This is a true story about how a company’s website design almost cost them a deal with a Fortune 500 company. (Names and company have been changed to protect privacy.)
Sam, a salesperson (whom we’ll call Seller Sam), had a meeting with Bill, a contact from a Fortune 500 company (whom we’ll call Buyer Bill). The meeting was going great - until Buyer Bill went to Seller Sam’s company website.
Buyer Bill was using Internet Explorer 8, an older web browser (sometimes it takes a while for large companies to upgrade technology). When he went to Seller Sam’s website, not all of the design elements carried through to this older platform. It showed white words on a white background - which you can imagine was not legible at all.
Here’s the most interesting part: Buyer Bill told Seller Sam that he would like to introduce him to the “boss” for consideration, but he was hesitant because the website looked sloppy. Buyer Bill thought it might impact his boss’s perception of Seller Sam’s ability to deliver a high quality solution.
Unfortunately, instead of pushing forward with the sales process like a good salesperson would do, Sam had to tell Bill to hold off on the intro until he could get with the marketing team to fix the issue. The last thing either Sam or Bill wanted was to send the “boss” to a “sloppy” website.
A Sloppy Website Makes You Look Sloppy
This really hit home with me, because I’ve said numerous times that you should invest as much into your online presence as you would a physical store. People make judgements about you based on what they see there. If the website is sloppy, it makes your company look sloppy, which hurts sales in the long run. In the words of Jill Konrath, “If your website sucks, it’s hard to sell.”
Design for Multiple Browsers and Devices
Another thing that hit home with me is the importance of checking the website out on multiple platforms. Tom’s website looked fine on newer versions of Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Firefox, etc. It was just the older IE8 that was the culprit.
Mobile is a whole other monster. Another company I know just did a design refresh, but there were some glitches on the mobile view (viewing on phones and tablets.) And don’t forget about email. If you’re email marketing, Outlook plays different from Google, etc. You have to check all platforms for everything.
You never know what device or browser your prospects are going to use, so you need to make sure your design functions properly across the board.