I recently received two emails from two different manufacturers. They both inquired about using manufacturing content marketing to help their sales efforts. Both these companies had used telemarketing and other conventional marketing tactics with very little success in generating sales qualified leads.
You may be experiencing the same or similar problems as these two manufacturers. Here are excerpts from those emails.
- “Using a lead generation company right now that charges too much and delivers too little. They do not understand industrial sales, and although they are talented and penetrating accounts, many of the set appointments do not answer the phone.”
- “I have been doing the conventional style of marketing i.e. making cold calls, face-time with clients. After all such interactions, I was simply told to mail the information regarding our product, company credentials etc. I have met 100+ people and so far only a few have responded.”
These two manufacturers are experiencing firsthand the realities of industrial buyer behavior these days. Buyers are in self-serve self-select mode and remain mainly invisible for a large portion of the buy cycle. These industrial buyers will engage with your sales team only when they are ready. Hounding them with cold calls or unwanted emails is not going to help them make a more informed decision of selecting your company as the preferred manufacturer.
Manufacturing content marketing for ToFu, MoFu and BoFu
Manufacturing content marketing is tailor-made for industrial sales that have long sales cycles with multiple stakeholders involved in the buying decision. By no means is this an easy sell because it requires manufacturers to reevaluate and rethink their industrial marketing strategy to one that is geared more towards online digital marketing with content.
There are many ways that manufacturing content marketing helps in making the consultative selling process more effective. Sales is most productive when they spend the bulk of their time engaging with qualified leads in meaningful conversations instead of spending their time in blind prospecting.
- Generate more targeted site traffic by optimizing (SEO) your content (Top of the funnel, ToFu)
- Capture basic contact information for growing your list of prospects (ToFu)
- Highlight your expertise by having in-house Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) write about solutions to customer-centric problems (ToFu)
- Nurture trade show leads and Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) with personalized email marketing (Middle of the funnel, MoFu)
- Reach stakeholders who may not visit your site by creating champion content (MoFu)
- Hand off Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) to Sales for follow-up action (Bottom of the funnel, BoFu)
- Provide after-sales support, training and build customer loyalty (BoFu)
- Build stronger relationships based on trust and expand your reach with account-based marketing (all three stages)
I’m not implying that manufacturing content marketing alone will do everything needed to generate qualified leads and drive industrial sales. It needs to complement other marketing efforts such as telemarketing, selective trade shows and other outbound marketing programs. (See my post, “Inbound Marketing Alone May Not Be Enough for Industrial Companies.”)
Nor am I suggesting that digital marketing can replace your crack sales team. On the contrary, I am saying that a good content marketing strategy will make your salespeople more productive by engaging with fully qualified leads where conversations lead to RFQs/RFPs.
Content marketing that adds real value to your manufacturing sales process requires much more than writing blog posts and tweeting about them. It requires correctly identifying every stakeholder involved on your customer’s end, the role they play in the buying decision, understanding their challenges and then delivering the right content, at the right time and in their preferred format.
In other words, use manufacturing content marketing to set the table for your sales team to score more wins!