Posts

Lead Nurturing Is Not A Marketing Option, It’s A Sales Necessity

Plenty has been written about the importance of lead nurturing in B2B and industrial marketing. If you need a quick primer, read my earlier post, “B2B Lead Generation without Lead Nurturing is Doomed to Fail.

Most of the lead nurturing best practices guides and articles that I’ve read are from a marketing perspective. Let’s switch gears for a moment and think of it from a sales point of view.

What does lead nurturing do for sales?

IMO, the two key contributions of lead nurturing to sales are:

  1. Realigns the timing of buyers and sellers
  2. Builds trusting relationships with permission

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Relevant Content Converts More Industrial Site Visitors into Sales Leads and Customers

It is a known fact that for content to engage and convert, it must be relevant.

Needless to say, industrial and B2B marketers are constantly looking to improve the relevance of their content but are not always successful, as recent studies have shown. This is true no matter where the content is used – Websites, email campaigns, webinars or marketing collateral.

What does relevant content mean to site visitors who are engineering, manufacturing and industrial professionals?

I’ve seen some unusual applications of online content. And I have used some of these tactics to help my industrial clients make their content more relevant in engaging with their target audience and converting more of them into qualified sales leads.

Relevant content will and/or is… Read more

Engaging Content that Solves and Sells

Good content marketers know that engaging marketing content moves the needle. It persuades readers to take an action and guides them along in their sales cycle in a logical manner.

It is a balancing act to create content that solves problems for your readers (prospects and customers) without talking too much about your products and services. Product-centric sales pitches that are disguised as “how-to” content will turn off your audience and damage your credibility as a marketer.

National Semiconductor Corp. (NYSE:NSM), a leader in power management technology and manufacturer of high-performance analog products, has done a fantastic job of using engaging content that helps it core audience of design engineers while generating $1.42 billion of sales in 2010.

Their Website uses a simple tabbed interface to guide visitors quickly to the right section(s) based on what they want to do – learn, design, search/select or buy. Here’s a screenshot of the Home page with the Tools tab open (most of the valuable content is here).
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More Manufacturers Are Using Videos For Content Marketing

According to a new report released by the Content Marketing Institute, manufacturers have some of the highest adoption rates for content marketing tactics as compared to other industries.

Videos (48%) are the preferred content format over other digital tactics (podcasts, virtual conferences and e-books) by a wide margin.

Even though social media (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) adoption is lower among industrial marketers, YouTube usage by manufacturers (50%) is higher than other B2B marketers (38%).

According to the same report, 82% of B2B manufacturing respondents indicated that they rely on content marketing to build brand awareness.

This increased focus on brand awareness is a surprising shift from the traditional industrial marketing goal of generating more high-quality sales leads.

Even though site traffic by itself is a poor measure of branding, manufacturers cited Web traffic as their most used (58%) measurement criteria for measuring the success of their brand awareness. This dependence on site traffic is even more pronounced among small and mid-sized manufacturers.

There must be a logical explanation for what seems to be a contradiction of everything I’ve read and have experienced in my 20+ years of working with manufacturing and industrial clients.

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Why Your Sales Funnel May Run Dry Without a Business Blog

Happy New Year!

Are you leaving additional sales leads and revenues on the table?

Industrial marketers who don’t use a business blog are missing a key component of feeding the top of their sales funnels. By not using every opportunity to generate high-quality leads, they may be leaving money on the table.

You can find lots of online articles about the advantages of using a business blog for building thought leadership, communities and humanizing your company. A business blog will help you do all that but what about finding new leads and more sales opportunities?

The answer is a resounding yes. A business blog is a powerful online marketing tool for inbound lead generation. A continuous stream of high-quality leads to feed the sales funnel and keep it humming is the lifeblood of industrial marketing.

To prove my point about business blogging for lead generation, here is an eye-opening statistic – marketers with blogs generate 67% more leads. The chart below shows the difference between B2C and B2B companies.

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5 Most Popular Industrial Marketing Blog Posts from 2010

We’re almost at the end of the year and you made it. Congratulations!

2010 has been another tough year for the industrial sector but I’m encouraged by all the good news that I’ve heard throughout the year about a modest rebound in U.S. manufacturing.

This is the time of the year when most of us tend to reflect upon the year that is coming to an end and look forward to the coming year with renewed hope.

December is also a popular time for bands and musicians to release their “Best of” compilations, bloggers like to summarize their best posts and publishers publish their own “Top XX” lists.

In keeping with that spirit, here are my five most popular industrial marketing blog posts from 2010. I’ve compiled these based on a combination of the traffic, time spent on the page etc. from my Google Analytics, the number of inbound links received, retweets and other social sharing.

I hope you’ll get some value and practical help from reading or rereading these articles.

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SAL is the Glue that Binds Sales and Marketing in Lead Generation

A lead is a lead, right? Depends – are you in marketing or in sales?

SAL – Sales Accepted Leads is the bridge between Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL) and Sales Qualified Leads (SQL).

No, I am not splitting hairs nor am I indulging in semantics. Clearly defining and understanding the implications of MQL, SAL and SQL are critical to the success of B2B lead generation.

Assigning a numeric score to business sales leads based on a predefined set of rules, takes away the subjectivity out of qualitative ranking like Hot, Warm and Cold leads. Quantitative lead definitions reduce the friction between sales and marketing.

B2B marketers are being held a lot more accountable (as they should be) for their contributions to a company’s revenues. This is more so for industrial marketers because generating a steady stream of high-quality sales leads plays a far more important role than other B2B marketing objectives such as branding, thought leadership and/or community building.

These days, respect for B2B and industrial marketing is spelled as M E T R I C S.

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B2B Lead Generation without Lead Nurturing is Doomed to Fail

Here’s the shocking reality of B2B lead generation – 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales opportunities. (Source: Marketing Sherpa/ KnowledgeStorm). B2B marketing and lead generation experts point to a lack of lead nurturing as the primary cause of this poor performance.

Why is lead nurturing important?

It is a fact of life that the bulk of your site visitors and/or conversions from landing pages are not ready to buy now. This is because of the prevalent trend of industrial buyers using online resources to go deeper and deeper into their buying cycle before engaging with your sales people.

Handing off these semi-qualified and not sales ready leads to sales before adequate lead nurturing only reinforces the impression that “marketing generates crappy leads.”

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Add Google Analytics to Emails and Gain B2B Lead Generation Intelligence

While working on an email campaign for a client who markets to manufacturers in the Process Controls and Automation industry, I was asked if there was an easy way to combine web analytics with email marketing.

He was already using Google Analytics (GA) to monitor his Web site. However, there really wasn’t a good way for him to track site activity after each email campaign went out.

My client wanted to gain a better understanding of Web site interactions that could be tied to a specific email and help him refine his landing pages to improve his lead generation efforts.

The problem with basic email metrics of open and click-through (CTR) rates is that they are very limited in their usefulness. Here’s why: Read more

If You Want Better Leads, Set Your Content Free

I admit my headline is a variation on Sting’s “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free” single from his first solo album The Dream of the Blue Turtles.

What does that have to do with lead generation and content marketing? Trust me, there is a connection. Let me explain.

Traditional lead generation tactics usually involves creating some valuable marketing content such as a white paper to use as a giveaway for the purpose of collecting names and email addresses. In other words, marketing content is locked behind a registration form or as some refer to it as “gated content.”

However, is gated content still an effective lead generation tactic in the current environment of social media, RSS feeds, Slideshare and Docstoc?

Setting your marketing content free may sound like a radical idea for those who continue to believe in the old mantra “hand over your contact information if you want my white paper (or other content).” There are some high-profile B2B marketers who are openly challenging the old ways of generating leads. Read more