I once heard a business owner say that Sales is the lifeblood of a company and Marketing is arts and crafts. As a marketer, this hurt, but to some degree I could not disagree…not until recently. Over the past five years Marketing has drastically changed. The Internet has completely morphed the way buyers buy and how sellers sell. Marketing has now taken on part of the sales role and successful companies have highly integrated sales and marketing teams. So, the question begs: is Marketing now more important than Sales?
Depending on which side of the fence you sit, there are strong arguments for each. I don’t think either is more important; and being a marketer, I wish I could say that us marketers have the upper hand, but teamwork is key. Today, marketing and sales must work together, very closely. Today, inbound marketing strategies have replaced many of the salesperson’s responsibilities. Due to this combined effort, companies are seeing a lower cost of new business acquisition. Sales teams are more productive because they spend more time building relationships and closing sales, rather than “hunting” for new customers.
My company focuses on helping manufacturers sell more product and oftentimes we talk to business owners with a serious concern for the future of their sales success. Whether your manufacturing business has revenues from $5 million to $300 million, you have a lot in common. Your profit margins are getting smaller and smaller as the cost of goods increases, distributors want more and your sales team is largely a customer service division. That is not meant to knock your sales people, but rather a fact that we see with so many manufacturing companies.
For decades, manufacturing sales has largely been about relationship sales and today that relationship is built online, long before you ever meet the prospective customer. The stats don’t lie:
- 86% of industrial professionals utilize search engines to find components, equipment, services, and suppliers
- 70% utilize search engines when comparing and evaluating potential suppliers
- 57% of engineers are in the second or third stage of the buying cycle before they make contact with a vendor, so they rely on digital content resources
- 19% don’t contact a vendor until they are ready to make a purchase
(Source: GlobalSpec 2013 Digital Media Use in the Industrial Sector)
So, if you are a manufacturing business owner or senior leader and are tired of banging your head against the sales wall, it's time to start thinking differently. Today, companies must build rapport with prospective customers where and how they want it. And how do they want it you ask? Today, buyers want information, lots of it, when they want it, where they want it and in the form they prefer it. Buyers want real time knowledge, meaningful data and information that is valuable to their decision making process. The Internet is the predominant form of knowledge consumption. If your manufacturing business is not relevant online then you are not relevant to your buyers.
So, if you are looking to expand your sales beyond your current customer base, consider the new marketing paradigm. Let’s get your sales team working with marketing and achieve results never before attained, time and time again.
For more information about online marketing in the manufacturing industry, check out:
Are You a Disruptor in the Manufacturing Industry?
How Inbound Marketing Works for Manufacturing