How Industrial Marketing Influences Buyers

Industrial marketing precedes industrial sales. That is the reality today.

I understand manufacturers, distributors and engineering service providers may find it hard to accept that fact. That’s because these industrial companies have traditionally depended on sales teams to drive their lead generation efforts from start to finish. Marketing has always provided sales support and not expected to play an active role.

Today’s industrial buyers have flipped that sales and marketing paradigm upside down. Even though the industrial buy cycle has not changed, buyers go through their buying journey very differently now. They prefer to operate in a self-serve and self-select mode by using a variety of digital sources of information.

If you are in industrial sales, hold off on your “salespeople are not dead” comments until you’ve read through to the end of my post.

I’m sure you’ve heard this digital marketing mantra ad nauseam. As an owner or a business development professional at one of these industrial companies, you are probably skeptical about that message, especially when it comes from industrial marketing consultants with vested interests.

Let me reassure you with some key research findings from unbiased, independent third parties.

Industrial marketing is becoming more important

Importance of indusrtial marketing is growing(Source: Engineering Marketers’ 2016 Campaign Plans Research Report by ENGINEERING.com)

Information sources used by industrial buyers for work-related purposes

Digital maekrting sources used by industrial buyers(Source: Understanding the Industrial Buy Cycle by IHS Engineering360)

Buyers need content to support their decisions for complex industrial sales

Buyers want industrial marketing content(Source: Understanding the Industrial Buy Cycle by IHS Engineering360)

For more on this, read Marketing to Engineers Requires Accurate and Truthful Content Presented Logically.

Online industrial marketing efforts are falling short

Effectiveness of industrial marketing

(Source: 2015 Trends in Industrial Marketing by IHS Engineering360)

B2B manufacturing content marketing’s goals

Goals of manufacturing content marketing(Source: 2016 B2B Manufacturing Content Marketing Trends—North America: Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs)

Measuring manufacturing content marketing’s effectiveness

Measuring effectiveness of manufacturing content marketing

(Source: 2016 B2B Manufacturing Content Marketing Trends—North America: Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs)

Myth of the “67 Percent” statistic busted

By now you must have read the often quoted statistic – 67% of the buying process is completed digitally before the buyer makes first contact with the sales person. That stat has been distorted and misinterpreted far beyond its original meaning when SiriusDecisions first published it back in 2013. That myth was busted at the 2015 SiriusDecisions’ annual summit. Their 2015 B2B Buying Study found something significantly different.

The reality is that “B2B buyers interact with providers in a variety of ways throughout every phase of the decision-making process,” said Jennifer Ross, Senior Research Director, CMO Strategies at SiriusDecisions.

At their recent summit, SiriusDecisions proposed a new B2B Buying Decision Process Framework with three types of buying scenarios.

B2B Buying Decision Process Framework

(Source: SiriusDecisions 2015 Buying Study)

“The new way to think about b-to-b buying is that human interactions still occur and matter, and that the rise of digital marketing doesn’t mean those interactions go away,” said Marisa Kopec, VP and Group Director at SiriusDecisions.

My take on this – Marketing needs to help sales teams create a deeper engagement with industrial content marketing. Sales can’t do it alone anymore because the buyer is in control for a larger portion of the sales process. The two need to take a more blended approach to succeed today. (See How Manufacturing Content Marketing Sets the Table for Sales)

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