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
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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.

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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!

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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.

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Why Manufacturers Still Need Traditional PR & Marketing in a Digital World

public-relations-manufacturersLet’s face it, manufacturers are living, breathing and selling in a digital world. If you’ve read our page on inbound marketing, you already know why manufacturers need to devote their time and talents to inbound marketing. However, manufacturers shouldn’t discredit the power of traditional publicity tactics; as well as advertising and trade show marketing. In this blog, I’ll highlight the top 5 reasons your manufacturing company should “tie the knot” with traditional marketing and inbound marketing for ultimate success.

Why Traditional Marketing Tactics Should Be Incorporated with Inbound

Attract People to Your Brand

The first step in the inbound marketing process is attraction. Business-to-business manufacturers don’t want just anyone visiting their website. They want qualified leads who can benefit from their products, services, and knowledge. In marketing terms, you want your ideal prospective customers or “buyer personas”. By going to a trade show, being featured in an industry publication or by advertising in the right magazine, you are enhancing your brand. The key to inbound is first attracting people to your website and then “converting” the lead, or enticing them with an offer that your prospect thinks has enough value to trade their information (email, company name, etc.) to receive. Interested in how this works in inbound? Click here.

Build Credibility in Your Industry

A study by Pew Research recently found that more people trust information coming directly from the news media than they do from social media. Sure, you could have a great case study of how you helped a manufacturers save time, money, and resources with your solution but having it on your website works better if it was first published in an established industry journal.  Published articles shows your prospects and current customers that you are who you say you are, that you provide great products and services worthy of recognition.  Your customers and prospects will view you, your experts, and your company, as a thought leaders or innovators..

Ability to Reach a Larger Audience

Looking to reach a larger audience? By receiving frequent recognition in industry and local publications, your message is able to reach thousands and thousands of people in that publication’s circulation who otherwise may not find you. When considering pitching a story or developing a magazine ad campaign, check their circulation statistics. The magazine should be able to provide you with a media guide detailing the number of readers and their demographics. Also, your customers are a great indicator of where you should pitch your stories. During your calls with loyal customers, ask them what are the top 3 industry publications they feel are valuable and you must read during the month?” If you see a trend, that’s where you should focus your strategy.

Traditional PR is still a powerful marketing tactic that marries well with inbound marketing. Editorial coverage, trade show marketing, and advertising help manufacturer position themselves as an industry thought leaders and reach a larger audience. For more information on our public relations and media services for manufacturers, visit

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Big Changes Coming to Your LinkedIn


If you haven’t heard yet, LinkedIn is making some big changes that may affect how you use the platform. The now Microsoft-owned business social networking platform is redesigning with the intention of making the desktop version look more like the recently updated LinkedIn app.

LinkedIn has already started roll-out of the updated platform and I recently was upgraded to the new interface. I learned quickly that LinkedIn is pushing some of my favorite tools to Premium. It has changed my approach to social selling and made my ability to locate prospects more tedious and time-consuming. Read on to learn the changes coming to your LinkedIn and ways to navigate the revamped platform.

What is Social Selling? 

Social selling is leveraging your social network to find the best prospects, build trust and relationships with those prospects and ultimately, achieve your sales goals.

Social selling, along with inbound marketing, eliminates the necessity of cold calling. It allows you to get insight on your prospect’s behaviors, goals and communication style. That way, you can communicate with them in the best way possible and provide them with solutions for their biggest problems.

A Change in Approach to Social Selling with the New LinkedIn

Old Way of Finding Prospects– Prior to the LinkedIn upgrade, I was able to easily mine through the contacts of my connections. By using the “advanced search tool” on a connection’s page, I could find contacts of my connections who could benefit from my services, by narrowing my search to a specific geographic area, job title and industry. Now, on the new LinkedIn interface, I am unable to click on “Bob Smith” and advance search his contacts for people with whom I’d like to be introduced. Advance searching on a connection’s page is now a tool for only LinkedIn Premium users.

New Way of Finding Prospects– Now, for people who don’t have LinkedIn Premium like myself (though I’m leaning towards the upgrade), the process of finding prospects is more labor-intensive.

First, start out with an advance search of all of your contacts. Be specific. Include job title and location or any other information that can really narrow your search. You can choose 2nd or 3rd connections (learn about degrees of connection here).

The biggest issue I’ve found with searching this way is I’m unable to easily limit my search to one specific industry. Since I work exclusively with business-to-business manufacturers, I don’t want to be populated with service or business to consumer companies. I only want to find manufacturers.

It’s frustrating to have to click on profiles, determine if the person fits into one of my buyer personas and then see who is connected with this person and could potentially introduce me. If you are in a sales-oriented role or HR, an upgrade to Premium may be worth it to save valuable time and money.

There are many additional changes coming to LinkedIn and the new desktop experience is expected to roll out globally to all members over the coming weeks. You can click here to view LinkedIn’ New User Interface or if you’d rather, below is a video which gives a more in-depth look at all the changes coming to LinkedIn.

An in-depth look at the new LinkedIn interface
Happy Social Selling!

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How to Increase Social Selling with LinkedIn

How to impact manufacturing sales and be ‘sticky’ with LinkedIn contacts


Why do you use LinkedIn? Are you trying to find new manufacturing sales prospects, trying to keep tabs on your customers or were you just told it’s the place to be for business professionals? Our manufacturing clients ask us all the time about how to use LinkedIn for marketing and generating leads.

As with most business relationships, familiarity leads to trust. People need to know you, like you and trust you before they will do business with you. Here’s a past blog about cultivating prospects and building trust, the old-fashioned way.

Sharing valuable content, acknowledging milestones; such as work anniversaries and truly engaging with your prospects profile is crucial to building a relationship. In this blog, you’ll learn how to strengthen relationships with your existing contacts by using various tools in LinkedIn. I call these the “sticky” tools, as they allow you to be genuine and ever-present with your contacts.

The three most useful LinkedIn tools I use are 1) Following prospects posts, 2) Liking milestones, and 3) Conversation starters (new feature).

Prospect Posts

To show you truly care, be the first to like and then comment on your prospect’s post. You can post a follow up question to really show you appreciated their post. Consider sharing the post as well. These simple tasks can be done very quickly. Your contact is monitoring their own post traffic and will certainly take notice of your action.


You may have notice notifications on the top right hand side of your LinkedIn profile, which notifies you of active LinkedIn users birthdays, job advancements, and yearly work anniversaries. From your desktop or just as easily the LinkedIn smartphone app, you can acknowledge these milestones. I find I can get through 10-15 milestone notifications in just as many seconds. Often, I will be thanked for noticing and then the reengaged prospect becomes that much more open to another conversation.

Conversation Starters

This is a very new feature from LinkedIn. I first noticed a banner on the message portion of the iPhone app. It simply said ‘reconnect.’ I clicked it and it began suggesting contacts that I had not connected with in recent months. The feature might reference a recent article they were mentioned in or a recent post. What a cool way to remind us (through their magical algorithms) just how important it is to stay top of mind. Another easy way to access this is start a new message from your desktop and click on the lightbulb idea icon. As you can see in the photo below, if you click on the idea icon, it will give you great conversation starters to break the ice with contacts you haven’t spoken with in a while.


Use the new light bulb icon to start a conversation today!

So, there you have it. Three more ways to become more than just a past connection on LinkedIn and impact manufacturing sales. Reconnect, start conversations, and be truly visible to build those crucial relationships.

Do you have a feature you love? Comment below and share.

Need Help Generating Leads with LinkedIn? Contact Us.

How to Convince Your Manufacturing CEO to Invest in Inbound Marketing

Throughout the last 2 years at Felber PR, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting with and serving incredible manufacturers. I’ve spoken with many sales and business development professionals about their marketing tactics and sales process. Often manufacturing companies make targeted products that they can only sell to specific businesses. Manufacturers know their markets well and are closely watching every move their competition makes.

However, they know that they could do a better job at tying marketing and sales together through digital marketing. The problem? Their CEO isn’t convinced about the power of inbound marketing. The CEO says things like “Our customers are just not online.” or, “I do not buy online and I just think our customers do not use the web for research. They find us through referrals.” If you want to convince your manufacturing CEO boss to invest in inbound marketing, it’s essential to illustrate the return-on-investment manufacturers receive from investing in inbound.

Here are 5 ways to persuade your boss that inbound is the best way to bring more qualified leads into the sales funnel and shorten the sales cycle.

1. Demonstrate Statistics and Growth Opportunities – Before the dawn of the Internet, trade shows were one of the main ways to reach people across the nation or the globe. Manufacturers also spent money on rep firms and printed (and mailed) thousands of catalogs. Now, with the Internet, one click and you’re able to go across the world from the comfort of your desk.

Inbound marketing opens up a treasure trove of insight on where your prospective customers live and work and more importantly what, exactly, they’re seeking. Inbound and the data provided allows your company to create more targeted communications and turn visitors into prospects. Manufacturers also gain insight insight on ways to retain the current customer base and expand sales opportunities to them. Inbound marketing provides you the opportunity to monitor your competition, stay in tune with their online presence, and keep your company at the forefront of your industry.

2. Show Cost Reduction Opportunities – Let’s face it. Old school sales and marketing isn’t cost effective. Taking your best prospects out for golf to close the deal on the 18th hole is expensive and honestly, who has time for that? Attending trade shows without a set trade show marketing plan is not only costly, but also difficult to show return-on-investment. Direct mail alone isn’t going to get you anywhere. The best way to approach your CEO about inbound marketing is by showing the potential savings by reducing direct mail and the time wasted on cold calling, and replacing with SEO, lead nurturing, content and email marketing.

3. Take Down the Misconception that Your Customers Aren’t Online – Your CEO may feel like your company has a clear grasp on getting business through referrals and cold calling, but the world has shifted. According to a study done by Google, 71% of business-to-business decision makers start their research with an online search. Research shows that business-to-business decision makers are 57% of the way down the path to making a decision before performing an action on your website. This new age of buying makes it increasingly more important to track traffic, leads, conversion rates, etc. Then, your business can have a much clearer understanding of its marketing effectiveness and tailor its efforts toward what your prospects and customers need.

4. CRM Integration Ties Marketing and Sales Together – Maybe you have a CRM (Customer Relationship Marketing) database but aren’t using it to it’s best advantage or your company has gotten by using multiple Excel spreadsheets. Whether you have a small sales team or a large international division, it is important to help sales track and work leads and customers. Let your CEO know that integrating your CRM into your inbound marketing platform allows for leads who database themselves through calls-to-action, landing pages, or form on your website to automatically be integrated into your CRM. This integration allows your sales team to follow up with leads quicker and more efficiently.

inbound-marketing-manufacturing-ceo5. Empower Your Sales Team with Better Insights On Leads
– Old world sales have been replaced with something greater and the age of cold calling is dead.  By creating a consistent stream of content (blogs, eBooks, white papers, emails) and a path to conversion (calls-to-actions, landing pages, and forms), you can track what pages people visit on your website, what content is interesting to them and get a better understanding of what your prospects are looking for and want.

Inbound empowers your sales team to pick up the phone and have the knowledge of what the prospect wants and how your company can help them. Start learning about your prospect in a whole new way and you will be amazed what they, through inbound and analytics, tell you about what they want to buy from you.

Interested in discussing how to bring your old-world manufacturing company into the digital age?

Contact Us

Why Developing Buyer Personas is Invaluable for Manufacturers

Attract Ideal Customers to Your Website with Buyer Personas

You are a manufacturer, which means most days, you are swamped between responding to customers, managing inventory, solving a technical issue and the list goes on and on. You may think you have a clear understanding of your customer base but do you really understand their behaviors, goals, challenges and demographics?

To create a sound content marketing plan, it is essential that you take the time to identify your ideal customers. This process is called creating buyer personas. Buyer personas help manufacturers identify their best prospects. The profile of your best prospect and how they buy is the buyer’s’ journey.

Note: Manufacturers should conform to the “buyers” way of purchasing and not the other way around. If you are quick to send literature or conduct a product demonstration, you’re using your process, not theirs. With 71% of B2B research starting with a generic search, manufacturers need to reach prospects digitally and engage in a completely new way.

buyer-personasWhat Are Buyer Personas?

Semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer based on select educated speculation and real data about customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals.

How to Create Personas:

1) Day in Their Life Scenario– Creating a day in the life example for your persona can help you better understand your customers challenges and motives.

2) Demographic Behavior– Identify the typical age, income, education, and location of your buyer personas.

3) Identify Goals– Knowing your persona’s goals and dreams is crucial. This helps you craft your content, products and services to help them achieve these specific goals.

4) Discover Their Pain – Does this persona have certain pain points in their day-to-day operations? Are there ways that you can reduce business interruption or bring new products or services to this person to eliminate these pain points?

5) Information Search Process– How does this person search for information? Are they at a desk or on mobile? Do they switch off their phone at dinner or are they working 24/7? You need to know how and when to contact based on their specific behaviors not how you operate.

6) Common Hesitations or Objections- Manufacturers overall are very careful and risk-averse by nature. Are there common hesitations or objections they typically have working with a company like yours? If you identify their hesitations, you can better prepare a solution to counter them. This will be an invaluable asset to your sales team.

7) Create a Story- I know, I know. You’re a manufacturer, not a writer. The idea of writing a story is daunting.. But trust me, it’s invaluable. By writing about your persona in a story format, it is much easier for everyone in your organization to recognize people that fit under that persona and it’ll provide your sales team with the skills to communicate with prospects in the way that best suits them.

Daunted? Here Are Some Ways to Make the Process Easier

  • Look through your CRM to discover trends about how your customers find and take your content (Are they at their desks or on mobile? Are they more receptive to a quick email blast or an in-depth white paper?)
  • Interview customers about what they like about your products and services.
  • Create forms on your website that capture information about that individual’s buyer persona. (Example: Size of the company, Title, Biggest 3D printing challenge, etc.)
  • Talk to your sales team. They have intelligence on your sales cycle and the customers that work best with your company. Ask them what generalizations they can make about the various customers you serve.

Buyer personas provide structure and insight for manufacturers to nurture leads through the sales process. A detailed buyer persona helps determine where to best spend your time, guide product development, and empowers your sales team with knowledge to better communicate with prospects. Then, you will be able to attract the most valuable visitors, leads, and customers to your business.

Need Help Creating Buyer Personas? Click Here.

Top Tips for Cold-Calling Prospects on Your Website

cold-calling-websiteCreepy Crawlers on Your Website or Your Next Sale?

The scary sales call is not just for Halloween..

Let’s face it, technology from George Orwell’s 1984 is alive and well on Halloween 2016. We’re a mobile society; we buy stuff with one click from Amazon and react when online retailers offer other products to go with the one we just purchased. So, why would we not want the technology to help business to business manufacturers? Yes, the “sale” is different and the cycle may be dramatically longer; but, the relationship needs to start somewhere.

When we see visitors to our website it’s now more data than the anonymous IP address traffic of the past. We see what pages they visited, what content they downloaded and just as important, who they are and the company they represent.

So, is it creepy to call immediately or really good proactive sales? If I was lost on a city block and someone offered to direct me, I would be grateful.  The same goes in searching for a solution for your business or a new product. People want information and to come up with a solution as soon as possible.  This is why you should call your possible prospect while they are actively searching for answers. Manufacturers work hard to attract visitors and hopefully future customers to their website. We use many tools, from search engine optimization and keywords to public relations and email marketing to attract qualified traffic. When they arrive, they should get a warm greeting.

Are you concerned your prospect will find your call creepy or be amazed at your use of technology? When making the call, we find it easy to quickly dispel this concern and address it head on.

If communicated with humor, an introduction like this example quickly melts the ice.

“Hello Mary, I hope this isn’t too creepy — I saw that you were visiting our website and thought I would give you a call to address any questions you might have. What were you looking for help with?”

Our experience is your prospect will laugh, but then quickly discuss what they were looking for when they found your website. Take the leap, call your prospect and do it today – within minutes of their visit.

Have fun selling!

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