September 15, 2021
If your sales team is getting plenty of leads, but aren’t closing, that might be a problem with the sales team. However, if you’re not closing because your sales team isn’t getting enough quality leads, well, that’s a marketing problem, and specifically, a lead generation problem.
Generating manufacturing leads is the lifeline of B2B companies, and for manufacturers, the landscape is changing. Your customers are moving online in droves, and they’re researching your competitors' products on nearly every transaction.
If you’re not present where your customers are consuming information, then you’re missing a huge opportunity!
Of course, it gets a little tricky too, as there’s literally dozens of ways to generate industrial leads using digital marketing. Manufacturers must be selective in choosing the right channels to focus their resources, and the following guide should help make those difficult decisions easier.
What’s launching a campaign without developing a strategy first? A recipe for disaster is what, and when formulating a winning strategy, there are several things to keep in mind. First, you need to define what success is, which is an attainable goal of generating more leads.
In these beginning stages, it’s also a great idea, and missed opportunity by many B2B companies, to marry their sales and marketing teams.
And finally, you’ll need to make decisions on which channels of digital marketing you’ll pursue.
S.M.A.R.T. goals mean setting Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound goals. When we’re talking about lead generation, a goal that matches very well is upping your number of Requests For Quotes (RFQs).
If you know how many RFQs it takes to close a deal, then you’ll want to multiply that by how many deals you need to close to call your lead generation campaign a success.
This only leaves the “Time-bound” element still unanswered, and this will depend on which digital marketing channels you choose to focus your resources. We’ll get there in a moment, as there’s a step in the process that manufacturers and other B2B marketers commonly forget.
Sales teams have had to adapt, as the Covid-19 pandemic shifted the buyer's journey into the digital space. An unbelievable 80% of B2B buyers expect the same buyer’s journey as B2C customers.
If B2B buyers are moving online, and expecting an experience like buying from Amazon, where does this leave the sales team?
For some B2B companies this will mean creating an e-commerce website and competing with their competitors on marketplaces like Thomasnet. For other companies, it means keeping your sales team alive, and generating leads from digital channels by embracing “smarketing.”
C-suite executives can give their marketing campaigns a huge advantage if they bring their sales team into the fold from the start. A whopping 65% of marketing content goes unused by sales teams who probably understand buyer’s pain points better than anyone.
Now we’re back to the “Time-bound” element of our S. M. A. R. T. goals, as there are some digital marketing channels that can generate leads almost immediately, while other strategies will progress over time.
In a typical B2B buying process, there are six to 10 decision-makers, and as noted above, 80% of them are conducting research online. We’ll spare you the math lesson, but it means you want your customer to find you where they’re searching, and have them read your content.
A study by the Harvard Business Review found that almost 75% of buyers choose a product based on the company or representative that gave them value first. By providing insightful content that informs and empowers, manufacturing companies can position themselves as a trusted source of truth for their customers.
Having your customers read your content and become a source of truth to create leads is an attainable goal, but it will take months, perhaps even the better part of a year to get your content where your customers are searching. There are also quicker options in the interim, and each can help each other to create a winning digital marketing campaign for manufacturers.
Deciding on which digital marketing channels to choose for lead generation typically starts with an Search Engine Optimization audit. An SEO audit not only identifies what changes need to be made to your website, but also, what your customers are searching for.
A similar process can be employed to social media, as you aim to learn which platforms your customers are using, and target them based on demographic information.
Targeted ads on social media platforms and search engines are bringing traditional marketing into the digital world. That’s also the case for email marketing, which is extremely successful at generating leads, but is effectively a digital replacement for the flyer in the mail.
Each has their uses in generating leads, and in order to choose which ones will work best for you, it’s important to understand how they work.
SEO lead generation is definitely playing the long game, and it’s not something that can be given attention one month, then turned off the next. You’re trying to position your content at the top of Google searches, and that takes time.
The better your content, which can be a blog article, infographic or video, for example, the more people will view it, and hopefully, link back to it as a source of truth. As more and more readers do this with your content, the more your website’s domain authority strengthens, and the higher your content moves in Google rankings.
Of course, this is an outbound marketing approach, and it casts a wide net. But you’re actually targeting people who are using search terms in Google that pertain to your company and products.
Google recently cited a study that found the ROI from an organic search is over five times higher than that of a paid advertisement. That means it’s a long term strategy that delivers, but paid advertising can still generate leads in the short term.
While your content takes it’s time to climb in SEO rankings, you can pay to have it done right away. By placing an advertisement in Google or Bing when a person types in search terms pertaining to your product or company, you’re at the top of SEO rankings right away!
It costs money to place your company in the position, but the good news is you don’t have to pay unless someone clicks on your ad. It’s called PPC lead generation, and it’s a fantastic way to get potential customers to visit your website.
PPC lead generation is probably the easiest channel to track ROI, as you can track the buyer’s journey, and have raw data on if they made it all the way through the process, or where they dropped out.
Email marketing is probably the hottest method of lead generation for digital marketers, and there’s plenty of data to prove it. Four-out-five marketers embrace email marketing so much that they say their most commonly used form of content marketing is an email newsletter. In fact, over 30% of marketers say that email newsletters are the best way to nurture leads.
That’s because B2B customers are yearning to consume content that’s valuable, and helps them with their pain points on a personal level.
Emails are a fantastic channel to reach potential customers, as it’s probably the easiest one to personalize. By tracking and analyzing data to create your buyer’s persona, you can figure out tendencies about them that you can target.
Social media is largely seen as a great means to connect with your customers in order to strengthen your brand. But for many manufacturers, there are certain platforms that work better than others, such as LinkedIn. LinkedIn works well for manufacturers, as LinkedIn has a 300% higher conversion rate than other social media platforms.
LinkedIn has great tools that allow you to find C-suite executives to target, or various other buyer’s personas.
These ads are expensive, and that’s why featuring your content is another approach that creates leads. After your potential customers have seen that over time you provide valuable, insightful material that’s useful to them, they are likely to choose you over your competitors.
Many manufacturing companies will find that all of these channels are fantastic at generating leads. To ignore them is to walk through the world with one eye shut, as it’s an enormous marketplace that your customers are all over. Hopefully, now it’s easier to choose which channels you want to explore to generate more leads, and implement a strategy that wins over your customers.