This week was a real treat! We got to chat with Paul Konrath, Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Custom Control Sensors – also known as CCS Dualsnap – in California.
CCS Dualsnap has created sensors used by B52 Bombers, the Apollo 11, the Gemini Project, the Mars Rover, Disneyland, and beyond.
You would think, with a reputation like that, marketing the company would be an absolute breeze.
But until they started building a lead-generating website, CCS struggled to connect with younger generations of B2B buyers.
1. HOW DO LONGSTANDING MANUFACTURERS REACH GENERATIONS THAT DON’T RECOGNIZE THEIR BRAND?
We see this time and time again in manufacturing. Big-name companies that have been around for decades are discovering more competition.
Even though CCS is exceedingly well-known amongst older buyers, their incredible reputation wasn’t automatically attracting younger customers.
Custom Control Sensors did build a website in the early 2000s, but it hadn’t changed much since it was initially constructed. Fortunately, they realized a change was needed, and they invested in updating their website.
Did that mean they stop using traditional tactics altogether? Certainly not! CCS can still be found at many a trade and air show. Their account executives still employ cold calls on occasion. However, they’ve also come to recognize that millennials and younger buyers think differently.
Younger buyers don’t want to be pestered or distracted until they’re ready to focus on researching their purchase. And to them, a company that doesn’t see the value of the internet’s technological advances may also be blind to technological advances within their own field of expertise.
Customer habits are changing. Buyers increasingly turn to the internet for research and to make their purchases. Building a lead-generating website is key to generate your brand awareness in this century.
2. HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO ESTABLISH A POSITIVE ROI WITH A MANUFACTURING WEBSITE?
After the owner of Custom Control Sensors recognized the need for change, the company revamped their website with more resources for their buyers. They boosted their SEO, added forms, built an email database, and created content. They even constructed an online product catalog, though it took some time.
Paul also pointed out to us that outlining buyer personas was vital to this entire process. Digital marketing without personas makes lead generation far, far more difficult.
Building a lead-generating website is, in some ways, a never-ending task. For Paul, that mission has taken CCS roughly 3-4 years to come to fruition. However, they and their owner would also say that the process is not yet complete.
Before the website’s reconstruction started, Paul and his team set clear budget expectations for themselves. They also focused on setting goals during the earliest stages of this digital journey.
How can marketers calculate ROI from websites like CCS Dualsnap’s? If it’s not an ecommerce website, attributing revenues depends heavily on analytics.
Measure, measure, measure everything you’ve built.
Google Analytics and other platforms support marketers and provide specific numbers for them to connect with conversions. Tracking those leads and conversions connects them to eventual revenues, which allows marketers to identify the total cost of generating one new customer.
3. DO ONLINE MANUFACTURERS’ CATALOGS HURT OR HELP B2B DISTRIBUTORS?
Because CCS creates many sensors that are built into airplanes, many of their buyers are maintenance engineers who want to replace or upgrade a part that was already installed in their plane. Many of these orders are rush jobs. The plane needs to get somewhere, after all.
In the past, those engineers would have to call up a distributor to order the part. What followed could be a multi-hour or even multi-day exchange as the distributor went through a manual catalog.
Which is the right part? How much does it cost? Is it in stock? How long until it can be delivered? Each question would take another phone call and waiting period while the distributor looked up the answer.
Now, instead of weighing down their distributors with all those catalogs and extra sales materials, CCS Dualsnap’s user-friendly website provides distributors a way to sell better; faster.
CCS Dualsnap’s website allows customers or distributors to narrow down the right part for any job, and place an order (which still goes through the distributors) within just minutes.
Paul, like Danny’s father in another recent episode, agrees that loading down a distributor or sales rep with assets will do nothing if those assets are not used…and they will not get used if they’re a hindrance instead of a help. A content-rich website, on the other hand, doesn’t weigh a thing or take up any space in a suitcase!
4. PAUL’S ADVICE FOR MANUFACTURERS STILL WAITING ON DIGITAL ROI:
“There is a leap of faith involved,” he agreed with us. “No question about it. Nut we’re starting to get enough data that says if you’re not doing this, you’re missing a huge opportunity. You can keep going to trade shows, but how do you know your return on investment from a trade show or a print ad?”
Get your hands on concrete evidence of digital ROI. That’s something nobody can discount when you’re looking for organizational buy-in from your higher-ups.
“Your perception’s one thing, but the data doesn’t lie. Show me the data.”
CCS saw the evidence, and they adapted. They upgraded their website because they recognized its impact on their business.
In short, your company’s past success is no guarantee of present innovations, which lead to future business.
B2B manufacturers always need to stay on their toes. The internet age has paved the way for all sorts of competition where before there might not have been much.
Building a lead-generating website is the first step in building awareness for your brand. After you get the attention of the next generation, then you can prove to them just how incredible a manufacturer you are.
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