Vision Critical

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Your corporate website is a critical tool for generating new business. It's one of the first things people check when they research about your products. It helps communicate the value of what you have to offer.

But your website can also be a point of pain, especially if marketing constantly needs to contact IT to make changes to it. You shouldn't need to get in touch with IT just to correct a typo. Unless you need custom CSS or other code changes to your site, you shouldn't require IT handholding every step of the way.

For your website to help turn visitors into prospects, your marketing team should be empowered to make regular updates to it. From my 20+ years working alongside marketers for their IT needs, here are 3 things CMOs need to equip their teams with to turn their website into a lead-generation machine:

  1. Get a reliable platform.

From an intuitive CMS system to reliable web hosting, having the right platform goes a long way. If your platform requires users to be fluent in HTML and CSS, then you need to work with IT to change that. Are you using several CMS systems, requiring users to learn several platforms? Is your web hosting service reliable enough that the marketing team is not left wondering if their piece of content will actually hold up in the live environment? Instill confidence in your marketing team by having the right tools in place.

  1. Remove the bottleneck through training and documentation.

At Vision Critical, I used to be a bottleneck for web updates. I was running our infrastructure and hosting, with some help from production IT Information Systems team. This system was not sustainable - not to mention stressful both for our busy marketing team and for myself.

Our first step was to get an easy-to-use and intuitive platform, but the next step was to train our marketing team so I can trade places with them. We've done basic training on how to put up a page in Drupal, for example. Our marketing team documents processes to make sure new people can easily get trained on how to use our site. We also have a process to make sure marketing can check the quality of their content before they go live. IT can still resolve issues before we hit "publish," so there's no fear of experimenting. It's a win-win situation: our marketing team can make changes when they need to, and I am free to concentrate on higher-value tasks.

  1. Talk often.

Marketing is always changing: your IT needs today are unlikely to remain the same a year or two from now. So don't treat your website like a project with an end date.

Be friends with your IT guys and gals. Talk with them regularly to figure out training gaps and pain points. Work with them to see what works and what needs improving on your website. Let the data do the talking: web analytics can highlight potential issues in converting people into leads. And be sure to also involve your customers to validate your hunches about how and why people use your website.

To get more web leads, your friends at IT are an excellent resource. With the right tools and training in place - and with IT to support you - marketing can maximize the business value that their websites provide.

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