Meet with a Diamond Solutions Partner at Inbound 2022

HubSpot’s Inbound conference is back in person for 2022. Lake One will be on-site for the duration of the events and would love to connect for coffee or a drink after to strategize with you how what you’re hearing at Inbound can get integrated into your business planning for the rest of 2022 and heading into 2023. 

If you’d like to get on our calendar, give us a shout here and we’ll follow up a few weeks before we head to Boston and coordinate a time to connect. 

It’s been a great year with our friends at HubSpot., here are a few of our favorite highlights. 

Lake One Achieves Diamond Solutions Partner Tier: We kicked the year off by announcing we had achieved Diamond Solutions Status. To achieve status as a diamond tier solutions partner, partners must achieve and maintain platform certification and demonstrated expertise. Tiers are achieved based on the level of success partners achieve for their clients.

HubSpot Features Lake One Case Study: earlier this spring we were humbled to have a case study featured on HubSpot. A mix of a customer story and the growth we’ve seen as a HubSpot partner. 

Accepted to invite-only accreditation program: just this summer, we announces that we were accepted into an invite-only onboarding accreditation program with HubSpot.

Lake One Among Top HubSpot Solutions Partners Accepted into HubSpot PSO Onboarding Accreditation Program

Minneapolis, Minnesota June 30, 2022: Today, Lake One announced that it has been accepted into an invite-only, selective Partner Scaled Onboarding (PSO) Program by HubSpot. 

PSO is a newly created accreditation program from HubSpot designed to provide their customers with hand-selected, strategic partners who can help guide organizations in getting the most out of their HubSpot experience.

This exclusive accreditation builds on the momentum that started earlier this year when Lake One achieved Diamond HubSpot Solution Partner status, spoke internally to the HubSpot team during the 2022 Kick-Off about the growth they’ve seen in demand for the HubSpot CRM Platform, and also had a case study featured on the HubSpot website

“We are incredibly humbled to have been asked to participate in this program by HubSpot and thrilled to deepen our relationship with our partners there, ” says Ryan Ruud Founder and CEO of Lake One. “Providing direct onboarding services to HubSpot customers with their seal of approval is a tremendous vote of confidence in the team here at Lake One. ”

With the PSO Onboarding Accreditation, businesses that choose the HubSpot CRM platform can know they are working with a vetted and trusted partner for their onboarding.

About Lake One

Minneapolis, MN Based Lake One, is a modern marketing partner that drives business impact for B2B companies through sales and marketing transformation. Their team embeds (virtually) into client organizations to provide strategic guidance and hands-on work. With Lake One, clients get expert help implementing their tech stack and scaling demand generation with content and performance marketing. Lake One helps clients fine-tune their efforts based on their unique business needs, goals, and real-time customer engagement.

LAKE ONE REACHES DIAMOND TIER AS A HUBSPOT SOLUTIONS PARTNER 

Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 4, 2022-Today, Lake One announced that it has reached the diamond tier of HubSpot’s Solutions Partner Program. HubSpot, a leading CRM platform, works hand-in-hand with partner experts to grow their businesses through inbound software, services, and support.  

The Solutions Partner Program is an ecosystem of experts that offer marketing, sales, customer service, web design, CRM, and IT services. It’s a global community that believes putting customers first is the key to growth, and enables its members to offer a wide breadth of more sophisticated solutions across the entire customer experience. 

To achieve status as a diamond tier solutions partner, partners must achieve and maintain platform certification and demonstrated expertise. Tiers are achieved based on the level of success partners achieve for their clients. 

Over the past year, Lake One has grown its business by incorporating inbound strategies to attract, engage, and delight customers. Lake One’s mission is to help B2B organizations solve complex operations challenges by serving as a strategic and hands-on, embedded partner supporting revenue growth. They provide aligned sales and marketing strategy, technology consulting,  implementation, and operations support to help organizations scale and make the most out of their tech stack investment. In 2021, notable milestones and achievements include:

  • More than 50% growth in client base in 2021
  • Recognized by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts for B2B Marketing Effectiveness
  • CEO and Founder, Ryan Ruud, Recognized by Twin Cities Business Magazine as a Notable Business Executive

“Lake One supports HubSpot customers with both big picture strategy and hands-on support. Their rapid ascension to Diamond Solution Partner status is validation of their strategic and tactical excellence, making them an ongoing relied upon partner to our shared customers.” – Brian Garvey, VP, Solutions Partner Program at HubSpot  

About Lake One

Minneapolis, MN Based Lake One, is a modern marketing partner that drives business impact for B2B companies through sales and marketing transformation. Their team embeds (virtually) into client organizations to provide strategic guidance and hands-on work. With Lake One, clients get expert help implementing their tech stack and scaling demand generation with content and performance marketing. Lake One helps clients fine-tune their efforts based on their unique business needs, goals, and real-time customer engagement. 

HubSpot Implementation: 6 Questions Your Business Needs To Answer First

Sales and marketing technology like HubSpot can drive significant change for businesses. But before you jump into implementing HubSpot CRM and Marketing Automation, it’s critical to know that technology is not a strategy. Too often we ended up working with clients who are throwing technology at business problems without clearly defined business processes and strategies that the technology can lean on to help achieve business outcomes. When it comes to strategy, that’s where our FieldGuide ™ approach comes in. But when it comes to process, here are several areas your business should explore prior to or in conjunction with a standard HubSpot Implementation.

Are buyer profiles clearly defined

One of the first things you need to be clear about is who are you selling to. If you answered “everyone” hold up. . . is your marketing budget unlimited?

Try again.

Buyer personas, or profiles, are critical to ensure that sales and marketing messages are segmented to the right person and the role they play in the sales and marketing process for your organization.

HubSpot Implementation Buyer Personas
Image Source: https://amywright.me/buyer-persona-questions/

Why does it matter to the setup process for HubSpot? Because depending on how your buyers are defined, you may need custom properties created to further segment and define them. You may make the decision to activate target account properties and buying role properties via the account-based marketing tools from HubSpot.

Knowing who you’re selling to and how your organization plans to communicate with them is absolutely critical to a successful implementation. This tool from HubSpot can help get you started.

Is the lifecycle of a customer documented

How does your company get new business? What’s the journey a prospect takes? Understanding the lifecycle of a client or customer ensures that your HubSpot setup is aligned to both support those processes from a technical perspective but also enable easier reporting and collaboration between sales and marketing. As much as marketers want the buyer’s journey to be cute and linear, our multichannel, multidevice buying experiences today result in a process more like the following:

b2b buyers journey

Questions to answer that can help sort through the noise above:

  • How does sales prospect? Where do the contacts come from and what are the steps sales takes and the behaviors shown by a prospect to show they are ready to advance?
  • When a lead is identified by marketing, what information is needed to qualify it’s ready to talk to sales? What behaviors show high intent to purchase as a reflection of past leads that converted through the sales process quickly?
  • What customer experiences resonate positively with customers and turn them into advocates? How are they identified?

Why does any of this matter to your HubSpot Implementation? Knowing as much of your customer lifecycle in advance will help you identify areas to plug in technology to scale and gain efficiencies, whether it’s scaling prospecting or identifying triggers for when to send an NPS survey.

Are sales processes outlined

Once a lead has identified a business opportunity, what happens? Does everyone follow a similar playbook? There are several reasons to have an outlined sales process, or at the very least, an understanding of the steps involved, as you head into a HubSpot implementation.

First, any customization that needs to occur around lead statuses to communicate the status of a sales opportunity in the hand-off period between sales and marketing, before a deal lands on the pipeline.

Second, deal stages and weighting play a heavy role in forecasting and ultimately the closed-loop feedback reporting upstream through marketing attribution.

Finally, sales automation. What areas in the sales process can steps be automated or technology leveraged to drive additional insight to make the sales process more successful?

HubSpot Implementation Sales Automation

Have measurable goals been set

Have goals been outlined? What are you trying to accomplish and how will HubSpot help achieve and measure those goals? The reason for this knowledge going into a HubSpot setup further informs any custom setup that needs to occur across objects which then trickles down into reporting and dashboard set up.

conversion rate benchmark report
conversion rate benchmark report from Unbounce

Now sure where to start with goal setting? Maybe your organization doesn’t have any benchmark data and is starting from scratch. Just start. Be realistic, and set SMART goals that are realistic and be open to adjusting reactively if they are too easily attained or it becomes clear they are too far out there. It’s better to set a goal and measure towards it and have to adjust than to not set anything.

Sales and marketing alignment

Is everyone in agreement on buyer profiles, lifecycle stages, sales process, goals? Ensuring you have sales and marketing alignment between your revenue teams is absolutely critical.

Sales and marketing alignment allows for a streamlined customer journey where the path is clear and communication channels are understood. This type of clarity builds the important trust needed for a customer to take action. “The Trust Factor” study reported that 84% of consumers would not engage with a brand until trust was established.

There are many additional reasons to align your sales and marketing teams that affect both your customers and your internal personnel and culture.

Do you know what content you have

Do you know what content exists in your organization? A content audit can often be beneficial ahead of or in line with a HubSpot Implementation. A content audit is a comprehensive analysis of all of your content collectively. “Content” in this context includes your website content such as offers, blogs, and infographics, as well as offline sales and marketing materials, like sell sheets and brochures.

Why would you do a content audit as part of your HubSpot Setup? Knowing what content you have in your hopper lets your team hit the ground running. Rather than spinning your wheels as you stand up your technology, you can pull from existing resources and repurpose them for email, landing pages, and conversion paths decreasing the time to value on your technology investment.

Ready to Implement

Do you have to have answers to all of this before implementing HubSpot? No. But you should have these business processes top of mind as they are key to customizing your HubSpot set up so you can achieve full value and the fastest time to value from your software investment.

Lake One Announces New Online HubSpot Training Program

Minneapolis MN – Lake One Digital, a remote Platinum Solutions Partner, announces the launch of a new virtual HubSpot Marketing Strategy training program for small and medium sized businesses.

Based on Lake One’s FieldGuide™ Research process, businesses looking to develop a strategic marketing plan without the expense of retaining a Solutions Partner now have an option.

Once per quarter, a cohort of up to 10 companies will participate in a 6-week training curriculum.

The program is designed to help organizations maximize their investment in HubSpot Marketing and/or Sales Hub with guided, hands-on training in the development of a custom marketing plan.

Over the course of six weeks, participants will be coached on the key themes of Lake One’s FieldGuide, provided tools, and given homework to develop the plan under the guidance of Lake One senior strategists.

At the 6-week program culmination, participants will have a fully developed program, ready for activation through their HubSpot Growth Stack.

Topics include keyword research, persona development, content strategy, sales and marketing alignment, and more.

Program costs are a one-time fee of $5000 per organization and allowed up to three participants per organization to attend. Only 10 organizations will be accepted per quarter, and the Q1 2021 cohort begins February 24, 2021.

For more information or to register for the Hubspot Training Program, visit the HubSpot training page or contact us.

Sales Automation: A guide to growing pipeline without being a spambot

When it comes to automation tools, marketing automation often gets all the glory. But a growing category of tools, sales automation, is picking up steam as remote and digital sales strategies become more mainstream. Truth be told, marketing and sales automation working together is a one-two punch. A strong sales and marketing alignment from strategy through technology can be a game-changer for revenue teams. So what’s the deal with sales automation? What is it, and how should an organization approach it when looking at their total sales and marketing technology investment? We’ll explore all of that and more in this Lake One guide.

What is Sales Automation?

Sales automation is the use of tools and technology to scale and automate manual elements of an organization’s sales process. Tasks include data management, follow up automation, call transcribing, and reporting. Sales automation seeks to eliminate manual tasks that often take up valuable time daily, weekly, and monthly. Sales teams can better utilize their time focused on higher-value sales activity like proposals and closing discussions.

Benefits of Sales Automation

While there are a host of benefits to automating elements of your sales McKinsey states that early adopters of sales automation report efficiency improvements of 10 -15%. Whether utilizing prepared proposals, AI to determine a contact’s likelihood of conversion, or chatbots – sales automation can make sure more time is focused on the highest value efforts.

sales automation - reduce pipeline friction

Reduce pipeline friction

Using tools to automate functions within your salesforce has shown to lead to a 30% increase in deal closures and a reduction in the sales cycle by 18%, according to Instapage. Imagine how much more revenue you’d have flowing through your pipeline with those reductions in friction.

Improved morale

At the end of the day, if performance lags, so does morale, thus creating a vicious cycle. Morale drops, dragging down motivation and then impacting performance, and the cycle continues. With sales automation, it’s like giving your sales team an unfair advantage.

Essential Sales Activities to Automate

When approaching sales automation, the easiest place to start is thinking about your sales team’s major time drainers. A 2017 HubSpot sales survey of sales professionals in the US, UK and Ireland found that the typical sales day is wildly inefficient. In fact, salespeople spend less than half their day actually selling.

Sales Automation

Emails, data management, prospecting, and more are all tasks that have either a portion of which or the entire task that can be automated. Looking at the tasks that the HubSpot survey identified, where can sales automation assist?

Email: Utilize templates and a canned response for common messages. It’s half the time just thinking about what you want to send, even if it’s a common message. A template can get you started and let you tailor a portion to your latest conversation with your prospect.

Data Entry: There are various browser plugins, email extensions and CRM add ons that help complete a contact profile with publicly available information. Whether it’s logging an email and creating a net new contact in a CRM from Google or outlook or adding someone from LinkedIn.

Prospecting: Effective prospecting for a modern salesperson is a balance between the numbers game and outreach quality to increase response rates. Areas to focus automation on include the qualifiers on building prospect lists and driving them into your CRM, sequences, and cadences used to conduct the outreach, calling tools to be able to call through a list with a direct dial and reduce time fumbling around with a phone.

Internal Meetings: When it comes to internal meetings and updates. Does everything need to be a meeting, or do you need better reporting and check-ins? Can communications be managed through a tool like slack with a status update through an app?

Scheduling: Trying to book a meeting with a prospect can be a nightmare. If you’re selling a complex product to a large group of influencers and people who need to sign off, now you’re managing multiple calendars. Automating the booking and availability eliminates all of the back and forth.

digital sales growth chat

Tools for Sales Automation

So what tools help with these kinds of task automations for sales teams? I’m glad you asked.

Let’s explore some of the options available to support automating the essential tasks we’ve outlined in the previous section. In each section, we’ll provide a couple of options. First we’ll explore how HubSpot can solve the sales automation as a platform solution, a tool that can support multiple sales automation needs and work across other areas of your customer experience like marketing and customer experience.

Second, we’ll provide options for point solutions that can also integrate into other systems so you can plug and play depending on how your sales and marketing tech stack is architected today.

Email: HubSpot provides easy to deploy email templates that can be utilized across Outlook and Google mail. Templates through HubSpot also have the added benefit of reporting on performance so your sales organization can see which templates drive the best response and can be plugged into process across your organization.

If you’re looking for a plug and play solution, Right Inbox is an option if your business runs on Google Work, if you run on Office 365, AppSource has a variety of options as well.

Data Entry:HubSpot makes it easy to automatically log contacts from your inbox. They will also populate company records with publicly available data.

Depending on your CRM, both the Google Chrome Store and Office 365 AppSource are places to look for integrations to support data entry.

Prospecting: HubSpot Sequences make it easy to enroll up to 50 prospects at a time (depending on the tier you’re on) for a sales play. Email outreach, LinkedIn inmail, call, etc. With HubSpot calling, you can assign the call to a task queue and work through calls in a quick efficient way.

For plug and play options, there’s a host of sales cadence tools including Outreach, Salesloft, and Mailshake. All of which have robust integrations with a variety of CRMs and MAPs.

Internal Meetings: HubSpot reporting can go a long way to eliminate some needs for constant meetings and updates. The ability to tag and mention colleagues in real-time on contacts, companies, and deals also allows for communication and updates without leaving the CRM.

For plug and play, consider Slack plus Status Hero as a way to communicate regular updates without disrupting daily workflow.

Scheduling: HubSpot’s built-in meetings link allows you to connect to your Google or Outlook calendar and create custom booking availabilities. The link can be embedded in templates, sequences, or dropped into ad hoc emails to eliminate back and forth scheduling.

On the plug-and-play side, there are a host of booking solutions but the one we come across the most often and seems to have the most flexibility is Calendly.

When Should You Invest in Sales Automation?

There are several things to consider when looking at timing your sales automation investment. Vablet, a mobile sales enablement platform, points out 10 critical things to consider before investing in a sales enablement solution, for example, your sales tools are going to only be as good as the people using them. Invest in good people, then empower them with tools.

Additionally, just like in marketing, sales technology is not a replacement for a bad or missing process or strategy. If you haven’t developed a sales process and strategy that yields results – investing in sales tools isn’t going to help.

Insider Tips: Digital Transformation of Manufacturing Sales and Marketing

Manufacturers tend to excel at digital transformation on the manufacturing floor. When it comes to finding areas to improve manufacturing processes and scaling their business, manufacturing often leads other industries. However, when it comes to the rest of the business: sales, marketing, and operations, the manufacturing industry lags behind others in enterprise digital strategy.

A recent Deloitte study found that just 25% of the manufacturing industry looks at digital transformation across their entire organization. Polywater, a Lake One client and leading manufacturer of quality chemical products for the electrical and communications industry, is one of them. As a manufacturing front-runner that began their digital transformation journey before COVID-19 changed, well, nearly everything in every industry, we asked them to share lessons and tips about their digital transformation. Here is their story.

Our Guests

Meryl Steinhauser | Product Manager | Polywater

Amy Helke | Inside Sales | Polywater

Challenges of outdated manufacturing sales and marketing technology

At the start of 2020, nobody could have predicted how the nature of face-to-face conversations and relationship-based selling would change, nor could they predict the pressing need that businesses would soon face to thrive digitally. Polywater’s digital transformation arrived at an opportune time.

The impetus to change was an outdated CRM. Polywater had a 20-year-old, on-premise CRM, which few people at the company used. As a result, it added little value to sales and marketing.

Polywater also wanted to drive stronger alignment between their marketing and sales teams to be more responsive, drive more engagement, and enable more productive sales

Finally, they were entering a new adjacent product market and needed to start reaching personas that previously weren’t on their marketing radar.

With an outdated system that wasn’t being used, teams that weren’t well-aligned, and new marketplace opportunities on the way, Polywater knew the only way to address their challenges and support their growth was to put upgraded sales and marketing systems in place. This led them to partner with Lake One and ultimately selecting HubSpot for both sales (CRM) and marketing (Marketing Automation).

Watch our entire chat with Polywater


Garnering alignment for digital transformation at your manufacturing firm

Whenever you have an organization that’s as established as Polywater both in installed technology and business process, the first step to a successful digital transformation is garnering alignment on the plan.

Both Steinhauser and Helke talked about the importance of getting upfront alignment from everyone involved. They acknowledge this step can be challenging. And it can take time. But they believe the more effort you put in at this stage, the easier it will be in the long-term.

Lake One held several fact-finding missions with the Polywater team, gathering user requirements across sales, marketing, and support to hone in on the very specific needs a sales and marketing technology solution would need to provide to support Polywater’s transformation. Requirements were documented, agreed upon, technology vetted, and selected.

Helke shares the importance of getting alignment on what each team needs and how they plan to use the CRM – especially when navigating complex data (more on that later).

They also describe how working with an external partner brought a useful and different perspective to their discussion. It helped them challenge how they’ve always done things and consider how to adjust going forward. And it kept them grounded in their ultimate goals (e.g., strengthening the connection between sales and marketing).

Appoint a central point of contact

Once you get started on the transformation, having a central point of contact is essential, says Steinhauser, because you need someone who will learn and understand the system’s inner workings and what’s happening behind the scenes.

In the beginning, Polywater was getting various requests, wants, and wishes from people within the organization. Having someone who could figure out the best, easiest, most user-friendly way to implement ideas and report back decisions was critical.

A central point of contact adds particular value during COVID-19 – whether in the same room or on a Zoom call. Helke, lovingly called Polywater’s digital pit boss, puts information in a central location, refers people to resources, walks them through how to complete essential tasks, and keeps people on track.

Ensuring a successful transformation

A digital transformation in any organization will take time. In a manufacturing organization, there will likely be things you uncover during your rollout that weren’t accounted for in even the best of requirements gathering. Careful consideration for training and a rollout plan can allow you to react to those changes as they come up and adopt them into your transformation plan.

Training and Rollout

Speaking of training, how do you take a group of different people from different departments with varying needs through training? You start with the basics and divide and conquer from there.

When it came to training the broader team of people using HubSpot, Helke outlines how they slowly waded in. They took small steps first, focusing primarily on the company’s immediate needs and looking only as far ahead as they needed to.

Their goal was to give people a sense of where the platform could take them but not inundate them with more than they needed to know at the time.

This approach helped users envision what the system was capable of, what it could do for the company, and how Polywater planned to use it. Over time, not overwhelming users led to adoption and enthusiasm with users generating ideas about other implementation opportunities.

Identifying Super Users

Another key component to a successful transformation is identifying superusers. A Superuser is someone who jumps in, learns the platform’s ins-and-outs, and is willing to make sure users across the organization have confidence using new tools. At Polywater, their Superuser formulates things in a way to make it easier for others to use – even those who are a little concerned about using the platform. Think of superusers users as people who can continue the training when your vendor or partner is no longer in the training phase.

A new tool can be intimidating, but having someone from the frontlines who embraces the change is beneficial.

Impact of digital transformation of Manufacturing Marketing and Sales

Better communication

Having gone through a digital transformation of sales and marketing gives the Polywater team the ability to track information, make sure they’re responsive to customers, and have what they need to follow-up regardless of where they’re working – essentially, communicating better among internal and external stakeholders.

Helke also describes how some of HubSpot’s capabilities really showed their value when COVID-19 hit during the chat.

Extensibility across multiple tools

Driving digital transformation in sales and marketing allows a manufacturer to get more out of their sales and marketing efforts by connecting modern tools together to garner business results. For example, after Polywater’s transformation, the sales team was able to integrate one to one sales videos, hosted through Vidyard, into their communications via HubSpot. The ability to record, send, and report on videos wasn’t even an option prior to their transformation.

Personalization drives connections amid a global pandemic

Helke touches on how their sales team uses the video platform to create personalized messages for their customers.

When it was clear travel would be restricted, the sales team (and more) wanted creative ways to connect with customers. Rather than being another email in a sea of emails, Polywater customers can see their salesperson – it’s the next best thing to having a one-to-one conversation.

Sample Dashboard courtesy of HubSpot

Data drives action

A benefit of the Vidyard integration is the ability to see whether users viewed the video, stopped at a certain point, fast-forwarded to certain information – all significant indicators of their interests. This breadth of knowledge allows Polywater to tailor messages in the future. A variety of real-time data points now help the Polywater team make actionable decisions on all communication elements.

Simplify complex processes

An often-overlooked element of digital transformation is the opportunity to simplify historically complex processes. In particular, the introduction of a marketing automation tool allows manufacturers to use automation horsepower beyond just when to send emails.

Helke describes how Polywater historically manually coded contacts based on their market, company type, persona, location, and job function.

Polywater spent a good deal of consideration into how automation could help turn a manual, confusing process into something that worked behind the scenes to make meaning of Polywater’s data.

Steinhauser and Helke share how challenging this step was. How it took a considerable effort to get their contact codes to a point where everyone understood what they were, how they were used, and where they were collected. Looking back, the effort was worth it.

Ease of use drives data across the organization

A lot can change in technology over 20 years. Driving transformation, making complex processes automated, and getting alignment along the way can make adopting new technology less challenging.

At Polywater, the team’s effort to plan, rollout, adjust and refine digital transformation has led to positive adoption, leading to better data throughout the organization, enabling sales and marketing to be far more effective.

Looking ahead on the Transformation Roadmap

What does 2021 hold for Polywater? They’re starting to create marketing plans for each department – segmenting contacts and creating groups those departments want to contact and market to. While still working through what that looks like, the team is having fun imagining the possibilities.

Helke says now we get to see how all of the difficult backend work we did over the last year pays off, how it shifts us into cultivating our contacts and marketing to them with personalized messages.

Source: Google

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Take your time; ask for and listen to your team’s suggestions to make sure you’re headed in the right direction
  • Make tough decisions and do the hard work upfront
  • Use data to inform your plans
  • Gain alignment; don’t rush to the technology solution
  • Get started! Digital transformation requires a plan, but you also need just to get started, or your plan will never come to fruition.
  • Have a trusted guide and a roadmap for your digital transformation journey

Thanks to our experts for joining us and sharing their transformational journey, critical decisions, challenges, and early wins.

Solutions to 5 Common Manufacturing Marketing Challenges in 2021

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.

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. 

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