In years gone past, many companies relied almost entirely on their sales teams to generate leads and bring in orders – especially B2B businesses. But over the decades, this has gradually changed to place a greater emphasis on marketing.
This move to marketing has been prompted by the massive changes to buyers’ habits that the internet has brought about. But even with this shift, some areas are still primarily relying on sales alone to bring in the business. One of these areas is contract manufacturing, where marketing their almost invisible presence has been thought of as difficult and unnecessary.
However, now that buyers have moved towards researching solutions online before talking to a salesperson, it is time for a rethink. Buyers are only contacting a vendor once they know what they want and may well be ignoring attempts by sales to reach them in the meantime.
Many of the bigger buying decisions will involve a team working together over an extended period of time, so a salesperson interacting with only one of those team members on any given day will make little headway.
It is time for any contract manufacturing business to seriously consider the impact on sales that marketing could make and the level of new business it could generate. Why is marketing important for sales success?
Marketing helps you get more leads
Salespeople often rely on cold calling, encounters at events, telephone enquiries, and following up on other sources of information to generate leads. However, this may now be proving less successful as buyers’ patterns have changed.
We do know that the one thing salespeople will never complain about is having too many leads. It makes sense then, to use every means possible to generate leads for those salespeople to follow up. This is a prime area where marketing can aid the sales process. By stimulating interest in the market and bringing in enquiries, marketing generates leads.
By publishing relevant content for prospects to find whilst they are in the research phase, marketing will attract these prospects as they see your business being helpful and educational. When it comes to make that all important call to sales, they will choose you rather than a less helpful competitor.
Marketing helps you support and nurture prospects
A marketing team using the right CRM system will ensure that any initial contact can be captured, tracked and targeted with content and information so as to nurture that fragile relationship and bring them to the point of direct contact.
Using the analytics produced by the system, marketing can deliver appropriate emails to prospects throughout their buyer’s journey. They can publish content that the prospect finds relevant at the right time and which sales can share with leads, further helping to nurture that potential sale.
Through this process, driven by marketing technology, salespeople will be better informed about their leads – more information leads to more insight, and more insight will lead to a greater understanding of the buyers’ needs and how to bring them closer to the sale.
Marketing helps you differentiate your brand
In contract manufacturing, there is a sense that suppliers can be almost interchangeable. Buyers tend to assume that contract manufacturers are all the same, and the only important factor is price. This is further compounded by most contract manufacturers doing so little marketing in the area of brand building and differentiation.
Just because contract manufacturers are working incognito – unknown and invisible to the final end user – it does not mean that they should be invisible to their clients.
Building a brand for a contract manufacturing business is just as important as for any other business – it gives buyers a solid reason to pick your business out of the crowd. A strong, well-thought-out brand can create differentiation that can not only set you apart from your competitors but can also put you ahead of them.
A brand can give your business personality and inspire loyalty
This is a huge role for marketing – a major part of the importance of marketing. Ensuring that buyers recognise your company and what it stands for. Continuously getting your message across and putting you front of mind when that all important phone call to sales is being made.
All of this brand building creates loyalty too, not only converting prospects into customers, but (along with good customer service) it can also turn them into powerful ambassadors for your business amongst their colleagues and peers.
Part of the role of a brand is creating an identity for your business, establishing what it stands for and what its values are. For example, you may want to promote your sustainability to potential buyers or the work you do with the local communities or charities. In today’s world, these positives can be significant factors in a buyer’s decision to pick you over the competition.
Marketing brings greater reach, greater capacity, and gives you an edge
All these elements of marketing can give you significantly greater reach – allowing access to a much wider market than your sales resources alone can touch and bringing in business enquiries from new prospects you would not gain otherwise.
Bringing strong marketing into the mix will also increase the overall capacity to handle prospects, allowing a business to handle greater numbers of prospects at once, close those sales sooner, and take on even bigger deals.
Marketing can give you an edge over the competition, it can attract prospects and nurture them during the process of becoming leads. And because content has been targeted and appropriate, leads will be pre-qualified and ready to buy when they talk to sales for the first time.
Marketing helps sales enablement
Having an effective marketing presence brings great rewards, but there are further benefits in having a truly integrated sales and marketing team through sales enablement. For example, with feedback from sales being input into a CRM system, marketing can use that data to more accurately target content and media to those prospects, firming up their interest and bringing them to the table.
Whilst it may be possible to run a company without much investment in marketing, it would be like playing cricket with one hand behind your back. Why on earth would you want to miss out on all the benefits that marketing can bring? Lead generation, lead nurturing, brand recognition, personality, differentiation, loyalty, greater reach – all these things are important for sales success.