Building a predictable revenue engine requires creating a company mission centered on the goals of customers and a culture of helping customers achieve those goals.
By: Meaghan Ziemba, Marketing Communications, MakingChips
This year’s Industrial Inbound Summit was held at the Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee, WI -- the perfect venue for an industrial marketing and sales conference that focused on the importance of brand storytelling and a culture of customer first.
The summit was hosted by Top Line Results and Stream Creative, and featured an impressive lineup of speakers and on-site advisors. Each speaker provided tips and tools on how to position your manufacturing business for success in a hyper-competitive, digital world.
A Customer-First Culture Shift
Todd Hockenberry, owner of Top Line Results, started his presentation by explaining how everyone wants to grow, but no one wants to change. This still rings true for certain industrial manufacturers who still practice traditional ways of manufacturing, including cold calls and promotional ads that focus on them and not their customers.
Hockenberry emphasized how manufacturers need to help others first by solving problems, not selling them. To be successful in today’s hyper-competitive, digital world, manufacturers need to ensure their customers are achieving their goals and receiving the value and ROI from their products.
If industrial manufacturers want their businesses to grow in the age of buyer control and digital disruption, then they need to look at their whole organization and understand if their employees, partners, and suppliers are aligned with what buyers really want. It’s a simple, three-step process:
- Mission Matters
- Culture is Destiny
- Strategy is Inbound
Mission Matters: A Unique Mission Statement Matters
Most manufacturing mission statements sound very similar in terms of offering innovative, unique, and high-quality solutions that place their customers ahead of their competition.
According to Hockenberry, if you truly want to be unique, revisit your mission statement and ask yourself the following questions:
- Is it accurate? Can you walk this walk?
- Is it simple? Does everyone understand it and are they able to remember it?
- Is it distinctive? Can anyone else say this is their mission too?
- Is it short? Can you tweet it (140 characters)?
- Is it future-resistant? Will it be accurate and relevant for at least 3-5 years?
- Is it inspiring? Does it clearly show prospects, potential employees, partners, and any other stakeholder how you intend to help others and improve their worlds?
Culture is Destiny: Culture Drives Everyone Towards Your Mission
Once you’ve tweaked and perfected your mission statement, the next step is getting everyone in your organization aligned around it. Your business culture is the environment that either drives everyone towards the mission or stands in the way.
Hockenberry provided eight key areas of culture to consider:
Trust, Transparency, and Accountability
Talk about trust openly with your team and set it as a goal to build it with everyone in your ecosystem. Share information with your customers--don’t hoard it. Be as transparent as possible in all situations, and make sure everyone knows what goals they are supposed to reach. Everyone should be responsible for something, and if they need help, make sure they know who to contact.
Putting People First
Who in your organization is responsible for the people in your business and for their success? They should have a voice in how the company is run, and have available tools that help them thrive in the business. Company leaders should also be willing to seek feedback from everyone and act upon it accordingly.
Teams and Teamwork
Industrial manufacturers should map their company structure to see if it is built for internal control or delivering an amazing customer experience. Each team involved in the company should be aligned to the mission and focused on a specific strategic initiative that focuses on customer goals.
The focus of a manufacturing team’s decision making process should be documented and include a list of things the company is placing on hold. It should also clear who makes what decisions, i.e. top leadership, management, or department teams. Customer-focused decisions should be monitored and include a list of ones that should be made at the point of customer-contact and not by leadership.
Using Good Judgement
Your internal policy manual should not be overbearing. Review and list policies that are used to replace the good judgement of your employees and consider eliminating them.
Finding the Right People
How are you attracting and recruiting the best candidates to work at your company? Use content and inbound marketing strategies to attract the best prospects, such as employee testimonials and personal stories, that are a great match to your culture.
Make it known what your beliefs, values, and aspirations are to your prospective applicants, employees, partners, and vendors (and even customers) so they can understand your business and people. One tip is to consider creating an acronym or a mnemonic device that easily communicates your culture’s key points.
How are you guiding your team towards your mission? Manufacturers’ operating system should include:
- Communication systems and tools
- Employee feedback mechanisms
- The company’s documented culture
- Connections for each employee to the company strategies and plans
- An understanding on how they contribute to the overall business objectives
Strategy is Inbound: Your Strategy Should Draw Customers In
Industrial manufacturers should identify, document, and use specific ideal buyer personas to focus everyone in the company on a targeted customer. For a company’s inbound marketing strategy to be successful in today’s buyer-centric world, it must be:
For today’s industrial manufacturing businesses to grow, there needs to be a mindset shift that delivers an entire customer experience, with each step adding to that experience.