Is your manufacturing plant's summer shutdown looming? Take this opportunity to evaluate and boost your marketing plan. For many manufacturers, focus on production, cost reduction and human resource issues often leave little time for lead generation. Use the next few weeks to evaluate and hone your sales process, ensuring enough new business to keep those newly-maintained machines running.
Take Stock of Your Sales Successes
Now is a good time to review the first half of 2017 from a marketing and sales perspective. As you reflect on 2017 to date, give your company an honest evaluation by asking these questions:
- How many new prospects did you engage with? Whether from a phone call, referral, website visitor or trade show, determine the number of people you spoke to about your business and products. Pay attention to how you generated those connections and make note of any channels that seemed to under perform.
- How many new customers did you get from those interactions? Tracking this is a challenge, but knowing your sales funnel conversion data will help you focus your efforts for the rest of 2017.
- Does your website make the grade? When you visit your company's website, does it compel you to click through? Look at the messaging and determine whether you'd read on. Look for elements like how to contact your company, images of your products, buttons and forms to collect data about your visitors, etc. If your homepage isn't compelling to you, it's even less compelling to your visitors.
- Do you have a social media presence? Open your company's LinkedIn and Facebook pages and see when the last post was made. If it was more than a week ago, you've got some work to do. Do the same for your personal LinkedIn account.
- When was the last time you picked up the phone to call a prospect? This is a necessary part of industrial marketing, but one that most people really don't like. Sometimes it is just the idea of cold calling that makes companies stop in their tracks. Other times their contact data is bad. Making meaningful connections with your prospects is key to turning them into customers, and often live conversations can make all the difference.
Take Another (or first) Look at Your Marketing Plan, and Get to Work
So now that you know where you stand and what's working, get started on your lead generation so you can end 2017 on target.
- Get caught up on emails and outstanding RFQs. Follow-up with your leads and make sure they have all they need to make the decision to go with your product. Consider implementing a better sales process or even a CRM so that nobody falls through the cracks.
- Open your personal LinkedIn account and answer those requests. Take a few minutes to evaluate your messaging and start commenting on, liking and sharing posts that are meaningful to companies you're targeting. Look into upgrading your account to take advantage of LinkedIn's Sales Navigator.
- Make the needed updates to your website. Make it easy for a contact to get in touch or submit an RFQ. Add images, videos and case studies to give visitors a reason to stay. If what you do isn't clear, simplify your message. More is not better here; be succinct.
- Meet with your sales team and get their ideas about how to grow your sales funnel. We're so often on "go mode" and fail to think about how to connect with more prospects or the potential for new channels and industries to explore. Get together with your salespeople, distributors and manufacturing leadership to develop new directions for your products and the prospective buyers.
I'm not suggesting that you don't need some time off this summer, but taking a hard look at your marketing and sales activity during plant downtime will ensure you meet your annual sales goals. Don't forget your competitors are doing the same thing. If you're feeling overwhelmed, consider engaging with a lead generation firm to help you fill your sales funnel. Acadia offers a no-cost assessment of your company's marketing and sales to develop the best plan that fits your goals and budget.