Why aren’t sales-driven websites more transparent?

What's the purpose of your website?

I had a semi-deep thought this morning and decided to write a post about it. It won’t be anything remarkable or even that nuanced, but I think people might be missing the boat when it comes to how to design/structure a website where the ultimate goal is sales. (I don’t mean e-commerce. That’s a different boat.) What I’m talking about here are company websites where the company sells a service/product, but it requires some form of implementation — i.e. it’s not something you can “Add To Cart” or buy with one click. Rather, you need to connect with a member of the company and walk through problems/solutions.

Following the bouncing ball:

Point is: there’s more ways to get into “the funnel.” To borrow from baseball, it’s not as simple as getting a hit or drawing a walk and getting to first base. There are a bunch of ways to “sneak” through the process, and a bunch of ways to make companies ID you as a lead when in fact you’re just messing around on their website. B2B marketing, especially, can fall for this and be akin to stalking in the process.

So here’s a new idea. Not revolutionary, but new.

Instead of putting up a landing page where you give away something in exchange for an e-mail, or whatever — or instead of any number of marketing tricks and tips bullshit — what if you just did this?

Make a landing page.

It’s a form.

Ask people two questions.

1. Why did you end up on this website?

2. Is your business facing a problem that maybe we could help you with?


If so, give us your e-mail address. We’ll be in touch to start the conversation.

That’s it.

Three lines.

How/why did you get here?

What’s the issue you need help with?

Let’s start a conversation.

Simple. No sales shit. No marketing shit. No offers. No e-mail capture that leads to 20 e-mails across a week with titles like “The ONE Marketing Metric You Need To Know!”

No bullshit at all. Just a question, an offer of a solution, and an e-mail address.

No drip campaigns or content marketing approaches. Nothing.

Why are you here?

What’s your problem?

Let’s talk. 

Done and done.

Transparency should be a goal of organizations with their employees — although that’s hard — but it should even more be a goal with customers.

Who wants to get in bed with someone they don’t trust or understand, right?

So why can’t we eliminate the idea of “lead scoring” / “lead capture” / “lead generation” and replace it with “Creating Solutions And Starting Conversations?”

Am I on crack for thinking this?

Ted Bauer


  1. I’ve found the main problem with such sites is they give absolutely ZERO information, and you’re right, that’s because they want to ‘grab’ your info as if you were automatically a lead just because you ended up on that page. When I implement an ATS system, for example, the most dreaded part of the process is determining which ATS to use, because almost every single company that offers a ‘solution’ offers near zero information on their site, often not even screen shots, as to what the system looks like, how it’s organized, what is offered at what price point, etc., etc., etc., etc. Nope, you have to enter your email and phone number, and information about your company, at which point you and sometimes other people at your company will be harassed non stop by sales people, when in fact all you wanted was some basic info. But fear not! You can set up a DEMO! Which ends up being a half hour of very slow paced, basic product demonstration that almost never yields any answers to questions you may have, other than, “What does the damn system look like, for starters?”

    Yet another reason why can’t stand Sales! people. The last time I did an ATS implementation I honestly don’t know if it was the best one they could have found, but the company, iCIMS, was the only one willing to answer questions and give information up front, especially with regard to what was included functionality vs what was provided afterward, at often much, MUCH greater expense, by ‘partners.’ I guess lead generation is a major part of it, but I feel such behaviors are mostly driven by Sales being dominated by slimeballs who will do anything possible to get a commission. And one way to do that is to make needed information only available at a premium of time spent wringing it out of Sales! people such that, instead of making decisions based on information, they get made on tangential or irrelevant information. Few things make me as happy as telling Sales! types I’m not buying their product, and when they get all hurt and ask why I tell them the truth: I asked a myriad of questions you didn’t answer and/or BSed your way around.

    Sales people think relationships are everything, I say BS. Information is everything, and I make decisions based on information, not how affable the sales guy is, or if he had spare tickets or a free lunch to throw my way.

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