Buyers VS Sales In Manufacturing - State Of Inbound 2016
by Jo Shaer, on December 2, 2016
In the latest State of Inbound report for 2016, 74% of those surveyed have their sights fixed on converting leads into customers over the next 12 months .
And, because sales people have been told that they need to stop cold calling and invest in social selling, 83% of those in EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Asia) are going to be using LinkedIn to do it.
Save us from manufacturing sales teams on LinkedIn!
OMG I'm gonna be pestered to death on LinkedIn by engineers and manufacturing sales teams who need help!
Fortunately only 5% of the 4,500 marketers surveyed admitted to being in the Industrial & Manufacturing sector but I still bet there will be more profile pictures showing fuzzy holiday snaps in my news feed accompanied by comments begging my clients for work.
Sales teams seem to view LinkedIn as some sort of Buyers' Marketplace where they only have to ask for work and it shall be given... but that is a long way from the truth.
So you really need to start developing a strategy that puts something credible in front of those buyers who actually need your product/service now.
And you need to sort out a way of storing information about your interactions with those buyers so you can keep a record of what is working and what isn't - that is visible to all your sales personnel and also to those in marketing.
Excuse me a moment, whilst I spout some more stats from State of Inbound 2016... but they are actually very relevant:
Whilst the majority of those manufacturers (63%) who completed the survey wanted the top sales priority for the next year to be closing more deals, followed by improving the efficiency of the sales funnel, only 13% thought that investing in sales enablement should be important and a mere 11% were considering investing in a CRM.
Marketing also want to focus on converting contacts/leads into customers with growing traffic to the website as a secondary goal and 59% of those manufacturers surveyed said they would be using inbound marketing to achieve this.
However, a mere 13% characterised the relationship between their sales and marketing departments as being tightly aligned.
What's the #1 Problem For Manufacturing Sales Teams?
All these stats are showing us that there is a major problem for sales teams working in the manufacturing sector.
You've got sales teams on the phones and on LinkedIn with old style spreadsheets doing things in an outbound way 'just checking in to see if you need anything done' rather than talking about new products or services. And this is compounded by the fact that there is no automated and centralised way of keeping track of those interactions and seeing if they could be made more personalised.
One of the most memorable stats from last year's State of Inbound was
Unsuccessful sales teams are 2x more likely to use Excel, Outlook or Physical files to store lead and customer data
Meanwhile the marketing teams may be producing inbound-style content that they think the buyers may want but they don't actually know because the sales teams don't ask the right questions. And even if they did, they don't talk to each other so that the best materials can be produced to facilitate the journey down the funnel towards a sale.
Worse still, sales don't keep proper track of what they are being told - or at least not in a way that marketing can access.
And nobody is actually distributing that content to the buyers by offering links in their phone calls, emails or social media interactions. It's just sat on a computer somewhere or in the depths of the website where it is unlikely to be found.
If you don't know what the buyers are searching for, you cannot use the right key words and phrases that will allow Google to match the searchers to the solutions on your site.
Can you see how convoluted it becomes if sales and marketing are not talking to each other properly and using the same tools?
And how much harder it makes the task of converting leads into customers?
So how could Sales and Marketing generate more customers together?
- If Marketing and Sales sat down together to discuss who their ideal clients are and develop a Buyer Persona.
- Then Marketing should create content based around the precise pain points of this specific person which can be published on the website and distributed on social media.
- This will attract the right type of visitors to the site.
- Work together to establish a definitive conversion path on the website that allows those visitors to move into the sales funnel.
- Give Sales access to all marketing materials so these can be used as a tool to develop sufficient trust in the ability of that product/service to provide a solution to particular pain points.
- Have a CRM that can be accessed by both Marketing and Sales.
This is how you turn a visitor into a customer.
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