Lead Generation For Manufacturing Basics

Do any of these sound familiar to you:

  • “I don't have enough time to contact the leads.”
  • “I don't have enough leads for my sales team.”
  • “I'm not getting any RFQs online.”

We can all use a little bit of luck these days. Unfortunately, many manufacturers and industrial companies have these problems and seem to rely on luck a little bit too much when it comes to generating leads.

When it comes to your marketing campaigns and lead generation efforts, you don’t want to leave your success to chance. You need to take the time — and exert the effort — necessary to put yourself in the best possible position to attract new buyers and grow your business. 

Here’s how manufacturers can help solve basic lead generation problems.

Busy manufacturing floor

Leverage All Channels Of Online Marketing 

Have you ever played roulette? Imagine betting on a single number over and over again, only to lose out over and over again. This is not too different from many industrial marketing strategies, which may rely on just one or two channels in order to cash in.

Having a website is great, but what's better is designing your website with lead generation and conversion in mind. A website needs regular maintenance and upgrades just as your car does for it to be the most reliable. If you are only using cold calling or email marketing, for example, you will be missing out on all the leads that can be generated by other channels to boost your website and online presence — like SEO, PPC, social media, and video advertising. You need to take a comprehensive, all-inclusive approach in order to produce winning results.

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Set A Clear Lead Generation Plan

You need to be smart with your marketing. Have a clear understanding of what your business goals are and how your marketing efforts can help meet those goals. Document those efforts so you can see what you’ve tried in the past and see where you can improve  — it will help you understand marketing ROI better. For example, if you received 12 RFQs two years ago and 14 RFQs last year, don't expect to receive 150 RFQs this year if you aren't improving on any of your marketing efforts.

Need some help with your goals? Check out examples of manufacturing marketing goals and strategies here. A document of what you have tried and tested in the past and what you are planning on executing will help establish benchmarks for success and give you and your team realistic expectations and results. 

Communicate your plan to your entire team and include them in the planning process. Ask your customers what’s their experience like working with you so you can learn how to better meet their needs and the needs of new customers too.

But what about the small business owners who already have a lot to manage outside of sales and marketing?  Collaboration is still key — and so is a documented plan, even if the ideas are small. Have a lead prioritization plan in place so you can prioritize contacting the leads that are more likely to buy first. USTEK is a small business manufacturing company — learn how USTEK sought a way to maximize revenues without detracting from other priorities in their manufacturing story here.

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Understand Who Your Prospects Are

Understanding who your prospects are means understanding their job functions and how they go about sourcing within those roles. The fancy name is “persona targeting” and what it means for manufacturers is providing the information that makes it easier for potential customers to do their jobs. 

Wouldn’t it be frustrating if qualified visitors were coming to your website, but few, if any, of them were actually converting to leads? If you’re not providing the right information that buyers are looking for, you may be in that very situation without even knowing it — after all, no one’s sticking around to waste time telling you why they’re leaving. Buyers need to be efficient and productive in their supplier research, and if they can’t immediately determine if you can meet their needs, they’re not going to submit an RFQ or pick up the phone to find out — they’re moving on to the next option. 

Whether their buying process takes several weeks or months, the basic steps leading up to supplier selection are the same — identify a need, get specs or designs if necessary, and research and evaluate potential suppliers. Manufacturers who understand their customers' roles and cater to each step of the sourcing process are more likely to generate high-quality leads.

Dive Deeper: How To Meet The Needs Of B2B Buyers 

Provide The Right Information On Your Website

So what is critical information for buyers? Well, it differs based on what kind of company you are and who you’re targeting, but here are just a few (of many) essentially universal pieces to include:

  • Geographic area served
  • Production capacities (minimum and maximum)
  • Equipment list
  • Sample products
  • Certifications

Before they’re ready to buy, your prospects are looking for content that satisfies two key needs: education and evaluation. By providing educational information, you allow prospects to self-qualify your business and determine if they’d like to partner with you at some point. This relationship increases your brand awareness and thought leadership in the industry. By the time the visitor gets to the conversion step — typically an RFQ — buyers will be ready to make a decision, and potentially choose you with confidence.

See Examples: 5 Industrial Website Examples For CNC Machining Companies

Whatever specs you provide, be as specific as possible whenever you can. Most buyers are more likely to cross you off their shortlist than to pick up the phone to clarify something. Learn what other aspects industrial buyers are evaluating manufacturers on in our eBook: How To Make It On The Industrial Buyer's Shortlist.

How Can Manufacturers Learn About The Latest Trends?

Digital marketing is a constantly shifting and evolving discipline. On top of that, there are new tools, best practices, technologies, and even economic shifts that affect businesses — there are seemingly endless things manufacturers need to stay on top of. Smart manufacturers partner with industrial marketing experts to help them navigate the marketing and sales trends. Manufacturing business owners also subscribe to newsletters for the latest tips and advice, check out different manufacturing conferences and events around the country, and take advantage of online learning platforms. Build your network and learn from other manufacturing experts — join one our virtual events here.

What Can Manufacturers Do Right Now To Increase Leads?

The industrial buying cycle can be extremely long and incredibly complex, and the ideas we discussed serve as a framework for lead generation success. There's still a lot planning, tracking, and reporting that go into generating high-quality leads for the manufacturing industry.

Fortunately, if you want to connect with industrial buyers when they are actively searching for suppliers like you, there is a proven easy solution you can do right now — getting your business listed on Thomasnet.com. Thousands of manufacturers and industrial companies use Thomasnet.com to generate more leads and connect with more buyers. Click here to see how Corrugated Metals tapped into the defense industry just from listing their company profile on Thomasnet.com 

Unlike traffic generated by search engines, email sponsorships, and other channels, all of the sourcing activity on Thomasnet.com is driven by real, verified, and active buyers — not accidental traffic or bots.

Here are some additional lead generation tools for manufacturers and industrial companies:

Our industry-focused blogs that help manufacturers and industrials get more leads:

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