Lead generation for Manufacturing Companies is the process of identifying and nurturing potential customers (leads) for your products or services with the goal of eventually converting them into paying customers. There are a number of different strategies and tactics that can be used to generate leads, but not all of them will be effective for every company.
In this articles we are sharing strategies for B2B lead generation specifically for manufacturing companies, based on successful lead generation for our global manufacturing clients.
Table of Contents
- What is lead generation for manufacturing companies?
- The Basic Process For Lead Generation In the Manufacturing Industry
- Generating Leads Offline
- Generating Lead Online
What is lead generation for manufacturing companies?
Lead generation is, in all simplicity, the process of generating leads via outreach to your target audience (dream customer or Ideal Customer Profile) to create awareness and interest in the products and services that the manufacturing company offers, the challenges your products and services help solve, with the aim of acquiring new customers. Once a prospective customers shows interest, the sales team guides the prospect through their buyers journey, and the end of which they hopefully have acquired a new customer.
The Basic Process For Lead Generation In the Manufacturing Industry
For years the preferred marketing channels for acquiring potential customers for manufactures has been trade shows, network, cold calling, and mailing brochures. A major shift of the manufactures marketing strategy and marketing budget, towards digital marketing channels, means learning new marketing skills and understand how online marketing channels work.
This has lead to a shift in mindset and more efficient marketing efforts, where it is now possible to handle more leads efficiently through email and video calls. But the challenge for many manufacturers and their marketing efforts is a major shift in where to focus lead generation efforts and learn how online lead generation works for a manufacturing company.
Generating Leads Offline
Industry Trade Shows & Industry Events
Trade shows has previously been the most important lead generation channel for finding prospects that are looking for new products and services that solve their manufacturing and fabrication challenges.
Trade shows are still an important form of lead generation, and a place to meet new customers when they are considering or looking for a solution. Although, you may not have time to talk to all visitors at your stand, and not everyone is ready to talk, there are ways to captures their interest via digital marketing, right there on the stand.
Scanning a QR code to watch a video demo, down a white paper, or request to be contacted, are all very effective ways to connect with a prospect during a trade show, and a great show case for how offline and digital marketing meet.
>> How to capture leads at a trade show
Generating Lead Online
Digital marketing and online lead generation is a broad term and it covers all online channels from search results, video platforms like YouTube, social media, email, paid advertising, and much more. But not all are equally effective in generating leads for your manufacturing business. Below is a short description of the digital marketing channels that we have found to be particularly effective.
One important element to highlight is that, for manufacturing companies, show casing the capabilities of the product, is crucial.
Don’t Tell Me, Show Me.
Video should be an important part of your digital marketing content which you can easily distribute via social media, search engines (SEO), email, guest post on online industry related websites, QR codes on a trade show stand, in a brochure, and magazine.
Account Based Marketing
Who are your dream prospects and how do you reach them? Account based marketing is all about targeting the customers you want rather than those that find you, to create highly profitable new leads.
If you have a list of e.g. top 100 dream customers, account based marketing provides the channels, and process, for reaching the possible decision makers in the organizations you want to target. Using account based marketing strategy provides you with a method of reaching, engaging, qualifying, and converting prospects to customers, which is most relevant for manufacturing companies that sell medium to high ticket items, and have a clear picture of who their dream customers are.
Account Based Marketing for Manufactures
SEO For Manufacturing Companies
The importance of SEO for manufacturing companies is to appear at the time when a prospect is looking for a solution or an answer to a specific problem. Most, if not all, prospects are researching solutions to their problems online, and will have a clear idea of available solutions, before they decide who to reach out to a vendor. So if your content is not available in search engines, videos on youtube, social media, then someone else is.
SEO for manufacturing companies
Video content is crucial in generating leads for manufacturing companies. Content marketing strategy evolves not only around the written content, but also video content. Today, Google is able to understand spoken english, which means that video with voice can support the written content. What this means is that you are now able to distribute your valuable content and show casing your products across YouTube, website, and social media platforms, which much bigger effect on lead generation.
Video is the perfect way to show case the problems that your manufacturing product solves.
Nothing is more effective than watching HOW the product solves my problem. That is possible at a trade show, and now possible with videos on your website. A link in an email to your YouTube video, or a QR Code on a banner at your trade show stand, means you can reach further and handle more leads than ever before.
Share Content On Social Media
Distribution of valuable content via social media platforms is a way generate leads by show casing the problems your product solves and cases. Other people may pick up on your great content and link to your website, which is beneficial for SEO purposes.
Share videos that show the problems you product solves
Don’t tell me, show me. Trade shows and videos are fantastic ways to clearly show how a machine or technology solves a problem. Providing videos on the website that clearly demonstrate HOW your product and technology solves the PROBLEM is powerful.
Show Case Your Products on YouTube.
YouTube is the second largest search engine and therefor an important part of your internet marketing strategy and lead generation. A prospect can find your video in many ways but two important ways is as a search result in YouTube or a search result in search engines.
A YouTube video, much like a blog post on your website, should focus on ONE topic and ONE keyword.
How To Increase Visibility of your YouTube videos
Guest Posting On Online Manufacturing Publications
There a several online publications dedicated to the manufacturing industry where potential clients for your manufacturing company are looking to get updated, and explore opportunities for increased efficiency and capabilities. Writing valuable content for your target audience will benefit the online publication as well, and reaching out to manufacturing specific online publications to offer them your content, is quite normal. The benefits can be direct lead generation, a link to your website, and branding of your business, which may generate website visitors that match the specific audiences and sales leads that your manufacturing business is looking for.
Lead Generation via Paid Advertising
There are different forms of B2B paid advertising and selecting the right advertising platform is important.
Ads on Facebook and LinkedIn are pushed in front of users based on profile, but in general you do not fully control who see them, and the user did not ask to see it. So the lead generation effect of push ads are not as good ad pull ads, but if you can find a targeted audience that fit your product very well, it works. LinkedIn provides an option to deliver your ads to a list of “job titles” in an organization, that you decide, i.e. your list of top 100 ideal customer profiles. This is one of the methods used in Account Based Marketing, to initially reach your ideal customer profile.
When a user is searching on e.g. Google and see your Adwords, that is pull advertising. The user requested an answer to a question and you ad showed up. The effect of lead generation by using this type of advertising is higher, but you have no influence over who sees them. If you provide a solution and product that has interest in a wide selection of industries, it will work better than if you have a very narrow audience.
Be Guest On Manufacturing Podcasts
Guesting YouTube shows or podcasts for manufacturers is a marketing channel that has proven effective for software companies, but just as effective for manufactures. YouTube shows like Titans of CNC.
On the same note, Titans of CNC is also distributing their videos on TicToc where is is followed by more than 130,000 users, which is a sign that the audience for manufactures is also to be found on the third largest social media channel, TicToc.
Omni Channel Lead Generation For Manufacturers
Omni Channel representation of your manufacturing company is the big goal. This means that potential customers will be able to find you across major channels like social media platforms, when they use search engines, YouTube, major industry publications, and online business directories. However, we recommend starting your internet marketing with one channel to hone in on your message, until you see it works, before you take on the next. Each channel works differently, and therefore, reaching your target audience works in different ways.
Lead Generation via Email Nurturing
Manufacturing companies will most often experience that their sales cycle is long. You have been in contact with sales leads by phone or at an industry event, but the prospect may need 6, 9, 18 months before they are ready to begin their buying process.
Your automated lead nurturing campaign, a sequence of automated emails that guides the prospect through the decision process with valuable information, is a great follow up after an event, or downloading a piece of content with valuable information on your website.
The purpose of lead nurturing is to engage you potential leads and convert them into high quality leads that your sales team can contact and enroll in their sales process.
So what does the buyers journey look like, and how do you guide your prospect through out the buyers journey?
What are qualified leads?
In short, a qualified lead is a prospect that
- Has a clearly defined problem they need to solve
- Has an idea of the requirements that the solution must satisfy
- Has a specific budget
- Has a project and a timeline by which date they expect to make a purchase
- Have identified decision makers and process for making a final decision
The purpose of the marketing and sales team is to guide the prospect through their milestones, so they can reach their final decision and become your new customer.
Lead Generation & Sales Is Part Of The Same Process
Lead generation is the beginning of the process of acquiring new customers, and as such, one process. There is not specific point where marketing can just sling the leads over the fence to sales reps and call it a day. Sales and marketing need to work together. A website visitor may have seen your video and instantly added your manufacturing business to their short-list of vendors to be considered, and in desperate need for more information.
Clearly, this person can not wait for the next automated drip email to arrive, and doesn’t even know it is coming, so a direct phone number, chat function, or “contact us” form should always be available, and response should be within minutes or hours. In our experience from manufacturing companies in life science, and equipment manufacturing, prospects often want immediate response, so they get the process started.
Other prospective customers maybe looking to replace a current vendor and in critical need for information. They may have downloaded several pieces of content, watched 3 videos, and spend 5 minutes on a page where they can see a comparison of your different machines. Sales should be considering reaching out to the visitor by using the email or phone number they provided on the submit form.
So it is important that marketing and sales work closely together, use the same CRM system which allows for setting triggers and alarms for when an action is needed. This can be a set of actions the website visitor does, that will trigger a task for marketing or sales to reach out by phone or email.
Setting up marketing automation should not be your first project if you are getting started with lead generation, but if you already have a lead generation process that works, now is the time to scale up, and add marketing automation to nurture and mature leads for outreach by the sales team.
Measure, Report & Optimize
“In god we trust, everyone else bring data”– W. Edwards Deming
There is no shortage of possible internet marketing activities we can work on so it is important to find out what works, double down on that, and skip what doesn’t. For that we need to track data and and create meaningful reporting that clearly shows how marketing impacts lead generation, sales opportunities, and revenue.
Currently there is a wave of initiatives to protect data privacy, which put a limit on what we can track, and those legal requirements we all have to comply with. You may have heard about GDPR, CCPA, and other acronyms, but common for all of them is that we need the persons consent in order to track personal identifiable data, so make sure you follow those.
But complying with data privacy means we can still track and measure if our marketing generate leads, we just can’t track at the same level as we used to.