As a manufacturing or distribution company, your services are integral to the economy. You help make and distribute the products we use and consume every day—cars, computers, food products, appliances, clothing, and more. The U.S. economy wouldn’t be the same without manufacturing businesses, which account for over 10% of our GDP. In short, your work is essential.
However, just because you’re part of an essential industry doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed work. You have to compete with other companies to find a product to make or distribute and a buyer to sell to. Without products, you have no way of making money. Without buyers, you end up with a stockpile of goods you spent thousands to produce or purchase and nothing in return. One misstep could be financially devastating for your business.
The best way to avoid a manufacturing mishap is to implement a well-organized B2B appointment setting program. You can minimize your production costs substantially and focus on improving your product, but those steps won’t get you very far without a steady income stream. By investing in outbound lead generation, you can avoid the supply chain issues your competitors face.
Read on to learn more about how B2B appointment setting can help your manufacturing business thrive.
You know who your target audience is, but do you know how to reach them? Finding viable leads isn’t a straightforward process; it requires weeks of extensive research. Additionally, once you know who your target audience is, you need to know how to get in touch. If your contact information is incorrect or you can’t get a lead on the phone, you won’t be able to guide them into your sales pipeline.
In B2B appointment setting, there are steps in place to ensure that you find every possible lead, gather the correct contact information, and get them on the phone—even if it takes weeks to do so. These steps include:
You have to know what your ideal lead looks like before you can start creating a list of potential customers. If you have a minimum order threshold or a specific product you want to produce, you can use those criteria to define your target audience. For example, you may only want to target food and beverage companies with a minimum order of 1,000 units per product produced. As a distributor, you might target retail clothing stores that will purchase at least 50 units of a garment you stock.
Once you determine who you do and don’t want to target, you can start building a list of potential customers and their information. There are many resources online that you can use to find potential sales opportunities, such as social media platforms, B2B data providers, and strategic Google searches. You should enter each company you find into a spreadsheet or customer relationship management (CRM) platform and add any supplemental information you can find (e.g., phone numbers, email addresses, and industries).
After you compile a list of potential leads, you have to make sure your data is correct. You may have pulled a phone number from Google that’s off by one digit or added a company to your list that can’t meet your minimum order requirements. The only way to find out is by testing your data. Call each phone number to see if it connects you with the right contact. If it doesn’t, see if you can find an alternate number on their website or a social media profile. If the phone number is correct and you make contact with an employee, ask questions about their key decision-maker, their product needs, and their potential order numbers.
You may have accurate phone numbers, email addresses, and social media profile information for the hundreds of prospects on your list, but there’s no way to guarantee you’ll get a response to your messages. However, you can increase your chances by using multiple communication methods. Some leads may decline cold calls from unknown numbers and ignore voicemails but immediately respond to an email. Others may only respond to a LinkedIn message. There’s only one way to find out which method will work best—by testing each of them out.
Depending on the products you manufacture or distribute, you may experience slow periods throughout the year. For example, if your top product is a specialty food item that consumers typically use during the holidays, you might spend half of the year trying to find additional products to manufacture. Additionally, certain items may lose popularity over time, or you may experience a raw material shortage. You never know when members of your distribution channel will stop buying a particular product, and it can be hard to adapt to a volatile supply chain.
If you use B2B appointment setting to generate leads, you can set appointments with potential customers year-round, even during slow periods. At any given time during the appointment setting process, there are dozens of leads at different points in your sales pipeline with varying product needs. One might need you to manufacture a specialty product for a few months in the summer; another might request a large-scale order fulfilled in the fall. As long as you nurture your leads using consistent communication and tailored marketing collateral, you’ll have a good chance of signing a contract when the time’s right.
Supply chain issues have become all too common. Companies have to deal with near-constant interruptions to their manufacturing process, from auto chip shortages to limited steel supply. With B2B appointment setting, you can quickly find your next job if you have to halt production or contend with low profit margins on your current product. In an increasingly unpredictable manufacturing and distribution industry, it’s more important than ever to have a consistent lead source.
You turn raw materials into products; we turn leads into customers. Stop waiting for your next client to appear and partner with Abstrakt today.
Projects move slowly in the manufacturing sector. Your partners have to develop a product idea, decide what material they want to use, and determine if demand will offset their investment. Once a client deems their product viable, they have to choose a manufacturing partner with the right equipment to bring their idea to life. From there, the product moves through a complicated supply chain involving distributors, wholesalers, and retailers. The whole process from start to finish can take anywhere from a few months to over a year, depending on scope and complexity.
Long sales cycles aren’t necessarily a bad thing, but they do mean that you have to be in the right place at the right time to secure a contract. Without B2B appointment setting, you have to rely on luck. With an organized sales strategy, you can be the first manufacturing or distribution company that secures a sales meeting when the time comes. How? Through lead nurturing.
Lead nurturing is the process of guiding a qualified lead through the sales pipeline. Once you determine that a prospect fits your sales criteria and has the potential to turn into a customer, you want to keep them engaged with your company for as long as it takes to make a deal—whether that’s a few weeks or a few years. The nurturing process looks different for every lead, but it typically includes:
- Warm calls: Once you’ve moved past the introduction stage, your cold calls turn into warm calls. By following up with leads regularly and asking about their manufacturing needs, you can build trust. Additionally, you can gauge their potential product timeline and ensure you call when they’re ready to move forward.
- Personalized emails: Following up your phone calls with personalized emails re-emphasizes the points you discussed and shows leads that you understand their unique needs.
- Social media posts: Your social media posts may not be directed towards any given lead, but they can contribute to your overall nurturing program. Posts highlighting original content and helpful tips can help you establish credibility and connect with potential customers.
- Marketing collateral and other relevant content: Marketing collateral is an essential component of any lead nurturing strategy. Leads don’t want to spend hours on the phone listening to a lengthy description of your process—most prefer a concise rundown they can read on their own time. Marketing collateral, web pages, and original blogs can get your point across more effectively than your sales reps.
Without an organized lead nurturing strategy, it’s easy to lose touch with prospects and lose their business to a competitor. If you follow the steps in a strategic B2B appointment setting program and use proven lead nurturing tactics, you can close more deals and increase your revenue.
B2B appointment setting is one of the best ways to grow your manufacturing business, but only if you nail the execution. If appointment setting is out of your wheelhouse, Abstrakt can help. Our sales team uses proven B2B lead generation tactics to identify the top leads in your target audience, get them in your pipeline, and set appointments that turn into sales contracts. We’ve spent over a decade honing our lead cleansing, nurturing, and qualification skills, which allows us to generate consistent, high-quality leads for manufacturing and distribution partners across the nation.
Get in touch today to learn more about our B2B appointment setting services.