According to the National Association of Manufacturers 2018 Second Quarter Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey, more than 95% (an all-time high) of manufacturers expect to experience highly elevated levels of activity, including an increase in sales.In fact, the most significant disruptors to business are no longer a lack of sales, but labor shortages and the need to invest in facility and equipment expansion in an effort to keep up with the demand.
Sounds like a good problem to have, especially when you consider the typical sales process just a couple years ago.
- You create a list of potential buyers and you go after them.
- You make hundreds of phone calls and attend meetings and networking events.
- You write proposal after proposal hoping to get that one big sale.
- If you’re a business owner, you seek out high-paid sales reps hoping to grow your business only to find the orders still aren’t coming in.
Fast forward to 2018. Thanks to pro-growth policies like tax reform, business is booming. So you think to yourself—who needs sales? Better yet, who needs marketing?
According to the survey, the last time respondents were as positive as they are now was the fourth quarter of 1997. And they have good reason to.
There was the recession of 1980. Another recession came in the early 1990’s following the 1990 oil price shock and increasing consumer pessimism. In the early 2000’s, there was a brief recession following the dot-com collapse. Finally, in 2008, there was the great recession, which ultimately led to the failure of many of the largest US financial institutes and required a government bailout.
Many economists are predicting an economic downturn in the next 12-24 months. Is your business prepared for such a downturn? With the buying / sales process sometimes lasting six months to two years, the sales and marketing activities you are doing today will pay for the returns of tomorrow.
Invest in Inbound Marketing Now for Long-Term Sustained Growth
When a recession or downturn in the economy hits, manufacturers, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and suppliers all start looking for better deals and ways to cut costs. Supplier relationships are more volatile and new business opportunities abound.
Oftentimes the provider that gets cut is the one that hasn’t proven ROI or demonstrated value. While orders are up and you may not need new leads now, it’s more important than ever to invest in a strategy to demonstrate your value and increase your brand credibility.
Build a reputation that pulls customers to you so that if and when the economy changes, your odds of retaining them and being known as a supplier of choice will be more favorable.