Imagine this all too common scenario if you are a manufacturer, distributor or an engineering company. Sales are slow; you need to do something right now to make the phones ring. The directive comes from the top – add more sales people, start working the phones and drop those prices just to book orders.
Uh oh, that isn’t working, something ain’t right! It has always worked in the past but not anymore. Why is that?
Digital marketing for manufacturers identifies invisible buyers
Today’s industrial buyers are in self-serve and self-select mode, making them virtually invisible and hard to reach. They don’t need or want to talk to your sales people to get product information. Your buyers will engage with your sale team only when they are ready.
Hounding them with cold calls or unwanted spammy emails is not going to help them make a more informed decision of selecting your industrial product and/or solution.
Some of the key findings from a research study done by IHS GlobaSpec were:
- 48% of industrial professionals spend at least six hours per week online for work-related purposes.
- 42% percent visit more than ten work-related websites each week.
- The primary uses of the Internet for technical professionals are to find components, equipment, services and suppliers (74 percent); obtain product specifications (73 percent); compare products across suppliers (69 percent); find pricing information (68 percent); and perform research (66 percent).
You need to be where engineers and industrial buyers are actively searching for answers to their problems. You need to be online with digital marketing.
Making a business case for industrial digital marketing
It’s not easy to convince upper management at manufacturing and industrial companies to think differently. The mindset is and has always been that marketing only plays a secondary role in support of sales. They are the artsy-fartsy people who create pretty looking brochures and trade show graphics.
Wrong, it’s time for you to shift gears and reset your thinking.
Today’s industrial buyers complete 60-70% of their buying journey before contacting your sales team. Sales people are having a very difficult time getting in front of their audience, be it face time or on the phone.
This is where digital marketing needs to step up and help sales so they have more meaningful and productive conversations instead of spending their time in blind prospecting. The best way to do that is by aligning industrial marketing with buyer behavior and their content needs.
In the past, marketing used to own the message and sales used to own the relationship. Now the two need to take a more blended approach to succeed. Marketing needs to help sales teams create a deeper engagement with content marketing.
Sales can’t do it all by themselves anymore because the buyer is in control of a larger portion of the sales process. The old adage “Buyer Beware” has been turned on its head to “Seller Beware.”
It is important to think about the cost of maintaining the current status quo. The opportunity cost of doing nothing is very important to understand. It is not just lost sales now but it is more about losing market share to your competition because they are not standing still.
Yes, digital marketing costs money too and it takes time to produce results. However, that is no different from hiring a new sales person who could take anywhere from 8 to 12 months to ramp up and you still have to pay that person while s/he is not being particularly productive. Traditional ways also take time to build relationships and you can’t be in two places at the same or be there 24/7 when your prospects are searching for you.
Think of the cost of digital marketing as an investment and not merely an expense. With industrial content marketing, once you’ve built your audience, you own it and it continues to generate leads. You no longer have to pay rent to media to drive traffic. This is similar to buying a home where you build equity over time versus renting a place where you keep paying for its use. With today’s Marketing Automation capabilities, there are significant cost savings over adding more sales people.
I recently co-hosted a webinar with John Hayes of ENGINEERING.com where I talked in details about how to make a business case for digital marketing for manufacturers and industrial companies. You can listen to the webinar recording here. Yes, it does require you to register but I assure you the content is worth it. You can also download our presentation from the same page.
John laid out the road map for digital marketing for manufacturers. Visit his blog to see a good infographic.