CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software is more accessible and affordable now more than ever. Popular services such as Salesforce, HubSpot and Dynamics365 offer immense leverage over big data for manufacturing businesses of all sizes. Most companies are adopting inbound marketing strategies that are yielding a higher volume of qualified leads. Purchasing and implementing a CRM system can greatly enhance the ability to capture and act on this higher volume of leads, automate follow-up and task reminders and ultimately lead to growth in sales and customer satisfaction. Let’s break down how you can get the most utility from a CRM system for your business.
Most popular CRM software vendors offer their products using a cloud-based platform. Outside or field sales personnel run these services as an app on their smartphone, tablet or PC. The software enables users to log customer information in real time such as size, category and industry type, create maps for customer visits and access order history. Imagine making a customer visit or receiving a call inquiring about your product. You can enter the details of your visit or inquiry and process quotations, check stock levels and add valuable follow-up information that seamlessly adds appointments to your integrated calendar.
For inside sales, customer service and sales management, a CRM system provides an efficient way to catalog and track leads and opportunities resulting from the company’s inbound marketing strategy. Users can enter and track the source of leads whether from a website visit (contact form), direct message on social media platforms, direct mail, repeat customer or email campaign. Having the ability to track the source of leads ultimately reveals the efficacy of marketing dollars spent. A CRM system also allows the ability to track and regain lost customers and identify emerging markets and industries.
Integrating CRM with your ERP and even your e-commerce platform can automate customer communications such as follow-up opportunities, customer satisfaction surveys and testimonial solicitation. Real customer feedback that you can use as website and social media content tells a more relatable story for your brand. It shows your customers you genuinely care about their feedback, loyalty and patronage. Using services like Microsoft’s free PowerBI, users can link data from Google Analytics, ERP, CRM and social media paid advertising services to track target audience buying behavior, geographic density of sales activity and product seasonality.
These are only a few examples of the utility of a proven CRM software. The automation and integration across your company’s platforms versus manually tracking these ubiquitous selling processes are where the real value lies. At Gotham, we advise our industrial clients on how to adopt CRM software to leverage data from their marketing campaigns. Are you ready to start taking advantage of the latest CRM products to grow your sales and increase customer satisfaction?
Do you know with certainty what your target audience truly thinks, feels, or believes regarding your brand, products, and/or services? Would the truth about these things change the way your products are promoted, or would you even modify the products you make and sell? Surveying your customers and prospects will yield specific data and critical insights that can be used to build and grow brand awareness, perception, and customer loyalty, thus positively impacting the bottom line.
First, let’s unpack what exactly a brand perception survey is. These surveys include polling your customers and prospects with open-ended questions regarding what they think about your products, how they explain your products to their friends or colleagues, or what emotions they feel when they use your products. Understanding these behaviors and actions can reveal a lot of information that may not be intuitive in product design and testing. Learning about your target audience’s actions and emotions toward your brand can help you respond with better, more tailored products.
Product quality and reputation are certainly important, but a large component of brand perception is how your message resonates with the target audience. A company should always strive to align the company values with the product experience. Surveying customers on how they feel about your brand and products will reveal whether your company is perceived positively, negatively, or neutrally. A neutral perception is almost as bad as a negative impression because a neutral impression generally means you haven’t done a good enough job educating your audience on who you are, what you stand for, or the purpose of your products.
Reliable subscription services like SurveyMonkey and SurveyAnyplace simplify and automate the survey process and quickly help you determine customer loyalty. These services allow subscription holders to benchmark their results against other companies in their respective industry. This will help your company identify and act on best practices to better serve your customers and set goals that align better with customer behavior and habits. Most capable survey management services offer CRM integration to further enable data collection for trend analysis and other stratification goals.
Don’t let your company’s brand perception be a mystery. Be proactive: poll your current and potential customers during all stages of the sales cycle. The knowledge and feedback you receive may change your company’s perception dramatically and ultimately yield more sales. Gotham’s industrial marketing strategists can help you plan, design, and execute surveys in a variety of channels to best understand what your customers think of your company. We’ve been helping B2B companies since 1989 do just this. Are you ready to enhance your brand’s perception and awareness across the board? Get started at www.industrialmarketingexperts.com.
Many industrial companies outsource their marketing efforts. A primary reason to contract with an industrial marketing firm is the overhead to maintain an internal marketing team that can keep up with strategic planning and the demands of ever-changing best practices of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), social media marketing, paid digital advertising (AdWords, Pay-per-click), print ads, media reps, maintaining the company website and more. It is critical to select a team that understands your business goals and is agile, responsive and experienced enough to build your brand both online and off. Below are a few tips to help you make a wise choice.
1 – Make sure the marketing firm you are considering knows your business.
Evaluate their current and past customers. Have they worked with your industry in the past? There are many marketing agencies out there with broad appeal (serve everyone) and those that only focus on one or two verticals because the demand is high and it has allowed them to specialize in targeted markets. If you are in the industrial products business, you should seek industrial, B2B experience. These agencies will already be up to speed on the pain points your customers experience, the industry jargon and other nuances associated with your business. This will give you a tremendous head start in building a productive relationship with your marketing contractor and they can get right to work building on your brand.
2 – Consider the size of the agency you want to work with.
Typically, the bigger the agency, the higher their services cost because they have to pay for all those heads and the facility to house them. Larger agencies also require retainers and long-term contracts. Smaller marketing agencies are nimbler and more adaptive. Inherently, there is less turnover in a smaller agency because there are less people. This typically means the staff are generally more involved with you and your business. Properly building a strategic marketing plan and subsequently executing it requires constant communication between the client and the marketing agency. Having fewer points of contact that are devoted to your goals and mission is extremely important.
3 – Clearly define your goals.
It may sound simple but knowing what you want to achieve is the most crucial part of succeeding with your marketing agency. If it’s conversions you are after, make sure the agency you choose can provide you the metrics tracking campaign efficacy and the ROI of your marketing spend. If you are looking for a heightened awareness of your brand across social media channels, your agency should provide you with growth numbers of followers and engagement. You are looking for proof that your goals are aligning with the achieved results. An effective marketing agency provides a myriad of reports like those from Google Analytics, Facebook Ad Services and LinkedIn Sponsored Content.
Are you ready to outsource your B2B marketing? Contact Gotham, LLC, an industrial marketing company comprised of a tight-knit team of marketing experts that provide strategic, creative services to manufacturers worldwide. Learn more at www.GothamStrategic.com.
Does your company sell industrial products to other businesses? Here in the digital age, there are many compelling reasons to add to your company’s sales channels using e-commerce. Let’s explore whether or not e-commerce is right for your industrial company and how adding online selling can not only increase your sales growth but also your overall digital footprint through enhanced search ranking, referring links, content and validity.
E-commerce is accessible 24/7, 365 days a year. This gives your target audience or market ultimate flexibility to purchase your goods anywhere and anytime. A well-executed e-commerce website gives businesses the perfect opportunity to add comprehensive item descriptions, related items in submenus and application data in one easy-to-find place. One could consider it a repository of product information that subsequently makes it easier for your customers to purchase. E-commerce versus traditional customer service and inside sales offers a much more agile, real-time advantage furthering your company’s value proposition. Making it easy for your customers and prospects to do business with you should be your top priority.
Maintaining a product catalog on an e-commerce platform is good for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). The catalog not only adds validity to your brand and website, but it also adds valuable content. Showing how a product works for different applications through thorough descriptions, videos, high-resolution imagery and real-world examples not only helps the customer determine the right item but also becomes a helpful resource for reference data. There is also the opportunity for customers to review these products and offer even more “free” product support through their own experiences. When companies maintain an effective e-commerce portal in their respective industry, they own a competitive advantage.
E-commerce can help separate the winners from the losers in a company’s catalog. Search ranking, volume and frequency for certain keywords and keyphrases show the popularity of products. Interpreting this data could also reveal trends in demand, seasonality and cycles. If you sell your products online, you will quickly learn what your end users are looking for and will be able to adjust inventory stock levels and responsiveness accordingly. The integration of e-commerce with your company’s ERP and CRM programs add even more capability. You will have the ability to show real-time inventory and synchronized order processing, confirmation, and tracking and notifications all from one login. Relationship management is enhanced because sales now expands the follow-up channel with even more customers that may not have been discovered otherwise.
Consider whether or not building an e-commerce portal is right for your business. Gotham Industrial Marketing can objectively evaluate your business model, target markets, customers and goals. We then help determine the best course of action using best practices of e-commerce website design, function and performance to create an online marketing strategy and most importantly, consistently measure and leverage the results. Are you ready to use e-commerce as a tool to add to your sales growth?
While client testimonials can be powerful, they can sometimes be taken with a grain of salt. Case studies, however, provide a step by step demonstration of your capabilities, and more importantly, how they benefited a specific client. Well constructed and properly written case studies don’t just state that a customer was satisfied, it shows how you satisfied them. They are equally as effective for B2B and B2C manufacturers.
This demonstrates you were listening and understood what the client wanted to accomplish. Make sure the goals are explained so that prospects can relate to them. “Their goal was to have us produce an innovative widget they could sell at a competitive price without spending a lot of money on engineering.” The reader should not only be able to relate to the goals but they should be somewhat impressed with how lofty or challenging the goals were.
What steps were taken to help the client company reach those goals? Where did you, as a manufacturer, provide value added services? Where were you uniquely qualified to assist them? What barriers did you fight through to help them achieve their goals?
How did the project turn out? Percentages can be a good tool here. “We produced widgets at 7% less than their previous supplier and they experienced a 12% increase in total sales.” Be sure to frame the results in language that is as powerful and impressive. If it is a large client, dollars can gain attention. With smaller client case studies you should stay with percentages.
A case study can go badly if the information is not couched in the most effective way possible and if there isn’t enough material to make a convincing case.
Effective case studies can be generated with even modest success. There should be no need to overstate your abilities or the results. Look for examples where you provided exceptional value and emphasize those areas.
It should be visually be consistent with your other marketing pieces and the language used should reflect your company’s personality. A case study is marketing tool that works in concert with your other marketing efforts. Make sure it is presented in a professional manner with appealing graphics.
If you have not used case studies to propel your business, or are unsure how they can benefit you, contact the industrial marketers at Gotham. Since 1989, we’ve been helping manufacturers capture more market share, increase sales and improve profits through data driven integrated marketing campaigns.
According to a recent survey provided by TMG Custom Media & Marketing Tech Blog, 61% of consumers said that they feel better about a company that delivers custom content on a consistent basis.
That’s an impressive statistic.
With every passing day, it’s becoming more and more important to invest in content. The value it brings businesses of all industries is clear.
By ignoring the statistics, companies fall further and further behind their competitors.
Search engines like to see dynamic websites. That means that you need to keep it updated with new, valuable content. If your website isn’t changing, then Google may see it as an abandoned property that’s no longer relevant.
Content marketing keeps fresh content flowing, which indicates that you’re offering continued value to search engine users. And that can lead to higher rankings.
People buy from those that they know, like and trust. By delivering educational content that provides solutions to your prospect’s problems, you’re building that trust.
It shows that you’re invested in their success. And when people feel like you’ve invested in them, they’re more willing to invest in you.
When you’re offering valuable, educational content, readers will start to see you as the expert. This positions your company as the industry authority, which can lead to increased brand awareness and revenue.
If you want to be a leader and beat competitors, content marketing can help you achieve it.
People don’t like to feel like they’re being sold something. Consumers want to feel in control of the situation and make our own decision. In the case of social media, people linked to your page desire message updates.
And that’s why content works well.
It gives the control back to the customer. They can learn about your company, expertise and services via the content you publish. Then they can make the decision to contact you and purchase from your company.
Are you invested in content marketing? Don’t fall any further behind. Make the leap and reap the benefits that this valuable marketing technique can bring!