We’re well into 2021 and close to wrapping up another year with the COVID-19 pandemic still making its presence felt. For industrial sales and industrial marketing, everything has changed in the last eighteen months.
Because of the loss of sales during the pandemic, some companies, including industrial companies, completely stopped marketing and advertising. Others decided to cut back on their marketing. However, during these times, it’s important to keep in mind the famous Henry Ford quote, “A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.” Advertising and marketing are crucial for industrial companies, no matter what is happening around the world.
Instead of stopping or pausing their marketing efforts, industrial companies should take a look at the alternatives. We are not saying you can’t lower the budget to save on costs, but advertising and marketing shouldn’t stop.
This is the first time the industrial sales market was unable to do the traditional ways of selling and marketing. For example, technical sales engineers might be calling call company offices, but their prospects are working remotely. Then they resorted to emailing people, and just ended up waiting for people to reply. During the pandemic, many technical sales engineers got lost and didn’t know what to do. Because of this, company revenue probably decreased and sales pipelines started drying up.
However, there are ways to overcome this. Instead of shrinking back in 2021, take a look at our tips on how your industrial company can survive and thrive this year:
Publish and push content on social media
If you follow Kyle Milan on social media and YouTube, this section will sound familiar. LinkedIn is the most effective social media platform for industrial sales and industrial marketing. You need to build up your LinkedIn profile by posting content and engaging with people. Comment on their page, share content, and like what your connections post. In today’s industrial sales world, this type of strategy is more effective than traditional strategies like cold calling and emails. Remember that in 2021, email’s effectiveness is declining and buying customer information doesn’t work as well as it did in 2013 or 2014.
You need to produce content, such as videos or articles, and post them on social media. If you don’t have the time to make the content, but you have the budget, you can work with an agency that’s familiar with industrial marketing. They can produce content for you and also post the content on your company page on your behalf.
Don’t sell directly to your new connections
Once you start marketing on LinkedIn, don’t jump the gun and immediately start selling to your new connections. This will not work. You need to give value to your connections first. Post a lot of free content that is interesting and engaging. Once they’ve learned from your content and see that you are a valuable source of information, then you can ask for something in return, like a meeting.
Want to get the most out of your industrial marketing strategy? Consult the experts here at MFG Tribe. We are a specialized industrial/manufacturing marketing agency that understands the ins and outs of your product and what you do.
Engage with your connections
Again, you need to comment, send a message to your connections, and like posts. Make sure you set aside thirty minutes a day engaging with your connections. Create a post and share it on your own page or you can also share your company page’s content. Take time to send people relevant content, even just a link to something you think they’ll find interesting.
Remember, LinkedIn is a long-term play. Don’t expect this to give you results instantly. You need to spend time engaging with your different connections and building relationships with them before you start seeing the fruits of your effort.
Re-think trade shows
Trade shows are starting to open up again after more than a year. Some technical sale engineers want to go back to pre-pandemic, traditional ways of selling and disregard new ways. This is a bad idea and they will end up being hurt. Those who have embraced new ways will continue to thrive – these are the people who are creating content and engaging on LinkedIn. You need to look at the last 14 months as one long learning opportunity. Some companies still did well during the pandemic, while others closed. The ones that did well were able to grow and change with the times, while the ones that closed did not adjust as needed.
No doubt about it, trade shows can still be effective, but if you rely on them solely you won’t thrive. You should always look to the future and new ways of doing things.
Technical sales engineers and companies that were able to survive in 2020 and thrive in 2021 were able to keep things moving forward even with the pandemic happening. Their number of transactions and revenue probably decreased, but things did not stop for them. They continued to meet prospects using Zoom or Google Meet and they recognized the fact that there are new ways of selling.
It’s important for people to accept that the pandemic has changed things forever and it will never go back to exactly how things were before. If you want to continue to find success in industrial sales, you need to accept the new normal and put extra effort into the new way of doing things. This mean doubling down on LinkedIn, focusing on creating content, and looking for other channels of gaining prospects and connecting with them.
Industrial marketing strategies don’t develop overnight. And the best ones require years of experience and tactful planning. If you feel stuck, consider reaching out to an industrial marketing agency with expertise in your industry. If you want the best in the business, contact MFG Tribe Industrial Marketing Agency to learn more!
Check out the 5 key areas of industrial marketing; it’s not one size fits all!