'Touch points' can be defined as those customer contacts that are critical to your sales process and sales cycle. An easy way to determine these touch points is to map out, flow chart or whiteboard your sales process from first customer contact through completed sale to ongoing follow up.
Some sales cycles can take many months and may involve many different types of touch points. Each step in the process is required to advance to the next step and all steps point to the conclusion of a successful sale.
These types of sales are known as "high consideration" sales because the customer or client requires time and consideration before purchasing. And a number of different touch points.
Other sales cycles are immediate, emotional or impulse buys and require only one touch point. This type of sale would be a 'low consideration' sale.
These purchases are often based on emotion and impulse and require little or no viewer analysis or information gathering. Shoppers buy because they want to buy.
Examples of high consideration sales would be kitchen remodels, purchasing a new car or putting in a permaculture landscape. Examples of low consideration sales would be the purchase of books, clothes and food.
The marketing strategies for high and low consideration sales are very different. In a kitchen remodel the 'goal' or 'next step' might be to generate a phone call, email or an in store visit.
The goal for a low consideration sale such as discount designer clothes would be to generate enough interest and appeal to induce an immediate sale. Shoppers for low consideration items rarely come back for a second visit; there are just too many options for them to consider them all.
In the high consideration sale it is the next step or next action that determines the web strategy. In the kitchen remodel enough information may be presented to pique the viewer's interest and generate a phone inquiry or visit to a showroom. The important point is the goal is simply to generate a phone call or in store visit, not to close the sale.
All strategies have their plusses and minuses. One of the negative sides of high consideration sales is that viewers are often researching information and are not in an immediate position to buy. Determining which viewers are curious and which are serious should be a part of your sales and prospecting process.
In many situations it might also be good strategy to figure out how to move or convert the curious into the serious. It all comes to down to touch points and how they are leveraged.
Clearly the biggest problem with low consideration sales is they are everywhere. That is why it is so important to make the best case for low consideration products and services and hold nothing back because once the shopper or viewer leaves your site they most likely will not return. Many low consideration sales have only one chance to 'close the deal.'
Incentives can also be used to help motivate viewers to take immediate action. In high consideration sales, it may be a white paper, promotional article or informational article that is of great interest to the viewer; this can be especially effective if your information can be directly tied in with a major benefit of doing business with your company.
The curious eventually convert to the serious when they feel they have enough information to proceed with their purchase. And do business with you when they feel comfortable and confident in your product or service.
For low consideration sales, the incentives need to be immediate and of value to the viewer. These incentives could be an additional discount or free gift with each purchase.
As with any marketing strategy the end result must be continually in focus. Each step in the sales process should have its own strategy so the sales process moves along. By carefully matching your web content to your sales touch points you can improve your bottom line sales results.