Mind the Gap: Making kids aware of manufacturing jobs

 

By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter

One of the things that always struck me about manufacturers is they generally don’t realize how cool their jobs really are. And I get why. You’ve been doing this your whole life, it pays the bills and it has its disappointments, headaches and setbacks.

But manufacturing made the modern world we live in possible. And the stuff you see as routine, through anyone else’s eyes is really, really cool.

Don’t believe me? Ask a bunch of middle school kids in Pennsylvania. (more…)

Manufacturers: Focus Content on Contractors, Not Your Brand

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman, Sonnhalter

I think we all can agree that content marketing is playing a vital role in everyone’s overall marketing plans. Everyone wants lead generation and engagement, and to get both, you have to provide good content!

Many manufacturers focus more on their brand than trying to help solve their customers’ problems. Don’t focus on selling. Focus on solving. And more is not better. Give them good content not a lot of content.

According to recent article in Content marketing institute: (more…)

Sonnhalter Named a Chief Marketer 2017 B2B Top Shop

Sonnhalter joins the ranks as one of the country’s top business-to-business marketing agencies.

CLEVELAND – April 2017 – Sonnhalter, the leading B2T (business-to-tradesmen) marketing communications firm, was selected as one of Chief Marketer’s 2017 B2B Top Shops, a listing of the top B2B marketing agencies in the United States.

The agencies in B2B Top Shops are chosen by the editors of Chief Marketer, a leading publication focused on measurable marketing tactics published by Access Intelligence. In choosing agencies for inclusion, editors consider each shop’s depth of client work, creative acumen, analytical expertise and numerous other factors.

“It is an honor for Sonnhalter to be recognized by Chief Marketer for our work in leveraging some of the top brands within our business-to-trade niche,” said Matt Sonnhalter, vision architect at Sonnhalter. ”As an agency, we strive to remain steadfast in our efforts serving companies that target the professional tradesmen while incorporating new and creative tactics to be on the industry’s cutting edge.”

B2B Top Shops is an online searchable directory highlighting each agency’s core services and contact information, offering users a behind-the-scenes look at each shop’s culture and client work. B2B brands, vendors and marketers viewed this easy-to-use resource on ChiefMarketer.com almost 73,000 times in 2016.

About Chief Marketer

Chief Marketer, published by Access Intelligence, charts the customer journey from acquisition and engagement through conversion and retention. Via ChiefMarketer.com, print products, live events, awards programs and more, Chief Marketer offers data-driven intelligence, actionable insights, inspiring case studies and the latest technology trends to help marketers improve their campaigns and increase return on investment.

About Sonnhalter

Established in 1976, Sonnhalter is the leading B2T marketing communications firm to companies that target professional tradesmen in construction, industrial and MRO markets. Sonnhalter is located in the historic Brownell Building in the heart of downtown Cleveland. Sonnhalter’s brand identity highlights its expertise in marketing to the professional tradesmen. Its tagline, “Not Afraid To Get Our Hands Dirty,” promotes the employees’ willingness to roll up their sleeves and dig deep into clients’ businesses, also, it refers to the market it targets: the tradesmen who work with – and dirty – their hands every day. Sonnhalter developed the acronym “B2T,” which stands for “business-to-tradesmen” to capture the essence of its specialty. For more information, visit the company website at Sonnhalter.com.

Why aren’t sales leads followed up?

Today we have a guest post from Russ Hill, Founder of Ultimate Lead Systems.
How often have you heard sales people say leads generated by marketing are just “literature collectors, college professors, students, lookers or tire kickers?” Or, “I don’t have time for sales lead follow-up.” Or the sales manager who says, “I know my sales people are following up. They just don’t have time to provide feedback.”
Lead Follow-Up

All carrot no stick

I’ve worked with many companies over the years that made lead follow-up an imperative with their sales forces. In every case where it was required it yielded significant and profitable results reporting hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars in sales.

There is much discussion in internet groups about “aligning marketing and sales” and lead follow-up is a critical part of this discussion. (more…)

Contractors: How do you deal with Millennials and Boomers ?

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman, Sonnhalter

Contractors (HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical) have some serious challenges moving forward.

The Average contractor is 50+, most aren’t tech savvy, and they’ve been doing things the same way forever (chasing paper work orders). As Boomers leave the workforce at a rate of 1 every 8 seconds, a shortage of middle management will become apparent. Boomers dominate technical jobs, with the exception of IT.

I learned a long time ago if you got into business, among your priorities were: grow your business, make a profit and have an exit strategy.

To grow your business, you need to hire and train good people. And who’s going to train the millennials? The boomers! The boomers have the intellectual capital (work experience) that needs to be transferred to the younger generations. Your pool of talent will come from the 18-34 age group and they look at things a bit differently than their older counterparts.

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The Needle Begins to Move on the Skilled Trades Gap

By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter

Wait, Did You Feel That?

The needle began to move on the skilled trades gap.

Don’t look now, but the problem you’ve known about for a generation, the lack of people coming into the skilled trades, is finally going mainstream.

It’s subtle, but change is beginning to show.

Source: This Old House

First there are the local advocates, who have been talking about the problem for years. You know them, they’re in your local Union Hall, Welding School, or in the rapidly dwindling number of High School Vo-Tech programs. Or they’re part of the increasingly aging workforce itself, all too aware that there are more of them retiring than entering the workforce, and hanging around looking for someone to step up.

And there are now countless local efforts. Here in Northeast Ohio, the Cuyahoga Community College launched a mobile workforce training center. Tri-C customizes it with virtual welders, CNC machines or other demos as the employer or school needs. Also in the Cleveland area, Lincoln Electric, whose Carl Peters is an advocate for training program development, recently capped off the framing of their new, $30 million welding technology center project.

Nationally the news is just as encouraging. Mike Rowe, who has capitalized on his TV fame to promote the trades through his foundation, is getting ready to take applications for 2017 scholarships. He’s also a great social media follow, and recently testified before congress.

Even more promising, This Old House, the venerable PBS show, launched Generation Next a partnership with MikeRoweWORKS designed to highlight the jobs available in the skilled trades and destigmatize these jobs for today’s youth.

NPR’s excellent Marketplace program recently had several in-depth features on training skilled workers, produced by senior education correspondent Amy Scott.

Plus, there are the national groups dedicated to the trades, Skills USA, Manufacturing Day and more.

So what are you doing? What plan does your company have, and how effectively is it implemented? A few places to get started/re-energized:

  • Find national and local training programs with Sonnhalter’s list
  • Approach local schools and investigate opportunities to show off the work you do by participating in Manufacturing Day
  • Don’t let everyone leave early at your next trade show’s student day. Instead, find out what schools are coming and be proactive
  • Work with your Trade Organization or Union, volunteer to be a part of their training efforts

There have never been more resources and creative thinking addressing this looming crisis. Is it enough? Probably not, but the needle has moved, and it’s in your company’s best interest to do what you can to help build momentum.

Marketing to Tradesmen: How do you measure effectiveness?

By John Sonnhalter, Vision Architect, Sonnhalter

B-to-B marketers are always facing the challenges from the C suite and CFO to measure ROI. According to an article by Debbie Pierce, B2B marketing ROI calculations your CFO will love, 93% of CMOs are under more pressure to deliver measurable results, and only 5% feel they are doing a good job.

Ironically, the C suite and CFOs use the same measuring tools that the marketing departments are using. They’re not concerned about follows or leads, what they want to know is for dollars spent what are the incremental sales resulting from each marketing activity. They are obviously looking for the best bang for the buck(a novel approach).

Ideally they want to come up with some formula like this one from Nitromojo.

Accurate ROI Calculation – Simple Version

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The Working Man’s Holiday

By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter
As any salesman, engineer or manufacturer will tell you: marketing has it rough.

Done laughing? Well, here at Sonnhalter, we added a new twist to our vacation plan. Our team members now get one extra day of vacation, no matter their time with the company.

The catch? You have to take it on a B2T (Business-to-Trade) holiday. What’s that? As you’ve probably noticed from your social media feed, almost every day has some “official” holiday designation. National Left-Hander’s Day (August 13), National Look Up at the Sky Day (April 14), Cookie Cutter Week (December 1-7).

But what you might not know is there are an abundance of days dedicated to the skilled trades, like: (more…)

Why is the human aspect of selling making a comeback with tradesmen?

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman, Sonnhalter

No matter what you’re selling, it’s a relatively simple process. You have something that I want, we get together and make a deal. I’ve been in business for over 40 years and the selling process/cycle has apparently changed, or has it?

We used to call on contractors, see what they needed, and hopefully was able to help them out by selling them something. All of this was done on a Human Level. We interacted with them, got to know their families and what they liked to do when they weren’t working. Instead of trying to sell them something, we listened. I called it belly button to belly button selling.

(more…)

Proper care and feeding of your mobile jobber

As part of my (Rachel) own training, I spent the day riding along with a MAC jobber. It was an interesting and eye-opening experience, and I learned more about sales in that one day than ever before. Mobile jobbers are a unique distribution channel that marketers in the B2T space need to better understand.

Today we have a guest post from Alan Sipe that provides insight into the world of Mobile Jobbers. Alan is President of Toolbox Sales and Consulting and has more than 40 years of experience including Sr. VP of Sales and Marketing for Klein Tools and President of KNIPEX Tools. His insights in selling through various distribution channels and professional contractors are invaluable. 

via MAC Tools

Every Tuesday at about 10 a.m. or Wednesday at 3 p.m. here comes the Cornwell, MAC, Matco, Snap-on or independent mobile jobber representative into your shop.

If they are good at their job, with each visit he or she will be demonstrating the latest and greatest tools for you to purchase. They will also be taking care of your broken tools and delivering your previous orders.

But, how much do you really know about this visitor? What’s their business story? It sure looks easy, walking around showing a bunch of tool nuts (mechanics) cool tools, doesn’t it?

Well, good mobile jobbers make it look easy. But, not surprisingly, there’s more to it than meets the eye.

DAILY ROUTINE

So, what’s a typical mobile jobber’s day like? (more…)