Imagine seeing an advertisement for a new store that’s just opened in your neighborhood, but when you walk into that store, there’s no one there to greet you. In fact, there are no employees there at all. No salespeople walking the floor. No clerks behind the counters. And what makes the situation even more puzzling is that all of the store’s shelves are empty. There are no actual products that you can sample or try out, only pictures and descriptions.
At first glance, this appears to be a store—a store that you just saw an advertisement for a few minutes ago, mind you—that won’t let you buy anything.
But then you see it: Way in the back, there’s an old, dusty table, and on that table is a pen and a clipboard. “Ready to buy?” the form on the clipboard says. “Just fill this out and we’ll follow up with you later.”
“But what if I’m ready to buy now?” you ask aloud to no one.
The above scenario sounds ridiculous because it absolutely is ridiculous. No brick-and-mortar store would pay for ads and generate buzz only to ignore potential customers once they showed up. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what most business-to-business (B2B) and software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies have been doing with their websites. According to eMarketer, B2B companies ended up spending a collective $4.6 billion on ads that drove people to their websites in 2018. Yet ...