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.
5. 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.