The market size of online industrial supply sales currently sits at $16 billion. Despite the impressive number, the market of industrial buyers is small and specialized because the number of manufacturing companies is lower than in other industries. Therefore, if products are produced well, customers will tend to stick with one supplier for the long term.

As a result, industrial sellers must have a solid marketing strategy to face strong competition, especially on the digital front. More consumers are turning to online research to find industrial companies, so it’s important to build your online presence through your business website and social media pages.

This guide will walk you through what makes industrial sales unique. You’ll also learn the best tools and techniques to use during every stage of the selling process so you can show why your business is the go-to for industrial sales.

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What makes industrial selling unique?

Businesses that buy industrial products depend on these products for success with their own operations. For example, an airplane manufacturer buys parts from an industrial seller. If the parts don’t work, the airplane manufacturer may stall on their day-to-day production and suffer losses. This strict dependency is the main factor that makes industrial sales unique, along with the following:

  • Smaller customer pool. The market for industrial sales is much smaller than in other sales industries. As a result, competition is higher. It’s important to build brand awareness and establish credibility to make your business stand out.
  • Complex buying behavior. The process of industrial sales tends to take a long time because decision-makers must perform thorough research on products and companies. You’ll also deal with team members of multiple departments, including technicians or engineers.
  • Focus on customer retention. Since buying industrial products is such a lengthy process, buyers would rather stick with one company for their products.
  • After-sales services. Given that most contracts are long term, you’ll develop strong relationships with customers, including follow-up communication on your products and services over time.
customer relationship cycle as depicted in The Download
The unique nature of industrial sales requires that you follow a deeply engaged customer-relation cycle, as depicted in this graphic.

Industrial sales tips and techniques

Before developing your overall industrial marketing strategy, there are a few crucial elements to consider.

Outline your goals

First up is taking a deeper look at your business goals. You can start by thinking of what you would like to improve now. Would you like to expand your customer base? Develop deeper relationships with your current customers? Focus on upping your marketing game in general?

Whichever goal you choose to pursue, ensure that it’s not only achievable but achievable within a specific time frame. For instance, if you want to improve your online marketing strategies, you can plan to redesign and optimize your website within one month.

Understand your market

Second, you want to focus on your market and understand its current needs. Because the industrial selling market is small, you won’t have to spend too much time figuring out who your customers are. Instead, you can research your customers to learn about their pain points.

It also helps to look at the customers of your competitors. Check out your competitors’ websites and social media pages to see how customers interact with them, including what they like, share, and talk about. This will give you some ideas of what specifically you can focus on with your own online strategies.

Re-evaluate your current strategies

You know what your goals are and who you’d like to market to. Now it’s time to look at your current selling strategies to see if they are helping you to achieve your goals. Do you see results? Or are you facing empty inboxes and few likes on your Facebook posts? With 81% of consumers doing online research before making any type of online purchase, evaluating your digital strategies is a must-do.

Useful tools to improve your industrial selling strategy

Three fundamentals to building your digital presence are website optimization, email marketing, and social media marketing.

Website optimization

Having a useful and compelling website is a must-have for any industrial company. Your site should have all the necessary information, such as a list of your business products or services, contact information, address, hours, and an About page to introduce yourself. If your website has this info but is still not getting as much traffic as you’d like, make sure you’re incorporating search engine optimization (SEO) as well.

SEO is focused on getting your website to rank high on search engines like Google. The quickest way to optimize your site is to use the top-performing keywords related to your industry across your site. You can use the Google Keyword Planner tool to see which keywords are trending for your particular product(s).

Email marketing

Email marketing is useful during every stage of the sales journey, from customer acquisition to customer retention. There are plenty of email marketing tools that allow you to send a variety of automated emails to your customers, taking away much of the work. For instance, you can schedule follow-up emails for certain periods or set up automated campaigns when you launch a new product or service.