B2B Articles - September 23, 2016

5 Sales Generation Tips for Industrial Manufacturing

sales-enablement-benefits-iconIndustrial manufacturers are under pressure to improve plant productivity, enhance competitiveness, and meet customer demands for innovation. Yet some manufacturers may be reluctant amidst market uncertainty and memories of 2001 and 2008 economic hits. These 5 sales generation tips for industrial manufacturing can help combat industry headwinds.

Sales generation for industrial manufacturing focuses on the intersection of digital marketing, lead generation and sales enablement efforts.


The techniques addressed in this article focus on high touch sales processes and techniques that support low touch eCommerce sales. Lead nurturing and lead management may be employed more specifically with high touch processes that have long sales cycles. However, many manufacturers are investing more in their eCommerce operations. See the growth (below) of eCommerce for manufacturers in the US.

Chart: U.S. manufacturing shipments e-commerce value from 2011 to 2014, by sector (in millions U.S. dollars)

Making tactical choices to increase sales, the company can see positive returns on investment enabling technological innovation. Data shows that manufacturers are increasing their investment in advertising spend in order to increase sales.

Chart: Manufacturing industry: Advertising spending as percent of sales in the miscellaneous manufacturing industries industry in the United States. Data from 2011 to 2015

#1 Content Fuels Interest and Action

Some 94% of B2B buyers research online before making purchasing decisions. This makes the website critical to the company's first impression. Consider these best practices:

  • Clearly define the manufacturer value proposition
  • Outline goals based on prospect's anticipated pain points, such as: cost reduction, impact of financial market developments, ability to vet local partners, design for local markets, lack of scalability, warranty management, etc.
  • Make design of content and website impactful, accessible and inspiring
  • Provide interesting, valuable content
  • Insure calls-to-action are easy to read, find and understand
  • Guarantee site is mobile friendly.

Only 28 percent of industrial manufacturers claimed to be at or near full capacity, up 8 points from Q1 but 11 points below a year ago (39 percent)— PwC Manufacturing Barometer, 2016 Q2

#2 Lead: Generation, Management, Nurturing.

Lead management, lead scoring, progressive profiling and validation systems can each help scale up marketing-to-sales efforts intelligently–allowing teams to focus on hitting goals. In attracting and converting qualified sales leads:

  • Build campaigns that improve customer acquisition and retention.
  • Study what content and efforts assisted in the conversion of a lead.
  • Set strategic monthly goals: 1. leads per month and 2. sales qualified leads per month
  • Make your monthly goals progressive. Don’t just throw out a large number and hope for the best

Nurture leads using more strategic communications based on the leads’ role, buying capabilities, company capabilities, lead behavior, activities, pain points and interests. Gather data from the user and regarding customer activity across the entire funnel. Don't forget to focus on customer retention.

Only 17 percent of manufacturers reported international sales rising, while nearly half (48 percent) reported them down, or a net -31 percent lower. — PwC Manufacturing Barometer, 2016 Q2

Sales Industrial Manufacturing Net sales internationally. Image source: PWC

#3 Practice permission-based marketing

A lead should be voluntary. Stop buying email lists and cold calling. Here's some info into why cold calling doesn't work. Instead develop a campaign strategy across the many channels available to establish audience trust, prove business authority, and demonstrate thought leadership.

Creating content that nurtures each buying stage will enhance relationships with prospects down the funnel. Provide quality content that adds value for the target audience and addresses their specific pain points. Use landing pages with lead conversion forms to attract and capture lead data--rather than pointing prospects to dead ends in a website.

sales generation tips

Related reading: Outbound Marketing vs. Inbound Marketing – Which is Better?

#4 Make data-driven decisions on both sides: marketing and sales

As industrial manufacturing operations evolve to embrace data-driven functionalities and connected factories, the marketer in this industry must also collect and transform data into business intelligence.

The sales lifecycle, for instance, can be tracked using an enterprise Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or a marketing automation system–most often a combination of both. Aligning the sales and marketing reporting tools can help close the gap between website activity and the sales process.

Consider using data points to understand lead interest and progressive profiling to capture more clear data on the lead's buying capabilities.

  • What content are they browsing?
  • Does the content they are browsing, downloading or engaging with shed light into their buying intent or stage?
  • Can we use content offers (factsheets, datasheets, case studies) to motivate prospects and leads to share information about their role, company, pain points, interests or budget?
  • Use marketing automation to track old leads that are browsing the website (re-awakened leads)

Hubspot CRM lead profile

Studying sales trends using the CRM can also help marketing and sales identify drivers for current conversion rates (or the lack of conversions). Just as data is used to inform factory output, unemotional review of marketing data can reduce wasted efforts and boost optimization of the company’s digital presence.

Only 29 percent of industrial manufacturing CEOs expressed optimism about the global economy. — PwC Manufacturing Barometer, 2016 Q2

#5 Capitalize quickly on interest

Factory workers are trained to quickly stop the line in the event of a safety issue or product quality concern. Guaranteeing desired levels of output demands the company constantly monitor productivity and act proactively. The same thinking applies to sales generation.

The industrial manufacturing marketer must respond promptly to leads and opportunities.

CRM tracking and sales enablement tools

Using an automated workflow, the marketer can set triggers for publishing or sending relevant content providing context into the company’s value proposition.

Email marketing drip campaign sequence

With fewer manufacturers operating near full capacity, and revenue growth declining, the marketer must quickly capitalize on a prospects’ interest.

Manufacturers’ concern about decreasing profitability over the next 12 months rose to 32 percent. — PwC Manufacturing Barometer, 2016 Q2

Sales generation depends on the industrial manufacturing marketer marrying all of these strategies. Focus on communicating a clear value, to a specific target, and educating, informing and delighting the customer.

Improve lead generation efforts. B2B lead generation agency.

Sales generation tips for Industrial Manufacturing sources:
Bono, R. & Pillsbury, S. (2016). 2016 Industrial Manufacturing Trends. https://www.strategyand.pwc.com/perspectives/2016-manufacturing-trends
PWC. (2016, July). Manufacturing Barometer: Business outlook report July 2016. https://www.pwc.com/us/en/industrial-manufacturing/assets/pwc-manufacturing-barometer-q2-2016.pdf

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