I talk to a lot of manufacturers in Malaysia to help them create their company profiles and describe their core competencies on their websites. But I realise that inbound marketing (i.e. where you let prospects find you rather than you go out to find prospects) is the full extent of their marketing efforts.
If all you do are websites and trade shows, I tell them, then you’re missing out so many opportunities. Yes, you can find customers. Marketing for manufacturers is difficult but not impossible. Here’s how.
1. Build a prospect profile by mining your current customers
Unlike the retail market, manufacturers don’t have a wide universe of potential buyers. That in itself is a good opportunity. That means you can narrow your efforts and budget to a few types of prospects who need your services.
Start by looking at the types of customers you already have. What do they do? How big are they? Where are they located? What kind of customers do they have? What do they buy from you?
Based on those details, you can build a profile of the kinds of customers who are most likely to call for your proposal. After all, if your customers decided that you are their best choice, then it would reasonable that prospects who are similar will also want to work with you!
2. Build a prospect list and search for them
This takes a lot of legwork. It will mean a lot of Google searches, checking company databases like Owler.com and canvassing industry associations.
But eventually you will have a viable list of prospects who are similar enough to your own customers and meet the business size criteria (i.e. at least similar in size to your current customers or larger).
This list should not be large. Start with just a few then as you gain success, you can expand your list.
3. Segment and prioritise
After that you need to segment them into priority tiers. Tier 1 might be those are most likely to respond. They might be the most lucrative to your company. Or some combination of criteria. Tier 1 prospects will be the ones you want to spend more time and effort on first.
4. Build a contact database on each prospect
You don’t sell to companies, you sell to individuals. So you need to build a contact database within each prospective company. Individuals who will likely be your main contact, or form the RFP committee, or who can influence the decision-makers.
Look to the company website to find their names or email addresses, check Linkedin or company databases, or start calling around your own network to find out more about the prospect’s decision-makers. You might not get a complete contact database, but something is better than nothing to get started.
5. Open conversations with content
Not every prospect will be in the market for your services at the time you start your marketing. But you need to start conversations with them to introduce yourself and build awareness of your company before you can interest them in your services.
Start by building personalised content that answers their pain points and show how you can benefit them as a company and help them as individuals. The content can be articles on your website, or on social media or physical brochures or short marketing white papers.
Then you need you need to promote your content. These days, hyper-targeted digital ads can target individuals, or just anyone who works in the prospect company. You can send your content via email or deliver it to them at their offices. Do anything to get your name and benefits in front of them.
6. Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up
The more persistent you are, the more likely you will get a response. Create more personalised responses to individuals who open your emails, read your content or explore your website. Prove to them how willing you are to be their partner.
One of the more effective follow-up content to create is the personalised video to introduce your team and what you would like to do for the prospect. It is vitally important for prospects to be able to visualise in their head what a partnership with your company will be like and how they can benefit from it.
Hire Experienced B2B Marketers to Open Your Sales Pipeline
My team of B2B marketers are the only ones in Malaysia who can plan and execute marketing program like the one I described above. In fact, we are the only ones who have. From end-to-end, we have succeeded in creating sales pipeline and accelerating sales pipeline for healthcare device manufacturers, metalwork fabricators, palm oil processing plants. We can help you too. Contact me today and let’s start planning your marketing future.