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Industrial Content Marketing for Engineers to Make a Buy Decision

Manufacturers want their industrial content marketing for engineers to generate Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) and not just Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) from content downloads. There is a big challenge faced by manufacturers of components targeting Design Engineers. These Design Engineers often don’t have the final buying authority but unless the industrial parts are “designed in” by these engineers (Specifiers), the Purchasing Department (Functional Buyers) can’t or won’t issue a Purchase Order or contact you with an RFQ.

Search this blog for my earlier posts on MQL vs SQL and understanding the differences between a specifier and a functional buyer. In this post, I’ll focus on a specific industrial marketing strategy that is an effective sales enabler when targeting engineers.

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In Industrial Lead Generation, a Lead is a Lead, Right?

Defining leads in industrial lead generationEvery discussion I’ve had with manufacturers and industrial companies starts with “we need more leads” or ends with “we need results.” I understand and accept the fact that the main goal of industrial marketing is to generate leads. I have no issues with that but do these companies know what a qualified lead is?

That may sound like a dumb question to ask in industrial lead generation but in reality, you would be surprised by how fundamental and serious that question is. I’m not making this up or trying to be clever here.

Let me explain with three excerpts from conversations I have had in just the past few months.

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How Unqualified Leads Bog Down Sales Pipelines for Industrial Companies

I have yet to come across a manufacturer, a distributor or an engineering firm that didn’t ask for more leads. No surprise there!

The more I probe, the clearer it becomes what they really want are more requests for quotes or proposals. This is understandable since the sales pipeline needs to be full and active at all times because of the long sales cycles that’s typical for industrial companies.

However, this singular focus is causing a lot of frustrations because not enough leads generated by marketing are converting into sales opportunities. If you haven’t already heard or read about this problem, here are two stats that will make you sit up and think.

  • 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance. (Source: MarketingSherpa)
  • 61% of B2B marketers send all leads directly to Sales; however, only 27% of those leads will be qualified. (Source: MarketingSherpa)

I can cite many reasons for this disconnect. Based on my experience as an industrial marketing consultant working with clients, the root of the problem is the lack of understanding and/or spending enough time to understand the differences between Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs), Sales Accepted Leads (SALs) and Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs). As a result, Sales continues to blame Marketing for generating “crappy” leads that never turn into sales.

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Rules of B2B Lead Scoring – Who’s Hot, Who’s Not

Lead scoring has become very important in today’s B2B marketing. Especially now since industrial and technical buyers are relying more and more on online resources for their decision making process. Marketing’s role in interacting with prospects has expanded and goes further into the buy cycle than before. This has resulted in fewer direct interactions with sales reps from vendors.

Lead scoring, a key component of lead nurturing and management, is an effective tool for aligning sales and marketing. In developing a lead scoring system, marketing has to make certain assumptions to classify prospects as hot or not. Are they sales qualified leads (SQLs) ready to be passed on to sales or do they require further nurturing because their score qualifies them as marketing qualified leads (MQLs)?

Sales uses its front-line experience and expertise to validate marketing’s lead scoring assumptions. This builds a foundation for an effective closed-loop lead management program and keeps both sales and marketing playing together on the same team. Read more