ISO Compliance Dates are Approaching!


Today’s guest blog is provided by Ty Haines, president of Manufacturing Solutions, LLC. 

How to Ensure You Maintaining ISO Compliance

Yes, the parent ISO operates like a monopoly.  Yes, it appears they bundled up minor clarifications, reshuffling the requirements and twists of definitions to create ‘new’ standards with the intent to make money.  Yes, a change in the Standards requires about $1B to change hands globally.  The need filled remains international standards for quality.  Customers require the certification so we comply.  When done well, a Quality Management System (QMS) pays for itself as a requirement to participate in certain markets, reduces wastes and requires continual improvement.

Revisions to the ISO Standards for 9001:2015, TS16949:2016, Medical 13485:2016 and more are in place and the clock is ticking for the dates of required compliance.  September 2018 is when companies are expected to have their upgraded certifications in place for 9001, the basic standard.  Many companies already have this upgraded certification in place.  Some put it off as long as possible and end up in the last-minute rush.  I have heard a Consultant scare the daylights out of people at events to generate business.  My perspective is simpler and direct:

  • Companies can comply on their own, given adequate resources. Consultants make it easier, shorter and can often spot gaps to improve the system performance.
  • The changes to the standard are tedious but not that tough: much you already do!

What you need to do for ISO 9001, and similarly for the more advanced standards includes:

  1. Read the Standard: I favor the $10 9001:2015 Pocket Primers from Indiana Quality Council vs. spending the $150 from ASQ or other sources.  To read is to learn:  document this as training – seminars in Vegas are not an ISO requirement.
  2. Largest changes:
    1. Went back to more sections: now 10, was 8
      1. Decide if you want parity with the new section count and the new shuffling of requirements within the sections, or just go with a cross reference table. Your format matching the Standard is easier on Auditors.
    2. Terminology changes: these redefine common terms into abstracts only ISO would endorse.  Example:  “Control of externally provided processes, products and services” is ISOese for what any normal business person would call Purchasing and as a title, it fits on a business card!
    3. Risk: take credit in your procedures for what you do to address Risk, both positive and negative.  Common Risk control actions to put in a table:
      1. RFQ: quote acceptable risk; initial & date no quotes of unacceptable risks
      2. Contract Review & change orders: orders are rejected if we cannot meet requirements
      3. Purchasing: good contracts and specs ensure on time and quality
      4. Inspections: verify that all requirements are met

3. Knowledge capture: procedures, work instructions, ERP & system backups plus training work for most.

4. Clarify or add wording to meet the other minor changes in the Standard and your system will comply. Check your work instructions still fit the revisions.

I favor avoiding a gap analysis as the value is low and starting in by updating the first procedure, then the next. The Standard remains redundant section to section and definitions are a bit more esoteric.  Documentation process is same:  revise the procedures, train, audit, fix and you are ready for the Registrar.

Need Help with ISO Compliance?  Contact Ty Haines at
Yes, I'm ready to talk marketing strategy

The 5 Biggest Inbound Marketing Mistakes Manufacturers Make

Inbound marketing is one of the most buzzed about topics among manufacturers, especially in Northeast Ohio. Many manufacturing companies have implemented successful inbound marketing strategies, which are bringing them more qualified leads and giving them better insight into their prospects and customers. However, for as many manufacturers that have successfully implemented inbound, there are just as many who have dropped the ball and made some major marketing blunders. Read on to learn the 5 biggest inbound marketing mistakes manufactures make and my top tips on how you can avoid these pitfalls at your manufacturing company.

  1. Assuming You Know Your Buyers

One of the biggest mistakes I see manufacturers make in the inbound marketing process is making assumptions their buyer. We see it all the time. Manufacturers with 25+ years of experience, who believe they have a clear understanding of their buyer and their buyer’s communication preferences (which, have undoubtedly changed over time).

Creating a sound inbound marketing plan, starts with the process of creating buyer personas. Buyer personas help manufacturers identify their best prospects. During the process of developing buyer personas, manufacturers must get into the mindset of their ideal customers, and identify their goals, their pain points, how they search, their information search process, and demographics. Two helpful activities include surveying current customers and doing some educated speculation.

Then, and only then, will you have a clear understanding of your ideal personas. You can now create targeted, relevant content that speaks to your buyer and provides solutions to their biggest problems. Click here to read our blog about creating buyer personas.

  1. Not Developing a Content Map

inbound-marketing-manufacturersDeveloping a content map is essential to have inbound marketing success. The crux of inbound marketing is content. It is necessary to have a website full of relevant, engaging content that speaks to your buyer personas and also, the various verticals where your prospects exist. Creating a content map is a great way to make sure that you are targeting each vertical and all your ideal buyers. A content map is a plan of all the content that will be developed for your company in a 6 month to year-long stretch.

The content map delves deeply into your personas and their process through the buyer’s journey. You can map out content for the awareness stage, consideration stage, and decision stage of the buying process. By creating a content map, you can develop content ideas to bring prospects through the sales process on their terms, building a deeper relationship and showing your expertise.

  1. Skipping on Integrating Sales with Marketing

The beautiful thing about inbound is that it ties sales and marketing together. With an inbound minbound-marketing-mistakesarketing platform, such as HubSpot, you can track your prospects and their behavior. In one, easy-to-view command center, you can look at prospects and customers individually and see what emails they’ve opened and clicked, where they’ve been on your website and what content they’ve downloaded.

When integrating an inbound strategy, it is necessary to get sales on board. By integrating CRM with an inbound platform, sales managers get a “360” view of who the prospect is and receives valuable insight on that individual’s needs, wants and goals. That way, when a sales rep reaches out to a prospect, he or she is equipped with solutions tailored to that prospect. When sales are disconnected from inbound, you will not see optimal ROI from your marketing efforts.

  1. Eliminating Traditional PR & Marketing Tactics from Their Strategy

Inbound marketing allows manufacturers to track just about everything from website visitors to leads and sales. We’ve seen a lot of manufacturers dropping the ball on public relations thinking that inbound marketing is replacing the need for the name recognition and eyeballs publicity delivers. However, PR & traditional marketing (editorial, advertising, direct mail, etc.) have an important place in an inbound strategy. How you may ask? The first step in the inbound marketing process is attract.

By to exhibiting at a trade show, being featured in an industry publication or by advertising in the right magazine, you are enhancing your brand. Going to a notable industry trade show or having a case study of yours featured in a respected industry publication is a great way to intrigue prospects and attract them to your website! Read my blog “Why Manufacturers Still Need Traditional PR & Marketing in a Digital World” for more information on the importance of inbound.

  1. Underestimating the Power of Social

Many manufacturers are not tapping into the power of social media. If social isn’t integrated into your inbound marketing plan, you are missing out. You can write all the relevant content you want, but you still need to distribute that content. Social provide just the right mix of channels to broadcast your message. Let’s face it: we’re living and breathing in a social media driven world. More and more people are getting their news from Twitter instead of television news outlets and making connections on LinkedIn instead of cold calling or email introductions. If you read Rob’s blog on social selling, you’ll understand the impact social has in the sales process and how easily social selling incorporates into the manufacturing sales process.

I'm ready to increase lead generation with inbound marketing

Why are manufacturing sales managers so teed off?

manufacturing sales managersAre manufacturing sales managers naturally angry? Is there something about their role managing salespeople that has them really ticked off? Of course not, unless your boss is Lumbergh from Office Space and your sales people have not turned in their TPS reports.

We all know how much sales people love doing reports. Whether it be calls to prospects, detailing meeting results or potential for deal closing, reports just do not get filed. Additionally the “churn” of lost leads through the database are often a major problem when it comes to data accuracy. Excuses revolve around quality of the leads. Common complaints we hear from salespeople include: “These leads suck…”, “I do not have time for data entry” and “Who really reads those reports anyways?!”

The Sales Process Disconnect

So, what’s a sales manager to do when they’re frustrated with leads and reporting their sales process? They could blame marketing for the leads (always a popular decision), criticize the sales team for being lazy (now that’s a good way to motivate), or perhaps, maybe, just for a second, examine the tool you have provided them to use. Do you have 7 salespeople and as many separate spreadsheets store on laptops around the country? Do you have one of those “garbage in – garbage out CRMs”?

Creating a Cohesive, Streamlined Sales Process

Sales managers and sales teams, whether inside or outside the company need a central place to discover, capture, nurture and STORE leads; a “Command Center” of sorts. With you can do just that.

Need to capture a lead on the fly? There’s an “app for that.” Want to craft your exploratory conversation around their interest? See what pages your customers and prospects viewed on your website and what content they are consuming before you call. Wouldn’t you rather discuss what they are interested in, instead of the deal of the day? How about being notified the very second they engage with your company? Got to beat that competition to the punch, right?

So, do those leads really suck? Probably not. Perhaps the leads are just not prioritized properly or the ability to surface the qualified leads has not been attempted. With the proper tool, backed by content such as eBooks, emails and white papers your sales people will be more efficient, you can see the activity without pestering for reports and cultivate better, stronger prospect relationships. Using forms to request titles and level of interest is a great place to start. You can guide the prospect through the sales funnel more effectively and let your sales team do what they do best, close interested prospects.

“Oh, and I’m going to need you to come in Saturday, oh-Kay?” Yeah, work from your smartphone instead and let Lumbergh’s calls go to voicemail!

I'm ready to increase lead generation with inbound marketing

Why CRM for Manufacturing Lead Generation Doesn’t Work

Without a doubt, a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is an integral part of the manufacturing sales process. However, CRM is not a be-all-end-all to a shorter sales cycle. Why? Because a CRM by itself doesn’t generate leads. If your CRM is not connected to an inbound marketing platform, you are missing valuable sales opportunities. Keep reading to learn why your CRM should be integrated with an inbound marketing platform to improve sales and turn prospects into customers quicker and more efficiently.

What a CRM Can Do

  • Be Your Contact Database
  • Produce Email Conversations- (Opens and Clicks)
  • Log calls or other interactions between sales people and those contacts (if the sales people are invested in the CRM and put the time in)

What a CRM Can’t Do

  • Attract New Leads- CRM is only for existing databases, which may degrade 25% a year due to events such as job changes, people leaving the company, etc. It’s up to the manufacturer to add additional contacts into the database and regularly “clean up” the database when people move to different jobs
  • Track Prospect and Customer Behavior- CRM can only give you information about email opens and clicks and other interactions that your client logs. It cannot tell you how a prospect interacts with your brand. Meaning what webpages they’ve looked at, if they’ve engaged with your company on social media, or if they’ve downloaded a white paper or other content from your website.

What is an Inbound Marketing Platform?

There are a few inbound marketing platforms on the market. At Felber PR, we use HubSpot for both our CRM and inbound marketing software (though HubSpot integrates with many existing mainstream platforms on the market).  HubSpot is an inbound marketing platform and sales software that helps manufacturers attract visitors to their website, convert leads, and then ultimately, close the customers.

Inbound marketing focuses on bringing prospective customers to you, rather than outwardly seeking them. By creating content specifically designed to entice your ideal customers, inbound attracts qualified prospects to your website and starts the process building relationship. You can and should also nurture your existing customers as well to sell more.

Why You Should Have Both a CRM and an Inbound Marketing Platform

We all know that knowledge is power and that’s what an inbound marketing platform gives you. An inbound marketing platform allows you to track your prospects and their behavior. In one space, you can look at prospects and customers individually and see what emails they’ve opened and clicked, where they’ve been on your website and what content they’ve downloaded.

By syncing your CRM with your inbound platform, sales managers get a “360” view of who the prospect is and receives valuable insight on that individual’s needs, wants and goals. That way, when a sales rep reaches out to a prospect, he or she is equipped with solutions tailored to that prospect. Isn’t that their job in a nutshell? Building deeper relationships?

Also, an inbound marketing platform allows for marketing automation. For example, if a prospect on your website downloads an Ultrasonic Additive Manufacturing eBook, that prospect will automatically be sent content via email about 3D printing dissimilar metals, embedding sensors in parts or other of interest topics. Then, when that prospect has looked and multiple emails or pages on the website, a trigger will be sent to a sales manager to reach out to that prospect.

Long gone are the days of sales people reaching out to prospects that aren’t quite ready to buy. By syncing your CRM with an inbound marketing platform, sales managers save time, get further insight on who that prospect is, and ultimately, can close sales more efficiently based upon where that person is in the sales cycle.

I'm ready to increase lead generation with inbound marketing