By Robbie West | Published April 13, 2020
B2B manufacturing has shifted away from more “traditional” practices in recent years. We now see the purchasing power of more mature industries becoming heavily buyer-centric. This “buyer-controlled” process allows buyers to conduct adequate research in a more expedient time frame than was once possible. Buyers complete approximately 70% of the decision-making process before their first interaction with a representative from your organization. Suppliers are sourced and decisions on which products/services best meet their needs can be met without social interaction or direction from the supplier (i.e. your sales associate). Essentially removing the suppliers’ ability to sell or uncover the needs of the buyer; leaves the supplier in a unique situation that most are unfamiliar with. Many B2B manufacturers struggle to build a successful digital marketing strategy. As with B2C, we see patterns that B2B buyers reward those that help them move efficiently through the buying process. In the past, a sales representative would explain the solutions your products or services could provide, while making a connection to build a relationship with the potential buyer. As a supplier in the B2B manufacturing industry, it’s crucial to establish a strong web presence to remain competitive.
How do you develop a strong web presence? One of the most important ways to increase web traffic is to build an email list. Weekly emails to previous and potential customers are beneficial because it reminds the customer about the services you offer. Adding a blog to your company’s website can increase organic un-paid traffic. Using different website’s such as Ubersuggest and Wix can help you locate keywords to include within your website. Elaborating on emerging topics within an industry should be the focus of your blog’s topics. Lastly, creating a social media presence can help increase web traffic. Nearly every company has some form of social media whether its Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. If your company does not have a social media presence, you should consider investing the time.
An informative, easy-to-navigate website can increase the amount of time a buyer spends on a company’s website. Having the correct people managing web content is a necessity to beat the competition in a saturated market. Investing in team members with the ability to properly manage your digital presence will allow your company to successfully compete in a market where technology and change are becoming more prominent each day. Companies such as Amazon, Netflix, and Uber have put buyers in the driver’s seat, changing the power balance in a variety of industries from seller heavy to buyer heavy. Waiting months to receive mass-produced products is undesirable. Businesses require customized products produced and delivered in a timeframe that would have been unthinkable just a decade ago.
The majority of B2B manufacturing companies ship products either nationally, internationally, or both. It would be very challenging to do so in the current market without a strong digital presence. Transparency and communication in the B2B manufacturing process lead to strong relationships. The homepage of a website must draw in potential buyers. Studies show that 46% of B2B buyers will leave a website if it’s not clear what the company does, and 37% will leave because of poor navigation or design. Businesses must establish trust when conducting business online, and this starts with the company’s website. After a buyer has researched a product and reached out to a sales consultant, clear communication on the specifics of the design is used to help aid in the development and manufacturing process.
Traditionally, marketing and manufacturing have not been able to coincide because manufacturing has primarily relied on procuring the majority of their business by word of mouth. This is not the case anymore. Companies can order anything from anywhere in the 21stcentury, and it can be delivered within a week. They are aiming to get the highest quality product for the cheapest price, whether it’s purchased domestically or overseas.
With the importance of marketing on the rise, as of 2016, only 8% of manufacturing companies have a marketing team. There’s substantial room for improvement in most manufacturing companies across the United States. By increasing digital presence and developing a strategic marketing plan we can begin to close the technological gap between the buyer and supplier.