How to Sell to Manufacturing Professionals


From independent small to mid-size businesses to global corporations, manufacturing professionals guide every step of the supply chain from raw materials to end-user products. Working in research and development, work process design, consultancy, distribution, customer service, and executive capacities, manufacturing professionals are a large and diverse group.

Marketers manage this diversity with careful industry segmentation. Using SIC codes to connect with manufacturing professionals by industry type as well as business size, location, and other demographic details is essential. Decision-makers in manufacturing vary in the levels of approval their purchases undergo; if they are company owners, they typically have the final say, but manufacturers working within a corporate system or for government subcontractors often solicit input from other departments before making a buy. Making decisions easier for these professionals by giving them tools they can use to help other executives see the need for a purchase will go a long way toward earning their business. Calculators, spec sheets, and case studies are particularly useful to them.

Manufacturing professionals’ needs are as varied as the industries they serve, but a few constants apply. Training personnel to use equipment, staying current with industry standards, and meeting OSHA requirements are common for manufacturing leaders across industries. Offers that help them train and certify workers or educate personnel are welcome.

To stay competitive, manufacturers must make the most efficient use of their technology and production processes. Marketing messages that address efficiency and prioritize the company’s bottom-line concerns connect with this audience. Quantify how an upgraded product or new service will improve efficiency and demonstrate how quickly a purchase will begin earning more revenue for the company, and manufacturing professionals listen.

Executives and decision-makers in manufacturing work with tangible results every day, and they respond best to marketing that also focuses on concrete practicalities. They find data and knowledge more convincing than theoretical applications and novelty, although they do welcome innovative solutions to manufacturing concerns. That innovation must be backed with solid results to be persuasive, though. Seminars, tradeshows, and video product demonstrations that clearly illustrate an offer’s value are useful to these professionals both to learn more and to teach other executives within their organization about the product.

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