Manufacturing companies aren’t generally known for being lead generation powerhouses. More often than not, they focus on product development - coming up with innovative products - and not on the process of taking new products to market and making sure they're commercialized effectively.
But that’s starting to change. As purchasers are getting more autonomous and relying less on sales people, manufacturers are having to get better at lead generation and strategic marketing. Lead generation is becoming a strategic tool, not just a sales support function for manufacturing companies.
Here are three guidelines to help manufacturers steer their lead generation in a strategic direction.
Focus on benefits to the customer - not features of the product
The most important thing for manufacturers to think about in strategic lead generation is the customer, not the product or service they’re promoting. That can be difficult for manufacturers, whose first inclination is to focus on the features and specifications of the solution they’re promoting. But when it comes to lead generation, the key to success is to focus on benefits to the customer, not features of the product. When manufacturers can demonstrate how customers will benefit from using the product, they're more likely to capture the attention of prospects.
According to research, only 44% of manufacturers use buyer personas to define their target market. That’s a big opportunity for improvement. By creating personas of who will use and buy their products, marketers get much better at speaking the language of those decision makers, understanding the benefits that will matter to them and ensure the right message is heard.
The best way for marketers to understand customers is to talk with them. That may sound blindingly obvious – but it’s rarely done. Other ways for marketers to understand customers is to speak with customer service reps, sales people, and anyone who has direct contact with customers.
By focusing on the customer – not the product – manufacturers become more effective in conveying the BENEFITS that their solution provides – and that means better lead generation.
Use a variety of lead generation methods
Trade shows were the mainstay of lead generation for manufacturers for decades. But today customers have many more ways to learn about new products. Manufacturers need to use more lead generation methods in order to raise awareness and get on the radar of potential buyers. While trade shows are still important in lead generation for manufacturers, these other tools need to be added to the mix:
- Email marketing
- Digital Advertising
- Social Media
- Customer Appreciation Events
The benefit of these lead generation methods is that they are less costly than exhibiting at trade shows, they have global reach, and they’re available all year-round, all day long.
Lead generation isn’t only for attracting customers - it can help attract new employees too
As a generational shift takes place in manufacturers across North America, many companies are focused on attracting millennial workers. If a company’s public image (its website and social media presence, in particular) is outdated, that makes it much harder to appeal to the younger generation.
75% of people judge the credibility of a company based on the design of its website alone. Lead generation, then, has the important role of not just attracting customers, but of attracting the next generation of talent that will ensure manufacturers succeed in the decades ahead.
Interested in which marketing tools are most effective for manufacturers and which social media platforms are most used? Download: