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Inbound Marketing for Manufacturers: Leveraging Sales Team Support

Inbound Marketing for Manufacturers: Leveraging Sales Team Support

Many manufacturers with smaller marketing departments prioritize sales support: creating sales collateral, helping with trade shows, developing emails, fact sheets, and other tactics. In the background, the in-house marketer might be writing emails, maintaining a website, writing white papers, or developing case studies.

Yet, these à la carte marketing efforts could be transformed into a full inbound marketing strategy–and it could start with your sales team supporting you.

Understanding Your Audience and Their Challenges

An inbound marketing strategy focuses on understanding your company’s target audiences and buyer’s journey.

Knowing your company’s target audience means knowing what they need and what motivates them in their specific role as an engineer, architect, facilities manager, or another role.

Understanding the buyer’s journey means you know when their role intersects with the services or products your company offers. And you might want to get in front of them early before they have a problem. This is where the strategic implementation of inbound and content marketing comes into play.

What Inbound Marketing for Manufacturers Looks Like

In the B2B space, you need to provide helpful content that is not overly salesy. You can highlight what makes your company’s products and solutions stand out, but it should be done in an objective and analytical way.

Whitepapers, blogs, and case studies all help showcase a manufacturer’s capabilities without making a hard sales pitch, but those are just a few tactics within a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy. A full plan builds  out content that addresses every step of your buyers’ journey—every pain point, struggle, or milestone. When you have content that addresses your audience’s needs, your marketing and sales team will stay engaged with your audience  from start to finish.

The Power of Sales Team Insights To Inform Content Marketing Planning

Say, for instance, you manufacture and assemble circuit boards for electronic products. Your sales team is going to help articulate common patterns in the buying process. Start the conversation broadly – you could learn that a majority of your customers first came to you for a specific project, product launch, or to assist with proof of concept. From those initial, transactional deals, 40% of clients used your company for a second product or project.

From those high-level insights, you can drill down to deeper questions that can help you identify content and marketing opportunities:

  • What’s the job title of the person who first reaches out to your sales team?
  • How much does that first contact know about their own issue? What’s their entry point for developing a solution?
  • What online research do they undertake before consulting a sales expert?
  • What are they too afraid to ask internally?
  • How does their perspective evolve as they recognize the need for a different solution?
  • When do they need a decision-makers buy-in?
  • How much does the decision-maker know about the solution or issue?
  • What does the decision-maker need to see to buy-in on your solution? Is it clear ROI? Is it minimizing future loss? Reliability? Responsive partnerships?

Knowing these answers at different stages of the decision-making process will help you identify the content you need to create and decide where it should be published. What’s worth a webpage? What should be a downloadable pdf? What should be an email series? What should be a long, informative LinkedIn post?

More Resources for Manufacturing Marketers

This is an example of sales-marketing collaboration for content creation. It can also help clarify your company’s target audience personas, your company’s lead management process, and opportunities to better leverage a CRM. Check out our Resources Page for further assistance. If you’re looking for a comprehensive marketing plan, you can learn more about our Marketing Discovery options here.

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