Manufacturing companies have been figuring out ways to automate repeatable processes for over two centuries. Automation, in one form or another, has been driving the improvement of manufacturing since the first industrial revolution.
Today, manufacturers have an opportunity to improve their sales and marketing performance by implementing automation strategies as they have throughout history. However, many manufacturers have built their empires using more labor intensive marketing methods such as tradeshows, direct mail and printed catalogs combined with a manual lead management process managed by the sales team.
While some manufacturers have begun to adopt some digital strategies into their sales & marketing programs, companies who implement an automation strategy have the opportunity to gain a major advantage over their competition.
Advantages of Marketing Automation in Manufacturing include:
- Improved engagement through consistent and relevant follow up
- Intelligent segmentation for accurate messaging
- Advanced reporting on prospect interest and activity
- Reduced labor and human interaction
Below are a few tips to follow when introducing a B2B marketing automation solution for a manufacturing company.
1. Select the right Marketing Automation Solution
There are a lot of marketing automation applications on the market. Prices range from free to over $3K per month.
- Objectives: What are you expecting to achieve by implementing a marketing automation solution? Make a list.
- Functionality: Make a list of features you will require for your solution (email templates, lead scoring, SEO tools, etc.).
- Integrations: Do you plan on integrating any other systems or platforms? (CRM, Social Media etc.)
- Cost: What is your budget for marketing automation? Expected timeframe for ROI?
2. Create a Game Plan for Implementation:
Addressing the following topics prior to implementation will help to get the solution up and running in less time and eliminate obstacles later. Your game plan will also provide a point of reference when contemplating changes.
- Make a list of all content are you offering to attract potential buyers to your company’s website.
- Ensure you are you offering content for all personas and stages of the buying cycle.
- Identify pieces of content that will require contact information be submitted in order to access.
- Determine how will you engage with these leads and nurture them through the sales cycle.
- Establish a campaign calendar to stay in front of updates and content development.
- Forms: Plan the fields you will require for conversion. This can differ form to form. For example, a white paper download may just require a name and email address, but a “Get a Quote” form would ask for more details. Use progressive profiling to present new form fields for leads who have already converted but want additional content. This keeps forms short while you continuously gather additional information.
- Segment: Establish lists based on the content the visitor accessed (or how they converted), plus any other criteria that is important to your sales team such as title, geography, lead source and vertical.
- Lead Scoring: By establishing values for visitor activity on your site, you have the ability to track your visitor’s behavior. As visitors engage in different actions on your site, their lead score increases. You will set the values for every possible action on your site.
- Assignment: Based on the action values, determine an accumulated lead score total that would constitute a sales qualified lead and be assigned to the sales team.
- Automation: Depending on your system, automations can be set to manage a number of actions including: lead assignment, list segmentation, activity notification, and drip/nurture campaign management.
Identifying and documenting these details prior to implementation will help to guide your implementation and eliminate struggles down the road.
3. Sales Team:
Since your sales team is on the front lines, it is important you have them on board as the new system is rolled out.
Develop a collaborative engagement with the sales team in order to:
- Set up groups for accurate lead assignment.
- Understand questions and objections they get on a regular basis to help with content development.
- Review the messaging used in the emails (especially if the emails show as being sent from them).
- Keep them informed of new campaigns and offers.
- Have a clear understanding of both departmental and individual goals in the sales department.
- Discuss the lead scoring criteria and what constitutes a Sales Qualified Lead.
- Show the sales team how watching prospect activity can help them better understand and communicate with their prospects.
Research shows marketing automation software only has a 3% adoption rate in non-tech companies*. That’s great news for manufacturers who want to get ahead and gain an advantage over the competition.
Automate, then dominate!