Reaching 4,000 Connections on LinkedIn– What I’ve Learned


A retrospective on the past 10 years.

I recently hit a LinkedIn milestone: my 4,000th connection!  I am thinking a lot about the tool, what’s changed and how my connections have influenced my business. I joined the platform in 2008. Remember those days? We went to LinkedIn-theme networking events, usually sponsored by a self-proclaimed guru, and happily agreed to connect with just about everyone with a pulse (and a few flatliners probably as well). In those days your status was updated about every three months, no one was messaging via the platform and your PalmTreo stylus could not click on the LInkedIn app (apps did not exist). You simply were flattered if someone connected to you.


My mea culpa – I went overboard in 2009 and thought everyone wanted to be connected, whether I knew them or not. LinkedIn quickly and politely redirected my behavior. Read Denied, by LinkedIn. Boy were they right.


Content and blogging were coming of age as well.In 2009, people were posting content for the sake of content. While people were posting regular content, they had no real regard for the audience or more importantly, the audience’s experience. Blog, blog, blog soon became yada, yada, yada. With no real data beyond the occasional ‘like’, we could only go by gut reaction to tell what was working. We did not have today’s data and algorithms to even tell if we were gaining valuable connections. So we just kept posting and connecting.


The first glimpse of success – I remember reaching out to a contact to say hello, via LInkedIn. The unexpected response? “I’m great and I need your help, I am launching a new business.” What? I have finally attributed my social platform activity to real business growth. Yes, we’re still doing business today. And, the list of business clients, real paying customers from LInkedIn, has grown. See the links at the end of this article for our  How-To’s of LinkedIn.


The convergence of platforms – and my friends’ social intervention. We started tweeting with Twitter and asking for friends on Facebook (this was the predecessor to today’s less committed, ‘like’). We were spending tons of time, bopping between all the platforms, not knowing which would be the winner (remember four-square, rize and MySpace?). Then came TweetDeck and the promise to post to all platforms at the same time. SO, we did. The same message, over and over again. As a small business owner, I made no distinction between platforms – until my friends intervened. “Enough with the posts all day long. I had to turn your notifications off!” I had overstepped, again. I think they were saying enough business posts and more dog photos. Ah, the things we learn the hard way.


You’re not worthy – It was probably 2012 or 2013. People began to abuse the platform, having not seen my 2009 article about value in connections and actually knowing the person you are linking. I had a decent amount of connections then, probably north of 1,000. We all started to see what became the explosion of uninvited connection requests. My solution? I chose to start challenging those requests with a simple reply “<First name>, thanks for the invite, please refresh my memory on how we know each other.” I even had a shortcut on my now advanced smartphone (Iphone, so long PalmPilot), to quickly add this pre-written phrase.



  1. 8 of 10 went away and never responded. Good, didn’t need their weak connection anyway and they’re probably not a power-use of LinkedIn.
  2. 1 of 10 might actually respond with a “forgive the blind invite, I heard you speak…or we are connected through so and so” OK, connected!
  3. Yeah, another 10% got ticked off but who needs those negative folks in my network anyhow!


OK, maybe you’re worthy after all   So, off I went, being a bit more particular, for years. That was until I read an article about perhaps you’re being too restrictive on LInkedIn. Ah, how the pendulum had swung back. So, they might not be titled as a\our prime target of (sales manager, president, owner at a manufacturing company), but connections move around and they might have actual connections they can make for me. (see below on how to use LInkedIn to uncover prospects within your connection’s connections).


How may I help you?

So, here I am approaching (or perhaps surpassing by now, my 4,000. If we’re LinkedIn, thank you. As always, whether you’re looking for a particular service, need more professional contacts or perhaps your next career, I’m here to help – to share – to connect. Ask anyone that I accepted a connection request. I always close with “How may I help you.”


How to Write Automated Sales Emails That Don’t Feel Generic


Email automation is an amazing tool that allows salespeople to nurture prospects through the sales cycle. However, if used incorrectly, automated sales emails can be a relationship killer. We’ve all seen email automation used the completely wrong way– Spammy emails with paragraphs about why you should use their product or service, generic copy and pasted wording with zero customization. Unless you like emails sent at a frequency that completely clutters your inbox, read on. Below, learn my top tips to create strong, automated emails that are customized; allowing salespeople to strengthen relationships with their prospects and ultimately, acquire them as customers.


What is a sales sequence?


Sales sequences are a pre-written, customizable series of emails and task reminders. Sequences turn repetitive tasks, such as follow up reminders into simple, easy-to-launch messages. My manufacturing clients utilize sequences to follow up with prospects for a variety of reasons. Some examples of sequence use include: prospect went dark, called and left a voicemail, new connection on LinkedIn and trying to establish a relationship, or prospect requested sales information but has gone cold. During sales enablement training, we work with clients to identify common sales scenarios and develop a series of emails for each of them.


How to make customization easy


Many email platforms allow people to send automated emails. Our agency and our clients use HubSpot for their sales enablement needs. HubSpot allows you to customize the series of emails (typical 3-4 emails per sequence) so that you aren’t tasked with remembering to follow up with a prospect throughout the week. Since all the emails in the sequence are pre-written, customized and scheduled, it allows salespeople to quickly and efficiently focus on client accounts and other sales tasks, without having to worry if good prospects are falling through the cracks.


How to Properly Customize an Automated Sales Email


In order to explain how to customize automated sales emails work, I’ve created a mock template for a fictional client and a customized version. The client is a Henry, a VP of Business Development at an agrochemical equipment manufacturer, Sprouts Equipment. The client is looking to partner with a chemical blending company, Jameson Chemical.


Prospect Request Information Email #1 Template

Subject: The Information You Requested

Hey{{First Name}},

It was great speaking with you earlier. I enjoyed learning about INSERT COMPANY and your unique products. I found INSERT INFORMATION about you especially interesting. Below are some resources that I think you will find valuable.

  • Link 1
  • Link 2
  • Link 3

Please let me know if you have any questions or would like to set up a time to talk more in depth.


{{ contact.hubspot_owner_id }}


Prospect Requested Information Email #1 With Customization


Subject: The Information You Requested

Hey John,

It was great speaking with you earlier. I enjoyed learning about Jameson Chemical and your liquid and powder blending services. I found Jameson’s ability to reach 83% of the continental US with one-day shipping remarkable. Below are some resources that I think you will find valuable.

  • Case Study: How Sprouts Equipment agrochemical equipment increase productivity by 10%
  • Sprouts Equipment Agrochemical Equipment Brochure
  • Sprouts Equipment Wins Consumers Choice Award 2018

Please let me know if you have any questions or would like to set up a time to talk more in depth. I look forward to the possibility of partnering with Jameson Chemical.




Why This Customized Email Works


This sequence email works because it doesn’t appear to be a pre-written automated email. Henry mentioned information from their previous call which shows John that he values Jameson Chemical and the work they do. Instead of writing long paragraphs about why Sprouts Equipment is great, Henry gave John 3 strong pieces of content for John to read based upon his interest. The case study and award article especially showcase Sprouts Equipment’s strengths and add validity to the everything Henry has said since they were approved by a 3rd party.


If John does not reply to this email in the sequence, he will receive another email in 3 days with more information. If John doesn’t respond to that email, he will get another email a few days later. Many times it takes 3-4 tries to get someone to answer so the key is to not give up. As long as you’re customizing the emails and adding value, the prospect will not feel spammed.


Email automation is a powerful tool for salespeople to connect with prospects and optimize the sales process. Prospects will receive emails based upon their behavior, allowing sales managers to nurture prospect until they’ve indicated they are ready to buy. The key to using sales sequences is customization and allowing strong content to nurture your prospect through the sales cycle. Stumped on how to develop strong content? Check out the resources below.

Looking to improve your email marketing strategy? Contact us.

Why sales enablement should be part of your marketing strategy


Smarketing: The process of integrating the sales and marketing processes of a business. The objective is for the sales and marketing functions to have a common integrated approach.

Sales enablement could be the missing piece to get sales and marketing on the same page. It seems like since the dawn of time, sales and marketing have been on the complete opposite side of the spectrum. Sales thinks marketing does not get it (how sales really happen). Marketing feels like their efforts are not being recognized. Inherently both departments have the same goal, revenue growth. So, why is it so hard to get everyone on the same page?

Typically, the marketing and sales divide stems from differing ideas on what tactics are best to achieve those goals, determining who is responsible for certain tactics, and lack of coordination between departments. Marketing is focused on data and engagement. Tactics and strategies such as content development, inbound campaigns, media relations for example. The disconnect between marketing and sales becomes apparent when the benchmarks for marketing success are all measured by tasks and activities. Sales managers and CEOs cringe when marketing talks about blogs, SEO, and trade show engagement. We hear it every day, Just bring in better, more qualified, sales-ready leads!” What they are not saying is “Sales does not have time for anything that does not impact revenue.”

According to Forbes Magazine, B2B customers today are more than 70% of the way through the decision-making process before ever calling a sales representative. Then let me ask you this, which department’s strategies impact the buyer more during the first 70% of their interaction? If you just fell off your chair and realized it’s marketing, you’re not alone. Sales spending on tactics such as automation and CRM usually outpaces marketing 3 to 1.

Are you rethinking the importance of marketing’s role? Getting the two departments on the same page is not easy. You have decades of mistrust and misconceptions to overcome.

Three steps to bring your sales and marketing departments in alignment 

  1. You must agree on who your targeted prospects are and what motivates them to buy from your company. Spend the required time on buyer persons. Why Developing Buyer Personas is Invaluable for Manufacturers

       2. Determine which leads stay with marketing as Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL’s), and which leads are sales-ready (a lead developed enough to hear from a salesperson) as Sales Qualified                Leads (SQL’s). See this case study on how this is done.

       3. Have a clear and established Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) between marketing and sales. If marketing does their job and agrees to develop X amount of SQL’s to sales, will sales agree to contact each and every lead by a benchmarked and agreed amount of time? See the State of Inbound article about alignment and SLA’s). Read the article here.

Too many terms? Need a political go-between departments? Let our team be your buffer and co-pilot through the process. We’re happy to share our experience and show you how others are impacting revenue growth with a few well-coordinated discussions.

Looking to improve your email marketing strategy? Contact us.

Why a Biannual Content Audit is Essential for Sales Effectiveness


Content is an incredible tool to strengthen relationships with prospects and customers alike. If used effectively, content has the power to turn a prospect into a customer. Is your content moving the needle and bringing in sales qualified leads (SQLs)? A biannual content audit is essential to determine if your content marketing is impacting sales, and if not, figure out why it’s not working. Below, learn how to perform a biannual content audit and create a content strategy that boosts brand awareness, lead generation, and customer acquisition.

1. Organize Current Content

One of the first things we do when working with our business-to-business manufacturing clients is establishing a centralized place to organize content. We call this digital archive “The Content Vault”. In it, you will find published editorial articles, unpublished blogs, white papers, landing pages, product photos, and digital collateral, all organized in an easy and simple to find place. It is essential to establish a system and maintain it. That way, no content is falling through the cracks and your salespeople and marketing team can easily access the content they need to be successful.


2. Determine Which Prospects Should Be Targeted By Content  


When writing pieces of content, it important to keep the prospect you’re targeting in mind. Generalized content doesn’t appeal to anyone. 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. A purchasing manager and a sales engineer at a mid-level manufacturing company might both be buyers of your product or service. However, both buyer personas have their own motivations and challenges. It is essential that you have content that speaks to the persona in their language and addresses their unique problems and challenges.


3.  Determine What Stage in the Buyer’s Journey The Content Fits

Once you have identified what content is suited for each buyer persona, it is important to evaluate which stage of the buyer’s journey the piece fits into. The buyer’s journey essentially refers to the steps that your ideal buyer takes in their decision. Below, I have highlighted how content can fit into certain stages of the buyer’s journey. For this example, you are a manufacturer of commercial cabinetry looking to work with “Designer Dan”, a Director of Design for Major Retail Companies (i.e. Piada, Cabela’s Dick’s Sporting Goods, etc.)


Awareness: Blog – How Commercial Cabinets Affects the Commercial Retail Experience


Consideration: White Paper – Retail Industry Design Trends Analysis


Decision: Case Study – How American Eagle Differentiated Itself within the Commercial Retail Space


When creating content for your buyer personas, aka ideal prospects, it is important to think about their buying process, not your sales process, and writing content that talks to their unique problems and challenges and answers their questions. Note that the awareness piece is a broader topic and the consideration and decision pieces get increasingly more technical. The decision stage piece of content should always be a differentiation piece about why someone should work with you instead of your competitors. Case studies are an excellent way to show prospects that you do excellent work and give 3rd party credibility to your brand. Don’t have case studies? Stumped on how to ask your customers to be interviewed for a case study? Check out our blog, How to Convince Your Stubborn Manufacturing Customers to Participate in Case Studies

4. Writing Content with SEO Strategy in Mind


Have a lot of pieces of content written about one specific topic? Utilize that to your advantage. Search engine optimization has changed drastically. In the past, the way to rank in search was by including specific keywords or key phrases in your content. Now, the way to rank in search is more so about the volume of content you have on a specific topic. The way to beat the search algorithm is by writing a significant amount of content on a certain topic and categorizing all the related the content together. That way, Google’s search algorithm will identify you as an expert on that topic and you will rank higher when prospects are Google searching for things related to your product or service. Check out The Biggest Change in Internet Search: How to Beat the New Keyword Algorithmbiannual-content-audit for more information.

5. Filling in the Gaps

Once you’ve done an audit of your current content and organized it into a manageable system, it’s time to evaluate where the gaps are in your content and create a content plan moving forward that addresses those areas. Creating a content map is a great way to lay out your campaign strategy for the next 6 months to a year and determine the type of content necessary, graphic elements required, and where the content will be utilized. That way, your company won’t lose momentum and will be creating targeted writing that impacts lead generation and sales. Check out Why Manufacturers Need a Content Map for tips on how we design content maps with our business-to-business manufacturing clients.

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Why Manufacturing Day Should Be Part of Your Recruitment Strategy


Manufacturing is booming in the United States, yet there is one major concern holding companies back from growing to their full potential—filling the manufacturing workforce with new talent. A great way for manufacturing companies to gain community recognition and recruit strong candidates is by participating in Manufacturing Day.

Manufacturing Day falls on October 5th this year. While October may seem light years away, now is the time to start planning your company’s event. Below learn why hosting a Manufacturing Day event is important for your shop to recruit the next generation of manufacturers and the three best-attended styles of Manufacturing Day events.

What is Manufacturing Day?

Manufacturing Day, established in 2012, is a national celebration of modern manufacturing. The national initiative brings manufacturers across the continental U.S. together in a collective effort to invite students, educators, media, and business people into their facilities to educate them on manufacturing careers and change the public’s perception of the manufacturing sector.

Why All Manufacturers Should Consider Hosting a Manufacturing Day Event

Manufacturing Day has thousands of participants each year. The national celebration gives manufacturers the opportunity to promote their company on a larger scale. When manufacturing companies register their event on, the event gets added to the Manufacturing Day event map, where visitors to the website will see the event. Also, by registering the event, a landing page is created on the site to drive registration.

Participants on Manufacturing Day use the hashtag #MfgDay or #MfgDay18 to share their events and experiences. Joining the social media conversation allows manufacturers to connect with fellow manufacturers and also, build their social media following. We’ve seen Manufacturing Day post get retweeted by dignitaries, local community leaders, and industry media!

How to Keep Customer Confidentiality While Participating in Manufacturing Day

A common misconception among manufacturers is that they feel they cannot open their facilities to the public because sections of their facility that are “off-limits” due to confidentiality agreements with customers. This couldn’t be further from true. You don’t need to take visitors through every part of your facility. Seeing one facet of the shop, and learning about the product you make on one particular machine can be just as interesting to an attendee as a walk-through of the entire facility.

Stumped Deciding What Kind of Manufacturing Day Event to Plan? We’ve Got You’ve Covered.

1. Plant Tours

The most straightforward way to participate in Manufacturing Day is by hosting a plant tour. Plant tours can be anything from an elaborate event with hands-on exhibits and structured activities, to a modest tour for students and select community members. It’s really up to your company to determine what style of plant tour is most suitable for your space and also, showcases your company culture best.

If you are considering including educational institutions in your plant tour, now is the time to connect with school administrators to coordinate your Manufacturing Day event. Schools will be out of session in less than a month and school administrators will be in and out of the office throughout the summer. It is important to connect with schools as soon as possible since teachers are in the process of finalizing their 2018-2019 school year plans.

2. Job Fairs

Job fairs are a great platform to recruit the next generation of manufacturers. Often job fairs are held at a manufacturer’s facility, however, if you are looking to get a larger pool of candidates, partnering with other manufacturing companies, or a staffing firm is a great way to drive more traffic to your event. We suggest reaching out to the strong connections your company has made through manufacturing associations or networking groups like Wire-Net to see if you can collaborate.

3. Manufacturing Day Expos

Manufacturing expos are a fantastic way to create a Manufacturing Day hot spot in your community. Is your company in an industrial parkway with other manufacturers? Why not pull together and share resources to offer back-to-back plant tours at each of your facilities. This is a great way for manufacturing companies to expose visitors to a range of different industries and work environments.

Allison Miller

For more information on Manufacturing Day Events, visit the resources below:

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The Top 4 Changes in ISO 9001:2015 from 2008

This guest blog was kindly provided by Smithers Quality Assessments


The clock keeps ticking, and we keep getting closer to that now infamous due date (September 15, 2018, to be exact) for the transition of ISO 9001:2008 certifications to the updated standard of ISO 9001:2015. If you’re already certified to the former, you’re probably going through the process of determining audit dates for transition, or if you’re new to the quality management system, you may be looking at which certification body to select to help you get up to date with the latest standard. In either case, or if you’re unsure of what the best course of action will be for your organization moving forward, highlighting what’s really changed in the latest revision may help to settle uncertainty, solidify expectations, and create a clear direction.

At first glance, the new standard appears different, and may even feel a little different after reviewing it for the first time. However, ISO 9001:2015 is actually very similar to its predecessor ISO 9001:2008.  In fact, if you exclude the more subtle or simple changes, there are four important changes to be found in the latest revision:

1. Processes Emphasis – The goal of this addition is to prompt organizations to really think about their processes, to define them clearly and who’s responsible for what. For example, start by asking yourself these questions: What are your processes specifically? Who will run them? How will you monitor and measure them?

2. Risk Management Concept – Every business owner, operator, or manager must consider the risk involved with many of the decision they make, or the actions they take on a regular basis. For instance: Do you bring on a new supplier? Yes or no? Should you pick up a new customer or job? Do you have the resources or organization bandwidth to provide the necessary services? Can you hire a new employee? These are all examples of risk related issues. As it pertains to the revised ISO 9001:2015 standard, it is now a requirement of the updated quality management system to start thinking about risk and as mentioned in process emphasis, start mapping it out by clearly defining it.

3. No Required Procedures – Unlike in ISO 9001:2008, the revised standard does not contain a structured set of required procedures that you must incorporate into your processes. However, that doesn’t mean that you can have none in place. Instead, the goal of this flexibility is to allow companies the authority to decide which procedures are most applicable to them, which ones to keep or get rid of, and what additional ones should be added to produce the best results.

4. Top Management Must Own its QMS – Another focus for ISO 9001:2015 is the encouragement of top management within organizations to own their quality management system. So, whether it’s the President, VP, or General Manager, the emphasis is on these roles taking a more active role in the development, implementation, measurement, and responsibility of their company’s processes, and not simply delegating it all to quality manager.

As it was mentioned earlier, the above is not an all-encompassing list of the changes or variations between ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 9001:2008, but the rest of the changes are subtler and should not overly influence your transition or audit. To learn more about the benefits of ISO 9001:2015, download Smithers Quality Assessment’s gap analysis sheet.

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Media Appointments That Are Out of This World – Case Study, Fabrisonic LLC.

Want to get the media’s attention? Want them to tweet just how curious they are about your company (to the thousands that follow them)? Fabrisonic LLC, a client of Felber PR & Marketing since 2014, produces metal parts via additive manufacturing. Read on to see this out of the world story of how a pre-show media promotion got Fabrisonic social media recognition and press to follow.

Why manufacturers should engage industry media prior to trade shows

Journalists and the stories they write in trade publications can often be a great source of lead generation for manufacturers. The two-part series we previously published How to Attain Media Interviews at Industrial Trade Show explains the importance of media engagement and also, provides a step-by-step guide to create strong media relationships that lead to press.

How 6-Year-Old Startup Fabrisonic Generated Out-of-this-World Press at a Recent Trade Show

Additive manufacturing is a competitive industry and new companies are popping up left and right. Fabrisonic recently attended and exhibited RAPID 2018, a 3D manufacturing trade show which attracts thousands of attendees every year. Fabrisonic’s 10’ x 10’ booth may have appeared small in comparison to its mega-million-dollar competitors but they made a mighty impression on industry media prior to the show that generated significant traffic to their booth. Fabrisonic’s CEO and President, Mark Norfolk, had 13 media interviews throughout RAPID 2018 that lead to stories, and credible, published stories lead to qualified inquiries. Oh, and Fabrisonic’s booth neighbors complained all the media and other attendee traffic they were receiving. We’re SO sorry about that, not!

Now you may be asking yourself, “This sounds great but doesn’t it take work?” The answer is absolutely, but the exposure and recognition that comes with press is a worthy investment.

Problem: Engage media so they book appointments with CEO during a tradeshow

Editors and writers are busy, just like all of us. You need to quickly and succinctly get their attention. They need to see value in reporting on your company and MUST see the connection to their reader. They get tons of email and phone pitches. How can you possibly get confirmed on their calendar during a jam-packed three-day tradeshow?

Solution:  Send an engaging package with a themed message with an invite to meet

Focusing on Fabrisonic’s Out of this World news about their NASA achievement, we designed a package and sent each journalist their very own treat of astronaut ice cream. Yes, you still need to reach out via phone and follow-up emails, but now you have their attention.

Did it work? Check out these posts from journalists in US and England (complete with photos of the package sent!).

 “Okay, @Fabrisonic3D – you have my attention! Looking forward to catching up at @RAPID_Event



“Just in time for the heatwave! …next-gen heat exchangers for @NASA coming soon…”

Results: 13 booked appointments and 2 other booth visits from journalists

In addition to the story-yielding interviews, social media before and during the show drove heavy booth traffic starting on day one of the three-day show. Journalists not only reposted our social media to their audiences, they also responded to outreach via this channel.

Those extra efforts – monitoring show hashtags

The team at Felber PR also monitors all the social streaming from our client’s tradeshow. Recently, two journalists posted to the twitter-verse that they were at the show and “let’s meet up.” We emailed the journalist the CEO’s mobile number and a text message resulted in another interview meeting. All this by simply paying attention to the feed.

Click to read some articles that came from the show:

3D Printing Industry:

Working with reporters and editors is the same as sales. It all starts with the relationship. Click to download our Trade Shows for Manufactures eBook below to discover how you can engage media at your next trade show.


To Download our Trade Shows for Manufacturers Guide, click the photo below. 

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6 Reasons Why B2B Manufacturing Companies Need Automation


Manufacturers care most about finding new ways to grow, excel at product quality while still being able to take on short lead-time production runs from customers. New business models often bring the paradox of new product lines that strain existing ERP, CRM and PLM systems by the need always to improve time-to-customer performance. New products are proliferating in manufacturing today, and delivery windows are tightening. Manufacturers are turning to machine learning to improve the end-to-end performance of their operations and find a performance-based solution to this paradox.

The ten ways machine learning is revolutionizing manufacturing in 2018 include the following:

  • Improving semiconductor manufacturing yields up to 30%, reducing scrap rates, and optimizing fab operations are is achievable with machine learning. Attaining up to a 30% reduction in yield detraction in semiconductor manufacturing, reducing scrap rates based on machine learning-based root-cause analysis and reducing testing costs using AI optimization are the top three areas where machine learning will improve semiconductor manufacturing. McKinsey also found that AI-enhanced predictive maintenance of industrial equipment will generate a 10% reduction in annual maintenance costs, up to a 20% downtime reduction and 25% reduction in inspection costs. Source: Smartening up with Artificial Intelligence (AI) – What’s in it for Germany and its Industrial Sector?


  • Asset Management, Supply Chain Management, and Inventory Management are the hottest areas of artificial intelligence, machine learning and IoT adoption in manufacturing today. The World Economic Forum (WEF) and A.T. Kearney’s recent study of the future of production find that manufacturers are evaluating how combining emerging technologies including IoT, AI, and machine learning can improve asset tracking accuracy, supply chain visibility, and inventory optimization. Source: Technology and Innovation for the Future of Production: Accelerating Value Creation 


  • Manufacturer’s adoption of machine learning and analytics to improve predictive maintenance is predicted to increase 38% in the next five years according to PwC. Analytics and MI-driven process and quality optimization are predicted to grow 35% and process visualization and automation, 34%. PwC sees the integration of analytics, APIs and big data contributing to a 31% growth rate for connected factories in the next five years. Source: Digital Factories 2020: Shaping the future of manufacturing


  • McKinsey predicts machine learning will reduce supply chain forecasting errors by 50% and reduce lost sales by 65% with better product availability. Supply chains are the lifeblood of any manufacturing business. Machine learning is predicted to reduce costs related to transport and warehousing and supply chain administration by 5 to 10% and 25 to 40%, respectively. Due to machine learning, overall inventory reductions of 20 to 50% are possible. Source: Smartening up with Artificial Intelligence (AI) – What’s in it for Germany and its Industrial Sector?


  • Improving demand forecast accuracy to reduce energy costs and negative price variances using machine learning uncovers price elasticity and price sensitivity as well. Honeywell is integrating AI and machine-learning algorithms into procurement, strategic sourcing and cost management. Source: Honeywell Connected Plant: Analytics and Beyond


  • Automating inventory optimization using machine learning has improved service levels by 16% while simultaneously increasing inventory turns by 25%.AI and machine learning constraint-based algorithms and modeling are making it possible scale inventory optimization across all distribution locations, taking into account external, independent variables that affect demand and time-to-customer delivery performance. Source: Transform the manufacturing supply chain with Multi-Echelon inventory optimization



  • Improving the accuracy of detecting costs of performance degradation across multiple manufacturing scenarios reduces costs by 50% or more. Using real-time monitoring technologies to create accurate data sets that capture pricing, inventory velocity, and related variables gives machine learning apps what they need to determine cost behaviors across multiple manufacturing scenarios. Source: Leveraging AI for Industrial IoT


  • A manufacturer was able to achieve a 35% reduction in test and calibration time via accurate prediction of calibration and test results using machine learning. The project’s goal was to reduce test and calibration time in the production of mobile hydraulic pumps. The methodology focused on using a series of machine learning models that would predict test outcomes and learn over time. The process workflow below was able to isolate the bottlenecks, streamlining test and calibration time in the process. Source: The Value Of Data Science Standards In Manufacturing Analytics


  • Improving yield rates, preventative maintenance accuracy and workloads by the asset is now possible by combining machine learning and Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE). OEE is a pervasively used metric in manufacturing as it combines availability, performance, and quality, defining production effectiveness. Combined with other metrics, it’s possible to find the factors that impact manufacturing performance the most and least. Integrating OEE and other datasets in machine learning models that learn quickly through iteration are one of the fastest growing areas of manufacturing intelligence and analytics today. Source: TIBCO Manufacturing Solutions

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6 Reasons why B2B Manufacturing Companies Need Marketing Automation


Marketing automation has revolutionized the way many industries and business sectors manage their marketing efforts. The B2B manufacturing industry, though heavily automated on the shop floor, may not have made the most of embracing automation for their sales and marketing activities. Yet. To compete in the digital environment where customers live (and buy)- B2B manufacturers need to kick off their marketing technology stack with a marketing automation tool.

Here are 6 compelling reasons why marketing automation is a basic need for every B2B manufacturer:

1. Improved conversion

Lead scoring – Marketing Automation can improve lead scoring which in turn can ensure the sales team gets a set list of qualified leads to work on. This can serve as a major win for manufacturing firms who have several distribution channels.

With a streamlined, customized and consistent communication process, marketing automation can help optimize the sales process by closing leads quicker. Marketing Automation shortens and improves the lead identification time. Without it, a sales executive would have to manually identify prospects and also identify which stage of their buying journey they are at before customizing brand communication accordingly. When the time taken to identify the right prospects at the right stage of the journey is reduced, marketing and sales executives can spend more time on creating campaigns and crafting messages that actively help increase conversions.

  • Marketing automation can save time, money and effort on chasing prospects not ready to buy (by identifying leads that most likely will).
  • By identifying what stage of the buying journey the prospect is in, it helps the team chase hottest prospects first while nurturing the others with other communication in parallel.
  • Marketing automation supports the plan to develop engaging content that can effectively lead prospects through the typical sales funnel.
  • Easy A/B testing at scale and easy tweaking and testing of messages become possible for improved conversions based on what resonated most.

2. Stronger Understanding of the Buyer Persona to Understand Shift in Buying Behavior

Buyers today want a more personalized experience and marketers across industries are striving to give them just that. Marketing Automation can allow manufacturing industry marketers to use forms, customer content and improved workflows to understand their online buyer’s persona, their current challenges and which stage of their buying journey they are currently. Marketing teams across industries invest in understanding the buyer’s persona because it helps create marketing strategies that marketing teams across industries invest in understanding the buyer’s persona because it helps create marketing strategies that are more specific to this persona. Marketing Automation tracks engagement thereby helping marketers and data analysts constantly improve the messaging and customization

Buyer intent and behavior – Real-time data and analytics can allow manufacturers to gather insightful information on their page visitors. With advanced marketing automation software, they can access a prospect’s log (of all the pages they’ve viewed on the website and the time spent on each), every email open and the time spent on it, every piece of content they hovered over more, thereby indicating interest for a product or service.

These insights serve as strong signals because a prospect’s behavior can help know what particular product or service they are interested in or need. It also helps gauge how seriously they are considering your company as a vendor.

  • Marketing automation software can be configured to collect and store information about how customers interact with the manufacturer’s communication efforts
  • Marketing automation gives critical behavioral information and in turn, can help facilitate meaningful conversations with customers in real time

3. Improving sales and marketing alignment, efficiencies:

Integrating marketing automation with CRM, for instance, eliminates manual processes and helps streamline activities

When labor intensive marketing and sales processes like direct mail are automated, it frees up the time of the team to focus on another activity. Marketing Automation software will not only help with customer segmentation, but it will also allow automation of dynamic responses that drive conversions.

Syncing is in today! Often, there is a gap between teams, and manufacturing is no stranger to this. It also makes it easier to share data across business levels and functions for a more centralized view and overall process. Shared CRM data can help teams minimize duplication of efforts related to customer management too.

4. Optimizing the overall customer journey and CX

Marketing Automation offers marketers in manufacturing a stronger chance at planning a seamless customer journey across multiple platforms and touchpoints. It enables better lead targeting at the top of the sales funnel to a smoother email marketing campaign process. Furthermore, when you customize your marketing automation tool it can lead to the timely execution of campaigns while also helping to reduce the time taken to plan and execute campaigns across buying stages: from lead nurturing campaigns for mid-funnel prospects to campaigns that are specifically needed to drive conversions of those leads at the bottom of the funnel.

A marketing automation software, like HubSpot can help marketers in manufacturing run a successful ongoing contact program at scale.

All of this contributes to a seamless brand experience. It reduces the chances of unattended customer doubts or delayed follow-ups.

Here’s another added advantage, a good marketing automation software can also ensure there are no lags in customer follow-ups due to churn in sales and marketing because it provides a steady flow of communication updates and predictions.

5. Real-time analytics and reporting

Marketing Automation provides detailed reports on the performance of every campaign. Marketers in manufacturing can use this to identify what is working and what isn’t as also the ROI on marketing investments. Compared to measuring outcomes and ROI manually from trade shows, print campaigns, brochures and other traditional marketing methods that are common to manufacturing, marketing automation offers speed, efficiency, and accuracy.

6. Better Partner Management

Manufacturing companies need to manage relationships with their channel partners. A good relationship helps have a smooth supply chain. Marketing Automation helps manage these complex relationships at scale by automating all the communications, reminders and other notifications based on pre-defined triggers. A Marketing Automation tool helps by allowing manufacturers to keep track of the many conversations, segment different channel partners based on business priority and value, maintain individual profiles, etc.

Marketing Automation was never meant for any one sector. Customers- whether B2B or B2C- have come to have high expectation from marketers when it comes to personalization, relevance, and responsiveness. Marketing automation platforms help marketers deliver all that in a way that is fairly simple for non-technical marketers to execute, track and measure.

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How Lake Effect Snow was No Match for the (HubSpot) Cloud

lake-effect-snow-hubspot-cloud-hubspot-grand-river-rubber-and-plasticsMarch 2nd, 2018 was a chaotic winter workday that all Northeast Ohioans know too well.   Our city’s school district was on a 2-hour delay with heavy snow on the roads, the dog wanted to go out and play, and the driveway needed to be cleared. I quickly accepted that getting to the office that morning would also be delayed.

Once I finished my “snow day” tasks and my teen drivers were off to school, I felt like everything was falling back into place. I ran my 10 am video call from my kitchen and afterward, took a much-appreciated shower The plan was to dress quickly and drive to the office. But as we all know, in business and life, sometimes things don’t go according to plan and you have to be prepared to adapt.  I came out to find three text messages and an urgent call for help from our client, Grand River Rubber and Plastics.

The Client Crisis:

Apparently, our client further north of us got slammed with heavy snow, sleet, and ice so bad that all power and phones were knocked out for 24 hours with no relief in sight for another day. Customers’ orders were not being received or acknowledged and they had lost several shifts of production.

Despite the unfortunate act of fate and the chaos that came with it, Grand River Rubber & Plastics wanted to notify customers and colleagues of the situation as quickly as possible. Flashback one year prior to today’s snowmageddon, the company had hired us to impact lead generation via inbound marketing as well as utilizing public relations and social media. Customers were increasingly using new forms to communicate and marketing activities were generating new leads – – all being recorded and documented in their new customer relationship manager (CRM), and you guessed it, in the cloud.

The Communication Solution: The cloud came to their rescue that day. With my laptop still warmed up from my video call, I quickly accessed their HubSpot CRM online, drafted an email with pertinent information and sent to their 750+ registered contacts. Simply the urgent message and what was being done. Within the same HubSpot portal, the message was immediately posted to their company LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The Aftermath:

Fortunately, power was restored over the weekend. I updated the Grand River Rubber & Plastics social channels. The company was now able to once again access their server, the internet and update their customers directly.

Grand River Rubber & Plastics’ HubSpot platform, a CRM and inbound marketing platform in one portal, allowed our team to share the urgent message with customers quickly and efficiently across email, social media and web. Snow, sleet, and ice may have started the fight but the cloud (and inbound marketing) came to the rescue. Contact Us