Every manufacturing company owner I speak to has one simple request. “Get me more leads!”
And more often than not, they are hoping to find those leads online. They may need to take control of spiralling advertising costs, their traditional methods of lead generation aren’t working as well as they used to, or they’ve heard that the competitors who are thriving have moved their marketing engergies to the web.
It Is Possible to Turn Your Website Into a Lead Generation Engine.
It takes patience – this won’t happen over night. It also takes commitment, investment and discipline. Fortunately, those are the very same qualities that helped you build your business in the first place.
Secret No. 1: All Leads Are Not Equal
Ask your marketing team to describe a lead. Now, without sharing what marketing has said, ask your sales team. You’ll get two very different answers. And that difference is at the heart of most marketing/sales conflicts.
The difference is in purchase intent.
Marketing’s role is to make sure that everyone who might ever buy from you knows who you are and has an pre-exisitng preference for you when the time comes and they need or want what you have to sell.To marketing, a lead is anyone who has the potential to become a customer. He matches the profile of your ideal customer – right industry, right title, right company size and geographic location.
Sales’ job is to step in when that time comes and close the deal. To sales, a lead is someone from this same group who is looking to buy products just like yours in the very near future.
The first secret to success with your manufacturing company lead generation programs is to make sure you understand exactly what each team means when they say the magic words – qualified lead.
Secret No. 2: Lead Generation is a System
Your lead generation program is a system for finding the individuals that marketing considers a lead, developing a relationship with them, and then – when the time is right – introducing them to the sales team.
Exactly like the systems you use to manufacture your products and operate your business, your lead generation program is made up of inter-connected parts that must work together to succeed. If any part of the system is failing, problems result.
Secret No. 3: Lead Generation Needs both Online and Offline to Flourish.
Generating a steady flow of qualified leads for your sales team is the combined result of all your efforts. It includes:
- your social media programs,
- your website,
- your blog,
- your search marketing efforts,
- your email marketing efforts,
- the specialized content you create,
- the signs on your trucks,
- your business cards,
- the script you use for telemarketing,
- and just about everything else that you do that introduces your business to people who might one day buy from you.
Make sure you’re working with a marketing partner who understands how all of these elements fit together and presents you with a program that uses as many of these opportunities as is reasonable within your available budget.
Secret No. 4: Most Internet “Gurus” are Tactical Specialists
I also frequently encounter a high level of frustration from business owners who feel like they’ve been taken to the cleaners by internet ‘gurus’ who promised more than they could deliver.They may have invested heavily in a paid search program or hired a social media specialist that drove thousands of visitors to their website, but failed to see the needle move at all when it came to new sales.
Make sure that you are working with an agency who understands the complete process of moving leads through the buying cycle.
Secret No. 5: Lead Generation Doesn’t End with the Buy / No Buy Decision
It’s true that one of your best sources of new leads will be the people you’ve sold to in the past – whether they ended up buying from you or not.That’s right, even those who don’t buy from you might refer others. Think about the homeowner who purchases a new roof from a competitor because their price is lower, even though he felt more comfortable with you. If he has problems with his roof, he is likely to share that experience with his neighbours and in the process refer you.
Make sure your lead generation program includes maintaining contact after the buying decision to help customers get the best value from their purchase, highlight referral programs, and introduce new products and offers.