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The Top 4 Trends In Sales And Marketing For Manufacturers

By Rob Hawse

Because Crafted’s focus is marketing for manufacturers, we make it our business to stay on top of the challenges you are facing when it comes to growing your company and being in touch with how you and your customers are responding to these challenges.

There are four strong trends that continue to impact sales and marketing for manufacturers.

Though you’ve probably heard some of this from us before, if you haven’t yet responded by adapting your approach, now is the time.

#1 – New methods for selling.

It’s getting harder and harder for manufacturers’ sales teams to initiate contact with new customers using traditional “outbound” selling methods, much less close deals with them. That’s because today’s customer now demands total control of the entire customer journey, including when and how they initiate contact with your brand. To adapt to these new preferences, more and more manufacturers are adding “inbound” marketing strategies. The purpose of these inbound strategies are to attract and engage customers, prospects, and Google, pulling them into a “marketing ecosystem” that centers around a highly efficient website populated with helpful content.

#2 – More savvy customers.

Thanks to the Internet, the B2B customer is now behaving much like a B2C customer. Prospects are conducting hours of research on the Internet, far under the sales radar and long before sales has an inkling that they are looking. To capture these opportunities, manufacturers must provide these researchers with a deep library of information they can use to educate themselves about your approach, expertise and capabilities, and that compels them to raise their hand and ask for your help.

#3 – More transparency and authenticity.

Customers are looking for more and more access, not just to your process but to what makes your organization tick. They want to know what you do, how do you do it, and most importantly, they want to understand why you do what you do. The “why” is what’s most important to your prospects because with all the choices available to them, they are intuitively looking for a partner they feel is a good “fit.” A big part of that feeling is the recognition that your belief systems are in alignment. By the way, that alignment is also the key to growing loyal customers into raving fans. To achieve this, however, the change has to start within the organization, and that sometimes means figuring out a way to revitalize the culture.

#4 – A customer experience that’s unique to you.

89% of business leaders now believe that customer experience will become their primary basis for competition.

According a survey by Gartner

Think about that. The customer’s experience, not the end product, will be the primary basis for competition. In response to this trend, companies are scrutinizing their customer experience looking for ways to actively involve the customer in every aspect of the process, from initial contact to design to manufacturing to packaging to shipping to distribution and eventually, referral. Naturally, the website should play a huge role in this experience. Envision your customers weaving in and out of the website, from the first time they hear about your company all the way through to when they’re referring it to one of their colleagues. If they don’t see any value in interacting with the website consistently throughout their experience/journey, the website is slacking on the job, and you will never know how many opportunities to connect with them were missed as a result.

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