighs in customer needs and business impact to find the most practical solution for the company.

Our Culture Is Also A Culprit

We live in a society which promotes working in isolated offices and in professional tracks that mimic the specialization we see across many of the vendor-provided services mentioned above.

At the same time, social pressure for political correctness and the different cultural dynamics at play shape a new way of interacting in the office.

Many people shy away from the polarizing “right” and “wrong”.

Unfortunately, there can’t be a productive decision-making process when internal stakeholders are overly cautious to share/own their opinions/views in a discussion and confront other people’s opinions and views in a professional manner.

This attitude only intensifies organizational misalignment.

The True Impact of Misalignment

All of these issues shape internal business discussions in many organizations and they shape choices that waste money and cause strategies to fail.

The impact of misalignment is much larger than

“Our company doesn’t have a responsive website.”

We need to be able to solve this problem before work can begin on improving a website, commissioning new website design, re-branding or sourcing a digital marketing firm.

This internal misalignment has the potential to disrupt every customer acquisition or marketing strategy a company attempts to implement.

No tactic or tool can compensate for the lack of consensus on business goals, customer needs and execution.

So What Does This Have To Do With The Glass Bank?

The Glass Bank’s original design was awe inspiring and meant to be the jewel of Cocoa Beach Florida.

  • The condition of the building began to deteriorate because the construction of the building was flawed.
  • The remediation of the building’s structural issues- post construction, fundamentally altered the design of the exterior (covering the glass of the Glass Bank in cement).
  • The original design called for a restaurant with 360-degree panoramic views of the beach and Cape Canaveral. While breathtaking, the designer did not account for the dedicated restaurant foot traffic with a dedicated elevator.
  • To prevent patrons of the restaurant from stopping at each floor on their way up to dinner, a dedicated elevator was installed (once again) after the fact and bolted onto the exterior of the building, further compromising the original design of the building and adding more steel to the exterior of the “Glass Bank”.
  • As the building continued to lose tenants, the construction method (namely asbestos) prevented new tenants from gaining occupancy certificates from the town.
  • A fragmented ownership of various floors within the building prevented a comprehensive investment and redesign which would have saved the building.
  • Eventually, external forces (the city of Cocoa Beach) forced the closure demolition of the building.
  • All owners but one (Frank Wolf) gave up on the venture and cut their losses.
  • Frank Wolf shot himself at the base of the building.

The demise of the Glass Bank wasn’t overnight. It was over a period of years. Within that time there were so many ways that it could have been preserved. While the case can be made that the design and construction of the building were primarily to blame from the beginning- those problems (while expensive) could be fixed. What prevented that fix was the misalignment of the stakeholders who owned the Bank.

The lack of cohesion amongst the owners of the Bank subjected them to the erosion of the property they jointly owned. It opened the door for bad business decisions, temporary fixes which devalued the look of the once great building. It made them susceptible to external forces and proved to be their undoing.

The core issues that undermined the Glass Bank undermine internal teams in almost every company. These issues cause fragmented decisions and make companies susceptible to poor strategic or vendor choices.

What Is the Solution?

A top-down|outside-in|customer-out methodology that creates internal alignment between Sales, Marketing, Technology, Customer and Business. An approach that overrides the silos Sales, Marketing and Technology work in and solves for the people problem across the entire organization.

We call this methodology SMARTech Convergence. Preserving perspectives across the organization is at the core of SMARTech Convergence:

We like to say that everyone can be “50% right in their perception of a problem”. The “Convergence” is achieved by layering everyone’s 50% onto one another in order to shape strategies that have a higher chance of success.

SMARTech Convergence breeds respect for different views, but also allows you to solve conflicts in an unbiased way. When views or priorities conflict the tiebreaker is always how this view impacts what the customer values. SMARTech Convergence takes the politics out of office politics and helps people focus on what is really important.

When companies begin by asking these two questions…

1. “What do we, as a business, want to achieve?”

2. “What do our customers want and need?”

…the strategies which are crafted, tactics that are selected, vendors which are leveraged, will always resonate with the original singularity—the customer. When the customer is the focus, the mystery that shrouds the subjective (responsive design layout + content) becomes a thing of the past.

Change is inevitable. Progress is a choice.
Have the Courage to Prioritize Progress.