Solutions to 5 Common Manufacturing Marketing Challenges in 2020

Marketing and selling to b2b buyers continue to become an ever more complex landscape. For manufacturers, the complexities of product and channel only compound the challenges. So should manufacturers looking to build a modern sales and marketing machine just give up? Definitely not. In talking with manufacturers I hear commonality in their challenges. Read on to see how I address these common manufacturing marketing challenges and solutions.

manufacturing marketing challenges

Complex Products

Products in manufacturing are often technical and complex. While the buyer is often sophisticated and technical themselves – often an engineer, they’re still looking for educational materials. A survey conducted by engineering.com found that overwhelmingly – engineers turn to search or website blogs to find answers to their most technical questions. 

Solution: Build a content marketing strategy for your manufacturing firm. If your technical buyers have questions about your complex products, the best solution is to answer them in the forms of media they are consuming, which is online via written word and video. 

Long Sales Cycles 

One of the outcomes of complex products is a resulting long sales cycle. Gartner’s B2B buyer’s journey framework explains why this happens. 

In a perfect world, the journey would be linear from identification to supplier selection, but as you can see there are a lot of places along the path for a prospect to take a detour. How do you keep your firm front and center?

Solution: Marketing automation. On average, most leads (at least half) that come through your CRM aren’t ready to buy. (See the Gartner illustration again to see why). A marketing automation plan for your manufacturing firm can fill the gap. With marketing automation, you can build out personalized follow-up campaigns based on the actions your prospects are taking and customized by the next steps you want to help them along to.  

Is marketing technology the right solution for you? Take the assessment.

Buying by Committee

From 2016 to 2018 the number of stakeholders involved in a purchase decision jumped from 6.8 to 8.2 contacts at a company. As if manufacturers didn’t have it hard enough with a complex product and long sales cycle – the number of people involved in making a purchase decision continues to grow. Add in the complexity of channel relationships many manufacturers face, traditional outbound and inbound marketing can struggle to provide value on their own, in this growing complex sales environment. 

Solution: Account based marketing. Account based marketing inverts the marketing and sales qualifications funnel. You start your strategy by selecting the accounts you want to build relationships with. Sales and marketing collaborate to create highly personalized buying experiences with a goal of expanding the contacts within those accounts and driving higher quality opportunities and speeding up sales cycles. 

Image Source: NeilPatel.com

Complex Business Processes 

Products and the buying experience aren’t the only sources of manufacturing marketing challenges. Often the operations around supporting these systems are riddled with inefficiencies. Requests for samples, quotes, spec sheets, etc. all require an endless amount of human interaction that drags down your team’s ability to do the work that has them focused on their highest and best use. It also allows for errors. But, that’s how we’ve always done it, you might think. 

Solution: Marketing automation can help here as well. While its primary selling feature often is scale and efficiency in marketing processes. The automation features can also help simplify and drive efficiency in common internal processes. Routing requests, updating contact data and making sure the right people in your organization get notified.

Visibility Across Channel

At the end of the day, one of the biggest manufacturing marketing challenges to overcome is visibility across a manufacturer’s channel. With complex relationships across vendors, distributors, reps, and end-users it can often be hard to tell where an opportunity is coming from. Online analytics start to paint a bit of a picture, but are you really able to draw a line connecting the dots between a marketing program and revenue growth? Did ABM actually achieve an objective? 

Related reading: The Surprising Ways B2B Website Design Affects Sales

Solution: Integrated CRM. Having a modern CRM that integrates across your marketing automation platform and ERP, you can begin to close the loop. You may not be able to tell if an ABM program drove X dollars in end-user purchases if you don’t get to track that data – but you can track the volume of RFPs or Specs that come from the accounts you targeted. It’ll take thinking about your channel and getting as far in the funnel as you can. But none of it will matter if your systems don’t take to each other. 

Key Takeaways

Manufacturing marketing challenges continue to grow. However, technology and marketing strategies are emerging to empower manufacturers to overcome those challenges. 

  • Content marketing to educate around complex products
  • Marketing automation to reduce long sales cycles and drive efficiency in business processes
  • Account based marketing to combat buying committees
  • Integrated marketing and sales systems to view across your channels

MarTech Assessment

Cut the B.S.: Business Focused B2B SaaS Marketing Metrics

B2B marketers are flush with myriad data points to measure and report on. The problem is – most of them don’t mean shit to your P&L. For leadership teams getting into the minutiae of PPC impressions or social media followers – it just muddies your ability to see the forest through the trees. In B2B SaaS it can be really misleading because marketing could be burning cash under the disguise of driving leads – leads that aren’t doing anything. So what metrics matter? The ones that tie to revenue. There are a few core B2B SaaS marketing metrics every organization should keep their focus on. Before you freak out about other indicators and such, give this a read.

saas marketing metrics

Marketing Sourced Revenue

At the end of the day, marketing needs to be contributing to revenue potential. Is marketing sourcing revenue? I’m not talking leads, I’m not talking MQL. Are you able to trace back that a dollar came from marketing activity? This will inevitably require your organization to rely on adopting an attribution model since most every journey doesn’t go Email, Click, Buy or Ad, Click, Buy. (Wouldn’t that be nice?!) That said, find an attribution model that aligns with the goals of your sales and marketing activity and gets comfortable with it. 

Marketing Sourced Pipeline

In the same line as sourced revenue – how successful is marketing at adding new opportunities to the pipeline? In well-aligned sales and marketing teams for SaaS – it can make sense to give marketing pipeline targets and quotas just as you would sales.  

Related Reading: SaaS Inbound Marketing: Taking Your Business To the Next Level

CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost)

The customer acquisition cost is one of the more straightforward SaaS marketing metrics. It tells you how much it costs to bring on new customers over a given period of time. Take your sales and marketing spend and divide by the total number of customers. 

Customer Acquisition Cost

Knowing this rate can help plan and forecast growth – but when combined with the next metric it’s powerful in assessing the return on overall sales and marketing activity. That return is where growth management truly becomes effective. 

Months to Recover CAC

The final essential SaaS marketing metric to monitor is how long it takes to recover the costs spent to acquire a new customer. This helps determine how quickly a customer starts driving a positive ROI. 

This can be calculated by dividing the CAC by Monthly recurring revenue times your gross margin (revenue – cost)

calculate Months to Recover CAC

Key Takeaways for B2B SaaS Marketing Metrics

At the end of the day – there is plenty B2B SaaS marketing metrics to monitor and report on. I’m not suggesting that other data points aren’t worth watching as an indicator of good or bad performance upstream from the revenue goal. In order to truly forecast out a revenue machine – you need those measurements.
What I am suggesting, is that when it comes to essential B2B SaaS marketing metrics- making a business impact is the name of the game and at the leadership level that’s what matters. Leadership that has bought into marketing, trusts a modern marketer to be keeping an eye on those downstream measures and to sound an alarm when needed. Measuring marketing’s impact on revenue, driving revenue opportunities, and making a positive impact on customer acquisition is job number one. 

MarTech Assessment

Turn Your Website Into a Lead Machine with HubSpot Lead Flows

You did it! Your site traffic is growing. Your blogging, social media, and offline brand development are all working. You kick back, relax, and wait for the leads to flow in. But aside from the robo-SEO service from Kazakhstan, your lead forms aren’t doing much. What’s wrong? It’s possible your offers aren’t aligning with your content or your website visitors aren’t getting pointed to your highest value conversion points. How do you fix it? If you’re a HubSpot user, it’s HubSpot lead flows to the rescue.

hubspot lead flows blog

What is a Hubspot Lead Flow

A HubSpot lead flow is a special kind of conversion unit that you set up in HubSpot. It is a pop-up form based on parameters you set and can either gather lead information on the spot – or direct a website visitor to a high-value page like a resource center or limited time offer.

Forms vs Lead Flow

So what’s the difference between a HubSpot form and a lead flow? The biggest difference is the way the two are served to a user.

A form is a static destination that you have to create a conversion funnel (call to action, landing page, etc.) to drive a website user to.

A lead flow brings the form and point of conversion to a visitor based on key behaviors and parameters you’ve identified.

For example, the user is reading content related to a new offer you have, or they are on a list of MQLs and you want to serve them a decision stage offer, or they came from a referral URL as part of an account-based marketing program and you want to personalize an offer to them.

How Can a Lead Flow Supplement a Visitors Experience

Not all pop-ups are appreciated by users and a lot of sites go overkill with exit-intent “Are you sure you don’t want to subscribe to our email list before you leave? PLEEEEEEASE!?”. But if used judiciously, lead flows can improve the overall visitor experience on your site. Here are a few best practices to consider.

  • When choosing where they “pop in” consider other notifications, i.e. chat or cookie notices. Having them all overlap creates chaos.
  • Use exclusion lists to make sure people aren’t seeing it that shouldn’t
  • Be as specific as you can in your targeting and matching up the offer to the visitor

HubSpot Lead Flow Example

The obvious use of a lead flow is to offer a piece of content in exchange for lead intel right away. But the creativity comes in targeting and in the application. But there are creative ways to make the most of the feature as well. Here is a lead flow example that goes beyond immediate conversion.

When crisis strikes, lead flows are a great way to get your website visitors to your most critical content right away. This example from Communication Firm and Lake One client, Beehive Strategic Communication is a great example. They also utilized an exit-intent on the page to allow visitors to get an update as new resources become available.

How to Set Up a HubSpot Lead Flow

Lead flows are a snap to set up. Here is a step-by-step outline and video walkthrough to get you going:

  • Under the “Marketing” navigation, head to Lead Capture > Forms
  • Select Create Form
  • Choose Pop up Form > Next
  • Choose Type and Name your form
  • Build your call out and define the action you want your CTA to take
  • If capturing lead info in the Pop-Up, build the form
  • Optional: send a follow-up email
  • Define your targeting parameters
  • Set options for mobile and how long to not show to those who dismiss
  • Preview
  • Turn it live

Need help putting your lead flows in motion? Schedule a free consult.

 Book Your Consultation Now

7 B2B Manufacturing Marketing Trends Driving Growth in 2020

B2B buying is growing ever more complex. From 2016 to 2018 the number of stakeholders involved in a purchase decision jumped from 6.8 to 8.2 contacts at a company. Today, consumer experiences continue to overlap and influence our expectations and behaviors more and more each year in our business buying experiences. For B2B manufacturers already navigating a complex marketing and sales environment, this can be challenging. As 2020 unfolds personalization and online expectations will increase. These are seven key b2b manufacturing marketing trends to keep an eye on in 2020. 

Manufacturing Marketing Trends

Account-Based Marketing

B2B manufacturers face some of the most complex buying environments. 

  • Long sales cycles
  • Growing numbers of buying roles involved
  • High-value transactions
  • Channel and distributor relationships

Traditional outbound and inbound marketing strategies can struggle to prove value and support manufacturers’ sales channels in this environment. 

Enter account-based marketing or ABM for short. HubSpot defines ABM as a focused growth strategy in which Marketing and Sales collaborate to create personalized buying experiences for a mutually-identified set of high-value accounts.

Account based marketing

At its core, it turns the funnel upside down and aligns sales and marketing to hunt with spears instead of nets. Manufacturers benefit from building an account-based marketing framework by

  • Creating higher quality opportunities
  • Tightly aligning sales and marketing
  • Streamlining and often speeding up the sales cycle
  • Expanding business relationships in key accounts
  • Better measure ROI

Because ABM starts by targeting and seeking to reach only your most qualified ideal customers first, it can be resource-intensive to get a pilot going but provides long term returns. DemandBase found companies that have been using ABM for at least 1 year saw an increase in revenue of 10%, 19% of those surveyed saw revenue growth in excess of 30%. 

Account-based marketing isn’t necessarily one of the new manufacturing marketing trends, but tools and platforms are now making it easier to orchestrate and evaluate and as a result, savvy B2B manufacturers are looking at it as a potential addition to their sales and marketing programs. 

Consumer-Like Buying Experiences

More and more B2B buyers are behaving as they do in their consumer lives. Forester 2020 predictions point to 2020 as a year of change as B2B buyers continue to evolve more of their experiences to online channels. In Gartner’s B2B Buying Journey we see that sellers actually have little opportunity to influence the decisions of their potential buyers. Enter B2B e-commerce’s time in the spotlight. 

With the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic – now there is an even faster escalation in demand for investments by manufacturers to make sure they meet changing buying preferences. Insite Software, a provider of B2B e-commerce solutions for Manufacturers notes in its parent company Episerver’s annual B2B Digital experience report that 93% of manufacturers and 95% of distributors expect more than 20% of their revenue will come from e-commerce websites they own and operate by 2025. 

Chat Bots

With a push online, creating more opportunities for real-time response to customers, and end-users will be critical. Queue the chatbots. Chatbot technology continues to advance every year enabling advanced logic capabilities that manufacturers can use to field all sorts of questions to drive sales and marketing forward. BotCore points out a handful of ways chatbots can help with fulfillment in addition to questions around inventory and delivery, chatbots can be an effective way to answer product questions or point website visitors to the product documentation to help them in their buying process. 

Marketing Automation & Personalization

Marketing automation for b2b manufacturers will continue to grow in importance as the buying journey becomes more digital. Marketing automation helps manufacturers simplify complex b2b processes while personalizing and scaling their digital marketing and sales efforts. 

Here are a few personalization examples b2b manufacturers are taking advantage of:

  • Addressing your recipient by name in the greeting
  • Referencing their company name when giving an example of how their company could benefit from your product
  • Referencing their role or job title when discussing pain points or solutions pertinent to their role
  • Referencing the last piece of content they downloaded by name and asking if they are finding it helpful
  • Customizing the sender information per contact by contact owner
  • Referencing product or product category of interest
  • Referencing examples and case studies

The complex business processes facing many B2B manufacturers are also a challenge marketing automation platforms or MAPs are ready to tackle head-on. 

Marketing automation can drive efficiencies and allow for real-time routing, task creation, and follow-up across functions and channels. The automation we’re seeing B2B manufacturers take advantage of include:

  • Routing leads by sales rep territory
  • Sending custom ‘Thank You’ emails by country
  • Routing internal requests like samples, RFQs or catalogs
  • Creating custom tasks by a sales rep for lead review
  • Automatically setting subscription types
  • Setting product interest categories or other data governance within the CRM

MarTech Assessment

Video Video Video

This is one of the manufacturing marketing trends that industrial buyers love: Video. Engineers, for example, nearly 87% report getting at least some of their work content from the video. B2B manufacturers have a ton of options when it comes to video. Brand videos, testimonials and case studies, use cases or field solutions, culture videos, demos, and more. 

An area you can expect to see video grow significantly is through 1:1 personalized video. Short videos created for a specific user. It could be a sales follow up, a quick how-to, or just a thank you. With the influx of more personalized sales and marketing experiences across the B2B manufacturing marketing ecosystem – video enables face-to-face connections that can otherwise be lost in a completely online sales experience.  

Virtual Events

This year many B2B organizations had to adjust their event strategy due to COVID-19. While not anticipated and certainly sudden, many marketing and sales professionals leaned into the pivot and are embracing the benefits afforded to virtual events. A lack of travel and time constrictions. The ability to meet with much larger audiences in discussion settings. Virtual events are here to stay and for B2B manufacturers this spells opportunity. While trade shows will inevitably return in some fashion, planning a virtual strategy for everything from recurring lunch and learns or product demos to featuring unique use cases and customer stories will only enhance the growing online buying process many B2B manufacturers see their customers adopting. 

Manufacturing Marketing Trends

Content Isn’t Optional

Creating content that answers your potential buyer’s questions early in their research process and throughout their buying journey is non-negotiable.

A survey by engineering.com found an overwhelming preference for an online search or a website blog as a primary source for finding answers to questions they have in their work. This begs the question: if your technical buyers have questions, whose content will they find, yours or your competitors?

When it comes to steady consistent lead generation for b2b manufacturers, content is front and center across all of the 2020 b2b manufacturing marketing trends.

How to Master B2B Website Strategy and Drive Growth

The website plays one of the most pivotal roles in business-to-business marketing for technology companies and manufacturing businesses. Forrester Research found 74% of B2B buyers conduct more than half of their research online before making a purchase offline. With the number of stakeholders involved in a purchase decision growing every year and the journey becoming ever more complex – the B2B website job is heavy.

master b2b website strategy

The b2b website is the doorway between your prospects, your brand, and a potential sales opportunity. How do modern brands juggle all these priorities? With a B2B website design strategy focused on your buyers. Here’s how.

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Difference between B2B & B2C 

Understanding the distinction between B2B and B2C web strategy starts with acknowledging the substantial differences in the types of transactions.

Evaluating HubSpot for Startups? 4 Questions to Consider

Two things we love here at Lake One. Startups and HubSpot. Startup marketing has a special place in our heart. Most of our team has had a stint in a funded startup at some point, so we know the culture and mindset that drives startups. We team up with venture funds and accelerators here in the midwest to share marketing insights with startups every year. Many of those startups, through their venture fund or accelerator, get access to a special perk known as the HubSpot for Startups program. We’ve worked with many startups through this program and want to share some of the essential questions we’ve helped organizations consider when evaluating HubSpot for startups.

Evaluating HubSpot for Startups

What is HubSpot for Startups

HubSpot for Startups is a special program for startups who are members of or alumni of more than 2,000 approved HubSpot for Startup Partners. These partners are incubators, accelerators or Venture Capital firms all over the world. Additionally, there are revenue guidelines that apply to your startup. If you’re eligible, startups earn significant discounts on HubSpot Growth Suite subscriptions and gain access to startup specific resources. You can learn more about the program and see if you’re eligible for it here.

Is My Startup Ready for HubSpot?

One of the first questions to consider when thinking about onboarding with the HubSpot for Startups program – is your startup ready for a platform like HubSpot? There’s a couple of different ways to think about this.

Inbound

Would inbound marketing for your startup work? Not every startup is a great fit and those resources might be better served somewhere else.

How do you know if you’re a good fit? If you answer yes to some of these questions for example:

  • Do you sell your product or service direct to your end-user?
  • Do you have a long, complex sales process?
  • Is your good or service a considered buying process, in other words, does it require multiple decision-makers and/or a lot of research?

Market Traction

Does your startup have some initial traction? This is important because traction indicates some semblance of process. When you adopt marketing and sales tech, data governance around your CRM and thinking critically about logic for workflows is a key part of the success you’ll have with your technology. That’s not to say you have to have everything figured out, but if you’re expecting the tool or an agency partner to make your startup launch, you’re probably not ready for this investment of money and time yet.

Which Hubs Should I Leverage From HubSpot?

Let’s assume you’ve made the decision that the timing is right. The discount is awesome from HubSpot – does that mean it’s worth signing up for all three hubs of the Growth Suite? Not necessarily.

Just like not every startup will lend itself well to inbound, or your maturity level might not have the traction needed for a platform like HubSpot, every Hub may not be immediately valuable to you.

Reflect on your most pressing needs with your startup.

Sales

  • Are you looking to scale and define sales processes?
  • Do you want to better report on your pipeline and have the ability to forecast?
  • Are you looking to automate certain aspects of your sales process like prospecting and outreach?
  • Do you need one source of truth for your CRM that supports both sales and marketing activity?

Sales Hub is worth a look.

Marketing

  • Do you have a long sales cycle with a complex product with prospects that need educating?
  • Do you have manual processes dragging down your team?
  • Do you want to be able to launch rapid tests with landing pages, emails and other creative?
  • Do you want to be able to send segmented and personalized email content?
  • Do you want a tool to launch lead capture without needing IT?

Marketing Hub is worth a look.

Service

  • Are you drowning in support tickets?
  • Wish you could just send people links to commonly asked questions so they can help themselves?
  • Is customer service a top priority for your brand?

Service Hub is worth a look.

You may find you want to go all-in right away, but know you can always add on over time as well. Take one Hub, implement it and get it operational. As a HubSpot partner, we’ve seen a lot of abandoned Hubs where teams just got overwhelmed.

How Long Should I Expect to Implement HubSpot?

Implementation time will be directly related to the complexity of your business and it’s processes. On the low end give yourself 4-6 weeks. It can scale up dramatically if you’re dealing with large amounts of existing customer data, integrations with third-party tools or your own product.

How Long Should I Expect to Get an ROI?

Technology is not a strategy. So the ROI will be contingent on how effective your strategy is within the platform. Whether it’s lead gen and conversion or customer experience improvements. That said, some rules of thumb, for example, are a lead gen program from inbound can take anywhere from 6 – 18 months to start building momentum. Also, give yourself time to continue to apply learnings around lead quality. It takes time to build the momentum around driving high quality traffic at volume.

search terms growth - inbound story

Onboarding Remote Employees: How to Build Culture, Rapport and Support

Running a remote marketing firm provides a lot of benefits for our team and our clients. But having a team working from home most or all of the time isn’t without its challenges. One area that I get asked about a lot is how to successfully onboard a new work from home employee? How do you make sure they feel like they are part of the team quickly? How do you make sure they have the tools and access they need to get up and running quickly?

Here are some of the strategies that have worked for us. We also reached out to our network of business owners, managers and talent leaders to get their thoughts on strategies for managing onboarding remote employees. Their insights are included throughout. 

Clearly Layout 30 and 90-day Plans

Whether your new team member is working from home or not – having a clear 30 to 90-day plan is so critical. SHRM points out that 69% of employees are more likely to stay based on their onboarding plan. At Lake One, we turn to the same tool we use to plan and manage our client Marketing Springs – Asana. We build out all the tasks and milestones for our new team members and link it up to the essential resources they’ll need to accomplish their onboarding from links to our standard operating procedure to the company drive file structure. 

Jennifer Zick, Founder and CEO at Authentic Brand adds, “New employees – whether working in a physical office or remotely – need clarity in two primary areas in order to get up to speed and become productive in their roles. First, any new employee needs to know where to find what they need to do their job. Secondly, they need clear definitions on what they are responsible for, and what success should look like.”

Diversify Training and Communication Styles

Mix up the training schedule to make sure your new team member gets to spend time with a diversity of folks. This helps the new employee develop connections within the company and absorb information better. Not to mention, putting the responsibility on one person to get a new employee up to speed can be a lot.

Tyler Anderson, Principal at Andcor Talent states, “There is no one-size-fits-all approach to communicating during onboarding and beyond.  Each leader (and team member) needs to understand communication preferences and needs. Some may prefer and are comfortable with email.  Others need verbal communication and interaction. And others want a combo of both.”

Outline Subject Matter Experts

Make it clear – who in the organization owns what. This not only saves time across the board, but it sets expectations for both the new and existing employees. If you have a standard operating procedure (see below) this is a great place to put this information. Some HRIS systems also have a place for this in an org chart. 

Anderson recommends, ”Getting them up to speed fast and hit the ground running by pairing the remote employee with an on-site employee or if everyone is virtual, another remote team member who they can go to for advice.”

Onboarding Remote Employees

Zick notes, “Many companies may not have well-organized online databases or platforms full of training materials, sales collateral, HR documents, or other resources that new employees can quickly locate. In these situations, it might make sense to align an employee with an internal guide – a “sherpa” of sorts – who can answer questions to help them quickly get to the right person or place to find what they need. Collaboration tools – like Slack – can be invaluable in these cases, allowing employees to quickly ask questions and crowdsource answers from their peers. The key is to open as many pathways to answers as possible, as quickly as possible, to help the new team member feel fully equipped to do their job.”

Set Up All Accounts in Advance

One simple thing you can do to make sure your new team member is ready to hit the ground running is getting all their account access set up in advance. There is nothing more frustrating than over the course of 30 days constantly having to ping a supervisor to get access to this, that or the other thing. Make an account run through a task in the onboarding plan. That way your new team members on their first day can go through all their welcome emails from systems, make sure they can access everything and feel good about checking some things off their onboarding plan. 

Anderson suggests, “Break up onboarding/training tools. Don’t throw too much at them all at once. Also, if you can get started on setting those tools and accounts up before official day one, all the better.”

If Possible, Have an In-Person on Day One

Depending on where your team is actually located and where the new team member is, this work from home onboarding idea may not be doable. But if it is, even grabbing lunch or breakfast with your new employee can help defer any jitters on day one. If you can’t do it, is there another team member that’s close by? 

Anderson notes, “When this whole C-19 thing is behind us if you have a physical office, bring the new hire in and go to lunch or a happy hour. But don’t just let it be a one-time thing. Hold quarterly gatherings and continue to make them feel like part of the team.”

Break the Ice 

Like with any new job, the first few days can feel like you’re an outsider. That can be especially true for remote employees who aren’t onsite. Find ways to break the ice with new employees. Whether it’s fun facts, a game, or something else. Keep it light and fun. 

Cami Zimmer, EVP Sales & Marketing at Glympse says, “Use “Reply All”: Send out an email to the group with an icebreaker question, asking everyone to respond via email and “reply all” so that everyone gets to know each other a bit more. 

Don’t cut the Chit-Chat: It’s personal chit-chat that actually helps employees relate to each other!  When working remote, team members do not have a chance to make small talk with others in the coffee area. We have to build time for this small talk into group meetings.  Try to spend a few minutes at the start of each meeting to discuss personal or department updates. Ask that team members send in recent photos through Slack or other chat tools.”  

Anderson says, “Learn and share fun facts:  “What are three (3) things people you know well would be surprised to learn?”  Give examples – e.g. survived a plane crash, world-class chess player, child actor.  Give the new hire a couple of days to mull over the questions and share what other team members have said in the past. After learning what teammates answer, they might be more willing to open up.  This exercise is great for building rapport and humanizing remote team members.”

Schedule Video Meet n Greets

A key part of our operating procedure at Lake One is daily standups and regular check-ins. Get your new team member looped in on these ASAP. Even though they may not be fully up to speed – the face time with the team is crucial and they’ll also start to get the habit of how the team works remotely. 

Anderson advises, “Set up a series of orientation calls/video chats within the first few weeks with the CEO and each member of the leadership team to learn about company history, culture, goals, structure. In addition, set up calls with team members in other departments within the first month.  Maintain this going forward in long-term across functions and combining new and tenured team members. Depending on the individual’s communication preferences, at a minimum suggest starting the call with a video chat to do a quick wave and know who you’re talking to and then turn it over to a phone call.”

Have a Standard Operating Procedure? You Should

We run on EOS ® Traction and our standard operating procedure is our north star. If you don’t have one – start documenting one. This is also a great way to help familiarize them with how y our organization operates and executes consistently. In an office setting – it’s easy to pop up and ask a question. Virtually, that’s not always possible. Standard operating procedures help give guidance on how the business handles key situations. 

Zick says, “What has been effective for us, and for many of our clients, is having a very regular and predictable cadence of communication – whether through in-person or virtual meetings. People quickly feel included, valued, and aligned when they know that they are “in the loop” on the company’s strategy, decision-making, and work efforts.

Because our company runs on EOS – The Entrepreneurial Operating System – much of this cadence is built into how we operate. Our executive team meets weekly and quarterly to work on the business. Additionally, our consultants – our Fractional CMOs – come together twice per month as part of our “mindshare” community. In-between these planned meetings, we use collaboration technologies (Slack and Basecamp) to stay connected, share ideas, celebrate milestones, and reinforce our company values.”

Setup Regular One-on-Ones

Another holdover from working face to face – one on ones are key. But even more so with your work from home team. In the first few weeks, it may feel like overkill but do this at a minimum weekly. First, it’s a great way to build up that comradery and second, it’s a chance to identify any early questions or concerns that might be harder to pick up on working way from each other. 

Rob Weber, Managing Director at Great North Labs says, “Productivity should be measured and greater expectations of asynchronous work should be accepted. When not working in a face-to-face environment, you’re much more likely to see work schedules drift and become more flexible. This flexibility though should still require certain regular check-in meetings or standups to ensure collaboration and free-flowing discussion. I’m also a big fan if possible to occasionally still meet-in person, such as for onboarding, annual planning, etc.”

Anderson suggests, “Maintain a consistent communication structure.  Include regular check-ins and checkpoints that are mandatory for every team member.  Sets expectations of how each team member should interact, communicate and adhere to the plan for every team member. I also suggest leveraging visual communication tools.”

Closing Thoughts

Anderson says, “Keep in mind, not everyone is built to work remotely so before you onboard be sure you have the assessment data to identify who will work well and who will not.  Some really need face-to-face interaction and the structure of an office environment. Others will work well independently and thrive in a virtual one. There aren’t enough tools in the world to turn one into the other. They may be successful but you run the risk of losing them to the environment that’s better suited for them.”

Zimmer notes, “We were/are lucky in that we had a remote policy in place before this all happened. We all have laptops, Zoom, Slack and are used to working remotely part-time. Thus, we really haven’t noticed much of a pause to business.  Being in the Last Mile industry, we are experiencing an increase in inquiries, even, keeping most of us here at Glympse rather busy.”

Weber reminds us that, “The characteristics of a well-managed business are similar for all businesses, regardless of whether they support work from home operations or face-to-face. Accountability is created through transparent delivery of key performance information which empowers the workforce to make decisions wherever they are working from.”

Zick advises, “Through this time of chaos and uncertainty, the very best advice that I could offer to leaders and employees is to give one another abundant grace. Everyone is adapting. Everyone is coming up to speed on our “new normal”. And everyone’s workplace experience is being radically changed. The silver lining in all of this is that – as a global community – we’re learning how to work differently, and the lessons that we learn through this time of disruption can carry us forward with new skills, deeper empathy, and an even higher level of workforce productivity. Together, we will get through this.”

Related Reading: Benefits of Working with a Virtual Marketing Agency

Lead Generation for Manufacturers: 9 Strategies to Crush 2020

Over the last decade, lead generation for manufacturers and industrial organizations has transformed. While the industry is still heavily relationship-driven, like every other vertical it’s been affected by digital disruption. Marketing for manufacturers is changing rapidly. B2B buyers are empowered with more data then ever and shopping experiences in our consumer lives are informing our expectations in our business lives.

As the modern economy evolves – manufacturers and industrial firms may find themselves wondering how to get more sales opportunities in a quickly changing sales and marketing environment.

If you’re ready to move past the basics of lead generation, these are the manufacturing and industrial lead gen trends we’re seeing drive success as we head into a new decade.

Industrial Lead Generation with Account Based Marketing

Account-based marketing can provide manufacturing and industrial firms a strategic way to market only to the prospects your organization’s value most. It flips the thinking of a funnel. Instead of casting a wide net and working to qualify down to the best opportunity, you identify the accounts you want to work with and target outreach and promotion to reach and influence buyers. Generally, it works as an additive strategy to a diverse sales and marketing program and can run parallel to an inbound effort. It’s also a great way to repurpose and leverage your inbound content in a complementary strategy making sure you maximize your content investment.

industrial lead generation with account based marketing

Centralize Marketing if you Sell Through Distributors

For manufacturers who sell indirectly through distributors, consider centralizing marketing efforts. By creating a coordinated marketing effort, you can provide a digital co-op marketing initiative to your distribution partners. It serves two purposes. First, it provides a central place for potential buyers to go to as they research products. As the manufacturer, you retain brand control. Second, it’s a value add to your distribution channel as you can provide a steady stream of leads. It can also serve as a channel to recruit new distribution partners. Finnleo, a sauna manufacturer with a dealer network distribution channel, is a great example.

manufacturing lead generation with centralized marketing

Leverage Inbound for Manufacturing Lead Generation

Inbound marketing is a great way to drive a steady source of new leads for your manufacturing or industrial firm. Inbound marketing at its core is about creating content that answers your potential buyer’s questions early in their research process. The content is designed to convert prospects along with conversion funnels, maybe you provide a webinar or request a quote. Inbound also serves as a great way to develop your organization’s thought leadership and is extra powerful when combined with industry outreach and PR. Further, inbound aligns well with how engineers want to consume content based on research from Engineering.com When asked about preferred ways to acquire engineering information, a search is the top channel for finding answers to questions. This begs the question: if your engineering buyers have questions, whose content will they find, yours or your competitors?

manufacturing Content

Leverage marketing automation and CRM

A key part of successful lead generation for manufacturers is implementing right sales and marketing tools. Essential to that tech stack is a CRM that your sales team will actually use, with data governance that is meaningful to your business and marketing automation that helps nurture and identify opportunities. Marketing automation in manufacturing is also a powerful tool to help drive efficiency into often manual processes from lead routing and quote management to data governance and lead nurturing.

MarTech Assessment

Activate retargeting

Outside of paid media for account-based marketing and promotion around tradeshows, retargeting is an absolute must. If you’re doing any sort of lead generation program – retargeting is a low-cost way to drive additional conversion opportunities off people who respond to your manufacturing lead generation programs but don’t convert on your website. You’ve already invested a ton to get a prospect to your manufacturing website, if they don’t convert, set aside a small add budget to serve ads to them after their visit to try again.

Monitor social conversations

Depending on what your firm makes, monitoring social media for conversations around needs or trends can be a great way to identify opportunities for direct sales, PR opportunities to talk about your offering or identifying new channel partners. You can monitor conversations in several different ways. Join groups on LinkedIn, set up feeds or lists on Twitter or search on Facebook.

Manufacturing lead generation with social monitoring

Activate paid media around trade shows

Trade shows are still a great gathering place for manufacturing and industrial firms. But following up with people from trade shows can sometimes be a bit – meh. Instead of grabbing everyone’s business cards, leverage your marketing automation tools and let people book real meetings with you. Or set up a nurture sequence for those who stop by the booth.

Activating paid search around the tradeshow name is often a low-cost way to drive traffic to a landing page ahead of the trade show. Here you can promote any giveaways or reasons for people to book time with your team.

Monitor industry news & trends

Similar to monitoring social media, monitoring news alerts can be a great resource on multiple fronts. It can inform you inbound content strategy, support your account-based marketing program or provide opportunistic outreach opportunities for your sales team. The easiest way to do this is to set up Google Alerts or create a Feedly account to monitor terms and topics that matter most to your industry and buyers.

Manufacturing news monitoring

Leverage tools

There is a constant flow of tech tools rolling into the market. Here are a few of our favorite lead generation tools for b2b. Of the tools mentioned in that post, LinkedIn Sales Navigator is probably the most relevant for our friends in manufacturing and industrial organizations. One of the features I find the most useful is the account and lead recommendations. As you interact with and tell Sales Navigator what kind of leads and accounts you’re interested in, it surfaces new contacts and accounts that are similar but might not have been on your account based targeting list. It’s a great way to expand your scope with the accounts you can truly add value to instead of randomly selling to anyone with a pulse.

manufacturing lead generation with LinkedIN

8 Best B2B Lead Generation Tools for 2020

Like all things sales and marketing tech-related, there’s an ever-expanding supply of options. Rather than inundate you with a list of 100 of the best B2B lead generation tools, we’re going to keep it focused. Here are the top eight tools we’re digging for generating new business leads in 2020. Eight, not a hundred.

1. Unbounce

b2b lead generation tools

Long time fans and users of Unbounce, they’ve significantly expanded the platform beyond landing pages. For organization’s who maybe lack design and/or tech resources, Unbounce makes lead capture easy peezy. With a diverse set of integrations, you can connect it to email platforms and other tools to build a marketing stack if you don’t have an all in one platform, like #2.

2. Hubspot

b2b lead generation tools

When you’re ready to scale and want a more unified view of your lead generation activity, Hubspot is the way to go. As they’ve expanded their product line up from a marketing tool to a platform for marketing, sales, and support, it offers tools from lead generation all the way through your customer journey. But even just getting started with some of the free marketing and sales tools will help ramp up your b2b lead generation efforts in 2020. For example, use forms and live chat on the free version of marketing to immediately start converting some of your website visitors.

3. LinkedIn Sales Navigator

b2b lead generation tools

For sales teams taking a targeted, account based approach, LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a must-have lead generation tool. One of the features I find the most useful is the account and lead recommendations. As you interact with and tell Sales Navigator what kind of leads and accounts you’re interested in, it surfaces new contacts and accounts that are similar but might not have been on your account based targeting list. It’s a great way to expand your scope with the accounts you can truly add value to instead of randomly selling to anyone with a pulse.

LinkedIn Marketing Guide

4. Calendly

b2b lead generation tools

There is nothing more annoying than trying to schedule meetings back and forth with someone. Calendly eliminates all the back and forth – but it also makes it easier to open up your calendar to potential prospects, referral partners and others who can bring value to your network. Setting aside a time for “office hours” and making that meeting link available opens you up to letting potential partners book time with you in a far more convenient way for everyone – and easily generate a lead.

5. Vidyard

b2b lead generation tools

Video is a hot topic these days – and for good reason. It’s a far more engaging and easily consumed form of content. When it comes to lead generation, personalizing outreach has a significant impact on improving response rate. My favorite tool for this is Vidyard. It makes personalized video super easy to produce and distribute. Don’t worry – you don’t need to be Scorcese – just get started.

6. Meetup

b2b lead generation tools

Depending on what you sell, generating B2B leads with Meetup could be your new secret weapon. Here’s how – find events and meetups related to your topic, in your area. Reach out to the organizer and see if they are looking for speakers. Many times – they’re open to it and it’s an easy way to get in front of an interested audience of potential buyers. Other options, if you’re a product and you need focus groups or beta users, you can find meetups that are often willing to share these kind of opportunities with their members. Do some research and see what groups are already getting together and how you can add value but increase your awareness.

7. Feedly
b2b lead generation tools

Keeping track of buying signals in your target accounts, verticals etc. can be a nightmare. Maybe you’ve set up a bunch of Google Alerts that have now been relegated to a folder in your inbox that you never actually check. Maybe you have an intern putting together a spreadsheet. Alternatively, you could setup feeds in Feedly to monitor accounts or industries to identify opportunities for reaching out with your b2b leads. Feedly goes with you on your phone and makes checking updates on the go a lot easier too.

8. AeroLeads

As you’re looking to generate leads and find prospect information, there are additional tools that can help. AeroLeads is an easy way to find prospects and their information from platforms like LinkedIn, AngelList, Crunchbase, Xing, etc. You can find the right audience, prospective business emails, contact numbers, company details, and more, all by using their Chrome extension.

Methodology for Best B2B Lead Generation Tools of 2020

I realize there are a lot of tools out there, but this list focuses on helping salespeople do more of what they want to – selling and less of what they don’t – managing tools. That said, we’re looking at tools that help scale activity, make prospecting better and help drive b2b lead pipeline. We also love to hear about new tools so leave a comment if there’s something you think fits this criteria.