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How to build the perfect manufacturing or engineering company’s sales pipeline

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It’s common knowledge that a healthy, high-quality sales pipeline can transform any manufacturing or engineering business.  In fact, creating and maintaining such a pipeline is pretty much every business owner’s and business development manager’s dream.

Because a healthy sales pipeline means there’s a steady stream of quality new prospects or leads, all open to trying your manufacturing or engineering product or service, there should not be any more sleepless nights wondering when your next enquiry will come in and no more worrying about whether the production line is going to be kept busy or if there are any issues with meeting payroll next month.

Healthy sales pipelines make for all-around healthy manufacturing or engineering businesses,  sustained revenue growth and long-term profitability

And this unique position gives you more options – i.e. deciding to steadily grow or being more selective about the work that’s taken on or swapping out low margin, awkward jobs for higher margin, more straightforward work. You also have the luxury of being able to:

  • Forecast future business results more accurately
  • Analyse and optimise sales strategies for continual improvement
  • Manage and allocate internal resources more effectively and efficiently
  • Evaluate how you’re performing against your sales growth targets

Inadequate sales and marketing nurturing processes lead to an unhealthy sales pipeline and poor-quality leads which results in low margin sales as well as many more problems for manufacturing or engineering companies.  These poor results are invariably caused by failure to effectively manage and review and refine the sales, marketing and nurturing process on a regular basis.  Unfortunately, it would appear they’re rife across other sectors too.  According to research carried out by the Sales Management Association, 44% of executives think their organisation is ineffective at managing their sales pipelines. 

Companies with a Formal Sales Process Generate More Revenue

Meanwhile, a study carried out by the Harvard Business Review revealed an 18% difference in revenue growth between companies that have a defined a formal sales process and those that haven’t.

How manufacturing and engineering companies can develop a more successful sales process to prime the sales pipeline

Healthy sales pipelines don’t just happen by chance.  We know this because we’ve helped countless manufacturing and engineering businesses build a sales and marketing process that is still delivering just as well for them now, as they were when we first implemented them. We achieve this by helping them:

  1. Decide what their perfect customer looks like and who they ideally wish to work with: 

  • Company size
  • Sector
  • Cultural fit
  • Products and services that are core to their offer
  1. Scope out the lifetime value of what that customer looks like (or could look like):

  • Profile top customers by sector size etc.
  • Desk research other businesses, including their best customers’ competitors
  • Purchase data from Direct Marketing Association-approved sources
  • Sift and cleanse the data
  1. Develop their unique proposition and positioning to put them in a category of one:

  • What makes them unique?
  • Why do their existing customers use them over their competition?
  • Create a compelling value proposition
  • Develop campaign collateral and sales copy that underpins the above proposition
  • Claim that unique position in the market through marketing and nurturing communications
  1. Support their team with:

  • Telemarketing to find the decision makers with the budget, authority and need that aligns perfectly with their engineering capabilities
  • Persuasive sales copywriting that delivers the top unique capabilities to the decision makers
  • Direct personalised email marketing that educates and nurtures the decision maker until they are ready to buy
  • Direct personalised direct mail to ensure the message is received through a physical media
  • Digital/search marketing to ensure prospects looking for a solution to their problems find them and either reach out or are followed up
  • Social media to underpin the positioning and to build more targeted prospects.

An integrated and systematic approach to marketing and lead generation to develop a sales pipeline involves building funnels/customer journeys and adopting marketing automation sequences to find the decision-makers and deliver campaign messages that focus on customers’ pain points and to show them how they can overcome them.

By building relationships using ‘evergreen’ strategies, trust and rapport develop and, combined with consistent and time-prompted follow up processes (using CRM systems), results will start to flow steadily through.

These are just some of the many components that go into bridging the gap between sales and marketing to deliver a healthy sales pipeline.  

For more details or to find out more about the results we’ve helped our manufacturing and engineering clients to achieve, please call us on 01827 69772 or complete the short contact form below.

Marketing for manufacturing businesses: Where should you start?

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While it’s not uncommon for manufacturers’ order books to be continuously filled by repeat customers and recommendations, their long-term success does depend on their ability to cast their net much further afield.

Like most industries, the manufacturing sector is switched on to the benefits of marketing, both tried-and-tested traditional techniques and 21st century methods, including digital, inbound and content marketing.

According to a report carried out by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, 78% of manufacturing marketing professionals use some form of inbound marketing and 71% of manufacturing content marketers list lead generation as a top organisational goal. 

But knowing which strategy is guaranteed to drive sales and generate a healthy pipeline isn’t always easy, particularly when you’re time-poor, have limited resources or haven’t always prioritised your marketing efforts.

15+ years’ manufacturing marketing success

Having delivered countless successful marketing and lead generation campaigns specifically for manufacturing companies for more than 15 years, we instinctively know which marketing tactics resonate the best within the world of manufacturing.

In fact, our proven Business PropellerTM lead generation process was developed to help business owners, including manufacturers and engineering companies, tackle one of their biggest challenges – how to find new prospects with the budget, authority and need; start a meaningful conversation with them and nurture them until they become loyal, repeat customers.

And while it’s encouraging to see many manufacturers are implementing marketing strategies, not all of these strategies have started in the right place. And, of course, there’s also the cluster of manufacturers who aren’t sure where to begin in the first place…

So, where should manufacturers start their marketing?

Well, the first step involves putting yourself in your prospects’ shoes and identifying their main pain points, and by pain points, we mean the business challenges that most keep them awake at night. Once you’ve honed in on this key piece of information, you then need to present them with a solution to their pain points. (Note – your prospects may have just one main pain point or multiple and you may have one, catch-all solution or several).

But being armed with this insight is only part of the equation. It’s essential the key decision-makers within the organisations you’re targeting: a) have an instant brand recall with your company, b) know and like you and c) trust you. And from your perspective, it’s important you market your solution to their problems, keep them warm with long-term nurturing campaigns and always, always follow up with them every month, no matter how busy things get.

Right messages to the right people at the right time

And this is where your marketing efforts are key. From your overall brand and your website, to your direct marketing materials, they all need to be clear and consistent and, more importantly, communicating the right messages to the right people at the right time (follow-ups included).

In today’s digital era, having a website is a basic marketing requirement and just simply having an online presence is just the start, especially as 99% of web visitors reportedly leave a site without making contact and 70% of people who go to your Contact Us page won’t actually make contact. (The words ‘horse’ and ‘water’ spring to mind here…)

While this is a significant obstacle, it is possible to overcome it, with the right strategy and implementation, such as web visitor forensic tools, online advertising, highly relevant content marketing campaigns and systemised follow-ups in place.

Admittedly, marketing for manufacturers isn’t without its challenges, but they are all challenges that can easily be tackled with the right insight and approach.

What’s more, if you’ve started your marketing at the point we suggested at the start of this post, then you won’t have half as many issues to deal with, meaning you can spend more time and energy nurturing leads that are guaranteed to convert.

Got any questions or perhaps you’re a manufacturer or an engineering company who’d like our help with developing and implementing a winning marketing strategy? Contact us on 01827 69772 or you can use the form on this page.

Book Summary: Marketing for Manufacturers

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Marketing for Manufacturing by Carl Jarvis We thoroughly recommend you buy this book, here is a summary of the book Marketing for Manufacturers, by Carl Jarvis.  In it, Carl states that 80% of small to mid-sized manufacturers mismanage their marketing.  Carl started off his working life as an engineering apprentice and later had a successful corporate career in sales and then marketing before becoming a Marketing and Business Advisor.

Here is a summary of some of the key points, 10 chapters distilled into a bullet-pointed list below:

Introduction:

  • There are approximately 30,000 small and mid-sized manufacturing companies in the UK generating £151Bn and employing over 1.1m people. Many of these manufacture world class products.  As good as they are at making things, it is generally accepted that they are ‘universally poor at marketing them’ and their ‘products are the best-kept secret in the market.’
  • Carl estimates that the inability to market correctly is costing companies around 20% of their potential and estimates that this is costing the UK around £24bn/year and accounting for one of the major reasons for business failure.
  • This isn’t a how-to book on marketing though. The book sets out to inspire manufacturers to embrace marketing and to let go of the old ways such as relying on 3rd parties and word of mouth.
  • Many manufacturers have filing cabinets full of contacts, lapsed customers, web enquiries, prospects that have been quoted but not won. Contacts that could be entered into a CRM system, contacted and nurtured and followed up. Lapsed customers that could be called and asked why they have gone elsewhere.  Existing customers who could be upsold and market researched to ensure they stay ahead of the competition.

Part 1: The Inconvenient Truths about Marketing

  • Manufacturing companies are set up by manufacturers and engineers who tend to have very little professional sales and marketing experience, if any at all.
  • Very few companies have one person of authority responsible for managing the marketing function. It may sit with the MD/CEO but does it ever have as much focus as operations or finance?

CALL TO ACTION: Give marketing the same weight as production planning, QC, materials handling, stock control, scheduling and WIP.  Your marketing needs that same level of commitment and focus to succeed.

  • Be in control like you are with operations and don’t leave the reputation of your company to chance.
  • Your sales and marketing process should replicate your production processes. Bring in raw materials (leads), convert the materials into products (lead conversion process), package, ship and fulfil the order (sales then convert them into a first-time customer and wow them), so they become a regular, repeat customer.
  • Every business has 3 functions:
    • Production (make it)
    • Finance (manage the flow of money)
    • Marketing and Sales (promote and sell it).
  • Jarvis states that in all his years he has never met an MD that is strong in all 3 areas (4 if you separate sales and marketing).
  • Jarvis: ‘If most companies ran their financial and production departments like they run their marketing function, they would be in complete and utter chaos.’
  • One of the biggest challenges a business owner will face is finding highly qualified leads or prospects to convert into rewarding profitable business, whilst simultaneously developing and expanding their existing customers to increase order value and order frequency.
  • CALL TO ACTION: MDs should balance the business and get support on marketing. If they delegate to a junior member of staff, they should get support from an external source.
  • Look at your organisational tree and delegate marketing to a senior person and support them with the resources required to deliver results.
  • Develop a marketing strategy and an annual marketing plan and budget. Then resource it correctly to ensure results are achieved.  See guidance on marketing budgets below.
  • Make sure you implement! Take action, as failure to implement is a primary reason for business failure.  
  • Many manufacturers do not have an adequate marketing budget.
  • Some think they will allocate the budget AFTER the sales come in. It never happens.
  • Recommended marketing budgets: Jarvis quotes a MORI poll on behalf of the Chartered Institute of Marketing 2010 with some interesting insights:
    • The average marketing spend as a percentage of gross annual turnover is 7.29% (excluding marketing salaries).
    • The average spend by sector is: Financial services-7.79%, Manufacturing is lower at 5.83%, retail -7.61% and technology – 7.76%
    • Average UK marketing spend by annual gross revenue:
      • Below £1m T/O -9.96%
      • £1m-£10m T/O – 7.61%
      • £11m-50m – 4.72%
      • £51m – £100m – 6.64%
    • Jarvis surmises that you should be spending 8%-11% of gross annual sales on marketing.
    • McKinsey & Co recommends a minimum annual marketing spend of 5% of gross revenue.
    • Drew McLellan blue chip marketing expert suggests a 7%-8% spend of gross revenue.
  • Jarvis asks a leading question: Why is it that manufacturers can always find money for a new machine but rarely if ever for marketing? 
  • CALL TO ACTION: Work out how much the lifetime value of a customer is worth to you. Decide how much you are prepared to pay to buy each new customer. Allocate the budget and ringfence marketing as this is the activity that will generate future sales and profitable growth.
  • Look at your customer lists. Review your top 20% of customers.  Have a formal review with each customer every year. Discuss their future plans and needs.
  • Create customer records and make systemised contact Make a list and develop marketing materials that make it easy to get the message out there and include videos. Stop just sending data sheets.
  • Is your website too product focussed?  Get an independent review of your website and develop it as the hub of your campaigns to download information and datasheets:  ‘A website is for life, not just Christmas’.
  • Who is writing your marketing and sales copy? Get professional help with your sales copy as this will have a significant impact on your results.
  • Does your marketing material reflect the quality of your products and services? Who designs your literature?  Is it in-house by an experienced graphic designer?  Is it professionally designed and professionally printed or is it a DIY job in-house?  Don’t go cheap on this as the quality of your product/service deserves better.
  • Is your marketing fragmented? Make sure it is integrated and coordinated.  Develop regular marketing habits and review every year.
  • Make sure you identify your key markets and follow up again and again by systematically taking them on a customer journey. Ditch the stuff that isn’t working and do more of the activities that do and always ask for the order!
  • Build the profiles of your top engineers and communicate these to your customers.
  • Create case studies, articles and blogs.
  • Arrange speaking engagements at conferences.
  • Let go of the past and get social.

Part Two:  The Mechanics of Marketing Strategy

What is Marketing?

  • A list of definitions:
    • At its highest level, the purpose of marketing is to make selling unnecessary
    • A lifelong method of building trust and educating your customer so they believe in the benefits, advantages, value and beneficial results of your product or service.
    • Marketing is developing an intelligent process for increasing the customer’s desire for your products and services.
    • Marketing is forging lifelong, ongoing relationships with the customer.
    • Marketing is about bringing the market to desire your product or service. Sales is to close the deal. – Dr Eliyahu M. Goldratt, originator of the theory of constraints.
    • Strategic vs tactical marketing. Think first, decide key objectives then implement.

Three Critical Questions in Marketing Effectiveness

  1. What is your primary mode of marketing?
  2. What is your primary origin of sales?
  3. How do they differ or compare?
  • Why would anyone buy from you?
  • Why do your current customers buy from you? Ask them.
  • Market and sell end outcomes.
  • Develop customer avatars of your ideal customer. Who are they?  What do they really want from you?  Who makes the final decision?
  • 80/20 marketing. 80% of profits will come from 20% of your customers.  Why not target and win more of these types of customers?
  • Where is your area of excellence?

Conclusion:

A first in this sector, Marketing for Manufacturers is an easy read and makes a lot of sense.  It is not a ‘how to market your business’ book (there are hundreds of these out there).  This is a well-considered attempt to educate MDs and owners of UK manufacturing companies as to why they need to get better at marketing their business and when to ask for professional help.

Marketing for Manufacturers by Carl Jarvis is available on Amazon.

If you would like to explore how to get more of the right kind of customers, then please contact a member of the Stratique team on 01827 69772.

Modest Growth Forecast Predicted by KPMG

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The Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, have published KPMG’s ‘modest growth forecast’ in the event that a ‘friction-light’ Brexit deal is achieved, according to Karl Edge, Midlands regional chairman at KPMG.

KPMG’s quarterly Economic Outlook Report, reveals that the UK economy is set for modest growth if a positive Brexit deal can be reached with the EU. KPMG also predicts that UK GDP will grow by 1.3 per cent in 2018 and 1.4 per cent in 2019, the lowest growth rates since 2008 and 2009 and suggests that poor productivity is still a major factor for UK businesses.
Exports are disappointingly low in spite of the weakness of the pound and retail continues to struggle.

The full feature can be found here: https://www.greaterbirminghamchambers.com/latest-news/news/2018/9/18/modest-growth-forecast-if-friction-light-brexit-deal-achieved/

Spend less time searching for new customers

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How many hours over the past month have you spent researching potential new prospects, contacting them to find out who the decision maker is and trying to speak with that person to introduce your company?

Did you spend long enough on prospecting this month? It takes a significant amount of time to lay this groundwork. Time that would be better spent talking face to face or preparing proposals.

What would you say if I told you that you could reduce this time to zero, and instead spend the time attending meetings with the decision makers of the companies you’d most like to work with? Allowing you extra time to do what you’re best at – converting well qualified prospects into customers.

Business Propeller is the answer. A proven lead generation system that generates a steady stream of inbound enquiries every month. This is the lead generation system that we developed and perfected to triple our business during the worst recession in history (2007), and is now generating millions of pounds’ worth of new business for our clients in the manufacturing sector.

The Business Propeller is a multi-touchpoint marketing system, run by our marketing experts that will get to know your business inside-out. We can work in tandem with an existing sales and marketing team, or if you don’t have one, we can arrange face-to-face appointments for your company’s sales team.

B-A-N-T – this stands for budget, authority, need and timeline. These are the 4 qualifying elements of our lead generation services. Our expert and experienced team is able to find the decision makers within the companies you’d most like to do business with, and nurture them until they know, like and trust your company. We’ll then book you an appointment, with a specific date and time, for you to do what you do best.

If you’d like to discuss this in greater detail, we’d be delighted to meet – your place or ours! We can discuss your key business growth objectives which will allow us to reverse engineer a tailored lead generation and marketing strategy to deliver your growth objectives.

Simply use the contact form below to say hello, and we’ll be in touch!

How to build the perfect marketing team

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Would you like to know how to build the perfect marketing and lead generation team? A team that could generate a continuous flow of qualified, face-to-face meetings with your dream customers?

Sounds good doesn’t it.

Well this is what you’ll need:

  • A marketing director to develop and refine an online and offline strategy that guarantees results.
  • A marketing manager to deliver the campaigns and to manage digital and creative agencies/campaigns.
  • A marketing budget to deliver a steady stream of leads and conversions.
  • A smart CRM system to mage data, contacts, follow ups, work flow and direct communications.
  • At least two professional telemarketers to cleanse data, find decision makers and start conversations.
  • A telemarketing/CRM manager to manage the telemarketing team and to ensure
  • A web developer to ensure your website is optimised to attract the prospects searching for your products/services.
  • An experienced sales copywriter to write engaging, relevant and persuasive copy that elicits a response.
  • A pay-per-click guru to ensure you are in the top three positions on Google at the lowest possible cost.
  • A graphic designer to ensure your communications are eye catching on brand and attracts attention, interest and desire.

And that all comes at an annual salary cost upwards of £200,000.

And then you’ll need an office to house them, computers, a phone system, pension schemes, holiday pay, NI, HR management, training plans/budgets, coaching mentoring and of course maternity/paternity pay.

It all adds up.

In reality, the majority of SME’s will never have the resource to fund such a professional and experienced marketing team and therefore find it impossible to compete with the larger companies with larger budgets. The alternative is to find an outsourced partner but according to our long-standing clients, finding one that actually delivers is nigh on impossible. That is, until now.

Here at Stratique we provide a specialist lead generation and marketing service for companies operating in the manufacturing sector, for one monthly fee; you’ll have 7 marketing experts working on your business every month generating 50 plus, highly qualified leads per annum for the same cost of hiring one employee on the average UK salary.

And the best part? Our service will pay for itself, thanks to our proven Business Propeller system.

Our carefully planned campaigns are reversed engineered from your desired end-outcomes. So we know precisely the right steps to take, in the right order, to achieve results.

You are probably wondering how I can make such bold claims.

With over 14 years’ experience in lead generation within the manufacturing sector, we have tested and measured what works and what doesn’t. Henry Ford once famously said; ‘50% of my marketing works, if only I knew which 50%.’ Well we know exactly what works, and what doesn’t.

At Stratique, we apply the principles of LEAN and continuous improvement to all of our lead-generation campaigns, so whatever you need to achieve, we can play a key role.

Does the prospect of a steady stream of inbound leads every week sound like something worth discussing in greater detail? We’d love to. Use the contact form below to say hello and we will be in touch.

Do you want a higher position in Google for your website?

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Follow our advice to implement strategies to improve your websites rankings.

Although having a website which looks great is important, having a beautifully designed website that no-one can find is a little pointless to say the least, that’s where search engine optimisation comes in.

Although having a website which looks great is important, having a beautifully designed website that no-one can find is a little pointless to say the least, that’s where search engine optimisation comes in.

At Stratique we manage the whole process; we have professionals to design your website, passionate copywriters to develop the content and then our digital team market it to the online world so you have a beautifully designed website easily found by your prospects.

SEO is an online marketing process which aims to increase a websites visibility on search engines, for example Google, via unpaid for search results from keywords you wish to target.

How we do it?

  • Keyword Research: Firstly we will analyse the most searched and targeted keyword phrases which relate to your business.
  • Competitor Analysis: Next we look at the SEO techniques of your competitors for the keyword phrases we have chosen and see what we need to do to rank above them.
  • On Page Optimisation and Content Development: Once keyword research and competitor analysis are complete and with your website designed to your personal specifications, we then apply on page optimisation to your website and develop the content. On page optimisation is ensuring the right keyword placement on the most important areas of the page. This includes your HTML code, content, internal linking and navigation of the website. The aim of on page optimisation is to ensure the search engine spiders can crawl each page effectively, which means your website can be found on search engines.
  • Inbound Links: Links are votes of confidence for websites. The more links your website has the more votes it’s receiving. Inbound links are the most effective way of reaching and staying at number one in search engines. However, these links need to be from high quality and relevant websites. We build up backlinks back to your website through social media, article marketing, trade directory submission, professional newsletters with PR and Press Releases. We will also build up backlinks from high page ranked, relevant websites.
  • Tracking and Progress Reports- The important thing about SEO is to track the progress and measure the results. We always keep our clients up to date with monthly detailed reports; this includes monthly rankings and analytics.

A high search engine ranking will increase traffic to your website; a higher amount of visitors coming to your website means an increased chance of someone contacting you for your services. This will ultimately increase the number of clients you have and generate more money for your business.

Google’s changes to paid search traffic

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Google’s dropped a bomb! How to stop the SERP shockwaves from wiping out your paid search traffic.

This month has seen one of the biggest changes to Google Pay-Per-Click advertising since it was first launched in 2000, sending shock waves right through the global marketing industry, and what’s more, it was completely unannounced.

Whether you’re a business owner or a marketer, the alterations to the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) could have a significant impact on your online presence and even have the potential to wipe you off the face of the earth – well at least online anyway.

Don’t Panic!

With the right knowledge and the right skills this major change could work in your favour, giving you the chance to rank higher than your competitors, who may be scared off by the uncertainty of what lies ahead.

So what are the changes?

If you type any search term into Google you will clearly see that there is no longer a column on the right of the page, where paid search ads once live. Instead the experts at Google have added an additional ad to the top of the page, increasing the number of ads above organic search results to 4 ads. But this is not all as some of the ads which previously resided on the right hand side, have now been placed at the bottom of the page. The ads at the top have also been growing in size over the months, effectively pushing the organic listings down “below the fold”

google-SERP-changes-1

Google and the Google logo are registered trademarks of Google Inc., used with permission.

So what does that mean to me?

First of all, the changes have meant that the remaining ads, which were at the bottom of the right hand column, have been eliminated, and businesses which previously showed in these positions will no longer appear in a Google search. For these businesses the change will have a significant effect and it is assumed that many who have poor performing ads will seek other marketing opportunities, as they will no longer be appearing.

For the remaining advertisers it means that, if they are appearing in positions 1 to 4, they will get more traffic and therefore their ads will become more profitable. Some advertisers are worried that the increase in competition for the top positions will spark an increase in Cost Per Click (CPC) but so far research has detected hardly any change. So for businesses with good performing ads the change is good.

But what about organic searches?

Once again the recent change to PPC advertising on Google has hammered another nail in the coffin for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), however all is not lost!

The layout of the new SERP page has meant that organic searches results now appear below the fold, meaning that less people are likely to click on them. But it’s not to say they are completely redundant. Google still likes up-to-date content on your website and SEO still has a place in the digital marketing mix, but these changes mean that SEO is becoming less effective as a solitary tactic and is not a scalable solution. This is where PPC advertising comes into its own.

What we are doing?

At Stratique we stay up-to-date with all major changes to core tools such as Google Adwords and Google Analytics to make sure that our client’s digital marketing is adaptable and optimised. We always endeavour to get our client’s PPC advertising in the top positions to ensure that impressions and clicks remain high.

For more information on our services get in touch at 01827 69772