The market size for online industrial supplies sales is currently $16 billion. Despite the impressive numbers, the market for industrial buyers is small and niche because the number of manufacturing companies is small compared to other industries. Therefore, if the products are well made, customers will stay with the supplier for a long time.
As a result, industrial vendors must have a solid marketing strategy to face strong competition, especially on the digital front. As more consumers turn to online research to find industrial companies, building your online presence through your business website and social media pages is important.
This guide will tell you what makes industrial sales unique. You’ll also learn the best tools and techniques during each stage of the sales process to show why your business is known for industrial sales.
The landscape of online product sourcing has changed. B2B consumers are no longer satisfied with poorly organized catalogues and data buried in PDFs. Instead, like its B2C online experience, customers expect a dynamic, user-friendly experience full of compelling data.
This blog encourages companies to invest in digital catalogues and create compelling shopping experience for the customers to beat the competition in your domain.
Guide for buying and selling industrial products and tools
Modern day manufacturers, B2B businesses, wholesalers and resellers are now in competition to transform their online business by leveraging leads through digital platforms. Here’s how you can craft a successful strategy for your online success.
1. Be where your B2B buyers are looking
Product manufacturers should build digital presence through destination websites, as this is where searches usually begin. And as you might have known, Google is the top search engine. Search engines are extremely important because this is where your audience is searching—their search phrases are very specific, usually consisting of 3-4 words that describe exactly what they want.
An example of an industrial buyer’s long tail search term is “automotive metal stampings Indiana”. The search phrase is on point, and if the search was for “metal stamping”, irrelevant results may appear in different industries or locations.
2. Destination websites
According to a Forrester report, e-commerce sales activity in the B2B sector in the United States is project to reach $1.8 trillion by 2023, accounting for 17% of all B2B sales states. But it’s important to note that not all B2B buying activity is strictly transactional. Much of the e-commerce activity revolves around product discovery, such as examining products, evaluating configurations, considering what a given product can be use for, exploring customization options, etc.
You need to provide the specifier and the buyer with the detailed data they need to make an informed decision. This is generally important in the B2B market because, compared to the B2C market, users may risk buying the wrong type of shoe. However, purchasing faulty parts or equipment in a large-scale industrial operation can lead to a million-dollar mistake.
This is why 68% of industrial buyers search for targeted industrial sites – otherwise known as destination websites – to find focused information with a plethora of data, from product sourcing to CAD downloads.
3. Identify the new behaviour of the B2B buyer
As online shopping activity intensifies, face-to-face sales opportunities are diminishing. A Gartner report found that sales reps likely to win “focus more on helping customers sort through readily available information—acting as an ‘information connector’.” This approach is more anonymous, meaning sellers don’t pressure buyers, but it’s also much more convenient.
But now, as B2C habits enter B2B territory, you need to provide data that can speak for you. Every detail – every measurement, material choice, customization and use case – should be readily available to buyers at the click of a mouse or the tap of a finger.
Distributors have already recognized this change in buying habits and are making significant changes to their business operations to stay relevant. However, some distributors find it difficult to get rich and complete product data from manufacturers even in this changing scenario. Providing informative product data helps your end-users, your distributors, and, in turn, your bottom line.
4. Develop a content-driven, data-rich website
Offering a variety of content allows your business to connect with potential customers and develop stronger relationships. Reaching the right audience can make a big difference in increasing sales, but buyers will look for different types of content depending on where they are in the buying cycle.
In the middle and end of the buying cycle, buyers will look for detailed technical information sources, such as product catalogues. A recent survey of industrial buyers displays that 82% find this information influential—much more so than prices.
As behaviour changes, large industrial manufacturers are reshaping their online catalogues to resemble a rich Amazon-like experience, shifting to direct-to-consumer sales – and filling their rosters with technical data and specifications so that engineering and Sourcing professionals can be made easier to find the products what suppliers need for breaking big guns: sales drawings, technical specifications, tolerances, certifications, equipment inventory and more.
5. Communicate how your products solve problems
Today’s buyers scour the web for as many details as possible before shortlisting their potential partners. For B2B companies, generating high-quality leads and selling industrial products is all about having the right database in the right place at the right time.
Keeping your product data in one easy-to-access place can help engineers, procurement professionals and MROs find what they’re seeking for at the right time. They must quickly determine if your company is a good fit for their project, so you should streamline your product discovery and selection experience.
6. Use a built product inventory system for industrial products
Your products and services are valuable, but your information is more useful to buyers. Going beyond the catalogue to show your deep understanding of the big-picture issues affecting buyers—and explaining how you can solve them—will set you apart from the competition.
The right online product management platform puts you in control with backend tools for self-maintenance and a self-service interface for your customers to configure and select specific products and components that meet their project needs.
Brand marketing of industrial equipment is not out of the equation. Online channels have opened various avenues to promote the identity of industrial manufacturers. Now, it is possible to find customers in unexpected places. Because of the pandemic, manufacturers and distributors have no choice but to find new marketing avenues. Aside from personal product showcases, sales meetings, tours and trade shows, you must create unique ways to grow.