There is an alternate to making cold calls for industrial marketers: automated lead generation.
According to a recent DemandGen Report, the buyer / seller dance is now initiated by the buyer 90% of the time – and 81% of those buyers start the process with a web search.
Your customers have a problem, and your blog, white papers, social media posts and newsletter are opportunities for you to show them that you have the solution. By understanding their problem, your company can gain their attention with a possible solution.
Remember those old reader response cards that were so common in the back of trade publications? Depending on what era you grew up in, you may be nodding your head in agreement or scratching your head in wonderment.
These response cards (colloquially known as “bingo cards”) were an effective way to gather information on potential customers – a now-outdated form of lead generation. Industrial manufacturers would post advertisements in trade publications, and the publications would mail responses to the advertiser. This enabled companies to gather contact information, and get in touch with, potential customers.
When not lost, these requests for information were often not fulfilled, simply sitting around from either apathy on the part of salespeople, or an overwhelming volume of inquiry.
Modern marketing automation relies on content as the backbone of the plan. Instead of enticing potential customers to provide their contact information with a 2” x 2” advertisement in a trade publication, marketers can provide troves of digital content to attract potential customers.
Once interested, prospective customers identify themselves (providing their name and email address in exchange for additional content), becoming leads. Using gated content – content that leads can only access by providing more information, such as company sales or number of employees – helps marketers to qualify their leads.
Marketers can develop automated programs that respond to specific actions, such as downloading a white paper or subscribing to a newsletter and react when a lead reaches a certain lead score. As more and more information is gathered on a lead, a “lead score” is developed.
In this way, marketers can determine different levels of lead qualification and respond accordingly.
Why would you spend significant sums of money to engineer and produce a cutting-edge product, only to use stale and outdated technology to sell it?
With the buyer / seller dance now being initiated by the buyer 90% of the time, you don’t need to waste time and money cold-calling. If your prospective customers need a product or solution, they will find you.
Therefore, your strategy needs to shift away from cold-calling and toward producing quality content that helps solve prospective customers’ problems. This is how industrial marketing automation generates leads in the 21st century.