Business & Technology Services sites are unique.
Since they don’t sell products, they aren’t bogged down by product-related communities and post-purchase requirements. And because they don’t use ecommerce or sell through channels, their calls to action are limited to the “Contact Us” button.
When you get right down to it, services sites only do one thing – market services. And while most services sites share the same charter, they aren’t necessarily alike.
Case in point, on the siteIQ eBusiness Index, we have the massive services arm of IBM.com, IBM Services, in one corner. While in the other corner, we have the smaller one-stop-shops, Accenture.com, Capgemini.com, and Cognizant.com.
But it’s not the shape and size of Business & Technology Services sites that really matters. What’s important is that these sites can effectively tell their services marketing story and entice visitors to click the “Contact Us” button.
Which begs the question: which tracked services site delivers the most compelling marketing messages and gets visitors to a salesperson the fastest? This question and more are answered in this siteIQ Services Breakdown.
Services Marketing: When it comes to marketing services, IBM Services is the site to emulate. It delivers almost 90% of the services marketing content tracked on the siteIQ Best Practices benchmark and handily achieves a Good Practice rated performance in Usability. The only other site evaluated that even comes close to this level of performance is Accenture.com, and it trails by 7%.
The reasons for IBM Services’ climb to the top are legion.
IBM Services has a slew of offerings thus allowing the team ample opportunity to showcase a wide variety of marketing resources and proof point content, which the site displays beautifully. Marketing pages use bold questions to stimulate visitors’ minds and vibrant imagery to capture their attention. But IBM Services isn’t just eye candy. It’s “Engage Experts” sections provide contact information for each of its services experts, so visitors can reach out and chat with the folks working in the trenches (see illustration above).
Industry Marketing: Considering IBM Services’ advantage in the Services Marketing category, it should come as little surprise that it’s the frontrunner in marketing its services by industry too. This time around, however, IBM Services’ win rests solely on its large libraries of content. It is bested in Usability by Accenture.com (and to a lesser extent, Cognizant.com).
To add insult to injury, Accenture.com comes up with the Usability win by taking a couple of pages directly out of IBM Services’ playbook.
Like IBM Services, Accenture.com’s industry marketing sections are presented as tiny microsites. Each one has a slightly different design layout and content structure that tailors the marketing message for each audience (as you can see between its Banking and Retail sites). Accenture.com even takes inspiration from IBM Services’ matter-of-fact section headers and colorful design style.
What sets these sites apart, and gives Accenture.com the scoring edge, is consistency. Where IBM Services’ global navigation shifts around (or disappears) on each industry microsite, Accenture.com’s remains present everywhere. Also, IBM Services’ microsite designs and content approaches tend to vary more than on Accenture.com, which gives Accenture.com a stronger branding platform.
Call to Action
IBM Services is the clear leader in the Call to Action category. It garners a rare, five-star Best Practice rating and enjoys a mind-blowing 33% lead against competitive sites. The secret to IBM Services’ scoring success lies largely in the variety of engagement options it offers. It also takes the top spot in Usability, but only shows a 5% lead ahead of Cognizant.com.
IBM Services’ primary source of engagement is a small, yellow “Let’s Talk” button that follows visitors as they scroll down pages. When clicked, the button expands to a panel that lists multiple ways to engage with IBM, including the ability to start an online chat on the fly (see illustration above).
While this trailing button approach may not seem revolutionary to anyone that has spent time on other IT sites, it is a rarity on services properties. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find any overt calls to action on the other services sites reviewed.
If you haven’t checked out the latest Business & Technology Services rankings, then head over in that direction next. There you can find out who steals the win in Website Features, Usability, and Overall Performance.
Also, don’t miss the upcoming Index winners. Want to be the first in the know? Sign up for the siteIQ Digest and get the latest information into your inbox.
About the siteIQ eBusiness Index
siteIQ evaluated the twenty-five Websites listed on the 2018 siteIQ eBusiness Index. These Websites are categorized into eight industry-specific segments including:
- Business Software (Adobe.com, Microsoft.com, Symantec.com, Citrix.com)
- Cloud (Salesforce.com, Netsuite.com)
- Enterprise Software (CA.com, IBM Software, Oracle.com, SAP.com)
- Enterprise Systems (Dell.com, IBM.com, HPE.com)
- Network Systems (Brocade.com, PaloAltoNetworks.com, Cisco.com, Juniper.net)
- Professional Services (Accenture.com, Capgemini.com, Cognizant.com, IBM Global Services)
- Consumer Systems (HP.com, Apple.com)
- Enterprise Storage (EMC.com, NetApp.com)
These in-depth evaluations were conducted using the 2018 edition of the siteIQ eBusiness Index Best Practices Benchmark, which includes 18 distinct categories. Within each category, sites are scored based on three unique criteria:
- Website Features: The content, resources, assets, and collateral provided on any given Website. The siteIQ Best Practices Benchmark currently identifies & tracks over 1,000 types of Website features that represent typical competitive requirements. Within each category siteIQ analysts track the number — as well as quality — of features provided.
- Website Usability: The overall practicality, versatility, usefulness, and convenience of any given Website. The siteIQ Best Practices Benchmark currently includes 145 metrics that measure usability from the visitor’s perspective. Within each category siteIQ analysts score usability questions based on a strict set of standards to award between 1—100 points per question.
- Overall Performance: The aggregate suitability of any given Website that factors Website Features and Website Usability scores.
The 2018 evaluations were performed during the first quarter of 2018.
Category: Index Rankings
Class: Website Reviews and Rankings
Websites Profiled: siteIQ eBusiness Index Websites