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Selling without a sales team?    It can be done

April 2, 2007         By Jim Rathe

Are your company’s industrial internet marketing efforts responsible for producing profitable orders or generating qualified appointments without relying on a field rep to close the deal?
If so, you have plenty of company.
Many businesses today rely on marketing to generate consistent orders, even when there’s no sales force behind it. The process is time-consuming and inefficient for many companies.
But not for all.
Using proven techniques, business-to-business companies in any field can identify their target customer audience and the niche markets within that audience, reach customers when they want to buy, and, ultimately, grow their business in new and better ways without the expense of a full-time sales force.
During one 10-month period, a custom machine manufacturer that used these proven techniques:
  • Received 1,500 Qualified web site visitors
  • Experienced a 10 percent conversion rate via e-mail, fax, phone calls or other
  • Acquired in 20 new profitable customers
  • Received $500,000 in signed new business (with an expected two-year value of $1.5 million)
 Another firm, a custom manufacturer of fastening products, used only the industrial internet strategies spoken of by Business Development Advisors, Inc,  and reaped a 64 percent increase in sales over the previous year.
These techniques do work. They drive business by following a basic principle – consistently serve all customers the way they want to be served.
It sounds simple, but it takes a well-conceived, multilevel, coordinated approach to effectively reach the three categories of buyers and move them to purchase. 

Industrial Companies Turn Business Away Because of Their Websites


By Jim Rathe


June 25, 2006 – Typically when I visit an industrial company’s web site for the first time to learn about their products, services, and contact information, I question whether they actually want anyone to be there.  Throughout my travels, the common frustration that I continually hear from buyers and engineers about a supplier’s web site is “I just want to know where the phone number is to call someone!”


Being in the business of business development, I’m used to people not wanting to take my phone call or not returning my calls.  But what message does this send to prospective customers?  In this post Y2K (year 2000) age of email, instant data transfer, and 24 hour access to information, our attention span and patience is shorter than that of my 4 year old.  Forcing customers to dig through countless pages of PDF’s to find relevant information or register to get access to information that only fills our inbox with spam is the same frustration many of us experience when we deal with those annoying  voice activated customer service systems leaving us in a never ending loop.


Is real customer service such a thing of the past that no one is willing to answer the phone or make it easy to do business with them? 


Some industrial business owners consider the web as nothing more than a brochure online or a convenience for people.  A recent report published by Thomasnet, shows that a growing 93.4% of industrial buyers and engineers us the internet to research purchasing decisions.  This report also revealed that most industrial companies design their site to be all about them rather than focused on the customer.  Example: 93.4% of industrial buyers us the internet to make purchasing decisions while 69% of companies predominantly use tradeshows as their primary means of generating awareness.


This either tells me a company is too lazy and cheap to post the information or they have something to hide.  The less access a web site provides and the more difficult it is to navigate, the more likely you are to direct business to your competition to purchase industrial products or services.


Your site should also be designed using the KISS (Keep It Simply Silly) principle.  Flash, pop-up advertisements, required registration, and the need to download additional software to view the site will only drive you visitors to join the “BACK” button frenzy heading directly to your competition. 


Trust has already been violated within the industrial business sector.  Think back to just before 2000.  We all stocked up with canned goods, water, and bought back up generators because the world’s computers would shut down.  Then nothing happened, but we did introduce technology at a record setting pace into the marketplace.  Then in 2001, the bottom fell out as the 9-11 happened.  The industrial business segment nearly collapsed in the US.  What even hurt us worse was that the highly educated “Baby Boomers” were cut from the workforce making room for less paid protégé’s just out of college to do more with less. 


What didn’t happen was the government stepping up to reduce the import business instead it got worse and now China, Mexico, and India are stealing business right from under our noses.  What didn’t happen was the experienced highly educated “Baby Boomers” weren't able to pass along their knowledge to the next generation.  Instead, the internet is used as a primary means of sourcing products.  Many buyers and engineers don’t understand the manufacturing process or which process is best.  They rely heavily on the internet to educate them on why your products or services are going to best help them, or at least your site should.

Google Agrees to Settle 'Click Fraud' Case
Wednesday March 8, 10:38 pm ET
By Michael Liedtke, AP Business Writer

Google Agrees to Pay Up to $90 Million to Settle 'Click Fraud' Case

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March 3, 2006

The Nine Biggest Mistakes Manufacturers Make Online


Written by Ciro Cetrangolo & Jim Rathe


Manufacturers face special challenges marketing their products online.  These challenges translate to some disturbing results.  For instance, a study conducted collectively by Google and ThomasNet revealed the following:


  • Only 11% of management executives rated their current preferred suppliers’ websites as “very good”.
  • 1 in 3 customers rated their suppliers’ websites as “Very Bad”.
  • After 5-8 Seconds, 62% of visitors leave the average manufacturing website.
  • Two of three website visitors rarely return to a website once they’ve had a bad experience.


In term of your bottom line, these statistics show that many, if not most manufacturers are leaving money on the table with their websites.  Meanwhile, manufacturers that develop effective web presences will capture market share and grow.


Having worked with numerous manufacturing, distribution, and b to b commercial and industrial service firms in the Chicago area, we’ve found them to make nine mistakes with their online business strategy.


Mistake #1: The Website is an Afterthought.  

   Many manufacturing companies still do not view the potential of the internet correctly.  A manufacturing website allows anybody from anywhere visit your company and learn about your products.  With proper attention, a sound industrial website can be a company’s most profitable revenue generating tool.  But an effective industrial website requires attention and careful thought.


Mistake #2: Lack of Measurement, Analytics, & Tracking.  
   One of the greatest advantages of a website is the ability to measure visitor behavior in depth.  This enables companies to quickly and easily adjust their website to increase activity and conversion.  Unfortunately, most manufacturing firms fail to put in place effective analytic tools – or even set goals – to track and improve their results.  For instance, every firm should minimally know how many visitors request price quotes, download information, and convert visitors into customers – and the path they take to make each action.


Mistake #3:  Making the Website “about us” instead of what the customer needs.  

   Many manufacturing companies use their websites to boast about how great they are.  Unfortunately, prospects and customers are interested in achieving their goals and not reading about your achievements.  According to Google &, customers want detailed product & service information, and simple ways to get what they need FAST.  A good industrial website is about customer “usability” not self-aggrandizement.

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March 2, 2006
Raise Manufacturing Sales with Five Tactics to Turn a Stagnant Website into a Starbucks Experience.... Marketing Sherpa

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March 1, 2006

Bush administration takes tougher stance on China trade – nothing on currency manipulation

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February 15, 2006
Google Removes Large SEO Company from their Index...... RIchard Drawhorn

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February 7, 2005
3 Keys to a Successful B to B Internet Presence... Ciro Cetrangolo & Jim Rathe

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December 20, 2005
7 Steps to Check how your site measures up... Ciro Cetrangolo & Jim Rathe

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November 9, 2005
Industrial Research Study conducted by Google & Results....
Thomas Publishing Compay

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October 20, 2005 forges Content Partnership with American Society of Mechanical

August 3, 2005
Coolest B to B Site Traffic Building Campaign of the Year....Marketing Sherpa

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July 26, 2005
Unsolicited Contacts from Vendors Drive Buyers to Competitors' Websites....
All Data

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July 26, 2005 releases updated CAD library Version 9.0 on CD-Rom...Supply & Demand Chain Executive

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February 12, 2005
Click Fraud Threatens Search Engine Advertising....The Associated Press

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