Manufacturers: Are you Using Marketing Automation Tools?

By John Sonnhalter, Rainmaker Journeyman at Sonnhalter

To keep our sanity in trying to keep up with and engage potential customers, it makes sense to use some sort of marketing automation tools to help the process. And there are plenty of options out there: Marketo and Hubspot being two of the better known.

We all know nurturing improves lead quality and moves them through the famous sales funnel. The problem is most sales funnels aren’t simple straight lines.

Here’s the reality – the typical sales funnel isn’t as straight forward as we’d like to think especially in the B-to-B world. The Forrester graphic below is probably more accurate.

2015 B2B Buyer Journey

The challenge for me is determining messaging for each level to get them to the next step. We need to make them as personal and to the point as possible, but you can’t have 20 different e-mails.

Depending on what you’re selling (engineered product), the selling cycle is longer, and in many cases, there are multiple decision makers, all of which have different hot buttons. How do you handle them? Ideally you want to send leads to sales that are sales ready.

Here are some tips:

  • Try to identify where they are in the sales funnel so you don’t lose them on messages that are already past.
  • Give them something to download that will help them in their job (i.e. calculator, configurator, relevant case study).
  • Make them aware that CAD files are available for downloading.
  • Try to initiate a question that will want them to talk with one of your application engineers.

What are you doing to better qualify leads before sending them to sales?

Share this:

Are your Email Campaigns Successful?

email-marketingEmail is still a preferred marketing tool, especially in the B-to-B space. The key to success is having a plan to build relationships with your audience whether they are existing customers or potentials.

To be successful, you need to pay attention to your audience, the messages you’re sending out and not be so self-promoting. Marketo has published Top 10 Tips for Better Email Performance. It’s a quick read and gives you the basics you need to be successful. Highlights include:

  • Don’t talk at people, but rather create a dialog.
  • Segment your audiences and the messages for each.
  • Automate where you can. It makes life easier for you.
  • Mix it up – days you send them out, use of surveys or a fulfillment piece.
  • Make sure it can be delivered. Check to ensure that there’s nothing that might prevent your message from being delivered.

If you’re going to make the effort, let’s make sure you’re getting the most out of it!

If you like this post, you may want to read:

Why Email Marketing is so Important in Lead Nurturing to the Professional Tradesman.

Benchmark Report on Email Marketing Sheds Light on Priorities and Challenges to the B-to-B Markets.

Share this:

Why a Mobile Strategy Is So Important to Reach the Professional Tradesman

We all know how busy contractors and the trades are. Most of their time is spent on the job site. They rely on their smartphones, and more and more are using tablets in the field. Mobile is not going away. Consider this stat:

 77% of the world’s population (5.3 billion people) are mobile subscribers!

A recent post on Marketo, BtoB Marketing To Go: Why Mobile is Crucial to Your Lead Generation, highlights some interesting stats from a recent comScore study:

  • 72.2 million people accessed social networking sites or blogs on their mobile devices.
  • Almost 40 million U.S. mobile users access social media sites daily.
  • Facebook,Twitter and LinkedIn increased their mobile audiences by more that 50% in 2011.

So what do you think the chances are that some of your target audience isn’t in the stats above? Mobile  users are interacting with brands and you should not miss out on the opportunity to engage them.

If you like this post, you may want to read:

Is Mobile Marketing the Best Way to Reach the Professional Tradesman?

What’s Your Mobile Media Strategy for 2012?

Share this:

10 Tips to Ensure a Successful Webinar Targeted at the Professional Tradesmen

We have used webinars successfully for several years now to promote new services and to share industry information and trends. They are a great tool to get the message out to many people at one time, and then you have the ability to archive them for people to come and view at their leisure.

Webinars are effective, and to get the most bang for your buck, you really need to cross the T’s and dot the I’s. There’s a lot that goes into a successful webinar starting with the topic itself. You need to give the professional tradesmen something they can take and make their own.

Andrew Spoeth from Marketo recently had an interesting post, How to Manage Successful Webinars: A Checklist that has several good points that you may want to look at.

I’m going to outline  my top 10 tips on ways to improve your webinars:

  1. Build a great landing page – Clearly state your value proposition up front so the reader can see what’s in it for him.
  2. Set the time for the webinar outside of normal business hours – Let’s face it, these contractors have to make a living and they have crews to supervise. Consider doing a webinar later in the day, say around 4 PM. That way a contractor may have some of his tradesmen also sit in on the session. It’s better to inconvenience you than your customer.
  3. Registration form – Make it easy and don’t ask 20 questions in order for them to sign up.
  4. Give them an option of getting a copy of the slides without attending the actual webinar – In the world of contractors, shit happens and they may not be able to attend. This will get you their contact info for further follow-up.
  5. Use Social media – Both in the actual sign-up form so they can invite their friends, but also use it to promote the event.
  6. Promote – You need to build a schedule and build a good series of reasons why these tradesmen need to attend.
  7. Get your sales force and distributors involved – Have them pass out postcard size flyers when making calls and talk it up. If a distributor does a monthly newsletter or has a site, have him put it on there as a co-sponsor. You do all the work and he shares in the credit.
  8. Practice, practice, practice – Try to keep the presentation 20-30 minutes long and allow time for questions even though they may be via e-mail.
  9. Design a follow-up e-mail– Have yourself graded on the topic, how it was presented and what they might like as future  topics.
  10. Get those names out to your sales force and distribution network for follow-up – Everyone should have at least had a phone message within a week.

Those are my thoughts. The key to a successful webinar is good planning.

If you like this post, you may want to read:

Webinars: Tips on How to Promote using E-mail.

Why Webinars are a Good Marketing Tool to Reach the Tradesman

Share this:

B2B Marketers: Are You Taking Advantage of Online Videos?

Online media is the fastest growing media platform in history. Second only to Google, YouTube has emerged as an easy-to-use search tool.

As a manufacturer, are you capitalizing on this powerful tool to disperse your message? You don’t need a “Hollywood” production. As a matter of a fact, the ones done on a mobile phone would do just fine. We’ve done “man on the street” interviews with contractors at will-call counters and on jobsites asking their opinions on tools and other products.

Did you know – Videos convey more info per minute than any other media and 65% of the public like to learn via videos.

These were only a few of the facts that I learned from a recent post by Jon Miller from Marketo. His post, How to Optimize Your B2B Marketing and Sales with Online Video outlines how to use videos to engage prospects in different stages of the buying cycle.

According to a Universal McCann study cited by Brightcove, people find product information and research most compelling when delivered in video format. MarketingSherpa claims that online video is a close second to word-of-mouth communication when it comes to influencing key decisions. No other media channel communicates a deeper, richer message or leaves a more lasting impression than video.

He also offers 10 online video strategies you may find helpful. Here are some highlights:

  • Search optimize your video with a text summary – Use key words to highlight main points and make sure you include the URL.
  • Integrate video into your e-mail marketing programs – Deliver relevant info pertinent to who they are and where they are in the buying process.
  • Leverage social media – Promote across all marketing channels including your blog and both personal and business profiles.
  • Feature on you website – Embed videos where appropriate to promote products, company news or new product promotions.

What are you doing to capitalize on your videos?

If you liked this post, you might also like:

Busy Executives Prefer Video on Web.

Make Video Part of your Direct Marketing Plans to the Professional Tradesmen.

Online Video Marketing: A Great Way to Educate the Professional Tradesman.

Share this: