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OMC - Industry Solutions - Manufacturing

40 Posts authored by: marilyncox

Understanding children is a challenge. As infants their only communication method is to cry. As toddlers they can begin to communicate with words, but often when communication efforts fail they revert to crying. As teens the communication gap only grows. With the evolution of slang and technology, communicating with the younger generations is still challenging and still results in tantrums. Of course, there are ways to ease this communication gap. As babies, my kids learned sign language. While I didn’t catch on to all of it, I did learn “more” and “please”. As kids age, we as parents work to better understand the slang and jargon used. Perhaps we listen to the music our kids listen to, or watch the same shows they do. It’s very much like learning a foreign language. A foreign language you must learn in order to survive, and when breaks in communication occur, so can breaks in relationships. translation.jpg

As marketers we hear repeatedly the importance of speaking the same language as your customers and prospects. This is absolutely true. But it’s very difficult to speak the language of customers when the language spoken between sales and marketing is so foreign that neither can communicate what needs to be communicated to the customer. I learned this first hand when evaluating the use of marketing content and sales tools.

Marketing had spent the better part of a year conducting content audits, segmenting content, and mapping content. In marketing, and in our content audits, we classify our buy-cycle stages as “Interest”, “Educate”, “Evaluate”, “Justify”, and “Purchase”. Along with the content auditing, we had launched several sales tools to our sales organization. When reviewing the activity over the previous 8 months, I found the usage of the tool was acceptable, but not completely leveraged. And while the content and tools were used, they weren’t used when they should be used. A lot of early stage content was delivered later in the buy-cycle. When speaking with those using the tools I discovered that they were unclear when “Interest” content should be used vs. “educate content”. The folder structure of our content within the sales tool was also confusing. Our problem was that sales and marketing weren’t speaking the same language.

While marketing understood the terminology and content types used in those phases, our sales teams did not. We tried to force our language on sales. Our sales teams break their buy-cycle stages out as “Try”, “Approach”, and then they classify “Work In Progress” stage 0-5. These are the stages sales reports on to upper management, and the stages classified in our CRM system. We knew we needed to adjust our terminology so it would align with our sales classifications. We decided to map our marketing stages to their buying stages and then reclassify the content mapping used by sales. Now when sales uses a template, based on the phase identified in the CRM system, they can select the appropriate buy-cycle folder and view content relevant to that specific phase.

When studying foreign languages in school I was taught the best way to learn was to completely immerse myself in that language and culture. This is still applicable when referring to learning the language of your teens, your customers, or your sales teams. Guessing about what words mean, or worse, forcing your language on someone else, will only result in confusion, un-productivity, and relationship disrepair.

Immerse yourself, learn the language, and then speak it. Do you speak the same language as others in your organization?

When conducting a channel audit, many manufacturing marketers will list websites, partner portals, social channels, events, emails, and direct mail.  When pushed on product registration they’ll defer to customer support or sales.  Product registration is viewed as a secondary tactic for collecting explicit profile information, but not for improving the customer experience and hardly ever as a marketing channel.

 

And because marketing doesn’t “own” the product registration channel, it’s not optimized with the customer in mind.  Many product registration processes are complex, requiring registration keys, activation codes, and passwords.  According to one report, 2 in 5 people would rather scrub a toilet than come up with a new password.   Many manufacturers still design their product registration process around the manual effort of the customer.  They require an individual to search, select, print, manually fill out information, mail in the documentation, and then check back for confirmation. These complexities deter most customers from registering products.  And this hurts manufacturers.  Product registration is insight into a customers’ profile, usage, and behavior. product_registration_308x168.jpg

 

Simplify the Process

But companies like Registria are enabling companies to extend product registration beyond a printed PDF or a simple form capture on a website. Manufacturers can still leverage paper and online registration, but they can also optimize product registration for mobile and IoT.  With the elimination of apps, downloads, and QR Codes (because that’s so 2011), users can text a photo or a registration code to register a product. This allows manufacturers to reach 100% of their mobile audience.  Many Registria customers have seen a 5X increase in registration rates as well as a reduction in cost per registration.

 

Develop a Comprehensive Understanding of the Customer

Manufacturers can also begin to build out customer profiles that extend beyond basic contact information. Optimized product registration models allow companies to capture additional profile channel information like SKU, model #, manufacture date, batch number, and action with 100% accuracy. And don’t underestimate data accuracy; 88% of customers have admitted to providing false product registration information. And this information isn’t just a “nice to have”.  If manufacturers want to sustain, they must capture this information, develop these profiles, and then use the data.

In order for manufacturers to covert buyers into advocates, monetize relationships post-purchase through up-sell and cross-sell programs, and improve customer experience through service and support, they must collect the information that will provide the greatest understanding of the customer, and the behavior of the customer.

 

Delivering a Proactive Customer Experience

This is especially beneficial when considering IoT devices.  Capturing installation feedback, ratings, reviews or in depth product-in-use data is terrific, but using that information to provide a better support experience, proactively inform on use and opportunity to save, and alert to new offerings is very beneficial.  Manufacturers can become proactive in their support and communications, instead of reactive to problems after they occur.

 

An optimized product registration channel enables self-service for customers to access information about product features, installed parameters, utilization, warranties and events.  And agents can access owner information, product purchase data, warranty and entitlement information, support tickets, claims and other purchase information in one, streamlined system.  Because manufacturers can track each buyer and their transaction record—whether it’s an inbound support request, activity, RMA, purchase or a product registration—they can also access a reliable 360-degree view of a brand’s interactions with the buyers of their products. 

 

Monetize Relationships Post-Purchase

In addition to a proactive customer experience and advocacy development, manufacturers can also begin to monetize relationships post-purchase through up-sell and cross-sell programs and after-sale programs.  By leveraging the new data collected and advanced segmentation, companies can develop personalized programs containing educational content, thought leadership content, and timely offers relative to an individual’s previous purchases, buying behavior, and usage of the product.

 

By automating communications around this data, manufacturers can better leverage all digital marketing channels, offer relevant content and promotions, and harness the opportunity found within the customer life-cycle.

 

It’s imperative manufacturers, especially marketers, begin to view their product registration process as a viable marketing channel.  Through proper optimization, manufacturers can begin to develop the required 360-degree customer profile inclusive of behavior and usage data.  By harnessing the insight of product registration information, manufacturers can grow revenue, support, and advocacy.


How do you currently manage your product registration process?




If you're interested in learning more about Registria visit www.registria.com or email swilkins@registria.com


In a joint report by IDC and UPS, one-third of midsize industrial machinery manufacturers say that up to 75% of their profitability comes from parts, service and consumables; 78% say their customers’ expectations for aftersales services are rising. However, only 12% consider aftersales and service important differentiators for their businesses. But with an average equipment lifespan of 10-19 years, aftersale services could provide new revenue opportunities inbetween purchases.

 

But driving awareness around aftersale support across a broad range of industries, reqions, and facilities can be challenging.  Aditionally, responding to service requests across this broad spectrum is also a challenge.  60% of manufacturers state their response time for new parts or machine repair is between 2-3 days, with 21% stating it can take up to a week.  A delay in downtime and reponse can tarnish long established relationships as well as dissuade future orders.

 

With 44% of manufacturers investing in 3rd party service and support programs, many companies still fail to invest in the communication programs required to drive these programs.  In order to fully leverage aftersale programs, companies must execute programs that allow them to educate customers on services offered, triage inbound requests, manage expectations, and deliver timely follow-up communications.

 

Offers in these campaigns must communicate the additional value to the customer.  An aftersale campaign should deliver 1:1 personalized communications and offers based on digital body language and previous purchase history.  The campaign communications should follow the 1:3 rule. There should only be one sales focused communication for every 3 communications delivered.  The other 2 communications should contain thought leadership content relevant to the contact’s digital body language and purchase history. FANUC Feb.jpg

 

Below are 11 steps for developing an aftersale campaign.

 

  1. Consider your audiences; customers who have purchased previously, customers who have used previous aftersales services, customers who have purchased previously and engaged with a digital product catalog, product-centric webpage, or product-centric email, channel partners who sell products, and opt-ins by way of subscription pages and/or product registration pages.
  2. Segment and assign each audience to the correct campaign path.  Segmentation of customers should be based on product ownership, purchase information, intended use, previous aftersale services, cadence of aftersale services rendered, purchase date, region, industry, and factory.  If contacts were captured during product registration then segmentation may also include requests for opt-in information about a particular product (not directly sales related) and/or notifications of offers and promotions (sales related). 
  3. Communicate the value received by the customer.  This message should be consistent with the digital body language of the contact, value gained through aftersale service, and risk avoided through aftersale service.  Emphasize the investment already made by the customer and the importance of maintaining that investment.  Focus on content that delivers on “Learn how”, “Did you know”, and lastly “Are you interested”.
  4. Leverage opt-ins or already existing registration forms to capture nominal, product, reseller, and purchase information as well as intended usage.  This information can be used to proactively trigger communications that are specific to the product, region, useage, and service offering.
  5. Provide education communications relative to topics of interest based on the contact’s digital body language and purchase history.  As an example, there may be 3 variations of dynamic content pulled into an email based on the customer journey defined by the contact.  One journey may focus on maintenance/upkeep of Product A.  One journey may focus on getting more out of Product A by using the product in various ways.  One journey may focus on Tips and Tricks for using Product A.  In the sidebar of the email, place catalyst options dependent upon digital body language and purchase history, promoting either Consulting & Education Services, Maintenance Contracts & Services, or New/Used Parts/Attachments/Equipment complimentary to Product A. 
  6. Deliver thought leadership content relative to topics of interest based on the contact’s digital body language and purchase history.  As an example, there may be 3 variations of dynamic content pulled into the email based on the customer journey defined by the contact.  One journey may focus on Industry Trends for Sub-Vertical A.  One journey may focus on safety and efficiency processes.  One journey may focus on sustainability and innovation within manufacturing.  In the sidebar of the email catalyst options will be placed, dependent upon digital body language and purchase history, promoting either Consulting & Education Services, Maintenance Contracts & Services, or New/Used Parts/Attachments/Equipment complimentary to Product A
  7. Execute the right aftersale offer at a time most appropriate to the customer.  This could be an email containing an offer, dependent upon digital body language and purchase history, promoting either Consulting & Education Services, Maintenance Contracts & Services, or New/Used Parts/Attachments/Equipment complimentary to Product A.  It’s recommended a scoring process is defined by the manufacturer.  Depending on the engagement score throughout this campaign, contacts may be contacted by sales, entered into a longer educational nurture campaign, or simply exited from the campaign.
  8. Consider other audience channels. Capturing activity against a partner channel webpage, or a channel portal, may be necessary.  Engagement with these designated pages, as well as purchase history, will determine which aftersale offers are presented.
  9. Test. Test. Test. Understand which communications and channels work best with each audience.
  10. Work to capture the SKU upon purchaseSKUs will initially be captured in a system outside of your marketing automation tool.  Because purchase history will be captured, it should be placed in a Custom Object in order to map multiple purchases to one contact.  Any data that has a one to one relationship, and no historical aspects, should be stored against the contact record.  Any data in which multiple instances could occur, such as purchase information, should be stored as a Custom Object to track all purchases and the related information separately.  This information can then be mapped back to the contact.  Data to capture includes Nominal (Contact and Company name, address and communication methods), Product Information (Model, Version, Serial Number), Reseller information (Reseller, location, channel), Purchase Information  (Price paid, referring source, decision factors, other products owned), Intended Usage (For what industry and purpose the products are intended).
  11. Nurture and educate the customer throughout the aftersale service deployment.  Don't forget to send a confirmation of the aftersale request. There should be contact information available in case the aftersale service is not received when estimated.  Educational content delivered throughout the aftersale service period should provide information on studies, results, and "how to" information.  Content should also provide information on advances in innovation and trends relative to the industry or product.  At the conclusion of the aftersale service, provide a feedback form to collect information on both the service and the process.

 

What steps would you add to an aftersale campaign?

In an effort to educate and engage, many organizations develop programs that offer Continuing Education Units (CEUs) or re-certification credits.  These are not industry professional organizations.  Oftentimes they are manufacturers offering CEUs to engineers, architects, technical professionals, or clinicians.  Many manufacturers recommend that their products are installed by certified specialists.  Training sessions from these companies are normally awarded CEUs.


Manufacturers like Bernard Dalsin Manufacturing Co., Hargrove Manufacturing Corp., Travis Industries, Inc. and Hanley Wood host educational workshops at events, conduct onsite hands-on training, or conduct virtual training.  The attendees can learn about the product offerings of the company, train on how to use the product, and also earn credits towards their certifications. The manufacturers increase their opportunity to engage, provide helpful how-to information, and also establish themselves as a partner in the industry.

 

But for many manufacturers these practices remain siloed in university-type departments and not integrated with the marketing and sales organization. Below are 6 practices that will unify educational programs with sales and marketing initiatives. CE-Approved.jpg


  1. Capture CEU Event Registration Details:  Because of the requirements of many associations responsible for certification, tracking of contact information, specifically the state in which they practice, is essential.  Some regulations even dictate what can be spent on each attendee, and attendees from various states can fall under different policy guidelines.  Event coordinators may have to report on travel, lodging, and catering costs for each of those attendees.
  2. Capture CEU Requirements: Understand the licensing and certification requirements for each attendee.  Many associations have different certification levels requiring varying credit hours.  Have the attendee specify what certification they have, when they were initially certified, when their annual credits must be submitted, and how many they’ve earned to-date.  This will allow you to segment your communications appropriately, reference credit level and opportunity using dynamic content in communications, and time notifications to potential attendees when most relevant to their certification lifecycle.
  3. Capture Attendance Digitally:  When conducting sessions at events, far too often I see people place a pad of paper at the front of the room and ask attendees to sign in.  Many attendees overlook the paper and forget to sign-in, or the information provided is illegible or incomplete.  Through digital sign-in you can immediately capture attendees in your marketing automation and CRM systems.  Sales can see who attended each event and marketing can deliver real-time follow-up confirming attendance, awarding of credits, and delivery of follow-up communications.
  4. Automate Post-Event Follow-up: Whether you have 5 people attend an event, or 100 people attend, providing real-time follow-up will result in increased engagement.  For many companies, it's difficult to remember each conversation and deliver relevant content to that attendee, days after the event occurred.  Using an Eloqua Cloud App like Certain, attendees can automatically be entered into targeted post-event nurture tracks.  Ask for event feedback as well as suggestions for future events.  By providing real-time event follow-up you can increase engagement, further relationships, and ultimately generate new revenue. 
  5. Nurture Event Relationships: It's important to nurture event relationships by providing relevant content in the weeks following the event. Provide content associated with topics covered at the event.  This can be in the form of articles, blogs, reports, white papers, infographics, and video. Offering valuable content and providing an opportunity to select subscription preferences, or opt-out of such communications, is a best practice.
  6. Don't Forget Non-Attendees: It's important not to neglect those who could not attend the event.  Offering digital content from the event, like videos of speakers and presentations, as well as the post-event nurture content, can result in new opportunity for the organization.  You should include information about upcoming certification courses and provide opportunities to register for a certification series, as opposed to one-off courses.

 

By incorporating these 6 tips, you can better automate communications, capture information for future segmentation and understand the preferences of your audience.  This insight will allow you to more effectively communicate relevant content and foster relationships, resulting in a more positive experience for the attendee, and ultimately drive revenue.


If you're an organization that executes these programs, what best practices do you exercise to get the most out of the program and deliver the best experience to the attendee?

Manufacturers continue to make tremendous progress in closing the loop on marketing activities tied to won revenue.  Whether an organization sells to the direct end-user or sells through a channel partner, retailer, or distributor, technology exists that allows manufacturers to understand lead hand-off, support lead nurturing, track lead flow, and gain visibility into revenue won.

 

However, there are some business models that add another layer of complexity.  Many manufacturers, like those found in Aerospace & Defense and Building Materials, rely on bids to generate revenue.  Government contracts and building contracts are a large part of their business.  These manufacturers receive RFQs and provide quotes tied to the defined specifications. But tracking opportunity is tricky in an RFQ model.  Not only are manufacturers competing with other material providers, but even if they are selected for the bid there’s no guarantee the bid of that contractor or architect will be accepted.

 

So how can manufacturing marketers track which won contract revenue is tied to marketing activities?

 

Validate the RFQ Journey and Process RFQ_graphic.174145812_std.png

In order to design a program that will attribute marketing activity to closed revenue, marketers must answer the following questions.

 

When a bid is accepted who makes the final order?  Is it the contractor or architect?  Is it the project manager?  A purchasing manager for the bidder or a purchasing manager for the government?  Perhaps it’s even a CFO?  To close the loop marketers must be aware of who will be placing the actual order.

 

How many material options are included in a single bid?  For example, are 3 different door manufacturers optioned in the bid or is one material manufacturer included for each material needed and that is what’s presented in the final bid, by the architect?  This information allows marketers to define the sales funnel for each opportunity. If marketers know they’ve been included in a bid than that opportunity can continue down the funnel, if another manufacturer is selected then marketers can close out that opportunity.  If marketers don’t know, then they must be more diligent and extend their nurture communications beyond the contractor. 

 

How many contracts would a single contractor or architect manage in a given time?  For example, if an architect comes to a manufacturer’s tradeshow booth, are they bidding 1 project, or 15 projects?  This will define how marketers develop naming conventions for opportunities in their marketing automation system.

 

How long is the time from bid to close/won?  For example, how long is the time from the bid request at the tradeshow to the time the bid is delivered back to the architect?  Is it a week or is the bid delivered on the spot at the tradeshow? Once the bid is delivered, what is the average duration before the manufacturer hears whether they’ve been included in the contractor’s bid?  And once they’ve been selected for the contractor’s bid, what is the average consideration time before the contractor is alerted they’ve won the project?  For many, this is a game of estimates and averages, but understanding that journey is imperative to defining required marketing programs.

 

For example, outside of a tradeshow, what other demand generation activity with architects and contractors is required?  Or, is the decision of the architect to offer a bid opportunity to the manufacturers made at the tradeshow?  Does a relationship between the manufacturer and the architect or contractor exist before the tradeshow or does the tradeshow start the relationship? How does the marketer currently nurture the architect or contractor post-tradeshow or post-bid?

 

Methods for Closing the Loop

With a better understanding of the journey and relationships, marketers can then begin to develop methods for tracking bid opportunities to won revenue.  Consider the following 3 options.

 

  1. Collect the contract number from the architect at the time of the bid.  The bid request form should contain a field that requires that number as well as the campaign attribute number for that opportunity.  The campaign attribute number may be associated with a tradeshow or event, ad campaign, or could be tied to an outbound email campaign.  Require the contract number from customers at the time of order placement.  The same could be done with a project number or opportunity number.  This should become a form field within the ecommerce or order placement tool used.
  2. Provide a “discount code” to the architect, with the bid.  That discount code should be unique to the campaign and the architect or contractor.  If the contract is won, the end customer can reference that discount code at the time of purchase.  This code will tie that contract back to the architect and the campaign.  This method would be dependent upon the number of concurrent opportunities with a single contractor or architect.
  3. Deliver a PURL to the architect to include in the bid.  If the contract is won then the end customer can use the PURL for ecommerce order placement.  Again, this is dependent upon the number of concurrent opportunities with, as well as campaigns delivered to, a single architect or contractor.  Additionally, if you don’t want to do digital tracking, a special phone number could be generated instead of a PURL.

 

While closing the loop on RFQ requests can be complex, it’s not impossible.  By clearly defining the journey, developing proper naming conventions, and capturing proper identifiers, manufacturers can begin to understand which marketing programs resulted in closed revenue.

 

How do you currently close the loop on this complicated process?

There are new market forces affecting the manufacturing industry, and they are having profound changes on buyer behaviors.  These factors have given rise to the concept of ?Customer Centricity? by which organizations focus their attention on their customers rather than just on the unique qualities of their products and services.  Manufacturers face unique challenges in the transformation to customer centricity, including the role of indirect channel distributors.

 

Manufacturers must facilitate the relationship with both end user and distributor content.  They must direct inventory control, relationship development, opportunity distribution, and revenue attribution.  Most importantly, manufacturers must manage customer centricity across all channels, digital and personal. untitled.bmp


A Source of Content

In Manufacturing there is an increased pressure to focus on relationship selling.   And the emphasis on relationships extends beyond the sale and into the customer and partner journey.   Manufacturers must engage throughout the journey.


Manufacturers must leverage their communication channels and seize every opportunity to engage.  They need to work with their channel partners to leverage product registration.  Manufacturers should introduce advocacy programs to identify existing channel and end-user advocates, enhance relationships, obtain feedback on products and services, and identify future opportunities.


Manufacturers should become a source of helpful content for customers.  Content can include blogs, technical documentation, photographs, instructional videos, and customer testimonials.  It?s necessary for a company to understand their brand message, and develop and share content that aligns with that message.  But even a content library brimming with innovation is useless if the content is not delivered to the right person, at the right time in their journey.


So how do manufacturers interpret selling complexity and the effects on productivity?


A Source of Relationship Building and Inventory Planning

Ecommerce is a growing channel in the manufacturing industry, but to date it?s mostly been viewed as just a channel to sell.  Ecommerce tools have focused on transactions, and sometimes as a digital sales assistant. But when viewed from the perspective and interaction of the customer, ecommerce tools provide an opportunity for relationship building, inventory planning, and insight into the motivations and behaviors of customers. 


Ecommerce solutions also enable interdepartmental transparency to better support the customer and grow the business.  Integration between ecommerce, CRM, and marketing automation is imperative if connected communications are an objective.  Through multichannel communications manufacturers can begin to see who?s coming to their site, what they?re looking for, what messages resonate, and how they like to transact.  Here are 8 considerations for your ecommerce program.


So what changes are manufacturers making to their distribution models, and are more changes to come?

 

A Source of Channel Partner Enablement

Engaging in social media can be overwhelming for independent organizations let alone franchise or dealer networks where a consistent brand experience is paramount. And yet, the number of independent voices can be hard to manage.


But, social media can actually drive channel revenue and it starts by extending reach through channel partners.  In fact, there is a 52X average increase in reach when social posts are syndicated by channel partners. 


There is a way to bring it all together with the right planning, processes, and tools of support.  Manufacturers can create a powerful, consistent presence and start joining and leading the conversation with their customers.


Manufacturers should optimize their social media model for channels.  Ask what the goals of your social media presence are and what is the desired interaction between your brand and customers?  Outline the management structure, regardless of your desired model.  Define who is engaging on behalf of the brand.  Is it solely a corporate activity, local activity or both?  Develop a framework strategy.  Define your content strategy.  Sometimes the biggest challenge for organizations is ?what do we talk about?? Develop the communications strategy ? the brand personality and voice.  Identify content areas you?d like to own.  Determine the support tools required to enable the engagement model and management processes.


Which tactics are manufacturers finding to be most effective?

 

The Oracle Marketing Cloud team of manufacturing industry marketing experts teamed up with researchers at MAPI, The Manufacturing Association for Productivity and Innovation in a survey of sales and marketing leaders at manufacturing companies across North America. The study was aimed at understanding the current state of digital transformation and confirming that the above stated factors were indeed motivating changes within the surveyed companies sales and marketing departments

.

Join us for a 30-minute webcast as we discuss the results of the surveyWe?ll cover how well manufacturers are embracing customer-centricity, what manufacturers really think about the complexity of the sales cycle, which specific factors affect manufacturers? ability to sell, what types of content today?s manufacturers find to be most important, which tactics and skills marketing departments are using effectively, and where they?re struggling.

 

REGISTER NOW

 


There are new market forces affecting the manufacturing industry, and they are having profound changes on buyer behaviors.  These factors have given rise to the concept of ?Customer Centricity? by which organizations focus their attention on their customers rather than just on the unique qualities of their products and services.  Manufacturers face unique challenges in the transformation to customer centricity, including the role of indirect channel distributors.

 

Manufacturers must facilitate the relationship with both end user and distributor content.  They must direct inventory control, relationship development, opportunity distribution, and revenue attribution.  Most importantly, manufacturers must manage customer centricity across all channels, digital and personal. untitled.bmp


A Source of Content

In Manufacturing there is an increased pressure to focus on relationship selling.   And the emphasis on relationships extends beyond the sale and into the customer and partner journey.   Manufacturers must engage throughout the journey.


Manufacturers must leverage their communication channels and seize every opportunity to engage.  They need to work with their channel partners to leverage product registration.  Manufacturers should introduce advocacy programs to identify existing channel and end-user advocates, enhance relationships, obtain feedback on products and services, and identify future opportunities.


Manufacturers should become a source of helpful content for customers.  Content can include blogs, technical documentation, photographs, instructional videos, and customer testimonials.  It?s necessary for a company to understand their brand message, and develop and share content that aligns with that message.  But even a content library brimming with innovation is useless if the content is not delivered to the right person, at the right time in their journey.


So how do manufacturers interpret selling complexity and the effects on productivity?


A Source of Relationship Building and Inventory Planning

Ecommerce is a growing channel in the manufacturing industry, but to date it?s mostly been viewed as just a channel to sell.  Ecommerce tools have focused on transactions, and sometimes as a digital sales assistant. But when viewed from the perspective and interaction of the customer, ecommerce tools provide an opportunity for relationship building, inventory planning, and insight into the motivations and behaviors of customers. 


Ecommerce solutions also enable interdepartmental transparency to better support the customer and grow the business.  Integration between ecommerce, CRM, and marketing automation is imperative if connected communications are an objective.  Through multichannel communications manufacturers can begin to see who?s coming to their site, what they?re looking for, what messages resonate, and how they like to transact.  Here are 8 considerations for your ecommerce program.


So what changes are manufacturers making to their distribution models, and are more changes to come?

 

A Source of Channel Partner Enablement

Engaging in social media can be overwhelming for independent organizations let alone franchise or dealer networks where a consistent brand experience is paramount. And yet, the number of independent voices can be hard to manage.


But, social media can actually drive channel revenue and it starts by extending reach through channel partners.  In fact, there is a 52X average increase in reach when social posts are syndicated by channel partners. 


There is a way to bring it all together with the right planning, processes, and tools of support.  Manufacturers can create a powerful, consistent presence and start joining and leading the conversation with their customers.


Manufacturers should optimize their social media model for channels.  Ask what the goals of your social media presence are and what is the desired interaction between your brand and customers?  Outline the management structure, regardless of your desired model.  Define who is engaging on behalf of the brand.  Is it solely a corporate activity, local activity or both?  Develop a framework strategy.  Define your content strategy.  Sometimes the biggest challenge for organizations is ?what do we talk about?? Develop the communications strategy ? the brand personality and voice.  Identify content areas you?d like to own.  Determine the support tools required to enable the engagement model and management processes.


Which tactics are manufacturers finding to be most effective?

 

The Oracle Marketing Cloud team of manufacturing industry marketing experts teamed up with researchers at MAPI, The Manufacturing Association for Productivity and Innovation in a survey of sales and marketing leaders at manufacturing companies across North America. The study was aimed at understanding the current state of digital transformation and confirming that the above stated factors were indeed motivating changes within the surveyed companies sales and marketing departments

.

Join us for a 30-minute webcast as we discuss the results of the surveyWe?ll cover how well manufacturers are embracing customer-centricity, what manufacturers really think about the complexity of the sales cycle, which specific factors affect manufacturers? ability to sell, what types of content today?s manufacturers find to be most important, which tactics and skills marketing departments are using effectively, and where they?re struggling.

 

REGISTER NOW

 


There are new market forces affecting the manufacturing industry, and they are having profound changes on buyer behaviors.  These factors have given rise to the concept of ?Customer Centricity? by which organizations focus their attention on their customers rather than just on the unique qualities of their products and services.  Manufacturers face unique challenges in the transformation to customer centricity, including the role of indirect channel distributors.

 

Manufacturers must facilitate the relationship with both end user and distributor content.  They must direct inventory control, relationship development, opportunity distribution, and revenue attribution.  Most importantly, manufacturers must manage customer centricity across all channels, digital and personal. untitled.bmp


A Source of Content

In Manufacturing there is an increased pressure to focus on relationship selling.   And the emphasis on relationships extends beyond the sale and into the customer and partner journey.   Manufacturers must engage throughout the journey.


Manufacturers must leverage their communication channels and seize every opportunity to engage.  They need to work with their channel partners to leverage product registration.  Manufacturers should introduce advocacy programs to identify existing channel and end-user advocates, enhance relationships, obtain feedback on products and services, and identify future opportunities.


Manufacturers should become a source of helpful content for customers.  Content can include blogs, technical documentation, photographs, instructional videos, and customer testimonials.  It?s necessary for a company to understand their brand message, and develop and share content that aligns with that message.  But even a content library brimming with innovation is useless if the content is not delivered to the right person, at the right time in their journey.


So how do manufacturers interpret selling complexity and the effects on productivity?


A Source of Relationship Building and Inventory Planning

Ecommerce is a growing channel in the manufacturing industry, but to date it?s mostly been viewed as just a channel to sell.  Ecommerce tools have focused on transactions, and sometimes as a digital sales assistant. But when viewed from the perspective and interaction of the customer, ecommerce tools provide an opportunity for relationship building, inventory planning, and insight into the motivations and behaviors of customers. 


Ecommerce solutions also enable interdepartmental transparency to better support the customer and grow the business.  Integration between ecommerce, CRM, and marketing automation is imperative if connected communications are an objective.  Through multichannel communications manufacturers can begin to see who?s coming to their site, what they?re looking for, what messages resonate, and how they like to transact.  Here are 8 considerations for your ecommerce program.


So what changes are manufacturers making to their distribution models, and are more changes to come?

 

A Source of Channel Partner Enablement

Engaging in social media can be overwhelming for independent organizations let alone franchise or dealer networks where a consistent brand experience is paramount. And yet, the number of independent voices can be hard to manage.


But, social media can actually drive channel revenue and it starts by extending reach through channel partners.  In fact, there is a 52X average increase in reach when social posts are syndicated by channel partners. 


There is a way to bring it all together with the right planning, processes, and tools of support.  Manufacturers can create a powerful, consistent presence and start joining and leading the conversation with their customers.


Manufacturers should optimize their social media model for channels.  Ask what the goals of your social media presence are and what is the desired interaction between your brand and customers?  Outline the management structure, regardless of your desired model.  Define who is engaging on behalf of the brand.  Is it solely a corporate activity, local activity or both?  Develop a framework strategy.  Define your content strategy.  Sometimes the biggest challenge for organizations is ?what do we talk about?? Develop the communications strategy ? the brand personality and voice.  Identify content areas you?d like to own.  Determine the support tools required to enable the engagement model and management processes.


Which tactics are manufacturers finding to be most effective?

 

The Oracle Marketing Cloud team of manufacturing industry marketing experts teamed up with researchers at MAPI, The Manufacturing Association for Productivity and Innovation in a survey of sales and marketing leaders at manufacturing companies across North America. The study was aimed at understanding the current state of digital transformation and confirming that the above stated factors were indeed motivating changes within the surveyed companies sales and marketing departments

.

Join us for a 30-minute webcast as we discuss the results of the surveyWe?ll cover how well manufacturers are embracing customer-centricity, what manufacturers really think about the complexity of the sales cycle, which specific factors affect manufacturers? ability to sell, what types of content today?s manufacturers find to be most important, which tactics and skills marketing departments are using effectively, and where they?re struggling.

 

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There are new market forces affecting the manufacturing industry, and they are having profound changes on buyer behaviors.  These factors have given rise to the concept of ?Customer Centricity? by which organizations focus their attention on their customers rather than just on the unique qualities of their products and services.  Manufacturers face unique challenges in the transformation to customer centricity, including the role of indirect channel distributors.

 

Manufacturers must facilitate the relationship with both end user and distributor content.  They must direct inventory control, relationship development, opportunity distribution, and revenue attribution.  Most importantly, manufacturers must manage customer centricity across all channels, digital and personal. untitled.bmp


A Source of Content

In Manufacturing there is an increased pressure to focus on relationship selling.   And the emphasis on relationships extends beyond the sale and into the customer and partner journey.   Manufacturers must engage throughout the journey.


Manufacturers must leverage their communication channels and seize every opportunity to engage.  They need to work with their channel partners to leverage product registration.  Manufacturers should introduce advocacy programs to identify existing channel and end-user advocates, enhance relationships, obtain feedback on products and services, and identify future opportunities.


Manufacturers should become a source of helpful content for customers.  Content can include blogs, technical documentation, photographs, instructional videos, and customer testimonials.  It?s necessary for a company to understand their brand message, and develop and share content that aligns with that message.  But even a content library brimming with innovation is useless if the content is not delivered to the right person, at the right time in their journey.


So how do manufacturers interpret selling complexity and the effects on productivity?


A Source of Relationship Building and Inventory Planning

Ecommerce is a growing channel in the manufacturing industry, but to date it?s mostly been viewed as just a channel to sell.  Ecommerce tools have focused on transactions, and sometimes as a digital sales assistant. But when viewed from the perspective and interaction of the customer, ecommerce tools provide an opportunity for relationship building, inventory planning, and insight into the motivations and behaviors of customers. 


Ecommerce solutions also enable interdepartmental transparency to better support the customer and grow the business.  Integration between ecommerce, CRM, and marketing automation is imperative if connected communications are an objective.  Through multichannel communications manufacturers can begin to see who?s coming to their site, what they?re looking for, what messages resonate, and how they like to transact.  Here are 8 considerations for your ecommerce program.


So what changes are manufacturers making to their distribution models, and are more changes to come?

 

A Source of Channel Partner Enablement

Engaging in social media can be overwhelming for independent organizations let alone franchise or dealer networks where a consistent brand experience is paramount. And yet, the number of independent voices can be hard to manage.


But, social media can actually drive channel revenue and it starts by extending reach through channel partners.  In fact, there is a 52X average increase in reach when social posts are syndicated by channel partners. 


There is a way to bring it all together with the right planning, processes, and tools of support.  Manufacturers can create a powerful, consistent presence and start joining and leading the conversation with their customers.


Manufacturers should optimize their social media model for channels.  Ask what the goals of your social media presence are and what is the desired interaction between your brand and customers?  Outline the management structure, regardless of your desired model.  Define who is engaging on behalf of the brand.  Is it solely a corporate activity, local activity or both?  Develop a framework strategy.  Define your content strategy.  Sometimes the biggest challenge for organizations is ?what do we talk about?? Develop the communications strategy ? the brand personality and voice.  Identify content areas you?d like to own.  Determine the support tools required to enable the engagement model and management processes.


Which tactics are manufacturers finding to be most effective?

 

The Oracle Marketing Cloud team of manufacturing industry marketing experts teamed up with researchers at MAPI, The Manufacturing Association for Productivity and Innovation in a survey of sales and marketing leaders at manufacturing companies across North America. The study was aimed at understanding the current state of digital transformation and confirming that the above stated factors were indeed motivating changes within the surveyed companies sales and marketing departments

.

Join us for a 30-minute webcast as we discuss the results of the surveyWe?ll cover how well manufacturers are embracing customer-centricity, what manufacturers really think about the complexity of the sales cycle, which specific factors affect manufacturers? ability to sell, what types of content today?s manufacturers find to be most important, which tactics and skills marketing departments are using effectively, and where they?re struggling.

 

REGISTER NOW

 


Analytics tend to be the most underutilized feature of marketing technology.  It's not that people don't recognize the value potential, but often they don't know where to start.  And when you consider that many marketing teams don't have dedicated analytics resources, reporting can become an overwhelming activity.

 

If you're manufacturing organization without dedicated analytics resources, I suggest you consider a Metrics task force.  Bring together team leads from across the organization and conduct interviews with those stakeholders who are impacted by marketing metrics.  Talk with operations, sales, finance, and your internal marketing team to understand what insight they want.  Don't ask what data they want, ask what information and insight would allow them to perform their jobs better.

 

Once you have the requirements, begin to build out reports and dashboards that your task force will review weekly, monthly, or quarterly depending on the data.  Consider some of the following reports. tft.jpg

 

  1. Build dashboards for each website and evaluate the following:
    • Form submissions by form that exist on the website like demo request forms, contact us forms, and RFQ forms, and partner contact request forms.
    • Conversion rates by form (# of visitors that really submit data)
    • Originating website (referring site) -- and differentiate by:
      • Local / regional search sites (Google United States vs Google Norway etc)
      • Google: Click-through from natural search results, display or PPC ads
    • Website dashboards for a product line?s local sites (e.g. French or German site) also including Google landing pages and contact form submission data
    • Dashboard comparing website activity against campaigns and whether there is any correlation (visits/length of time spent on page/site)
      • Click-through rates
      • Website visits
      • Form submissions
      • Conversion rates (navigation to form vs. submission)
    • Metrics highlighting follow-up activity levels
    • Form submissions from forms on Google AdWords landing pages across all campaigns and product lines
    • Form submissions from forms on general campaign landing pages across all campaigns and product lines
    • E-mailing metrics (click-throughs, unsubscribes, bounces etc) ? across each product
    • Campaign dashboard showing top-performing campaigns/landing pages
  2. Evaluate Data Quality Dashboards for:
    • Unsubscribe numbers and rates
    • Bounceback numbers and rates
    • Contact data completion rates
    • Form completion rates
    • Industry benchmark metrics
    • Opt-in rates
  3. Build dashboards for each campaign and evaluate the following:
    • Lead/Opportunity  information such as
      • Numbers/volumes
      • Conversion rates
      • Conversion speed/velocity
      • Leads/opportunities in CRM that have not had follow-up activity
      • Rejected MQLs and the justification for rejection
    • Metrics to identify and compare campaign success
  1. Build dashboards for the financial team like
    • A comparison of activity and results across all product groups.
    • What campaigns/activities were successful?
    • What products groups generated the most activity/results?
    • What leads resulted from the activity?
    • What was spent versus received for lead gen activities and awareness activities?
    • What campaigns were most effective?
    • Recommendations on how you should we spend your marketing dollars?
  2. Build additional dashboards for product teams and evaluate:
    • Was the content not relevant or not relevant to the recipient's needs?
    • Was the content not interesting enough?
    • What links were clicked?
    • Was the email forwarded?
    • Was the email opened on a mobile? Or which operating system was used?

 

As your task force identifies report, it's recommended that you review the metrics with each stakeholder. Don't simply send a report and expect they understand the data.  Explained what information was pulled, why it was pulled, what the numbers mean, and what your recommendations are based on this data.

 

For example, consider 6 month site reviews for your website and include reporting from both the marketing automation tool and Google Analytics.  Discuss site performance and recommendations for improvement.  Walk the stakeholders through the website activity, patterns in activity, and corresponding campaign activity.

 

Another example is at the close-out of each campaign a Lessons Learned exercise should occur. During this exercise the project manager should review the metrics and reports from that campaign.  Conduct an email best practices review and provided recommendations to the marketing team.

 

By utilizing the analytics tools provided, you can better understand your success and areas for additional opportunity and improvement.  This will allow you to better communicate to prospects, customers, and provide justification for additional marketing support (both resource and financial).

 

What reports would you add to the list?

In project management they're called "lessons learned".  In medicine they're referred to as "postmortems" and in the military they're labeled "after action reviews".  No matter what you name them, they are one of the most important tasks within a project. Project close out is often an overlooked phase and with that, the lessons learned exercise.  This practice is essential in understanding the successes and failures of the project.  It is also key in future project success.

 

Important Pre-Work

Before a project it is important that you goal set. Simple, yet often people begin a project without a goal in mind. I?m astounded at the amount of work done just for the sake of doing something.  Little consideration is given to whether it's where resources and effort should be invested.  Define what you want to do, and why.

 

You also need to baseline. Understand where you are so you can measure progress.  Additionally, a baseline allows you to set expectation.  If a typical campaign yields a 10% engagement rate, don't goal set with a 75% engagement rate as an objective. Be aggressive, but realistic.

 

When conducting a lessons learned exercise ensure that the purpose, process, and payoff have been explained to participants.  Provide necessary project reports to all stakeholders beforehand and set the expectation that all material will be reviewed before the discussion. 

 

Project Review

Oftentimes participants are reluctant to share information they feel is critical.  Ask that each person list 3 items that are "sustains" and 3 items that are "improves".  This will typically coax the discussion forward.  Once complete, provide a report on the session and close out the project.

 

When it comes time to kick off a new project,  pull out previous lessons learned reports.  These act as a prompter for clarifying questions, identifying risks, and determining additional deliverables. 

 

But while an effective process, I wonder if opportunity is overlooked. Jidoka-Process-Table.png

 

Discover the Real Problems

I'm currently reading The Design of Everyday Things.  In the book the author, Don Norman, addresses "The 5 Whys".  He explains that engineers and business people are trained to solve problems, but designers are trained to discover the real problems.  He states that "Good designers never start by trying to understand what the real issues are.  They take the original problem as a suggestion, not as a final statement, then think broadly about what the issues underlying this problem statement might really be."

 

In my experiences this is the greatest overlooked opportunity in project closeout.  Many of us conduct the lessons learned exercise, but we don't take the time to understand the project failures or the identified need to improve.  In his book, Norman tackles this very issue and the impact it has on marketing. Designers consider the actual needs of the people and the use of the product.  Marketing is more concerned with what people will actually buy as well as their purchasing decisions.

 

My recommendation is as you conduct your lessons learned exercise; include a designer in the process.  Use that individual to identify the original problem and then walk through the "5 Whys" to uncover the actual underlying problem.

 

Consider the Use of Jidoka

If you want a great example, look at Toyota. The Toyota automobile company has developed an extremely efficient error-reduction process for manufacturing, widely known as the Toyota Production System. Among its many key principles is a philosophy called Jidoka, which Toyota says is "roughly translated as 'automation with a human touch.'" If a worker notices something wrong, the worker is supposed to report it, sometimes even stopping the entire assembly line if a faulty part is about to proceed to the next station. (A special cord, called an andon, stops the assembly line and alerts the expert crew.) Experts converge upon the problem area to determine the cause. "Why did it happen?" "Why was that?" "Why is that the reason?" The philosophy is to ask "Why?" as many times as may be necessary to get to the root cause of the problem and then fix it so it can never occur again.


As you evaluate your marketing projects the questions above act as a great guide.  Even as you evaluate mid-project milestones through A/B testing, lead scoring, and enablement ask "The 5 Whys" to understand why you're not generating the projected success.


As Norman surmises, "A brilliant solution to the wrong problem can be worse than no solution at all: solve the correct problem."

 

What steps do you take to learn from marketing projects?

Manufacturers recognize the potential in leveraging channel partners.  The same potential resides in digital channels.  Traditionally, digital communications are relegated to emails, a website, and maybe some social media.  Digital advertising, if done at all, is broad and ineffective.  On average, digital ads only reach 33% of their intended target.  And the more specialized your product or industry, the harder it becomes to reach your intended audience.  But now, with the right approach to strategy and use of available tools, digital advertising can become a new partner.  Targeting and personalization can allow manufacturers to better service and educate their audience, understand engagement and interest, and communicate return on investment.  It can deliver inbound results and provide continual pull through a sales cycle.

 

But where should you start?  The following document walks through a series of best practice questions to consider, and tactics that can assist in improving your digital advertising results.

 

"WHY DO WE WANT TO DO IT?"

The first question Manufacturers must ask when approaching digital advertising initiatives is "Why do we want to do it?"  Your ad strategy must have a clear purpose and by defining the "why" you can better pinpoint what that purpose is.  Once the purpose is determined you need to develop baseline metrics for your expected results, and ensure that the metrics you use align with your goals.  You also need to consider the duration of your ad campaign. Develop a project plan for your digital ads just like you would for any other marketing communication.  Finally, remember that display advertising is an excellent way to reach prospects at all stages of the funnel. Even if you have a goal of driving more conversions or leads, display does well to fill the top of the funnel with the right audience, and can be used to educate and nurture them down the funnel until they are ready to convert.  Consider the following scenarios.

 

We want to recruit new channel partners:  Most manufacturers depend on channel partners for anywhere between 20% -100% of their sales volume.  Channel partner engagement thus becomes as critical as customer engagement.  Trade promotion management (TPM) continues to be one of the primary cost drivers and benefits challenge areas in the consumer products (CP) industry.  Digitally connected and informed consumers with higher expectations of products and services and fragmented customer loyalty have been driving an explosive growth in cross channel, M-commerce, social media, group buys, and location-based offers. We would like to leverage multichannel marketing and personalized advertising to increase our partner opportunity to 20%.  We would also like one new engaged partner by the end of our 90-day campaign. images.jpg

 

We want to drive interest in a new product through sample trial requests: Sampling and trialing can be a manufacturer's most effective marketing tool, but it can also be a very expensive activity. In some industries it is an essential part of the buying process.  According to the Promotion Marketing Association's Sampling and Demonstration Council, 83% of consumers agreed that experiencing a product or seeing it demonstrated live increases their comfort level when purchasing.  Manufacturers, who offer product samples and trials on their web site or at trade events, should ensure that the product trial experience is a positive one for the customer so as to maximize the likeliness of a sale.  We would like to leverage multichannel marketing and personalized advertising to increase our trial request form conversion rate to 20%.  We would also like two new customers by the end of our 60-day campaign.

 

We want to increase product registrations: Manufacturers must be able to obtain and use key information about their customers, like who they are, their purchase history, and their intended use of the product.  Without this information it's very difficult for a manufacturer to grow business within its existing customer base.  It's also important that manufacturers work with the channel partners to collect this data. Manufacturers must be able to segment customers based on product ownership, purchase information, intended use as well as customer preference for receiving information and updates about a particular product (not directly sales related), and notification of offers and promotions (sales related).  Manufacturers and channel partners alike want to capture information about the end user to either deliver incentives (manufacturer to channel) or receive incentives (channel from manufacturer).  By capturing this data both manufacturers and partners can report on product registration, usage, cost, and engagement.  We do not currently use digital advertising to drive product registration.  Our product registration form conversion is 6%.  We would like to leverage multichannel marketing and personalized advertising to increase our product registration form submissions to 15%. We would also like one new up-sell or cross-sell opportunity at the end of the 90-day campaign.

 

We want to increase up-sell and cross-sell opportunities: Manufacturers are requesting post-acquisition Customer Lifecycle Management tools and processes to nurture customers towards cross-sell and up-sells, education and service offerings, and maintenance contracts.  Research indicates that the ability to cross-sell or up-sell products or services declines sharply 90 days after the initial purchase.  In order to leverage this 90 day period, manufacturers must build a relationship with their customers, incent their channel partners to provide customer registration information, and respond to known contacts that abandon the ecommerce process.  We do not currently use digital advertising to drive up-sell or cross-sell opportunities. We have not calculated our up-sell or cross-sell revenue before.  We would like to see 1 new up-sell or cross-sell opportunity at the end of the 90-day campaign.

 

"WHO DO WE WANT TO REACH AND WHAT DO WE WANT THEM TO DO?"

Manufacturers then need to ask "Who do we want to reach?"  And you must be specific.  This is where strong persona understanding is imperative.  67% of all ads are served to unintended targets. Ensure that your display ad spend goes only to business audiences you care about, not the other 67%. You need to consider both behavior and demographics when identifying your audience.  Your display ads should map to the business segments of the buyer, customer, or partner, as well as where they are in the buyer's journey. Additionally, recognize that communication doesn't stop at the ad click.  Integrate your digital advertising with your marketing automation system.  This will allow you to score and nurture contacts based on their digital body language, and reach prospects outside of their inbox with relevant display ads wherever they travel on the Web.  Evaluating where contacts have engaged is important when considering retargeting.  Let's consider our scenarios again.


We want to recruit new channel partners:  Our target audience consists of potential channel partners that reside in the Midwest and have previously navigated to our "Partners" webpage.  The value message to our potential partners is: "The value and contribution of our channel partners is paramount.  We recognize all that our partners deliver, which is why we provide the tools and resources necessary to better enable and empower their efforts.  Join our channel partner organization and benefit from the resources available to you.  With a shared vision and commitment to the customer, together we can mutually benefit and grow our businesses."  Activity against the digital ad will drive a potential channel partner into an automated channel partner recruitment campaign.  The objective of this campaign is to drive channel engagement through recruitment, nurturing, and onboarding.  The campaign should leverage prospective channel web registration, educational content, product launches, and other manufacturer driven marketing initiatives.  The campaign journey and content delivery will be determined by the engagement of each contact.

 

We want to drive interest in a new product through sample trial requests: Our target audience is Supply Chain Managers in Southern Ohio who recently visited the product page for PRODUCT A.  The focus of this campaign is to drive registration and participation in sample/trial offers.  This campaign will provide sample/trial offers through several inbound and outbound communications.  The campaign will also contain an educational nurturing path.  Content will contain personalized messaging relative to the contact's digital body language.  The campaign communications should follow the 1:3 rule.  There should only be one sales focused communication for every 3 communications delivered.  The other 2 communications will contain thought leadership content relevant to the contact?s digital body language and purchase history.  At the completion of the campaign, contacts will be assigned to the appropriate post-campaign process.  Sampling/trial data will demonstrate the effectiveness, or ineffectiveness of the sample/trial process.  Manufacturers will better employ the sample/trial registration process, drive more meaningful engagement, and understand the return on their sample/trial investment.

 

We want to increase product registrations:  Our target audience is fabricated metal customers who recently purchased PRODUCT A in the last 90 days.  The focus of this campaign is to encourage the registration of Product A by the end user.  The content of the campaign will extend beyond the "register now" message, and will communicate the additional value the partner or end user will receive by registering.  Through this campaign the manufacturer will obtain key information to better understand the buyer, segment and deliver 1:1 communications, and develop brand loyalty. Information obtained within this campaign can be used in an up-sell cross-sell campaign.

 

We want to increase up-sell and cross-sell opportunities:  Our target audience is fabricated metal customers who recently purchased PRODUCT A in the last 90 days, submitted the product registration form, and engaged with at least one piece of content on the website related to PRODUCTS B thru Z.  Up-selling and cross-selling is a natural fit for manufacturers. With multiple product and service offering, growing revenue within an existing customer, or channel partner, is often an effective way to ultimately grow the business. To do this effectively you must build on existing relationships with customers, channel partners, and known contacts.  To build those relationships and communicate the right offer at the right time you must understand your customers' purchasing behavior.  You must also pay attention to those who did not purchase. Offers in these campaigns must communicate the additional value to the customer.  This campaign will deliver 1:1 personalized communications and offers based on digital body language and previous purchase history.  The campaign communications should follow the 1:3 rule. There should only be one sales focused communication for every 3 communications delivered.  The other 2 communications will contain thought leadership content relevant to the contact?s digital body language and purchase history.

 

"WHERE CAN I REACH THEM ONLINE?"

In one consolidated view, marketers can access all of their marketing data to build and refine key target audiences to use in numerous campaign scenarios. This includes 1st party data, data the marketer collects on proprietary assets -- or contained in enterprise systems -- and on 3rd party data pre-integrated into the platform, or data purchased from branded providers or lists.


Through digital advertising you can use these business demographics to precisely target ads to your exact audience wherever they travel online. This results in more efficiently spent ad dollars, and gives you the ability to reach more of your target audience, more often, and strategically guide them through the buying cycle from building brand awareness through to driving conversions and sales.

“How should we prove the value of our technology investment?”

 

A very common question.

 

Marketing organizations are feeling the squeeze to demonstrate return on investment.  Companies onboard marketing technology with the intention of improving the customer experience and closing the loop on their contribution to revenue.

 

These are most certainly justifiable objectives, but demonstrating the value of investment can extend beyond revenue.  Marketing technology can provide insight beyond revenue attribution.  This is especially true when you consider many divisions of an organization don’t care about your marketing technology ROI. They care about what value you bring to them.  And with the data collected across marketing technology platforms, you can deliver value to many parts of the organization. diamond_wideweb__470x312,2.jpg

 

As you begin to develop program and campaign briefs, define KPIs that will extend across all stakeholders. Capture that data and deliver value to these teams.

Below are examples of metrics that can aid each team in reaching their goals, ultimately leading to value proof.

 

Value to PR Team

  • Demonstrating conversion rates from press releases to web pages
  • Interest and interaction with emailed pitches
  • Referral links
  • Organic inbound traffic
  • Social influence and word of mouth (How many people are talking about my news, how influential are they, and what are they saying?)
  • Which medium is talking about my news, and how popular is this medium?


Value to Content Team

  • Search words and search strings used
  • Most engaged content assets
  • Consumption metrics; page views, downloads,
  • Sharing metrics; which content and which channels
  • Lead form conversion success
  • Content most effective at each funnel stage
  • Time spent engaging with content
  • New engagers with content
  • Repeat content loyalty


Value to Demand Gen Team

  • Leads produced
  • Close rate
  • Time to close
  • Cost per close
  • Lead source
  • Funnel conversion
  • Lead velocity
  • CTA click-through rate


Value to Field Marketing Team

  • Contact acquisition
  • Lead development
  • Marketing qualified leads
  • Sales qualified leads
  • Sales qualified opportunity
  • Print media conversion
  • Direct mail conversion
  • Geographic opportunity


Value to Event Marketing

  • Event registration
  • Event attendance
  • Booth attendance
  • Event follow-up opt-ins
  • Contact acquisition
  • Events executed
  • Event follow-up engagement


Value to Product Marketing

  • Traffic to product pages
  • Performance of content on all channels
  • Sales use of content
  • Effectiveness of product traffic by channel
  • Effectiveness of product traffic by content asset
  • Lead opportunity by product
  • New traffic yield
  • Contact list acquisition


Value to Product Management and Development

  • Product registration and warranty metrics
  • Sample and trial requests
  • Product configuration engagement
  • Engagement with product content
  • Feedback on product performance
  • Product R&D opportunity


Value to Sales

  • Revenue per customer
  • Prospect/customer product/service interest
  • Prospect/customer Digital Body Language
  • Universal profile
  • Time to close
  • Up-sell and cross-sell opportunity
  • Pipeline opportunity
  • Historical behavior and pipeline history for future quota definition
  • Sample and trial numbers
  • Sales funnel leak data
  • eCommerce engagement
  • Lead score


Value to Social Media Team

  • Number of people that viewed, downloaded, or listened to a piece of content
  • Resonance of content (how often is it shared with others?)
  • Content consumption to lead conversion rates
  • Social shares
  • Comments
  • Click-through rates
  • Timing of engagement
  • Effectiveness of each channel


Value to Customer Relationship/Advocacy Team

  • Number of new customer and partner advocates
  • Product/service feedback
  • Case study use and engagement
  • Customer and partner acquisition rate
  • Customer and partner attrition rate
  • Engagement of customers/advocates with campaigns
  • Up-sell and cross-sell opportunity


Value to Channel Team

  • Channel partner recruitment pipeline
  • Sales volume
  • Welcome and education program engagement
  • Content interest of partner
  • Product interest of partner
  • Contact acquisition
  • Partner promotional usage


Of course these are only a handful of the many KPIs you can measure.  Many of these will also have value that overlaps across several different teams.  In the end, the question to ask is “does the data help you make a decision?”

 

What data do you analyze to demonstrate the value of your marketing technology investment?

The adoption of multichannel marketing amongst manufacturers is increasing.  Manufacturers recognize the need to unify the digital experience across email, web, digital ads, PR, and social to name a few.  And while the integration of these multiple systems can pose a challenge, one essential need is still overlooked.


Because companies orchestrate their digital channels they believe they've created a seamless customer experience.  But just because the channels are unified doesn't mean the content experience is unified.  Manufacturers struggle to provide the individualized content experience required for journey conversion and relationship development. 


The journey taken as a reseller, customer, dealer, or partner will certainly vary, however many manufacturers deliver the same content experience despite the differences in persona.  And the content needs extend beyond buyer type.  The content experience must also be customized based on previous content engagement as well as buying behavior.  The content delivered to someone who purchases optical solutions versus lighting solutions will vary.


So how can a manufacturer deliver that personalized content experience that aligns with the multichannel experience?  I reached out to Andre Yee, CEO at Triblio, to understand how they help companies meet the demands of content experience.


Personalized Content Is More Than a Name tech-manufacturing.jpg

It's important to note that personalized content is more than referencing a contact's name or company on the homepage of your website.  Personalized content must address company attributes like size, revenue, and geography. The content must take into account content interests tied to education around equipment upkeep, maintenance, and product enhancements.  Personalized content must also deliver on previous purchases, sampling and trialing programs, and potential up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. 


It's through these content-centric landing pages, websites, and microsites that manufacturers can drive demand generation, recruit new partners, and grow relationships with buyers and distributors. Manufacturers can also optimize calls to action by inserting the correct CTA for any content as well as personalizing the subsequent landing pages, forms, and secondary CTAs.


What Can be Personalized?

Along with campaign assets like forms and landing pages many manufacturers can improve conversion for inbound traffic on email, web, social, and sales channels.  They can ensure referral partner traffic receives a personalized view of their website and they can also personalize content based on form sign-up information.  This can be content on your main website, resource centers, partner portals, media centers, and conference and event sites.


It's also important to note that marketers can personalize this content to engage and convert visitors as well as promote thought leadership and innovation without relying on a web development team.


But What If They're a Stranger?

It's sure to many this sounds like a great idea, but how do you personalize the content experience for anonymous visitors? Manufacturers can actually leverage Anonymous Visitor Profiling for personalization based on IP information. This allows you to personalize on the IP company size category, NACIS code, and geo-location.


Prove It

Lastly, it's important to note that along with delivering that content experience you can also measure the content experience.  You can measure engagement and ROI by content item, persona, format, type, author, customer type, and source.  You can understand which specific content influences click-throughs, visits, lead form captures, and revenue.

This data will allow you to make future decisions about content development and investment as well as identify future content opportunity. 

 

A seamless digital experience is wasted if the content delivered doesn't meet the specific needs of each individual.  How are you developing a personalized content experience?

I sat down to write a piece on sales enablement in the manufacturing industry.  My process was simple; identify evidence to support the need for enablement and then identify examples of great sales enablement programs occurring across the manufacturing space.  But this process wasn't as straightforward as I had hoped.


The Need for Enablement Is Real

Identifying evidence to support the need was easy.  According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the Brueau of Labor Statistics, employment of wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives is projected to grow 9 percent from 2012 to 2022, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Employment growth for wholesale and manufacturing sales representatives will largely follow growth of the overall economy.  In addition to the total volume of sales, a wider range of products and technologies will lead to increased demand for sales representatives.

Manufacturing sales executives need a firm understanding of not just the large (and growing) product offerings, but the value and positioning of these offerings.  Compound this with the fact that customer relationships are playing a greater role in manufacturing sales success and you can begin to see a sales skills gap in manufacturing.

 

Today's manufacturers are seeing their product lifecycles shorten and their most basic products are becoming more sophisticated. In an industry traditionally focused on selling products, today's manufacturing companies must concern themselves with moving their sales organizations toward selling solutions and selling value.  And given that only 61% of manufacturers attain quota, there's room for improvement.

 

"What do you mean by Sales Enablement?"

While sales enablement has started to emerge as a necessity, commitment to sales enablement programs is still in its infancy.  My sales enablement research actually resulted in more questions than answers. When I inquired into sales enablement programs I had a lot of marketing demand generation programs referenced as well as lead scoring programs.  Mostly the response I received was "what do you mean by sales enablement?"  But sales enablement is more than "sales training" and "MQL to SQL conversion".  It isn't a tactic, it's a program.  It's a commitment to your sales organization.

 

SiriusDecisions defines sales enablement as a systematic approach to helping reps prepare for customer interactions, engage effectively with their audiences, and advance sales opportunities to close. These are programs that help sales executives understand positioning, messaging, scoring and nurturing. 


Manufacturers Must Invest In Their Sales Teams Wholesale-and-manufacturing-sales-representatives.jpg

As I've researched information for this piece it's amazing how much is invested in technology and process but very little is invested (or at least talked about) when it comes to investing in the sales people and human capital.  At this year's SiriusDecisions Summit great emphasis was placed on providing sales executives with the skills, tools, and assets to maximize every buyer interaction. Sirius put to rest the myth of the disappearing sales executive.  They stated that 51 percent of the buyer's journey is conducted digitally, while the other 49 percent involves human contact -- which includes face-to-face meetings, phone calls, and some digital communications, such as non-automated emails.

 

As an organization you must approach your sales organization as another buyer channel.  You must extend sales enablement beyond message training and through pipeline acceleration and customer communications.  You must deliver your sales teams the right content at the right time on the right channel so they can do the same with their prospects, customers, and partners.

Melissa Madian, VP of Sales Enablement at Vision Critical and Sales Enablement Frontierswoman, advises;


"With the buyer's ability to research and make decisions over the internet without the salesperson's involvement, salespeople can't rely on their personalities and ability to build relationships alone. Organizations need to empower their salespeople with the training, tools and processes that will help them optimize their time while presenting their solutions in a way that resonates with the buyer. Without an enablement program, you're leaving your salespeople - your most expensive resource - to "wing it" with your customers."

6 Practices to Get You Started

With that advice in mind, below are 6 enablement practices for manufacturers to consider.

  1. Define your sales enablement strategy:  Understand why you're implementing a program, program expectations, needs, KPIs, process, and alignment to marketing activities.
  2. Develop Sales Personas:  Just as you would develop buyer personas, develop sales personas. Identify persona characteristics tied to resources they use, size and complexity of their deal opportunities, their sales process, roadblocks and challenges, the infrastructure of the systems they use, and their propensity to adopt tools, messaging, and resources.
  3. Deploy an onboarding and training program: These programs will range from sales playbooks, certifications, and technology roll-out and education.
  4. Don't overlook the repetition and reinforcement of enablement:  A sales enablement program doesn't stop after onboarding and shouldn't be resigned to product training.  Consider a drip nurture program to your sales organization that?s segmented and personalized by persona.  Provide 3rd party content to validate defined strategy, reinforce the engagement of tools and resources, and educate on industry trends, product value, and positioning.
  5. Deliver opportunity value:  Provide the sales organization with more than a list of leads. Create agreed upon SLAs that clearly identify what constitutes an MQL and SQL.  Deliver context through Digital Body Language and data transparency.
  6. Distribute knowledge:  Collect input from the sales organization and respond by continuing to provide sales with insight.  Capture and communicate this joint knowledge across the organization.

 

Manufacturers must begin to invest in human capital.  The knowledge, habits, social and personality attributes affect a sales executive's ability to perform which ultimately impacts economic value.

How are you investing in human capital?

As a refresher, revenue on an income statement is referring to the product or services that were delivered during a period of time.  It's not closed opportunities; it's what was actually delivered.  Now that we understand revenue and liabilities, what exactly is profit and how does marketing factor into profit?


Profit is simply revenue minus expenses. This is typically the topic that makes marketers a bit uneasy because marketing has traditionally been viewed as an expense, a cost center.  And when profits are down, companies are quick to cut costs. So, how can marketers demonstrate their contribution to profit, as well as eradicate low profitability while still keeping their jobs? 52-nest_egg.jpg


Gross Profit

Companies typically calculate multiple measures of profit on an income statement. Gross profit shows the total revenue minus the cost of goods sold (COGS). Operating income and non-operating activities are added or subtracted to gross profit to determine total profit for a given period. 

 

So, what is marketing's contribution to COGS or COS?  Well, that's dependent upon how your company classifies services.  Gross profit is a key number for most companies.  It tells you the basic profitability of your products or services.  Understanding why gross profit is changing, if it is, helps managers figure out where to focus their attention.  This is especially relevant to marketers when considering which products to pursue in various regions and which channels to invest in like events, advertising, and social media.

 

Profitability Index

The profitability index (PI) is a tool used to compare capital investments. When evaluating marketing technology, the business may be more interested in the PI versus the potential ROI of the tool.  Calculating a PI helps the business understand which investments are likely to be most valuable to the business.

 

To calculate the PI, you must calculate the NPV calculations for the marketing technology investment. This will require some understanding of what value the technology can deliver in the future. Take the net present value and add back the initial investment of the marketing technology to get the present value. Then, take the present value of the technology and divide by the initial investment.

 

Profitability Ratios

In marketing we've become very focused on measuring Return on Investment.  But when you analyze profitability ratios like profit margin, return on assets and return on equity, ROI isn't included. 

 

Why isn't ROI included?  The problem is ROI has many different meanings. This is one of the challenges marketers have when demonstrating ROI. Traditionally, ROI was the same as ROA: return on assets. But it can also mean return on a particular investment.

 

What is the ROI on that technology? What's the ROI on our display ads? What's the ROI of our creative team? These calculations will be different depending on how people are measuring costs and returns.

 

3 fixes to low profitability

When companies are faced with consecutive quarters of low profitability, the most immediate fix is to lower headcount. By lowering headcount, companies can decrease cost which will increase profit. Of course the challenge with this is that it's a temporary fix. Lowered headcount can ultimately increase the COGS overtime. To avoid cutting headcount, marketing must figure out how they can increase profitable sales and/or lower production costs.  Below are 3 considerations for improving profitability.


Increase profitable sales sooner: Companies must deliver products and services quickly, but do so in a cost effective way.  Demand Prediction Reporting is becoming a highly requested feature. Manufacturers want to build out data models that track (or pull data over from an existing system) inventory, purchase history, frequency of purchase, quantities of assets, partner they buy from, average delivery time per partner and per asset. Based on the data model, they want to create dashboards that demonstrate trends in purchase (time of year, geography, etc), opportunities for up-sells and add-ons, and sales cycle duration.  This information can be used to create automated trigger emails that send communications in the month or so leading up to when they typically order.  Companies should integrate these systems and tie customer-facing channels into their sales, marketing, and production programs.  Here are 3 marketing organizations that have recognized success in achieving demand insight.


Increase profitable sales through new markets and prospects and work them through the sales cycle: This is at the heart of marketing.  By evaluating trends in digital engagement, companies can identify new regions to consider or new vertical markets to tackle.  Social listening practices can hone in on industry trends and alert the marketing organization to potential new audiences.  With a strong inbound strategy supported by strategic content practices, companies can identify new opportunities and guide them through a nurturing process. This nurturing program should deliver content aligned with their interests and personalized to the individual. By scoring both the implicit and explicit data, marketers can identify which opportunities sales should focus their efforts.

 

Lower production costs by finding and elevating the bottlenecks:  Companies must shift from a cost world to a throughput world.  With the rapid progress of technology, and the change in buyer behavior, the influence marketing has on throughput is increasing. Marketers must identify the system's bottlenecks, decide how to exploit the bottlenecks, subordinate everything else to the above decision, make sure everything marches to the tune of the constraints, and elevate the system's bottlenecks.

 

Now that we understand marketing's contribution to revenue and profit, next week we'll discuss how marketing can make a positive impact on cash flow and owner earnings.

Nine out of ten US CEOs say they are strengthening their customer and client engagement programs. 63% have listed these customer programs as one of their top 3 investment priorities. I spoke with Don Weiss, Director Supply Chain at Harris Corporation, to understand how Harris is investing their client relationships. What I discovered is often these investments begin at the core of a company's infrastructure.

 

What are some key success factors effecting the retaining and enhancing of existing customer relationships?

 

Our organization is all about program excellence and meeting customer commitments. So it's all about meeting the cost, the target, and the quality expectations of those projects. So we have very specific requirements and all the contracts that we have whether it's a development contract, which tends to be around state-of-the-art technology, needed quickly. So cost and schedule is very important. And whether it's a production job where they just want to get 10 boxes per month on time. So we pay a lot of attention to execution. So the supply chain portion of that, our suppliers? on-time delivery, our suppliers? high quality, our ability to feed a factory or a feed a program with the required components is very important.

 

What are some of the challenges that hold you back in this area? 46-istock-mfg-box.jpg

 

I would say the biggest challenge frankly is on development jobs where the design is maturing later than planned. So it's a little slower coming out of the engineering organization and we get into time constraints relative to being able to place orders. We oftentimes will get into long lead items that maybe weren't anticipated when the design was conceived but yet come up as a part of bill of material that have to buy something and you have a 20-week lead time and they really need something in 10 weeks, so all of the alternatives around that.

 

So I would say, the development programs clearly are the much more challenging programs; our production programs generally go pretty well, because we've got a contract, we have a cycle to plan, and then we?re pretty good about meeting those commitments and the requirements of firms. So, we do very good on production jobs, it's the development jobs that provide some challenges, a lot of challenges. Roughly 75% of our work is new development work and 25% are production jobs.

 

Is there any unique process you've developed to address this challenge and follow through on customer expectations?

 

There are a couple of things. One is part of the functionality that we integrated into our ERP application, an internal portal with our suppliers.  We call it EXPO. But part of that portal has an application that is very much integrated with our suppliers around the RFQ cycle as well as the purchase order replacement cycle.  This gives suppliers the ability to do self-service on their performance characteristics like quality, schedule, and payments. This was a key development that we started about 10 years ago and we've continued to refine it.

 

Our current refinement that we have underway will enable design engineers to basically go into this application and, from a list of about six to seven distributors, do their own quote purchasing work. Think of it as a shopping cart, full of parts that will be reflective of stock available in these distributors. It will import that data into our PDF system which will create records within our ERP system. This will transmit purchase orders to those distributors. It will also enable those parts to be received without the intervention of a buyer yet keep all of the cost associated with that material, associated on the right contract, with parameters set up around it.

 

It's intended to enable those quick responses without even having my buyers have to do any kind of purchase order transactions on a handful of standard OEMs. So the thinking is that the engineers can do their own self-service based on what's available in the inventory and all of the back office data elements will become automated. I'll manage the distributor for what he shipped but not every line item like I am probably doing today.

 

Today I have automated those line items but this will actually enable me to back-off having a buyer slow the process down by a traditional requisition quote, PO placement and those activities.

 

And is this a competitive advantage for you?

 

I believe it is, it's clearly intended to save cost by my supply chain team not having to touch it and also from an engineer's perspective that's going to save them cycle time. And oftentimes, a lot of things they're designing, they're only designing of one source of prototype phase, so getting the parts in, building something and finding out that it works or doesn't work, is more valuable, is very valuable. So again time to market, it should help.

 

Harris continues to invest in the customer.  How are you adjusting your internal infrastructure to enhance existing customer relationships?

Manufacturing is very volatile. The industry has experienced tremendous highs and detrimental lows. Given that manufacturing is on an upswing, I wanted to hear from manufacturers on how they approach their business when times are good, and how they prepare for the next inevitable downswing. 45-2014oct_bcu_chart3_sm.jpg

 

I spoke with Greg Knox, owner of Knox Machinery, and asked:

 

Do you find that manufacturers are looking to just maintain or do you find that in periods of an upswing, they are trying to grow as much as possible and then sustain when a downturn comes? Is there a consistency in strategy?

 

Greg Knox

So, there is none. What you're going to find in manufacturing, is you can never use a term like do manufacturers blink? It is such a spectrum, that's what I found in my career. So all of those people react differently to the question that you just asked me. And it doesn't even mean that the big guys do it the right way. 

 

There is a company called ITR, Industry Trends Research and they've got a beautiful four quadrants business cycle report containing subsequent behaviors.

 

[Read 9 takeaways from ITR's President and one of the Nation's Top Economists]

 

So with that data provided by ITR, we know what comes next, it' going to peak and at some point start going down. And when things begin to go down they'll go down fast.

 

What assumptions can we make at that point in time?

 

Probably that there is good talent out there that's been jettisoned. We're always having trouble finding good people. If we can be disciplined and say, okay, even though right now we're not selling like everyone else, we saved our money, we've got some reserves, let's pick up some of those good people, especially our downturns usually last only in the neighborhood of one to two years. Hire people quickly, hire them now. Too many people are reactionary. So let's go out and let's try to get some good people knowing that it's going to start coming back. We see that it's starting to come back, it has bottomed and it is starting to come back. 

 

Invest in inventory and smart inventory practices.

 

So the percentage of people that I see really run their businesses strategically, I am going to put in the neighborhood including the big guys, 20% to 25% if you are lucky, and then the reactionary people, the people who wait till it happens and they react by 25%. The people that will react way back too slow 25% and the number of customers I have seen go out of business since I have been here in this territory, probably more like 40% of my business.

 

The problems of manufacturers are specific. Most people have really kind of worked themselves into a niche, they''re all crazy busy, don't have time. Is it your margins? Is it your lack of being able to find qualified people to do what you do? Is it an HR problem? Is it an inventory problem? Is it a JIT problem? Is it a scrap problem? Are you not lean? Are you losing? Are you really focused on new industries because the ones you have are shrinking? I tried to go more at a right approach. My advice is instead of saying you have problems, find solutions.

 

How do you approach your business during an upswing, in preparation for a downswing?