The Greatest Challenge for Today’s Industrial Manufacturers
You’re an industrial manufacturer and your day-to-day burden of keeping your equipment and machines running is stressful. If your equipment isn’t humming your not making money. In order to keep the production pipeline full, you have tried to drum up new clients in numerous creative and unique ways. Unfortunately, these efforts are usually reactionary and materialize in short term blitzes to fill downtime in your production processes. The problem is that when you get busy with your day job you get very busy. The day-to-day demands of your management are consumed with problem solving, resource allocation, and project management. There’s not a lot of time left in the day for new market prospecting.
Most successful manufacturers (52% in one recent survey) hire outside firms to handle their marketing and most of those companies (74% in the same survey) are not satisfied with the quantity or quality of the ‘new leads’ being delivered by their hired guns. The new era of digital marketing has flipped the apple cart and put additional pressure on finding fresh stones to turn for new prospective clients. Over 70% of new clients will have already performed on-line research before you have ever made contact. In order to make sure you’re getting what you demand from an outside marketing firm there are some basic things to lock down.
When planning your marketing you should always first clearly define your goals and objectives in hard numbers or metrics. For example; “This calendar year we want to increase sales by 18% and add three new clients”. You may have several goals and objectives. If you do, be sure to prioritize them by order of importance.
When evaluating the landscape of where your marketing efforts should focus, it is important to breakdown your efforts into the following categories:
- New cold prospecting
- Vertical market Integration
- Vertical client infiltration
- New market penetration
These four categories of prospecting have subtle variations in technique and process and require different levels of preparation. Most, if not all, of your valuable new client acquisitions will come from efforts within these four categories.
New Cold Prospecting
When considering a digital prospecting effort there are some prerequisites that need to be defined. It is best to evaluate your products and services and determine several industry target segments that may be a good fit for your offerings. It is important to keep in mind that these industries should meet your level of standards for quality, price, and service. The next step is to define some basic target firmographics that will set the most likely segment from where your new prospects could possibly come. These firmographic profiles use basic identifying categories like industry type, company size, yearly sales, location, and may even include North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes which are used by businesses and government authorities to differentiate types of business according to their process of production. These firmographics will form the basis of your new cold prospecting universe. The next consideration that needs to be defined is the individual titles at these companies you would like to reach. There are several ways to determine who you should be talking to. It would be valuable to look at your current client portfolio and see what titles are important to you within your existing client relationships. It is important to identify the roles each job title may have in the buying process. Remember, major purchases typically require input from various parts of the organization, including finance, accounting, engineering, purchasing, information technology management, and senior management. Each industry may also have differing nomenclature for job titles and their roles.
After identifying your segmented industry target list, prioritize them as to greatest expected ROI. It is also important to limit and test your efforts to see where you will have the greatest effectiveness.
Vertical Market Integration
Vertical markets organize businesses based on their industry or specialized needs. There are numerous vertical markets in business – aerospace, automotive, education, finance, healthcare and legal, just to name a few – and those verticals often break down into finer subcategories. In most manufacturing markets a vertical market often is characterized by a process. For example: injection molders are exactly what they do the make injection molded parts. Industrial marketers often choose to specialize in one or more vertical markets, allowing them to target potential new clients and increase account penetration with a richer set of products and services, leading to increased revenue and a more successful business.
Your vertical markets are easily identified by your sales team. They know which side their bread is buttered on. Once you have an idea of what your current verticals are you need to define them firmographically and build a prospecting strategy to identify similar prospects within each vertical.
MARKiT goes to work by identifying contacts and building strategies and content messaging to attract those companies within your identified target vertical markets.
Vertical Client Infiltration
This category of new business prospecting is the most obvious but sometimes the most overlooked and neglected. It is pursuing new business opportunities within your existing customer base. It may be as easy as asking for new business. But, traditionally it is about building your companies’ exposure throughout your customer base. This will require some good old fashioned detective work or maybe some relationship building.
Once you have acquired new contacts within your current customer list it is important that you have a content strategy to expose your company in an interesting or new way. Employees at your current clients may say that they have seen your trucks but didn’t know what you did for their company. Once manufacturers expose their full range of product and service offering to a broader reach of their current customer base they often report sales increases of up to 25%.
New Market Penetration
Industrial manufacturers often get stuck within one vertical market because they simply have not presented their expertise in another verticals language. While developing your cold prospecting list, you probably identified a wide range of vertical markets that are different from your current selling environment but have never pursued. Your products and services can probably be applicable in a number of vertical markets in which you have never sold. Identifying these markets is step one. The process of researching what differences exist between two parallel markets is critical.
The difference between two markets can be as subtle as pricing or delivery method. In order for you to attack another vertical market you must be ready to accept and deliver on different expectations and demands. Once you have reviewed and developed a production plan of attack each of the additional target markets need to be presented with a version of your business in the light they are familiar with. This requires an outside digital marketing firm like MARKiT.
We will analyze the strategies required to address these additional markets from your story to the photography on your website. In fact, some manufacturers may require separate digital campaigns including different sub-domain website.
Entering a new vertical can be very lucrative but may take longer. Most manufacturers can identify neighboring vertical markets that they should be addressing but just ‘haven’t got to that yet’. The importance of investing time and money into horizontal diversification is a difference maker that can have a long term impact on the longevity of your company.
You need to find a qualified digital marketing company like MARKiT and build a partnership. We at MARKiT tackle these challenges through a process that has been honed through many years of experience and software research. MARKiT will strategize and research your needs and deliver a custom plan of action to get you to the next level. Call or email us today to start what could be a most fruitful conversation.