Industrial manufacturing is in need of a change. The industry is constantly under pressure to improve plant productivity, meet evolving customer demands, and stay competitive in an innovative environment.
Landing new business can be difficult for manufacturing, especially when your competition has long-standing relationships with their vendors and customers (MarketingV2, 2015), which is why we’ve collected these tips to help drive successful lead generation for industrial manufacturers.
Let’s start at the beginning - A lead is a person who has indicated interest in your company’s product of service in some way, shape, or form - and lead generation is the process of attracting and converting strangers and prospects into leads (Hubspot, 2017).
"Your lead generation program is a system for finding the individuals that marketing considers a lead, developing a relationship with them, and then – when the time is right – introducing them to the sales team. Exactly like the systems you use to manufacture your products and operate your business, your lead generation program is made up of inter-connected parts that must work together to succeed. If any part of the system is failing, problems result." (KineTix, 2012).
(Image source: Ironpaper, 2016)
The following tips are shared in the hopes of improving this sales process and creating a successful lead generation program, with the goal of converting leads to valuable customers.
Tip #1 – Create an ideal lead profile and scoring
It’s been established time and again, across all industries, that marketing and sales have differing views on the characteristics and qualities of a strong lead.
One efficient and to-the-point way of establishing an ideal lead profile is by asking your sales professionals questions about their perfect sales qualified lead, such as:
- What is the type of client you are looking for?
- When does Marketing turn the lead over to the sales team?
- Describe your sales process – from first touch point to proposal to close?
- Who is responsible for delivering on the sales process?
- What factors or system do you use to rate or rank your leads?
- Questions by Precision Marketing Group, 2016
The main point of these questions and lead profiling is to establish a systematic process, with individuals or teams assigned to each stage of the funnel, and a clear definition of who your ideal leads are and how best to approach them throughout the sales process.
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Tip #2 – Produce quality content for every buying stage
Manufacturing has long been hung up on traditional marketing methods despite their low effectiveness, with 85% of manufacturing marketers are still utilizing print and offline promotions to distribute content, yet only 34% find it effective (CMI, 2015).
Manufacturing companies are beginning to embrace inbound and digital marketing. The main factor of inbound marketing is creating content for every stage of the buying process, from awareness to post-purchase. By implementing an inbound marketing strategy, sales and marketing will find it easier to work together towards their common goals.
Create interest and action with the help of content. The best practices for manufacturing content include:
- Clearly defining your unique value proposition
- Outlining your goals as they align with your prospect’s pain points (high costs, poor efficiency, lack of scalability, etc.),
- Designing your content to be user-friendly and motivating
- (Ironpaper, 2016).
For more information about the best content check out: 5 Content Types that Drive Manufacturing Sales.
Make sure that your sales teams can always provide your prospects with interesting, and valuable content. When utilizing a content management solution admins and marketing can recommend content to sales user based upon the prospects’ sales cycle stage, product interests, industry, pain points, workplace, etc. aligning your content to their needs.
Tip #3 – Maintain your existing customer relationships
The best way to generate new leads and customers is by providing exceptional customer service to your existing customers. Retaining customers is not only cheaper than acquiring new ones but it can also be a crucial tool for developing referrals and new leads (KineTix, 2012). When your customers are happy with your products and service they’ll champion your company to others.
Build campaigns focused on improving customer retention. Make sure that your lead generation system includes information on maintaining contact after the purchase decision, to help your customer get the best value from your products. Create customer experiences that will boost sales and build a strong brand.
Additionally, you should be studying and analyzing your existing customer relationships in order to develop strategically. Determine which content and efforts were the most effective for lead generation and conversions, and examine this data through the lens of a specific buyer persona, in order to create strategic communications.
Tip #4 – Use data to make informed decisions
“As industrial manufacturing operations evolve to embrace data-driven functionalities and connected factories, the marketer in this industry must also collect and transform data into business intelligence.” (Ironpaper, 2016).
Data is an important tool for improving your lead generation and buying process. You want to be sure that you’re collecting valuable data from your leads, and your sales activities that will help you to streamline your operations and improve your strategies.
Pay particular attention to the content your users show an interest in, how they response to particular messaging, their interactions with your online presence, and which assets motivate them closer to a sale. Be sure to analyze all customer interactions to determine best practices and develop a strategic communications plan that can be used to improve lead generation and nurturing.
Tip #5 – Invest in and utilize your sales stack
A sales stack is a collection of sales technologies that work in tandem to streamline sales activities and boost sales performance (TechCrunch, 2015).
The best sales stacks typically include a lead generation / inbound tool with predictive lead scoring and generation capabilities, an enterprise Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool that can be used to track and measure all sales activities surrounding a particular company or customer, (including profile details, contact information, a record of previous interactions, a list of content delivered, and sales meetings notes) and a complete sales enablement platform (TechCrunch, 2015).
Sales enablement is tool used to host all marketing content that allows users to publish, present, share and analyze content. Aligning sales and marketing on one platform to help close the gap between content creation and content utilization. It also integrates seamlessly with your CRM to automatically record all sales call information and data, providing valuable insights into the sales process.
Lead Generation Success
Successful manufacturing companies must be committed to their lead generation system, strategically aligning their sales and marketing operations to accelerate the process. For industrial manufacturing salespeople, 2017 will be a year where the winners will have built a cohesive arsenal of sales-acceleration tools, and are prepared to drive qualified leads through the sales process.
Want to get a head start on assembling your sales stack? Reach out to one of our sales specialists today to find if WHUT is the right fit for your company.