Here’s how I’d present it to the CEO.
- Objectivity. It’s the one thing nobody in your company has. This includes the Director of Sales (DOS). Why does that matter? Because a successful website keeps the focus on visitors and helps them achieve their goals. Many companies fall into the trap of navel-gazing (we do this, we do that) without ever thinking about what visitors really need.
- Are you offering some off-the-shelf commodity to your clients? If so, an off-the-shelf website is fine. If not, you want an online identity of your own. A less than top-notch design will undermine your brand and your message.
- The ability to easily make edits, add PDFs, videos and other documents is essential. The staff should not have to learn Dreamweaver and call me Claire Voyent but I predict that DOS isn’t always going to be available to make updates.
- We frequently review corporate sites where the only call to action is a link to the contact page (“See? There it is in the footer!”) and then there’s no contact form, auto-reply, or staff notification.
- Your website should be the hub of your marketing strategy. Does DOS know how to make this happen? Can he integrate the various elements with a consistent look and feel? Search Engine Optimization, if it’s a consideration, needs to be figured into the content and structure of the site.
- There’s plenty to keep DOS busy, what with your blog, Facebook, Twitter, Slideshare, newsletter etc. Why add web design and development to the list?
- What about the optimal hosting environment? Download speeds? Compliance with web standards? Browser compatibility issues? Does DOS know how to make sure the site looks OK in IE8? Even web professionals find this tricky sometimes.
- Who will manage DOS? The CEO? When we develop a site we include a project schedule with a timeline and milestones and we manage the project to make sure it stays on track.
- A good website lays the foundation for future growth. You shouldn’t have to start from scratch a year down the road when DOS or the CEO realizes it needs to do something it can’t do.
- Finally, doesn’t DOS have anything else to do? Our most successful clients are really busy doing their jobs, not trying to do work for which they are less (or un) qualified. DOS is not SELLING if he’s designing and building websites. What’s his time worth? That needs to get figured into the do-it-yourself cost.
by Barry Harrison