Marketing in today’s digital world can be a challenge for manufacturers, many of whom rely heavily on traditional marketing such as trade shows, catalogs, printed spec sheets and in-person sales calls.
While those tools may remain an important part of your manufacturing lead generation arsenal, there is no denying more and more deals are closing thanks to digital efforts, including marketing automation.
Manufacturers has been slower to adopt marketing automation, and digital tactics in general, than other industries. Research conducted by the Content Marketing Institute found that while 55% of B2B companies were now using marketing automation, only 30% of manufacturers had added it to their marketing toolkit.
Why should manufacturers consider jumping on the automation bandwagon? According to Nucleus Research, marketing automation resulted in a 14.5% increase in sales productivity and a 12.2% reduction in marketing spend. So how can marketing automation play a role in your business?
What Is Marketing Automation And How Can It Help Manufacturers?
Marketing Automation refers to software which automates manual tasks, nurturing and managing leads more effectively. It allows sales and marketing teams to get more done in less time while delivering more qualified leads and a better user experience.
The majority of visitors coming to your website aren’t ready to buy right away. They are in the awareness stage, researching options and identifying resources. Or they could be in the evaluation stage, comparing products and deciding what is a good fit for them.
Both of these potential customers are looking for information, but neither is ready to close. They'll need more nurturing to guide them through the sales funnel.
Even so, it isn't uncommon for a sales rep to be involved at this stage. This takes up internal time and resources spent on prospects who aren’t ready for direct communication from a sales rep.
With marketing automation, the prospect receives targeted communication and content based on where they are in the sales funnel without all of the manual communication that sales teams would otherwise do.
This delivers a better experience for prospect, while saving sales a lot of time. Instead of a sales rep setting reminders to follow up with a prospect on a regular basis, marketing automation steps in to handle these processes automatically.
Custom Workflows & Triggers Communicate The Right Message At The Right Time
Marketing automation allows you to create workflows that are triggered based on defined actions such as when a contact form is submitted, a product spec sheet is downloaded or an email is opened.
Once entered into a workflow, a prospect receives a series of follow up messages usually a few days apart, each with a compelling offer or relevant content specific to their interests.
Each follow up is designed to guide the prospect through the funnel and create a sales qualified lead - one who is closer to closing, with less time and effort spent on the sales side.
Once a potential lead is in your database, you can choose to receive an alert if a contact visits a specific website page, reads a related blog post or downloads a case study.
Any of these actions could trigger the contact’s status to change from prospect to lead, notifying sales or sending an email to encourage a product demonstration or phone call.
Other effective ways manufactures can to utilize marketing automation include:
- Segment customer lists based on company size, industry type, geographic area and more, to market to them more effectively
- Stay in touch with existing customers, provide them with relevant information, ask for reviews or send a satisfaction survey or remind them when their product is due for maintenance or replacement
- Import contacts made at trade shows or industry events, segment the lists and add to workflows based on their specific interests - this eliminates sending dozens of personalized emails or that one generic “nice to meet you” email
- Use built-in reporting to track what is working, or isn't, test the effectiveness of different campaigns and ROI
WebStrategies has helped manufacturers across multiple industries implement a successful marketing automation strategy to attract and convert more leads into sales. Read more about manufacturing specific marketing tactics and how they are turning into dollars for our clients.