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Frustrated with your outdated website? You may get the vibe that your lack of data or user experience is creating more roadblocks than it’s helping.
You know you need to change things up. The challenge? Your boss doesn’t.
How can you convince them to get on board? Maybe you've tried explaining what’s in it for them, listing pros and cons, or why a new website could be a smart move. If you're still being met with resistance, you can take steps to help them rethink this.
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As Yogi Berra famously said, “You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you are going because you might not get there.” Step 1 here is to get clear on the company’s goals, so get ready to grab your metaphorical roadmap and highlighter.
If you haven’t used SMART goals before, they’re about to be your new BFF. SMART goals are:
For example, who’s responsible for achieving this goal? How will it be accomplished?
Use numbers. How will you know you’ve reached your goal?
Is your goal realistic? If you’re gaining 10 new customers per week and want to hit 50, that goal may be a stretch. On the other hand, aiming for 12 or 15 new customers sounds pretty doable.
Is your goal relevant? Again, if you want to increase the number of new customers, think about what attracts new customers to your business.
By when do you want to reach these goals? Set a date and mark your calendar.
An example of a SMART goal for your business might look like this:
Streamline the customer journey by optimizing the website experience to increase the number of new customers from 10/week to 15/week by Q4. Since most of our sales happen via the website, making website conversions easier will increase sales.
Set up a strategy meeting with your boss to talk through what these goals might look like. Some other questions you can ask to get clear on company goals include:
This last question will help you dig deeper and set yourself up for success. Don’t skip it!
Once you’ve had your initial meeting, it’s your turn to do some homework, if you haven’t already. Take a look at any data from your current website and see how it compares to what your boss hopes to achieve. Are there any trends? For example, if your boss wants 100 new customers by the end of the year, are you on track? How many new customers are you bringing in per month? Is their goal achievable, and if not, could it be with a different approach, system, or tool?
Some other industry standards you could look for/weigh them against:
The key here is to use real numbers from your company so your team can see how they measure up.
Did you notice how the goal-setting section above focused on asking questions? Your secret sauce here is (drumroll, please…) LISTENING.
But, hold on, aren’t you trying to persuade your boss to see your perspective? It may seem counterintuitive, but the real goal is to inspire them to find their motivation to change.
This is especially true if your boss doesn’t seem aligned with the whole new website idea. If you sense resistance or get any mentions of the business death sentence “that’s not how we do things,” keep reading.
Big decisions are often more emotional than they are rational. If you’re dealing with someone who fundamentally disagrees with you, listing out all the reasons why your argument makes sense may only fuel them to counter you harder. Instead, try motivational interviewing.
There are three steps to this process:
“I’d love to better understand your feelings about our current website strategy.”
Let them respond with any thoughts or beliefs. You might reply with something like, “Interesting. Is there anything we’re doing now that isn’t working?”
Again, give them as much space as they need to share their thoughts. Finally, you might say, “it sounds like you have some reservations about our current process. Is there anything stopping you from changing it up?”
You can also remind them of any common goals that you share, that this is their choice, and that you trust their ability to choose. Adam Grant highlights some great examples of this strategy in his book, Think Again. He writes about a community in Quebec that was afraid of vaccinating their infants against measles. These parents had been presented with the benefits many times, but none of the data changed their behavior. However, when one pediatrician approached the conversation with, “we both want what’s best for your baby”, the parents were able to relax and reconsider their stance.
In your case, something like “we’re both working to help our company achieve goal XYZ” might be a good opener.
Pro-tip: whatever your boss is concerned about, they’re right! Always, always, ALWAYS validate where they’re coming from. Their experience shapes their worldview and how they run their business, even if they’re missing part of the picture. Who knows, you may learn something from hearing their concerns too.
Once you understand their beliefs, your next step is to ask for the smallest amount of buy-in possible. Will they welcome additional insight? For example, try asking, “can I show you what I’ve found based on our website analytics?”
Any small yes will help create mutual trust and respect as the foundation for any future strategy.
If they don’t give you the yes you hoped for, do not pass GO. Do not collect $200. You need more alignment first and may need to revisit some of the previous ideas mentioned above.
If you did get the green light, sweet. Grab the company data from your post-goal-setting website analysis.
Show them the trends, and let them rethink and draw their own conclusion. This is SO important. People don’t like having decisions made for them. Give them a chance to play a role, and they’ll be much more likely to support the results.
BIG TIP: don’t pitch the solution. Look for alignment on the challenges you’re facing and problems that need to be solved. For example, does your website analytics include sufficient conversion data? If not, is that something they believe you should have to stay competitive? Do you find that customers are trying to find information on your website and leaving unsatisfied? Are there specific pages with high bounce rates? Again, you’re showing them their real website data against the industry standards. How do they measure up?
Once you’ve reached this point, you can ask for the next yes with something like:
“If I put together a plan that aligns with your goals and budget, would you be ready to start this month or next month?”
The goal here is to clarify the price range and get their agreement to move forward before you even pitch a website platform.
Did you get the yes? You’re golden! Now you can work HubSpot or CLEAN into your plan, present it to the team, and start seeing that new website create results for your business.
Excited to get that first bit of buy-in? Remember that trust takes time to build, and this process will likely happen over a series of conversations. But, it’s never too late to start gathering your data and planting some seeds.
So, what’s keeping you from taking the first step today?