A New Year Brings New Strategies, Go-to-Market Plans, and Business Development Goals
However, as many manufacturers experienced throughout the past year, revenue growth in today’s market is more difficult than ever. Companies are looking to reduce expenses, consolidate suppliers, outsource a variety of functions and processes, and more — making it harder to get in the door. When direct/outbound methods don’t produce the results needed, inbound sales for industrial manufacturers become more important than ever.
Understanding Outbound vs. Inbound Sales (and Marketing)
- Outbound sales and marketing consists of efforts you and your team make to get in front of prospects who haven’t actively sought out your solution but may still have need of it. Learn more about outbound lead generation here.
- Inbound sales and marketing consist of efforts you and your team make when a prospect reaches out to you — either via a phone call, a website form submission, or another channel. Learn more about inbound lead generation here.
For the purposes of this article, we’re not exploring the essentials for success with outbound sales and marketing (though there is some crossover with inbound). Here, we’ll provide a few key recommendations to make your inbound efforts efficient and productive.
3 Essentials for Successful Inbound Sales for Industrial Manufacturers
1. A Corresponding Inbound Marketing Program
Sure, you could wait for prospects to call in or fill out a site form, but that’s not proactive. Inbound sales success requires an inbound marketing program to attract those prospects in the first place. Similar to the differences between inbound and outbound sales, inbound marketing leverages search engine optimization, paid search media, and email nurturing campaigns to educate your audience. The goal is to delight those prospects and position your business as an authority in its industry, thereby encouraging them to contact you when they’re ready to move forward. A strong inbound marketing program will generate not only more prospects for your sales team to work but also more qualified prospects.
2. Supportive Pipeline Management
When an inbound prospect comes in seeking your solution, they must be qualified just as with any other prospect — even though they reached out first. Not every prospect will be ready to move forward right away, either. They’ll require proactive nurturing and follow-up. Thus, thoughtful pipeline management will be needed for inbound leads to keep the funnel clean from aging opportunities, maintain consistent communication, and ensure the sales team is keeping up with each opportunity and moving it toward closing.
3. A Consistent Approach to Results
Just as with any sales and marketing effort, what isn’t measured can’t be improved. This is critical for inbound sales for industrial manufacturers because you can’t truly know if a tactic or approach isn’t working without measuring it over time. If an SEO program isn’t producing the necessary results, it needs to be reviewed and new keywords leveraged where applicable. If an outbound effort isn’t resulting in any new meetings, perhaps the scripting, target lists, or outbound materials need to be updated. Periodic reviews, such as quarterly, should be implemented to ensure there is sufficient time to collect information and sufficient time to change gears if needed.
Achieve Your Inbound Sales Goals with Athena
Whether your current sales team doesn’t have the capacity to pursue new business development targets or other barriers are preventing you from growing your revenue, now is the time to make a change. From plastics and metals manufacturers to corrugated packaging and folding cartons, manufacturers across these industries and more need to implement more proven methods for growing their pipelines and closing new deals. At Athena, helping manufacturers use such methods is exactly what we do.
With our structured front-end sales model and holistic inbound–outbound approach, we’ve built a proven method for identifying new prospects, nurturing and qualifying them, and assisting manufacturing sales teams with stronger (and faster) close rates. We work with companies across a variety of industries nationwide and have helped them achieve significant success — we can do the same for you.