From Prospects to Customers: A Step-by-Step Guide on Lead Generation for Manufacturers
The manufacturing sector is one of the oldest, most established sectors, and yet the same question is being asked. "What can we do to grow?". In this article, we provide you with a thorough step-by-step guide on how to build an unbreakable lead generation strategy for manufacturers that will turn prospects into customers.
The manufacturing sector is one of the oldest, most established sectors, and yet the same question is being asked.
"What can we do to grow?"
With the increasing pressure on companies within this industry to 'go green' and develop more sustainable solutions. Ultimately, achieving attainable business growth remains at the forefront of the priority list. Many industrial and manufacturing businesses are turning to lead generation telemarketing and other digital strategies as a means to accelerate their business development.
Regardless of whether you're a manufacturer who is just breaking into the market, or an established entity that has been around for 200 years, prospecting and obtaining new, loyal clients is essential for business growth.
This article looks at tactics you can deploy within your overall lead generation and manufacturing marketing strategy to achieve substantial and sustainable growth, regardless of what type of manufacturing business you are.
Step 1: Understanding Your Audience and Their Buying Habits
As your business falls under the industrial and manufacturing sectors, you may wonder why you need to improve your lead generation strategy. Perhaps you rely heavily on conventional methods of lead generation such as word-of-mouth referrals, trade shows, and industry connections. Whilst there is nothing wrong with these tactics, you should start considering and implementing an outbound lead generation strategy to assist with your inbound marketing efforts if you're looking to achieve:
- An increase in profits
- Higher-quality leads
- Business expansion in new territories
- More loyal customers
In the industrial and manufacturing industry, you're going to be looking to target those in decision-making positions.
Now you have uncovered the type of people who fall within your target market, it's now time to understand what makes them tick, their buying habits, goals, and challenges. The buyers' journey in the B2B arena is significantly different when compared to B2C. When making purchasing decisions from a B2B perspective, there's often a lot more financial investment having to be outlaid, meaning that considerably more research must be done.
The Average B2B Buyers Journey
The typical B2B buyer goes through an average of six stages when making a purchasing decision:
- The buyer identifies their need for a product or service.
- Researches different solutions to gather and collate more information about the product they're purchasing.
- If creating a new design, the buyer needs to undergo research on product data.
- The buyer evaluates potential suppliers for their desired solution.
- The buyer then makes a shortlist of the best suppliers (you need to ensure that your industrial and manufacturing business makes this shortlist).
- The buyer then purchases from the supplier they deem to be the best fit. (That's you!)
By taking the time to understand the B2B purchasing process, you now need to consider how you can prove to the prospect that your industrial and manufacturing business is the best option at every stage of the journey.
Step 2: Sourcing the Relevant Data and Establishing a Lead Scoring Process
You understand your target audience, now it's time to begin building an unbreakable database of decision-makers. There are numerous ways to do this.
You already understand who you're currently selling to, or wish to sell to, now you need to decide what a qualified prospect looks like. These often fall into two categories, a marketing-qualified lead (MQL) or a sales-qualified lead (SQL). But how do you distinguish between the two?
The main difference is what stage they're at in the buyers' journey and the perceived willingness to make a purchase.
Marketing Qualified Lead
A marketing-qualified lead is a prospect that the marketing department has deemed 'more likely to become a customer' when compared to other leads. Factors that can influence this decision include what CTA's the prospect clicked on, the materials they've downloaded, webpages they've visited etc.
Sales Qualified Lead
A qualified sales lead is often further down the sales funnel than an MQL and is more than likely ready to speak to the sales team. If a prospect qualifies as an SQL, they should have previously expressed interest in your product or service and are now ready to move through the sales process. A few examples of what we mean when we say 'they should have previously expressed interest in your product or sevice' :
- They completed a lead capture form.
- They downloaded a whitepaper, e-book, or other bottom-of-funnel collateral from your website.
- They frequently interact with your social media accounts.
Once your lead scoring process has been decided, it is now time to move on to building an unrivaled manufacturing marketing strategy.
Step 3: Develop an Unrivaled Outbound Manufacturing Marketing Strategy
As mentioned earlier, there is nothing wrong with more traditional methods of lead generation such as word-of-mouth referrals or attending trade shows, however, if you combine these traditional methods with an unbreakable outbound manufacturing marketing strategy, you are guaranteed to drive your business growth and set yourself apart from other companies within the industrial and manufacturing sector.
There's no doubt we are moving into an increasingly digital era, therefore it is essential that as part of your manufacturing marketing strategy, you ensure that your business has a presence on digital platforms.
If you want your brand to make an impact online, we recommend that your create a business page on LinkedIn. Not only is it a professional network, but it's also a place where a multitude of B2B companies operate.
As soon as you set up a company LinkedIn page, you gain instant access to a pool of over 900 million LinkedIn members, and 4 out of 5 of those members drive business decisions. Just think about the number of lucrative businesses opportunites that could be waiting for you on just one platform alone.
To attract visitors to your business page, some examples of content you can be posting to increase your following and engagements are:
- If you're an established manufacturer who has been in business for over a century, share some old images you may have of your original factory. By sharing your origin story with your followers, you will build trust, rapport, and a sense of community within your brand.
- In 2022, 82% of Global internet traffic came from video. With this statistic in mind, you should consider creating original, branded video content. You could do a tour around your headquarters, demonstrating the process behind your product.
- Utilise the platform to share what industry events you're attending. Snapping a quick photo of your stand with a caption explaining where you're located may attact more visitors to your stand.
- Share links to articles published on your website for your followers to educate themselves and drive more visitor traffic.
Reevalute Your Industrial and Manufacturing Website
Keeping the B2B buyers' journey in mind, particularly the research stage, is when you want to make sure your website is in tip-top shape. After all, you're going to want to attract leads to your wesbite, not repel them. You want to undergo a website MOT so to speak. Bring up your website and ask yourself the following questions:
- Does it look modern?
- Do all of your website links work?
- Do you regularly update your website with industry-relevant content?
- Do you have case studies or testimonials?
- Are your social media profiles linked?
- Do you have many, if any, lead capture forms?
The above questions may seem a tad pedantic, however, it's these factors that enhance the buyer's experience. If your website appears to be stuck in 2006, you may not get as many leads as you would like.
Create Educational Pieces of Industry Relevant Content
You've undergone your website MOT, now it's time to start producing high-quality pieces of educational content that demonstrate to your buyer that possess the knowledge and expertise needed to be viewed as a trusted company in the industrial and manufacturing sector.
SEO-oriented blog pieces, whitepapers, eBooks, and industry-relevant news articles are all ways that you can populate your website with meaningful, educational content that will be of value to your prospects.
Whilst you should offer these educational pieces for free, you should consider keeping them gated behind a lead capture form. This is not to say every blog article should be gated. However, if you’re creating exceptionally high-value content such as eBooks or whitepapers, you need to view the prospect’s contact information as a form currency, enabling you to build your database in exchange for educational materials.
Be mindful that you don’t pounce on prospects as soon as they submit a form as it may turn them away from your product!
If you’re looking to reach out directly to Senior Decision Makers, or anyone in a position of power within the industrial and manufacturing industry, telemarketing should be considered as part of your outbound manufacturing marketing strategy.
Speaking with prospects over the phone allows you to listen to their pain points and put your business forward as a trusted solution. Telemarketing services offer a fantastic opportunity to gain valuable insight into your industry and further help you understand your buyer's needs. It can also become a powerful tool to leverage if you’re looking to expand into new territories
Telemarketing has evolved tremendously (something we covered in a previous blog). Long gone are the days of automatic dialers trying to call as many people as possible. Effective telemarketing and appointment setting needs to be consultative. It’s a great way to build a pipeline of opportunities that are both immediate and longer-term.
You may not have the budget or resources to hire an internal telemarketing team, which is why outsourcing your telemarketing services to a lead generation agency may be a feasible solution for you. A lead generation agency, like The Lead Gen Specialists, means that you will get instant access to a team of dedicated B2B prospecting professionals with the ability to generate sales-qualified opportunities. These opportunities are sent to your business in real-time, thus enabling your sales team to never miss an opportunity.
A powerful email marketing campaign will progress your leads through the sales funnel. Educating them about who you are, what’s in it for them, and what sets you apart from your competitors.
Something important to mention is the need to segment your audience. Unfortunately, one size does not fit all when it comes to email marketing campaigns. Some of your prospects may be further into the buyers’ journey than others, or perhaps your prospects are interested in various products. Your email marketing campaigns will need to reflect this. Without utilizing email automation platforms such as HubSpot or FiveCRM, this will be virtually impossible to keep on top of. Email automation enables you to automatically enroll prospects into various email campaigns at any one time. Depending on which stage they’re at in the funnel, your automation software will trigger intelligent responses when the prospect takes an action in an email, like downloading a guide or clicking a CTA.
If your prospects are at the top of the sales funnel, some examples of content you can include in your email marketing strategy are blogs, eBooks, and relevant insights related to the industrial and manufacturing sector.
Your audience has begun progressing throughout the sales funnel, now it’s time to educate your prospects and share some offerings, such as whitepapers, buyer guides, and case studies. At this stage, you are telling your prospects a story, sharing your knowledge, and proving to your prospects that your industrial and manufacturing business is miles apart from your competitors. By sharing such offerings, you will in turn build trust with your prospects.
When your prospects eventually reach the bottom of the funnel and it looks as though they’re ready to convert, you’ll want to entice your audience with interactive offerings such as product videos, brochures, and pricing calculators.
The prospects that are opening emails, clicking through to find out more information, and showing interest in your offerings or product, are the leads you are going to want to spend the most time nurturing and hopefully convert into a closed-won deal!
Step 4: Turn More Prospects into Customers
When leads go cold, it is important not to delete their data (unless they explicitly tell you to!). Some leads may not have converted, simply because they were not at a purchasing point. This is where your lead scoring process comes in. You’ll be able to refer to your email automation software and build tailored, personalised email campaigns to try and reignite the conversation with your previous prospects. Examples of retargeting campaigns include:
- Lead nurturing and retargeting campaigns
- Re-engagement campaigns
- Special offer campaigns
- Post-download campaigns
If you are in the industrial and manufacturing sector and are interested in developing your B2B lead generation strategy, identifying immediate sales opportunities, and receiving a steady stream of qualified leads, get in touch with The Lead Gen Specialists today by calling 03332 400 054 or emailing email@example.com
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