Posted 171 days ago ago by Jared
My oldest son never ceases to amaze me. It could be his ability to turn any household item into a train, his lengthy and stern conversations with Alexa (Amazon Echo), or his ability to destroy a room in 2.3 seconds.
One of our favorite summer activities is being on the boat, lounging and swimming all day long. Once when the kid decided he wanted to get out, he casually swam to the front of the pontoon boat and attempted to pull himself up. After one unsuccessful minute had passed, I swam over, suggested he go to the back of the boat and use the ladder. “NO DADA, I GO UP.”
Two more unsuccessful minutes passed and I attempted to explain how the answer to his problem was only a 30-second swim away. “DADA, GO AWAY. I GO UP!” This conversation repeated itself not one but two more times.
Enough was enough; I swam over and advised him to grab my hand. As we approached the ladder hanging from the back of the boat, he let go of my hand, quickly boarded and jumped right back in (face palm).
Unfortunately, this interaction is representative of many conversations about web development projects. Clients know what they want to achieve, and often have an idea of what they think will achieve it. Many developers are more than happy to submit a proposal to build exactly what the client wants. Sometimes that can lead to a lot of splashing around but may or may not actually produce the intended result.
We believe it’s important to really focus on the desired outcome, and make sure any proposal is designed to achieve the goal. Clients certainly come to the table with ideas and potential solutions, but should also be willing to hear new ideas.
Here are a few recent examples of how this process can make a big difference.
Example: Getting More Leads
In March, a prospect approached us about building a new site for them. They had looked around and received several bids to build a site on a new platform. After we had spent some time reviewing the source code and discussing the end goal, it became evident that re-platforming was not the best solution to achieve the desired result.
The Goal: The main purpose of the website is to drive leads by phone, and it needed to generate more leads.
The Solution: Instead of investing money into a new platform and total redesign, the prospect really needed an investment in their digital marketing. Taking it a step further, the digital marketer should focus on helping drive conversions by phone through their website. After validating the idea internally, we contacted one of our strategic digital marketing partners and had them join us for our next review. Out of all the bids, we were the only ones to advise against a re-platform. We were also the only ones who took the time to understand their ultimate goal – conversions by phone from the website. This meant no sale for us at the time, but we prioritize integrity and always seek to be a trusted resource for the long run.
Example: Prioritizing Design
We had just finished scoping a project for an office furniture manufacturer/distributor when we realized that their design concept was not compatible with our pre-selected platform. As we sat down with the client to review the situation, we focused on the end goal.
The Goal: Compete effectively in a highly creative market
The Solution: It was clear that the design was a linchpin to the success of the project and therefore, would not be changing. Design elements and content management were critical because their business was built on creativity, a core part of their values. In re-evaluating the project, we committed to using a new platform that supported the design requirements and was built in .NET, the perfect fit! Even with the pivot, the project was completed before the deadline and ready in time for their big trade show.
Example: Platform Debate
We built a client a site on AspDotNetStorefront and immediately, they began to see success from it. Due to the success, they began to strategize on how they could continue successfully growing their business via the web. This method worked for a period but eventually, they encountered limitations around customizations, maintenance, and available features. We have watched our clients drive success and continue to grow in their platforms, depending on the percentage of their business they are converting online. The writing was on the wall, this client had outgrown the platform.
The Goal: Grow web presence and increase conversions through site
The Solution: We made the recommendation to move onto a more robust enterprise solution, episerver. Unfortunately, the client was adamant about staying on their existing platform. Fast forward, a year later and we were having the same conversation. However, this time the client had spent over $75k to stay on their existing platform, increasing the total cost of ownership and lowering their online success. The changes since the initial re-platform conversation were enough to convince the client to make the move. On numerous occasions, they have referenced our original re-platform conversation and how moving at that time would have made sense.
No matter who you work with from a development perspective, make sure they understand your goal. Your goal is not to build a new website; your goal is the result you want to achieve with your site.
Most importantly, be open-minded and leverage your partner’s experience to find the best solution. There is nothing wrong with attempting to climb up the front of the pontoon boat, but be prepared to swim to the ladder.