Integrators Divided On Website Importance to Business (Statistics)By: John Honovich, Published on May 04, 2018
Are websites important? Still quite a number of integrators have no websites.
New IPVM statistics show that nearly half of all integrators find a website to be not very important in terms of sales and generating business. But nearly a third of integrators strongly disagree, not only finding it very important but many reporting significant success winning new customers.
In this report, we break down the results, share color commentary from 150+ integrators and offer recommendations.
The 3 key themes from the answers:
- Referrals were viewed by many, if not most, as far more important for generating business than a company website.
- Validation: The most common viewpoint was that websites do not help with sales but can help validate that a company is legitimate.
- Actual leads and sales: A minority, though a sizeable, one actually reported websites delivering leads that became sales. Importantly, these integrators were most likely to emphasize how the spent money and time updating their website and for on-line marketing.
Even though we did not ask abour referrals, integrators over and over volunteered that 'word of mouth' / referrals were far more important than a website and therefore a reason not to prioritize the website:
- "Not very important. We rely heavily on referrals and word of mouth."
- "Most of our business is word of mouth or BDM going out and finding new work."
- "the most is the quality of work with clients who do the best marketing for my company"
- "Not very important. Most projects through direct contact and recommendations."
- "Existing customers bring us new customers! We've clients that trust to us and are happy with our service and products so they don't need to check our website."
- "I get most business from reputation. It takes a lot of effort to stay at the top of searches and when you get there only a small amount of enquiries turn into jobs."
- "not very we work on word of mouth and our reputation"
- "Minimal. We sell based on relationships and quality of service."
- "what really matters is our success stories and how we are perceived in the market not because of how good our website is, but due to our professionalism"
- "We rely more on word of mouth from our existing customer base. We're a $15-$20M per year in sales company so we're small enough that when we get our customers talking to each other, the results are usually good for us. I feel we're almost a boutique company despite our size because we don't do residential and small jobs; we provide customized solutions that websites will never accurately explain."
- "We still depend on word-of-mouth references to help cement new business."
- "Not important at all as a method to win work. All of our work is MOD/Government and is won through referrals"
- "We get most of our business through relationships and relationship selling."
- "Most sales are word of mouth and relationships with contractors. Websites and Linkedin tend to bring more vendor spam than anything else."
The most common benefit of a website was as validation - to signal to prospects, especially, that their company was legitimate:
- "Most of our referrals do like to check our website out."
- "The web site is a validator, not an initiator. After we have a prospect through other channels, they often visit our website to validate their interest - making sure our site looks like we offer what they want and we know what we are doing."
- "It's more of a validation piece more than anything. Our new business is 95% referrals."
- "No matter how someone finds your business, even it was from a glowing referral, the prospect will still go to your website to investigate you first hand. You never get a second chance to make a first impression."
- "Customer go through our website to check our initial support in the Download center and our company profile to check the Reference jobs done in corporate and government sectors."
- "Very important for promotion. Clients usually browse the website to check previous projects we have worked, years we are serving the industry, industry licenses and membership."
- "its mainly used to verify who we are and that we have a website - gives some form of integrity"
- "a webpage is the current incarnation of the "public face" of a company. For many potential customers, it's the first thing they check out when researching a potential supplier."
- "it's useful to qualify our company and help prospects to acquire confidence on our ability to execute. It's not related directly to sales."
- "We have 9 branches across the US and I get maybe 2 leads a month from the website. I think more Customers use it during vetting on who to choose to consider, normally after I have spoken with them."
- "Its acts a reference site for people reviewing our quotes and tenders."
- "I feel that a clean and well arranged website is more of a branding image and is not necessarily a new business attractor."
- "It's important to provide credibility but not for direct sales."
- "while it isn't our main new customer acquisition route, it is what customers and their contacts find when researching us."
- "It establishes your company as a true entity and not just a fly by night outfit. It shows off our capabilities and highlights what can offer"
- "It's our public face and the first impression many have of the company."
While definitely a minority, integrators that focus on improving their website and online marketing often reported significant benefits:
- "Very important, we are #1 in Google organic search results and almost all new customers are acquired this way"
- "Of utmost importance. We garner quite a bit of new business through our Google Adwords campaign and ad clicks are directed to specific landing pages on our website. There they find relevant content."
- "Yes very important and recently we have been getting sales through our Facebook page"
- "Our website is relatively new, but we have seen a large increase in leads since it went online."
- "Our website is very important as it has been a key factor in getting sales and generating interest. The key is to keep it updated regularly."
- "It is becoming more important after investing in a redo and spending some bucks on SEO. Inquiries from the web are up 5 fold from a year ago."
- "EXTREMELY Our marketing department does a very good job in keeping the Corp website up to date and the number of visits and leads created have seen a significant rise over the last 3 years. The blogs and information shared on the website has been well received. Clients seen to go to websites much more often than in the past to search for Security Integration Companies."
- "Our website plays a big role in getting our sales staff the 1st meeting. Email campaigns all point prospective clients to our website whereby we are able to showcase our products and services."
- "I believe it is very important. It is nearly the only marketing we do. The webshop does not sell anything with the installer prices but it works like a catalog and then the client calls us for a meeting."
- "We are a state contract provider so the website is very important for our State purchasing agents. We have posted our labor rates and discounts on the website."
- "A lot, since we also have online store."
- "Our company website brings in calls from customers looking for integrated security solutions."
Spend More On Websites / Online Marketing?
One thing these results show is that, for an integrator, most of their competitors are ignoring online marketing. This provides an opportunity for integrators that do spend resources on this to stand out.
Secondly, growing by referrals naturally limits an integrator to companies your current customers know. By contrast, the Internet provides an opening to connect to anyone, since literally, all companies and business people use the Internet today. An integrator can get themselves into consideration for companies they would literally have no hope in getting an appointment otherwise.
The downside, however, is not simply the money but the time and attention to things that can be significantly different to an integrator's core competencies (implementing and maintaining systems) vs writing, graphics, and marketing.
One smaller theme we noticed was that some integrators see the value of websites in differentiating themselves with manufacturers:
- "Our site has also been crucial in attracting manufacturers to us."
- "I think its more important to us when setting up partnership/dealer agreements with vendors"
- "When dealing with new customers, new manufacturers or even trying to hire a new employee the first place they go is the website"
- "Websites and Linkedin tend to bring more vendor spam than anything else."
This is sensible as manufacturers are often wary/concerned about their dealers being unsophisticated. A better website could signal a more technically adept integrator (though not necessarily, of course).
Not A Trunk Slammer?
In closing, for better or worse, one comment seemed to be sum up integrator's typical opinion on their website:
The website is useless, it just shows that you're a real company, not a trunk slammer.