Are you already planning your marketing, sales, and development budgets for 2017? If that’s the case, then you need to consider what areas of your business and sales process need specific attention, in order to have a successful and profitable upcoming year.
What are your priorities? Do you have to focus on your leads' quality or quantity? Do you need to improve the closing rate of your sales proposals? It goes without saying, that you need to identify the areas which need to be improved, before you allocate your budgets.
Here’s a quick and a useful reminder of the most important sales and marketing funnel stages:
- Your website’s visits;
- New contacts;
- MQLs (Marketing-Qualified Leads)
- SQLs (Sales-Qualified Leads)
- Relevant sales opportunities, and
- New customers;
Some of this funnel’s key areas may need additional attention and evaluation. Why? Well, let's take a look and delve into some marketing tactics for manufacturers to improve their 2017 budget priorities.
#1 Do you need more contacts and website visitors?
If this is true, then the new online trend of 'GDD' (Growth-Driven Design) should be supported by your budget for 2017. We all know that every new visitor is welcome on your website. However, what your business really needs are motivated visitors that you can easily convert into quality leads. They need to spend more than a few seconds on your website in order for you to achieve your sales objectives.
The overwhelming majority of businesses, including manufacturers among others, apply the ineffective 'I-did-what-I-had-to-do with my website approach'. This means they usually treat their websites as if they are brochures. Meaning, do it and forget about it.
This approach will hit you back like a boomerang. It’s only a matter of time. Instead, you should accept a simple fact that your website is a “living thing,” which asks from you constant work, updates, and changes. This is exactly what 'GDD' is all about.
As a manufacturer, you are already perfectly suited for the 'GDD' approach, because you need to improve, refine and develop your products as they evolve. Well, Growth-Driven Design works in the same way.
If you pay a close attention to your website visitors' behaviour and search patterns, you can get an idea which areas should be improved to increase your conversion rate. You can do some Growth-Driven Design yourself or hire an agency, with a GDD expert to do it for you. Either way, your budget should take the GDD process into consideration for the next year.
Here are some useful GDD resources and tools, you can use:
#2 Do you need to improve the quality of your leads?
You could be in the envious position and have no problems attracting new visitors to your website. However, converting these visitors into useful and quality leads is a completely different thing. You need professionals from manufacturing industries and B2B sectors who are going to buy, not just visit and admire your improved website design.
This brings us to another point, manufacturers tend to neglect by default – the content itself. Is your content relevant for your target audience and potential customers? This question could be an excellent starting point for your improvement process.
If you specialise in a specific manufacturing sector or are targeting new markets, in order to engage and convert visitors your content must answer the questions they are asking.
"71% of businesses are creating more content in 2016
compared to 2015."
#3 Do you need better and more effective B2B Brand Recognition?
Are you following the latest trends and technology in your specific manufacturing sector? This can be a challenging task even for the most enthusiastic manufacturers. There are so many changes taking place almost on a daily basis. You can't follow all of them, but your budget for 2017 should definitely include some resources for the most current ones. This particular investment will pay itself off with the new customers who have recognised your brand strength and quality.
Here are some of the most intriguing trends that will prove themselves to be a safe bet for manufacturers in 2017:
#4 Do you need a better and simpler presentation of your complex systems and products?
Have you ever considered videos as an effective presentation tool? Here’s a simple truth. Online users give a strong advantage to video content over the traditional text forms. Is there anyone who doesn’t like to watch machines at work? It is in our nature to learn quickly and easily about complex manufacturing processes and systems with the help of thoughtful and effective videos. So, take advantage of this extremely helpful presentation form and make sure your budget includes resources for making a few top quality videos in 2017.
This type of content can be easily shared on social channels and help you attract additional visitors and quality leads. You shouldn’t forget nor neglect that YouTube is one of the most powerful search engines your videos can strongly benefit from.
Create videos that answer the questions of your ideal customers, making sure you deliver a brand message and the benefits of using your product.
Here is some useful inspiration that can help you create relevant and quality videos for your manufacturing companies marketing efforts:
"Companies using video enjoy 41% more traffic from search than non-users"
#5 Do you need a more efficient lead funnel?
What’s happening with your lead funnel? Perhaps, you get enough leads. You may even be successful when it comes to developing SQLs (Sales Qualified Lead) and MQLs (Marketing Qualified Lead). However, are you equally successful when you need to turn them into paying customers?
This problem can be effectively overcome with the help of an appropriate CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solution.
A CRM tool of your choice can do a lot when it comes to managing your contacts, creating useful timelines and sales opportunities. Your next year’s budget should definitely take into consideration costs for acquiring a CRM solution for your business.
The great thing about the CRM tools is that you can automate an impressive number of your most time-consuming production processes. Here's a list of the most useful and popular CRM, automation, and workflow tools:
Your budget always needs a plan!
It’s not an easy thing to plan and allocate your budget. You can never make sure that things will develop the way you plan or wish them to happen. Yet, a close look at your sales and marketing funnel, with careful identification of the key areas that need to be improved can significantly improve your chances of success. By detailing your plan, it will allow you to mark the areas that need improvement and set targets for your budget. Happy planning for 2017!