Winning more business with microsite data analytics

Once you send your proposal deck or RFP response to a potential client, how do you ensure that your follow-up is not only timely and relevant, but also that it’s adding value and helping that client determine whether you’re the right solution for them?

Those who send proposals as attachments via email are—at best—able to see that the email was opened. Beyond that, follow up becomes a guessing game. But, what if you could start to understand exactly what your client thought about your deck from the moment they set eyes on it? How would that impact the way you manage the relationship and ultimately close the deal?

There are myriad reasons why moving from traditional forms of communication (like PowerPoint decks) to digital proposals is becoming the standard, including increased security, efficiency, brand cohesion, and progressiveness. Perhaps even more important, is the data. It’s the ability to understand your audience that drives a deal forward, and reading between the lines can be the most valuable piece of the process.

Digital Proposals – Why PowerPoint Won’t Cut It

Know what matters, to who

In the world of sales, there’s nothing worse than walking into a meeting blind. You’re likely familiar with the adage “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Then again, what if you haven’t heard from your prospect between sending the initial proposal to the time of that first follow up meeting? You can’t know what to prepare, much less how.

If you’re using digital proposals, on the other hand, your microsite analytics enable you to see:

  • Who looked at your proposal (and when)
  • What they viewed or engaged with while there
  • Whether they downloaded any documents
  • How many minutes or seconds were spent on individual assets (e.g. videos, slide decks, and more)
  • Where they exited the site
  • Who they shared the microsite with

Even better is the ability to subscribe to real-time notifications, giving you insight into when your audience is viewing your materials so you follow up at the most opportune time.

How can you use this data? In the leadup to a follow-up meeting, perhaps you notice increased traffic or key stakeholders revisiting details of a particular product or service. That’s your cue to brush up your talking points. On the flip side, you’ll also know if your audience hasn’t found or reviewed any of your key materials. If that’s the case, you know to add it to the agenda next time you speak. 

While PowerPoint decks remain static after you send them, microsites are dynamic — they can continue to evolve alongside the relationship with your clients. This makes your analytics all the more valuable, as you can add (or remove) supplementary materials depending on what your client gravitates toward. 

Data analytics

Evolution of content strategy

Common feedback from sales leaders is “we know that we won a bid, but we don’t know why we won” (or lost). Microsite analytics create an immediate and constant feedback loop between those creating sales materials and those consuming it. 

Whether you build your proposals off a robust or simple template, there are bound to be consistencies between the materials that are shared. Maybe there’s an “About Us” section where you incorporate case studies, company values, or awards. Perhaps there’s a “Team” section showcasing bios, or a highlight-video that you include when pitching to certain industries.

Microsite analytics can tell you how many views those assets are getting in aggregate and also what assets are not getting engagement. If you have documents—such as contracts or spreadsheets—hosted on your microsite, you can understand whether they’re getting downloaded or viewed more often. 

A breakdown also happens on the subpage level, highlighting top subpages and content within them, as well as exit rate. Finally, you can see a breakdown of views by device: desktop, mobile, or tablet. 

Overall, you’ll be able to leverage what you learn from patterns or consistencies between your deals to build better communications in the future.

When you have the ability to collect microsite analytics, from the moment your proposal is sent, your job is not only easier—it becomes fun. All you have to do is sit back and wait for visitors to engage with your content. Based on the information you glean from the data, you’ll be able to better define a roadmap for further personalization of the materials and, as a result, a more efficient path toward closing the deal.

The Power of One

Let’s begin with a story:

A woman was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had washed up during a storm. Every few steps, she would pick up a starfish and throw it back into the sea.

She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “why are you doing that? You can’t possibly make a difference to all of them.”

Looking back at the man, she leaned over, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the ocean. She then replied, “I made a difference to that one.”

My mom shared that parable with me as a child, and it feels particularly relevant these days. Over the last year, I think it’s safe to say that almost everyone has experienced a sense of helplessness, however fleeting, and it’s equally common to want to help. 

April marks National Volunteer Month, and we knew we wanted to participate as a company. We’re a small team sprinkled across the globe: from the United States to the Philippines, Switzerland to Colombia, and a whole lot of places in between. With COVID-19 putting countries and cities in various stages of “openness,” there were broad ranges of what could and could not be done, and who could participate. 

In the end, we left it up to each team member to determine how to partake. From volunteering at a food bank, participating in beach and community cleanups, ridding local parks of invasive plants, and a self-proclaimed germaphobe even picking up dog droppings from village trails, we found ways to contribute toward causes that mattered to us personally or that were important to our communities.

Personally, I was surprised by how many people helped—perfect strangers, no less—with gestures big and small. As I picked up trash alone at a neighborhood park, an elderly gentleman crafted a homemade trash-grabber to make my work easier and my back less sore. Others inquired about what I was doing and how they could get involved. 

My colleagues noticed similar patterns: groups of people stopped what they were doing to pick up a few pieces of trash themselves, beach dwellers who were noticeably more mindful of themselves and their impact, being careful to not leave trash behind. 

It got me thinking about the domino effect of the work that we were doing. If every employee at our company inspired just one person each, how will those efforts cascade beyond our group? 

While it’s fun to ponder ripples our small contributions might make, it is, of course, not the point. Not every problem has been solved because of us. But, in each of our corners of the globe, if even one more family is less hungry, or a single beach is a little cleaner, we made a difference to that one.

Sales in the time of COVID-19

In the early days of the pandemic, our internal sales conversations probably looked a lot like yours. Meetings revolved around the welfare of our families, our team, and our customers. Once we had controlled the controllables, the dialogue shifted toward the vitality of our company. 

How would COVID impact our target market’s discretionary spending? Would our sales cycle grow longer? Would our pipeline dry up? Was this the beginning of the end? Everyone in sales is familiar with the adage “people buy from people they trust.” Would this stressful time change the nature of our relationships to the detriment of our business?

The short answer? No. Far from it.

While it certainly helps that our product—a digital communications tool—is relevant in the current climate, I credit much of the success we’ve found to the fact that relationships with our customers and prospects have actually gotten stronger.

Since the early days of lockdown, I have made a point to activate my own camera on every sales call I lead. I’ll admit this was a bit awkward at first. People acknowledged that my video was on but were reluctant to turn on their own. And I don’t blame them. It’s a peculiar thing, letting a stranger into your home. 

There was plenty of pretext: “Believe me, I’m doing you a favor by not turning on my camera.” But the longer lockdown lasted, the faster those walls came down. As a result, selling—and being sold to—has become more fun and more meaningful.

Your new puppy is barking in the background? Put him on camera! You’re baking a cake for your daughter’s first birthday? Of course you can pause the call to take it out of the oven. Is that a rock climbing wall in your house? I didn’t even know that was a thing.

But now I do. 

And I also know that you’re guiding five kids through remote learning at home, that you’ll be out of the office tomorrow morning to get a COVID test, and that you’re moving your entire house with only the help of your partner because you don’t feel comfortable using a moving company just yet. 

An involuntary response to COVID is that we’re giving ourselves and each other permission to be human, and we’re connecting about things that matter to us as people—not just professionals. We’re all in the same frustrating, overwhelming, awkward situations, and we’re all doing our best.

The bottom line is that the ability to better understand and empathize with each other engenders a level of comfort and trust that better serves both sellers and buyers.

So, yeah. Maybe discretionary spending is a little lower, and as a result perhaps our sales cycle is a little longer. And maybe this really is the end. The end of transactional, impersonal selling, and the beginning of a type of sales where we lean into our humanity and understand each other a whole lot better.

Ready to go digital? Discover how Zoomforth can help you.