Your company can’t grow or maybe even survive without new sales leads. Is your current approach to attracting new customers outdated and not delivering the same ROI as it used to?

Traditional sales tactics are becoming more of an exception than the rule. More industrial manufacturers are realizing the value and positive results of new digital processes to attract new prospects and convert them into customers. The foundation of most business models is changing rapidly and the way prospects search and find new vendors has radically morphed over the past ten years. A vast number of industrial manufacturers have not kept pace with these changes by clinging to their traditional sales models and ignoring newer more adaptive and responsive digital tools and processes.

The evolution to new sales processes and technologies is uncomfortable for most business owners and they have not warmly embraced the new digital tools. It is difficult to give up what has ‘always worked in the past’. These newer processes take a commitment of resources that most industrial companies have never had to utilize or spend precious capital on. These new processes require a different mind set and foreign resources and talent to most industrial manufacturers.

Many Industrial companies have built their business on the back of great service and high quality to fit a group of customers needs (market) while relying on referral, ‘word-of-mouth’ marketing. This, like many of the older traditional sales models tends to be reactionary and highly inconsistent. The new digital sales and marketing models offer a much more efficient, albeit unfamiliar, process to gain exposure, open new markets, and drive fresh convertible leads to your business.

Traditional sales models tend to be very seller centric. It’s an approach that relies on grabbing a prospects attention by interrupting them and telling them why they should buy your product or services. It works. Sometimes. More previously than now. The new processes are more customer focused. You need to assist and nurture new clients through a process from awareness to education to interest to inquiry. A recent study stated that 72% of all new prospects have performed their own vendor research via the internet prior to physically engaging a conversation.

Sales and marketing techniques have matured and are getting more complex with every new media launch on the internet and the onset of ‘big data’. It takes a special, unique, and ever adapting toolbox and skillset to unravel the complexities of what marketing strategies will be most effective in a given situation. It is even more challenging to refine that strategy into an easily executable plan.

Stages of Change and Adaptation

Some of the traditional sales models’ thinking have obstructed the ability of new digital thinking to be adopted and implemented. Let’s start with some of the basic problem areas that are most prevalent:

1. Digital Presence. It is more common than not for an industrial marketer to have a ‘set it and forget it’ website. The typical industrial company revisits the idea of updating or redesigning the ‘look and feel’ every several years when they become dissatisfied with the results or the content has become outdated. The new digital strategies require a different thinking to realize that a website a living every adapting representation of your company. And, your website is only the first part of your overall digital presence. Bad first impressions = few new customers. If you are not evaluating metrics for your website every week (at least) and reviewing how your site is performing and consistently updating its content – you are behind the curve.

2. Lead Generation. Cold calling, networking, events, trade shows, yellow page ads, and industry listings are not the end all and be all in today’s marketing world. The number of tools and techniques to generate new leads in the digital environment are growing as fast as the technology can be adapted. If you are not thinking about attracting new markets and new customers with digital strategies then you need to start, soon.

3. Prospect Intelligence.  The world of ‘big data’ is here. For today’s industrial marketer this may not become apparent at first blush because you are only concerned with your smaller ‘micro’ market that is limited by geography or species. But, ‘big data’ is made up of millions of ‘micro’ markets. That’s the point. You should be using firmographic data to extract profiles of your ideal customers within your ‘micro’ market and using ‘big data’ to identify new applications and customers that have previously been neglected. Beyond prospecting, the digital strategies should be delivering valuable metrics all along the sales funnel. What web pages are prospect viewing the most? What content is most desirable? With what emails do they open and interact? What pages of your proposals do they spend the most time reviewing? Not many industrial manufacturing companies are taking full advantage of all this available data.

4. Valuable Content. Many industrial companies have traditionally relied on the relationship their sales or contact person has with prospects/customers. However, ‘touching base’ or ‘dropping in’ does not work as well as it used to. Prospects are now busier than ever and do not allocate time in their schedules to meet or accept impromptu visits. They now require in-depth data and information on your company and its products/services when they need it without calling or emailing. This information and content needs to be at their fingertips when they require it. If you are not developing custom content for different markets than you are not selling effectively.

The thought of implementing a new digital marketing strategy can be overwhelming. You need a partner. Someone you can explain your goals and objectives, while understanding the constraints of your  available resources. MARKiT can evaluate your needs, dreams, and goals and build a custom strategy leap into the digital age.