Skip to content

How to build a lead generation machine for a manufacturing company

How to build a lead generation machine for a manufacturing company

To grow and thrive, business-to-business (B2B) companies, especially manufacturers, need a solid lead generation plan and the ability to execute the plan. 

This blog post is the first in a series highlighting the lessons our client learned on the journey to increasing leads tenfold and filling their sales pipeline with $400 million worth of potential deals in under one year. These lessons can be used by any manufacturing and B2B company as a formula for success to accelerate growth and realize real results. 

It’s a guide that walks you through a successful process, helps you understand how the process changes your sales and marketing functions and offers a window into how and why developing a high-performance lead generation engine works. 

When we began working with our client, she had a mandate to grow the business - along with an almost non-existent lead generation program consisting of a basic website, product brochures, print ads in industry publications, and attendance at trade shows. In a typical month, their website generated no more than 50 queries. 

This is a typical scenario for many manufacturing companies. This manufacturer wanted more. Her vision: a high-performance lead generation engine that would kickstart that desired growth.

Today, their fully-digital approach is getting noticed by new prospects, creating engagement with customers, and generating hundreds of leads each month.

How did they do it?

By developing, and following through on a methodical plan of action.

In order to continue on a healthy growth trajectory, they needed to modernize and scale their marketing and lead generation. 

Lesson #1:

Build alignment with a solid business case

The first step was to get all of the decision-makers for the organization on the same page. 

Her vision: a high-performance lead generation engine that would kickstart that desired growth.

Our client knew that effective lead generation is the engine that drives sales and ultimately, the bottom line. Rather than throwing more money at salaries for trade shows and cold calls, scaling would require a complete shift in perspective. What she needed was a way to explain this concept to the c-suite of her organization and get their buy-in on some major marketing advancements. For this well-known global manufacturer, the best way to share this information was a thorough and descriptive business case. 

This foundational document lays out the details of the plan, including timing, budget and what they expect to happen and what exactly will need to change. Ultimately, it sets the stage for what to expect and long-term success. 

With a presence in every corner of the world, this company has a complex portfolio of products and services - but they still weren’t realizing their full potential. With a mandate to grow, they made significant changes to their marketing processes and no longer rely on doing the same things, the same way, as they had been doing for many years. 

“We’ve always done things this way,” is a hurdle all changemakers face, no matter what industry they’re in.

When developing a business case designed to sway decision-makers towards buy-in, be sure to account for a certain amount of skepticism and be ready to address questions. And remember, it takes time and effort to persuade people to change course and speed. Large companies can be particularly resistant to change and do not move on a dime. 

In her business case, our client answered one big question: “why lead generation?” She built alignment and set expectations by demonstrating the value lead generation would bring to the company. She educated her team about the difference between demand generation and lead generation, and why lead generation was right for their business. 

Her business case also outlined three key reasons why their company needed a modern lead generation program:

1. To consistently feed the pipeline.

2. To keep her company competitive and to be there whenever buyers were searching for solutions. 

3. To build relationships and drive growth.

Building a growth engine is an exercise in change management. To be successful, companies will need to be open to changing deeply entrenched attitudes and retool equally entrenched processes. Getting your team in sync with a lead generation mindset takes time and a mix of inside knowledge and external expertise. Like the decision-makers, sales teams and customers will also need to be educated about what to expect due to changes. 

Taking the time and making the effort to get alignment at the beginning, made all the difference for our client. With a clear plan to follow and approval from the top, they were ready to get started.  

Lead generation programs differ on levels of quality, efficiency and state of repair, just like car engines. Paying attention and watching for changes, along with frequent tuning and maintenance is the only way to get to a ‘high-performance engine’ that moves businesses forward with efficiency and speed. 

Today, our clients’ lead generation machine is scaled to a much larger global initiative covering 10 product lines around the world. Those campaigns are now producing 500+ leads a month, far more efficiently and cost-effectively than previous efforts.

To learn more, read the whitepaper which outlines all the lessons that can be used by other manufacturers, or contact us.

If you’re wondering if an outsourced lead generation partner is right for your business, read Taking Care of Business By Outsourcing Lead Generation.