For Industrial Lead Generation, Stop Pitching Your Products!

feet on the streetWe all know successful industrial companies not only have great products & service, they have great sales organizations. If an industrial supplier or B2B manufacturer wants to improve sales the first place to look was the sales organization. Overtime the very successful industrial organizations have sharpened and honed their sales incentives, process and tactics to the point of art form. I have been involved both on the inside and outside of several of these organizations and it truly is a marvel to see a well-oiled industrial sales organization running on all “eights”. (or all “fours” if you are in Europe or Asia)

Companies built on traditional sales tactics are at risk of losing market share to their more agile web-savvy, marketing-driven competitors.

You see…Google has changed the way they rank your web pages and your buyers have changed the way they gather product information and interact with your sales group. Many times they don’t even interact with your sales groups until they are 60% to 70% through the buyer’s journey. Your buyers are better informed than ever, lowering the need for sales interaction.

When your industrial prospects go to Google looking for product information they typically know quite a bit about your products already. What they are looking for are answers to everyday challenges. Those answers typically include longer tail keywords included in content.  For example, instead of featuring content for a product-specific blog post about your super-duper hydraulic manifold, write your content in a more “semantic” manner that addresses a common challenge your prospect/customer might have on the plant floor.

“How to ensure your hydraulic manifold is properly tested for the correct pressure and leakage”

This content meets your prospect head on with an answer and Google will reward your content with high placement on the search engine return page for that buyer’s specific intent.

Forget about the technical. I quote often Google’s mission, to provide the “perfect search engine” that “understands exactly what you mean and gives back exactly what you want”. To that end Google uses “semantic search” that leverages artificial intelligence to understand the specific intent of the searcher. That means if your customer has a question, you better answer it with accurate, authentic answers…using quality content.  Content could mean a blog post, e-book, white paper, tip sheet, etc.

So now your prospect has the information he needs from your content-driven web site and raises his hand for help.  You have a lead. Your prospect calls your sales office.

Your salesman’s role has now changed from pitchman to consultant man. I wrote a blog post a couple months ago about the changing role of your sales force at 4 Skills Required…The Sales Shift for Industrial Sales & Marketing

So to generate more leads, leverage what Google has given us:

  • List the 50 most common questions your prospects have about your product or service.
  • Prioritize these questions and rank in order of profitability & margin. You might also weight your questions by “buzz” in the market place. Is there a “hot” product or service you provide that you can “news-jack” with your content.
  • Start at the top of your list and create content that answers each one of your questions.

For the best in industrial lead generation, don’t pitch products, pitch solutions to demonstrate your company’s expertise and leadership.

Marcus Sheridan has some additional thoughts on his blog; Why Marketing Departments are WAY more Valuable than Sales Departments in the Digital Age. This is content marketing for manufacturers at its best because there are so many questions to answer for complex industrial products. If Marcus can do it for his company, there is absolutely no reason you can’t do it for your manufacturing company or industrial supply business.

Your thoughts?

Want a primer for content marketing for industrial marketers?  DOWNLOAD A Beginner’s Guide to Industrial Content Marketing.

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“By Tom Repp”