The total industry market for CNC machining is expected to continue growing through 2024. But reaching target customers isn’t the same as it used to be for CNC machine shops. Industrial buying habits are simply changing. So what can CNC machine shops do to help increase sales?
The first step to increasing sales is to evaluate your current sales metrics. See what growth methods you have tried in the past and the successes they produced. Understanding how your current or past methods worked will help you understand how you can improve and set expectations for your new sales goals. Next, it’s time to reevaluate what your business goals are and document what you can do to support those goals.
Document A Lead Generation Strategy
It’s important to have clear business goals — everything you do in your shop should be tied to your unique selling proposition. It explains how your company can solve a problem, what makes products or processes unique, and the benefits a customer can expect from working with you.
No one wants to do business with just any other shop — they’re interested in what sets you apart from competitors. For example, what certifications do you have, how is your shop contributing to the environment, and what are the technical specs that your equipment can handle? Do you go above and beyond a customer’s initial request and provide them with end-to-end support? Are you a machine shop that also provides engineering services?
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Create a clear lead generation strategy that targets those customers’ needs and challenges. Document what tactics you’ll be using when and where. For example: “Next quarter, our shop will implement online display ads that will go live on Google and the Thomas Network targeting buyers in the aerospace industry.” Take a step further and make your strategy measurable and attainable — will you plan on increasing online RFQs by 10%? Focus on ROI rather than fast results.
Creating updated processes and effective methods for growth takes time, especially if you’re busy focusing on managing your shop. Consider investing in an industrial business partner to guide you and tackle your biggest lead generation challenges — there are budget options specifically for small machine shops.
Like your sales metrics reports, documenting your lead generation strategy creates a clear picture of where you are, where you plan to be, and how you can improve later. It serves as a communication tool for business, sales, and marketing teams and can be effective for business process management.
Learn more about how you can target customers in a specific industry with online display advertising here.
Use Your Website As A Selling Tool
A strong online presence isn’t just for B2C companies or big retailers like Amazon or Walmart — it’s for any company that wants to drive more sales. With the recent COVID-19 health crisis forcing almost all individuals and companies globally to “stay at home,” more people are turning to the internet to do business. And this especially applies to manufacturing and industrial companies.
Your website should be just as strong as a selling tool as your top salesperson. Make sure your website speaks to all your shop’s capabilities. Educate prospective customers with resources of your processes and incorporate pictures, graphics, and videos wherever possible.
See how Protolabs uses their website as an educational resource for their CNC machining services below.
Your website should include content marketing that addresses your customer’s needs in formats that are engaging, clear, and easy to share. The idea is to design your website with content that explains what’s in it for the customer. Customers are more likely to continue doing business with a shop that’s producing consistent resources and is likely to share them with their network too — which means the possibility of more sales for you. Click here to check out 26 criteria industrial buyers evaluate you on before they contact you.
Branding And Digital Marketing Improve Sales
Branding and digital marketing are important for machine shop and not just for B2C companies. But many job shops make the mistake of not investing in new technologies. It’s understandable — why try something new when you've grown your business successfully in the past?
Learn More: What Can B2B Marketers Learn From B2C Marketers
But the reality is that buyers’ habits are changing and new generations are no longer choosing vendors and partners the same way they used to. Studies show that more buyers, procurement managers, and engineers are doing their business online. And more industrial companies are supplementing their traditional methods of growth with digital marketing tactics to increase their brand awareness and get more sales.
Here are some ways CNC machine shops can increase their sales through branding and digital marketing. There are options for every budget size:
- A free company profile on Thomasnet.com makes sure new customers can find you on the platform they use most to search for new shops to partner with.
- Free video content production services to showcase your shop floor to potential customers.
- An email newsletter sponsorship that gets read by the exact industries and job titles you want to do business with.
- A display ad on Thomasnet.com search result pages where buyers are searching for your products or services.
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