In this episode, we have our guest Joe Sullivan from Gorilla 76, who touches on growth from the perspective of marketing and why COVID offers an excellent opportunity to reinvest their marketing budget reserved for in-person events to other digital channels.
He also discusses why marketing needs to start from a strategic business outcome instead of a tactical approach. If you are serious about growth, this episode is a must-listen to ensure that marketing is not an after-thought in your organization.
- [0:00] Intro
- [3:02] Personal journey and current focus
- [3:28] Perspective on Growth
- [7:07] The shift in mindset due to COVID and need to reinvest marketing budget
- [13:13] Successful webinar strategy with a fraction of tradeshow marketing budget
- [19:50] How marketing budget and results differ for manufacturing
- [23:34] CFOs’ fear of losing marketing budget dollars
- [26:51] Marketing budget pilot strategy to explore new initiatives
- [31:05] 30-60-90 marketing budget allocation and plan
- [34:34] Closing thoughts
- [35:37] Outro
- There’s some leap of faith, you have to take at the beginning because there’s an investment to make, you can’t just start with $1,000 and just go, like, there’s got to be some strategy work that’s done that you need to do need to develop content.
- You got to start somewhere. I think it all starts with a really clear strategy like you have to look at and say what’s the business outcome we’re trying to achieve here? Are we trying to grow by 10 million and in new sales next year? Are we trying to grow by 50% look at your growth target and then work with somebody who can advise you on how to get there.
- Start with that new sales target or new customer acquisition target and work backward, how many qualified opportunities you’re quoted opportunities do I need in my pipeline to hit that sales target? Based on our close rate? Right, step back one further, how many sales-qualified leads do we need on our sales team’s plate to be able to quote that much business?
- If it’s not measurable, if it’s not something that’s moving your business forward in terms of growth at a company level, then you’re probably doing the wrong thing, or you need somebody to look hard at it for you and help you figure out how to adjust that strategy.
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Joe is an Industrial Marketing Consultant of 10+ years and cofounder of the St. Louis-based industrial marketing agency Gorilla 76. In addition to co-leading the agency, Joe serves as the company business development lead and consults Gorilla’s clients on both sales and marketing strategy.
Much of his time is dedicated to speaking, writing, and creating video content on behalf of the agency. Joe is also the host of The Manufacturing Executive Podcast where he interviews manufacturing marketing leaders and executives and helps spread their stories to inspire the manufacturing community.
- Connect with Joe
- Connect with Gorilla 76
- The Manufacturing Executive Podcast
Joe Sullivan 0:00
Well, what blows my mind, first of all, is that these companies continue to throw $5,000 a month into print ads and trade journals and going to trade shows where there isn’t any measurable ROI.
Growing a business requires a holistic approach that extends beyond sales and marketing. This approach needs alignment among people, processes, and technologies.
So if you’re a business owner, operations, or finance leader looking to learn growth strategies from your peers and competitors, you’re tuned into the right podcast. Welcome to the WBS podcast where scalable growth using business systems is our number one priority.
Now, here is your host, Sam Gupta.
Sam Gupta 0:51
Hey everyone. Welcome back to another episode of The WBS podcast. I’m Sam Gupta, your host, and principal consultant at digital transformation consulting firm, ElevateIQ.
Traditionally, the industrial sector’s growth has been primarily sales-driven. And marketing takes the backseat. With the changing business conditions of COVID. The industrial sector has been caught off guard without the traditional revenue channels of in-person interactions at trade shows and industry events. The new normal requires industrial companies to rethink their marketing strategies and consider marketing as a key enabler of business development.
In today’s episode, we have our guests Joe Sullivan, from Gorilla 76, who touches on growth from the perspective of marketing, and why COVID offers an excellent opportunity to reinvest their marketing budget, reserved for in-person events to other digital channels. He also discusses why marketing needs to start from a strategic business outcome instead of a tactical approach. If you are serious about growth, this episode is a must listen to ensure that marketing is not an afterthought in your organization.
Let me introduce Joe to you.
Joe is an industrial marketing consultant of 10 plus years and co-founder of St. Louis based industrial marketing agency, Gorilla 76. In addition to co-leading the agency, Joe serves as the company business development lead and consults, Gorilla’s clients on both sales and marketing strategy. Much of his time is dedicated to speaking, writing, and creating video content on behalf of the agency.
Joe is also the host of the manufacturing executive Podcast, where he interviews, manufacturing Marketing Leaders, and executives and helps spread their stories to inspire the manufacturing community.
With that, let’s get to the conversation.
Hey, Joe, welcome to the show.
Joe Sullivan 3:01
Thanks for having me. Sam.
Sam Gupta 3:02 – Personal journey and current focus
Before we start Joe, would you like to touch a little bit about what you guys do?
Joe Sullivan 3:06
Yeah, sure. So I co-own gorilla 76. We are an industrial marketing agency of 20 people based in St. Louis, Missouri, and been in business for about 14 years.
And really what we do is help mid-sized B2B manufacturers identify, attract, engage and drive sales opportunities with ideal fit customers.
Sam Gupta 3:28 – Perspective on Growth
Okay, amazing. So when you work with these customers Joe, what is your perspective on growth?
Joe Sullivan 3:33
Yeah, well, the manufacturing sector, from all of my experiences, you know, over the last probably eight, nine years or so, since we really, really specialized deeply in working in with manufacturers is, what we’ve observed is that these organizations are very sales heavy, they’re sales-driven organizations, they generally speaking are fairly unsophisticated on the marketing front.
So to them, marketing has meant tradeshows. It’s meant print ads, it’s meant direct mail, maybe pay per click, but growth has been largely driven through sales, as opposed to, you know, marketing feeding opportunities into sales. And that’s kind of the mindset that we are working to help shift
Sam Gupta 4:19
My audience is going to be primarily the operations and finance people. And some of these guys may not have heard the terms like PPC or some of the marketing language, so if you could be slightly more descriptive, you know, with respect to marketing, and what that means to the operations people, that will be amazing.
Joe Sullivan 4:37
Yeah, absolutely. I’ll be conscious of that as we go forward here. So, but yeah, to you know, kind of recap what I was saying there, you know, when I say PPC, we’re talking about pay per click, so you know, paid ads in Google.
But you know, that for a lot of these companies, that’s the extent of how they’ve incorporated you know, modern marketing practices. And even that is I wouldn’t even consider unnecessary the modern marketing practices part of the mix, but it worked.
We’re talking about organizations that are, like I said earlier, driven by sales and in-person events and, you know, face-to-face, which is great. And it’s all needs only to be part of it.
But the role of marketing, I think marketing is looked at by so many organizations, as you know, the guys in the company who create brochures and print materials to support sales and leave-behinds and they make the website look nice, and maybe do some stuff about company, the company picnic on social media.
Joe Sullivan 5:38
And you know that the mindset that has to shift here is we need to be looking at marketing as a driver of revenue opportunities. Marketing needs to be feeding the sales pipeline by helping identify the right people from the right companies segmenting for that audience, figuring out how to extract insights from the brains of subject matter experts in the company and then deliver those insights to those right people from the right companies so that you can build a position of thought leadership and expert in your space that so many of our clients and prospects are their experts, and they’re deep experts in their craft.
Yet their advertising or their marketing spend is all about that is just, it’s just blasting a message about this is who we are and why we’re awesome as opposed to, you know, incorporating those insights from their experts and into their outbound communications and helping people being a problem solver and a guide in the buying process of their buyers.
And when you can, when you can shift to that mentality. Now all of a sudden, you’re talking about things that your audience actually cares about, and able to start conversations around things that matter to them rather than just talking about yourself. And so this is where business development in the manufacturing sector really needs to go off of shifting the spotlight to the customer and what matters to them and off of yourself.
Sam Gupta 7:07 – The shift in mindset due to COVID and need to reinvest marketing budget
So with respect to the marketing mindset that you mentioned, how this mindset is going to change, because of COVID?
Joe Sullivan 7:16
Yeah, that’s a great question. I think, you know, that there are so many unknowns still, obviously, but you know like I mentioned, so many manufacturers are reliant on trade shows like that this is how they develop business and, and a lot of them do it with a lot of success or have in the past. I mean, most of my it’s not like I’m sitting here telling my clients. You need to stop going to trade shows because most of them come back from trade shows and are quoting business with people that they met. It’s a place where they can deepen personal relationships, with existing customers and prospects and vendors, and other partners.
And so I think there’s a lot of value there. I mean, I think you need to be looking at the ROI of that. And are we going to the right shows, do we have to be going to all of these, and everything, but I think what, you know, what COVID has done, obviously, is just sort of flipped the world upside down, the business development world for manufacturers upside down, where, you know, these events aren’t happening.
If they are happening, they’re being shifted into these digital platforms. I mean, I literally before this conversation, Sam, I got off the phone with a customer who had attended Rockwell Automation, like digital event, and it was crickets all, you know, for the few days. This, I think, you know, a couple of people showed up at their, you know, quote, unquote, digital booth. And so, but, you know, can I blame them for doing that event?
Joe Sullivan 8:42
No, I mean, I, nobody knew what this was gonna look like. And in the live event setting, it was, it was largely successful for them in the past. So everybody’s kind of figuring that out on the fly.
But I think what we know for sure is this we know that in-person interactions matter, like we being in front of people, real human having a real human to human conversations in a room with somebody matters. On the business development front, no questions there. There are very few people I talked to who wouldn’t say that that’s true.
We know that this has been disrupted because of the inability to jump on a plane and fly across the country and see a customer or a prospect. We know that the trade shows are canceled, and for the most part, and that, you know, we’re not really sure if these digital events are worthwhile or driving any kind of measurable positive ROI.
Joe Sullivan 9:38
So comes down to then what do we do in the absence of trade shows and travel? How do we continue to build real human relationships? How do we continue to fill our pipeline in new ways, considering the ways we used to do it aren’t possible anymore and so a few things that we are seeing working, you know, ticked has taken some experimentation this year to, you know, sort of reacting to everything that’s going on.
But one thing that’s really working well, for a few of our clients is more personalized live events that you are putting on on your own. So as opposed to, you know, jumping out paying the fee, and setting up a digital tradeshow booth that nobody’s going to show up at putting on your own live event. And it’s as simple as a webinar, you can literally get your zoom account up and running, you probably got one already paid an extra $40 a month to add the webinar feature to it.
Joe Sullivan 10:33
And now you’ve got a platform to teach your audience. So you know, let’s just say that you take two of your two of your engineers or deep subject matter experts in whatever, you know, whatever it is, you do, and you think about what are the things that were the common questions we’re always getting from our best customers and prospects, what are the things they’re trying to learn during their buying process, the comparisons they’re trying to make between different products or services or materials or solutions.
Let’s teach about that. Let’s have a 20-30 minute teaching session where we’ve got our two experts to sort of going back and forth on this topic, let’s put a little of that media budget that we used to spend on trade shows or, or whatever, let’s reallocate that to targeting people with this job title from this type of company, in this geographic region with these interests, and let’s drive them to this live event.
This live webinar we’re putting on now you’ve got a platform to share thought leadership in front of these people, you’ve got the ability to engage with them one on one, one on one through a live Q&A session at the end of the event.
Joe Sullivan 11:46
You’ve established a warm personal connection with somebody in a human way your cameras been on they see your face to hear a voice. And this is such a more effective way to be able to try to build a human connection than, at least in my opinion, and from what everything I’ve heard and observed this year, than trying to attend these live events, or, I mean, jeez, it’s just so difficult to figure out ways to do it. And that’s one way to do it.
You know, another way to do it is what you’re doing here, Sam, like launching a podcast where you’re interviewing, can you interview people who are in your target audience, and talk to them about the challenges they’re trying to deal with and the things they’re trying to achieve? interview your future customers and build relationships that way.
And in the process of doing so, it’s like market research for you. You’re asking them about the things that the challenges they’re facing, and the things that they’re they’re trying to figure out how to do. So there, that could be another way to do it.
But I think you’ve got to figure out ways to, replace the lack of human interaction that you know, was there with trade shows and being able to walk into a customer prospects office and sit down around a table with them or have lunch or dinner with them? We got to find new ways to do that, and ways that you can do it in a scalable, replicable way.
Sam Gupta 13:13 – Successful webinar strategy with a fraction of tradeshow marketing budget
Yeah, I agree with that. In fact, with COVID, I think some of the habits are going to change, even if the trade shows are going to be back. So we still have to rely on some of these channels, because customers are going to hang out here. I mean, if somebody is used to listening to podcasts, and webinars, they are not all of a sudden going to go back to a trade show.
Yes, they’ll go. But still, I mean, they’ll still come back to podcast and webinar. So, Joe, I can see that on LinkedIn, you guys are doing amazing work with your manufacturing customers. And I would like to hear any stories about your customers, the kind of you know, work you have done, what were the challenges before when you started engaging with them? And what were the results? Do you have any stories that you might be able to talk about?
Joe Sullivan 14:04
Yeah, sure. So you know, I could talk about it from a few perspectives. But let’s go back to this idea of a webinar, for example. So we talked about the idea of driving people to a live event and but the beauty of an event like that is not only having the opportunity to share your thought leadership and expertise in front of them around things they care about, and then to engage them in conversation, but it’s what you can do after that event over.
So whether it’s a podcast episode like this or a webinar, you can take the recording of that file, and now you can turn it into a variety of what we would call micro-content. You know, think about, think about Sam, for example, on this interview you listen back to this after the recordings done, you say okay, what Joe said from minute 10 to 11 and a half and a half was something I know is gonna resonate because I hear you know, I hear that question all the time from customers.
Well, you could take that minute and a half soundbite and turn it into a little audiogram, like sound wave video that you could, you could then deploy through LinkedIn, or Facebook or Instagram or wherever your audience consumes content or spends their time, you got to target tightly, of course, and say, you know, show this, again, as I said earlier that people these job titles in these geographies with these interests.
Joe Sullivan 15:28
So, you know, all these, these little assets can be made out of that. And then you’re just feeding it all right back into the machine, where you use those things from this podcast episode to promote your next podcast episode or promote people to subscribe or if it’s a webinar to get people to the next event or to drive them back to your website and consumer.
A case study related to that thing, that insight that was talked about in that little short clip. So this is the type of stuff I mean, one of my favorite case studies is ourselves. My two senior strategists, Julian and Matt, have started every other Monday at 2 pm. Central, they’re running a, what they’re calling an episodic webinar series, called industrial marketing live. And it’s essentially, the subscribers to this webinar series.
They’ve got a calendar invite on their calendars every other Monday for the same time, just a recurring zoom calendar invite. We’ve got over 170 people subscribed after, you know, two months that, you know, probably 40-50 show up for each event.
They’re learning from us about different industrial marketing topics and engaging in live Q&A. And we are, we have our building pipeline from this, we are quoting business directly from this and there are zero reasons why a manufacturing organization can’t be doing the exact same thing.
Sam Gupta 16:51
Okay, so tell me a little bit more about the 170 people that you just mentioned, you know, how you are getting them what kind of audience it is.
Joe Sullivan 16:59
Sure. So, you know, for us, we target mid-size manufacturers. for that particular event, we’re targeting, we’re targeting people in marketing roles. So marketing directors, marketing managers, CMOs, people who are responsible for marketing inside of manufacturing organizations, my podcast on the other hand, which is called the manufacturing executive targets, manufacturing executives, so CEOs, and VPs of sales presidents people in the C suite of manufacturing organizations, and so they come to a different audience or different personas, same types of companies, manufacturing organizations that do probably, you know, $10, or $20 million to $200 million a year in sales is kind of our sweet spot.
And what we’re doing is we’re producing content very targeted for them and around the things they care about. And then we’re putting a little ad budget behind it, to get it out there. So we’re using largely LinkedIn, some Facebook, to target those exact people, and even going as far as to say, you know, hey, LinkedIn, these 2000 companies, we want to show it to people with these job titles from these companies, these exact companies.
Joe Sullivan 18:10
And now we’re sending we’re essentially distributing thought leadership content across these social media platforms. We’re doing it organically as well posting these things through our personal profiles and building networks that way, but we’re amplifying the reach of that content by putting a little bit of paid media budget behind it. also been organically and manually building a list of these people’s email lists.
And so every other Wednesday, we distribute this content to over 4000 people in the manufacturing space, via email, organically, you know, on our blog, we’ve for over 8-9 years now we’ve been writing purely resourceful content for manufacturers about how to do marketing. And you know, we do google search, industrial marketing, or industrial marketing agency, or manufacturing marketing, you’re going to see us in the top three or five spots, if not higher, very consistently.
So we’re, we build top a funnel pipeline through that organically as well. So these are kind of you’re attacking it from a variety of different angles. Some of it is I look at SEO, Search Engine Optimization, or SEO as a long-term strategy. Way to build equity in the search engine, it’s kind of like owning real estate in the search engines.
And but then you need to supplement that and do some proactive things like you know, building your email list, distributing content that way using these paid social media channels to go directly at the types of people you are trying to reach and put thoughtful, insightful content, case studies, things that matter to them right in front of them and do it proactively.
Sam Gupta 19:50 – How marketing budget and results differ for manufacturing
Okay, so one of the things that I noticed when we talk about marketing for an agency versus marketing for let’s say, something like ERP or for the Manufacturing product, talking about manufacturing product is always harder than talking about sales and marketing.
So sometimes you might get a lot of traction based on the content that you are producing. But do you have any stories where you actually spoke about a manufacturing part or manufacturing machinery, and still you were able to generate the audience?
Joe Sullivan 20:20
Sure. So one of my favorite case studies or success stories, I tell this one all the time, is from a client of ours. They’re called CK Power. And they’re essentially a diesel-powered engine and generator, manufacturer and distributor based in St. Louis, this was a few years back.
But you know, these guys, they essentially, as we learned from talking with their sales team that all the conversations probably three, four years ago were about these EPA regulations that were on the horizon called final tier four.
And final tier four was, it was really about emissions control for engines and generators and environmental regulations that had to be complied with.
And so they were, you know, fielding calls from their customers and prospects about, you know, how do I retrofit my existing equipment to be compliant with these new regulations? Like, I don’t understand the ins and outs of what these you know, things mean, these, you know, technical sub-points, when I’m buying new equipment, what are the things I need to know, make sure I’m being compliant.
Joe Sullivan 21:31
So they found themselves sort of being sort of developing this wealth of information internally about the subject of final tier four. So we, that’s the kind of insight that needed to feed their marketing strategy.
And so we worked with them to develop a whole Bank of content that would be purely educational in nature, this stuff wasn’t about CK Power, and what they did, it was about how to deal with final tier four, how to prepare for it, what you need to know what you need to be doing what you need to be thinking about as you’re budgeting, I can be retrofitting your products, we just made them the best source of information online around final tier for as it relates to engines and generators.
So organically, we had a lot of success in the search engines, meaning you know, that the unpaid like the natural search results, because we turned them into a resource, and we taught the search engines that there is a credible resource for final tier four. So they watched their inbound leads really skyrocket over the next year, for searches that came through things related to final tier four.
Joe Sullivan 22:34
And, and there, you know, their quoted business and actual resulting revenue from that kind of followed suit where there was something like 800,000 to a million in sales over the course of the first quarter after this stuff went live was attributable to, you know, organic search around final tier four.
So this was a few years back, if I were doing this today, we would not only have developed all this amazing content and let and let you know, people who are out there looking for it show up at their doorstep through Google searches.
But we would also say, okay, who is this content for? And we were writing it for a very specific type of buyer persona from a specific type of company, I’d be simultaneously saying let’s go make sure we get this content proactively to the exact same to that audience through, you know, putting some ad dollars behind it and distributing it through LinkedIn, maybe Facebook through seeing what we could do with YouTube. And so anyway, that’s kind of there’s a tangible example for you.
Sam Gupta 23:34 – CFOs’ fear of losing marketing budget dollars
Yeah, that’s a great example. In fact, to me, see, I would like to go back to your topic about manufacturers not having the appetite for marketing, and not doing marketing as much. If you think from the CFOs’ perspective, they are the ones who are actually writing these checks.
And if they have never done it before, it could be a fairly scary experience, writing the check down, and you have no idea what you’re going to get back. So let’s say Joe if you were the CFO, and you have no idea what you are going to get back from your marketing initiative.
How would you start as a CFO on the marketing initiative?
Joe Sullivan 24:16
Well, what blows my mind, first of all, is that these companies continue to throw $5,000 a month into print ads and trade journals and going to trade shows where there isn’t any measurable ROI.
Again, I’m not an advocate against I’m not saying don’t go to trade shows, but there’s so much waste already. And, and people doing things that aren’t even measurable, like the beauty of the type of marketing that I’m advocating for here is that everything’s measurable, you know, like you could literally, you develop an amazing piece of content for a specific type of buyer.
You put a $1,000 ad budget behind it for two weeks, and you see what it delivers. You know, are we Generating visibility and engagement from this? are we driving website traffic? Are we you can look at, you can look at a two-minute video you publish through LinkedIn and say, you know what percentage of the people that this reached watched 75% of this video if somebody’s watching one-year subject matter experts talk for a minute and a half on a two-minute video or more like that, that means something, it means that there is engagement there and good things are gonna follow.
Joe Sullivan 25:29
And then as you start, you can trace all this stuff, you know, what, what were we able to? What traffic? were we able to drive through these LinkedIn ads versus through organic search? which pages? Were the ones that through organic search drove these leads? What happened to those leads, which of them turned into the actual pipelines like which did we quote, business with, and which ones closed, and were these the right types of customers, all this stuff is measurable and traceable.
So, you know, I think that, of course, there’s some leap of faith, you have to take at the beginning because there’s an investment to make, you can’t, you can’t just start with $1,000 and just go, like, there’s got to be some strategy work that’s done that you need to do need to develop content.
Either if you’re either your team’s gonna make it, or you’re gonna pay somebody else to help you make it. So there Yeah, there’s some foundational work that you need to do to get you off the ground. But, man, I’ll tell you, it’s, it’s the way I see people wasting money on things that you can’t measure, and have returned nothing year after year after year. I don’t know why you wouldn’t go down a path where you’re setting yourself up for long-term success and doing things that, you know, you can actually trace ROI too.
Sam Gupta 26:51 – Marketing budget pilot strategy to explore new initiatives
Yeah, I could not agree more. In fact, I think the issue here is really the comfort zone, and it’s hard to challenge the comfort zone.
So let’s say if I have been spending my $5,000 for the last 20 years, and whatever is I perceive it to be working, it’s just working that way. Okay, I know that if I spend $5,000, this is what I get back, versus trying something new.
So obviously trying something new, is always scary. So let’s say if you were the manufacturer, and if you were the CFO, and you want to pry, you have maxed out on the budget and the and the dollars that you have, how would you start? Would you take the 80-20 strategy? Or, would you take a 70-30 strategy? Would you invest everything that you have got at this point in time in the new channel only approach this?
Joe Sullivan 27:40
Yeah, it’s a good question. And I think people do absolutely get locked into their comfort zone. But I think, you know, this is right now You and I are recording this in November. And you know, by the time it goes live, it’s probably you know, we’re looking at the New Year here and who knows what, what decisions have been made already.
And from a budgeting standpoint, but like, I think as you look at your budget, you need to say like, Where are we? Where do we know we’re getting something positive. I mean, if you go to this trade show every year, and you come back with and you’re quoting business, or you’re building relationships, Like, figure out how you’re going to measure what value you are creating from this channel. And as you look at the print ad, you’ve been running for the last, you know, 13 years in your industry trade journal that costs you three grand a month, like, look at that heart and say like, is what is this returning for us? What is this doing? Is it just our logo in front of, you know, our audience who browses through this magazine regularly?
Joe Sullivan 28:37
And is that really the best spend of $3,000 every single month when you could use that $3,000 to distribute an amazing piece of content to very specific people and guarantee consumption of that content? So you know, it’s a tough question that to answer but I would just look really hard at where you’re spending that dollar now.
And if you’re not spending that dollar which frankly a lot of manufacturers just because they don’t understand the value of marketing and they don’t understand what it should be doing they’re not even spending on marketing but not now what you’re doing is you’re relying on your sales team to go out there and cold prospect business and you know, cold call people and who’d frankly don’t want to hear from you in the first place because you’re a salesperson and you don’t know if they’re anywhere in the buying process or not.
So you got to start somewhere. I think it all starts with a really clear strategy like you have to look at and say what’s the business outcome we’re trying to achieve here? Are we trying to grow by 10 million and in new sales next year? Are we trying to grow by 50% look at your growth target and then work with somebody who can advise you on how to get there, you know, don’t focus on a lot of marketers are measuring the wrong thing too their they’re like, you know, we need to rank first for this in Google, or we need to drive this much more traffic or we need this many more leads. And I was just asked a question. Why?
Joe Sullivan 30:00
And it always comes down to? What is it? Because these are the things that are going to get us to this sales goal. Okay, well start with the target, start with that new sales target or new customer acquisition target and work backward, how many qualified opportunities you’re quoted opportunities do I need in my pipeline to hit that sales target? Based on our close rate? Right, step back one further, how many sales-qualified leads do we need on our sales team’s plate to be able to quote that much business?
And then you build your plan from there? Or the trade shows you’re going to right now? filling your pipeline with enough of those opportunities to get you there? Is the trade is the print ad that you keep running? Or the direct mail campaign you keep running? Or that you know, the salaries, you’re paying these people to cold, cold prospect for you? Is it getting you to those quoted opportunities that you need to hit your sales target? And if the answer’s no, then you need to look hard at what you’re actually doing and figure out a better way to get there. And there are so many great ways to do it digitally and in a measurable way, through marketing.
Sam Gupta 31:05 – 30-60-90 marketing budget allocation and plan
Okay, as a manufacturer COVID was a huge wake-up call for me, my sales are down 50% at this point in time, so yes, the comfort zone was working previously, but now I need to try something new.
So I’m definitely sold on what you are, you are saying? So let’s say Joe, if I want to work with you, what would be my 30-60-90 day plan?
Joe Sullivan 31:28
And just to clarify, you’re talking about if somebody were to work with us with our company, like what would that look like?
Sam Gupta 31:34
Yeah, so let’s say if I’m a manufacturer, I’m starting on my marketing journey, I have no idea how marketing works, and how I should be investing in marketing, I’m coming to you for help because I need help. So what would you advise in terms of a 30-60-90 day plan?
Joe Sullivan 31:50
Sure. So, if we were working with any manufacturer that we work with, we start the exact same way, we go through a process we call the industrial marketing roadmap, and whether you do this with us, or whether you do it with somebody else, their version of this, it needs to start with strategy.
That is my number one piece of advice for you do not, you know, do not start by saying we need to do search engine optimization, or we need to be running ads on LinkedIn or we need to be, you know, producing content, you need to start with a strategy to get to the business outcome you’re trying to achieve, like I was just talking about, you know, whether that is a sales target, or a new customer acquisition target, or even a pipeline revenue target, you need to start with the business outcome you’re going to achieve that you’re trying to achieve.
Joe Sullivan 32:50
And you got to figure out how are we going to get there. And that’s gonna vary from one company to the next. If you’re a, you know, a huge company in your space, a big player and you’ve got a ton of authority in the search engines, as you do in real life, it’s gonna be a very different strategy than if you’re, you know, a smaller fish in a pond where there’s, you know, lots of big players and or just lots of competition, in general, you’re gonna have, you know, you’re not going to have the same path to get to those results.
So you need to work with a strategist who can help you evaluate, you know, how competitive your spaces how you’re going to beat those companies, frankly, and get to your target audience and deliver a message that’s going to resonate with them and deliver a plan there.
Joe Sullivan 33:23
So if you were working with Gorilla, my company that the process would be our industrial marketing roadmap where it’s, we spend a half-day with the CEO, the President, the VP of sales, the head of marketing, and usually, a few key sales engineers or sales professionals who interface with customers and understand them and know that you know, understand the things that they care about the questions they ask.
And we learn from them, we dive into you into, you know, all those things, the buying triggers and pain points and common questions of your customers, we look at your competitive space out there.
And then we take a few weeks, usually about two, three weeks, and we go do some research, we develop an overarching strategy and a specific action plan for how you are going to get from point A to point B, where you define what point A and point B are, with the resources you’ve got, which means you know, either your budget or your internal staff or some combination of those two, but it’s got to start there.
You need a roadmap and a strategy and an action plan to get not to those marketing KPIs, but to the business outcomes that you want to achieve as a company, and then you and then you implement from there.
Sam Gupta 34:34
That’s it for today. Joe, do you have any final closing thoughts?
Joe Sullivan 34:40
I don’t think so. Other than you know, kind of just reiterating something I said earlier, which just takes a look a hard look at where you’ve been spending your marketing dollar in the past. And ask yourself, honestly, what are we doing? What is this generating for us? What business outcome is this tangibly creating for us?
And if it’s not measurable, if it’s not something that’s moving your business forward in terms of, you know, growth at a company level, then you’re probably doing the wrong thing, or you need somebody to look hard at it for you and help you figure out how to adjust that strategy.
Sam Gupta 35:20
Yeah, I completely agree with you. I think measurement is the key. If you cannot measure then I would definitely be cautious in spending that dollar. So thank you for that thought.
Joe Sullivan 35:29
Sam Gupta 35:31
Okay, amazing. Joe, thank you so much for your time. Really appreciate it. And you have a wonderful day.
Joe Sullivan 35:35
Thanks for having me, Sam.
Sam Gupta 35:37
I cannot thank our guests enough for coming on the show for sharing their knowledge and journey. I always pick up stuff from our guests, and hopefully, you learned something new today.
If you want to know further about Joe or Gorilla 76, please visit gorilla76.com/learn where you will find an ever-expanding collection of articles, videos, guides, and tools to help manufacturers identify attract, engage, and dry sales with ideal fit customers. Links and more information will also be available in the show notes.
If anything in this podcast resonated with you and your business. You might want to check other related episodes, including the interview with Chase Clymer from ElectricEye, who brings a unique perspective on DTC from the angle of ecommerce toolset and Shopify. Also, the interview with Michael Begg from AMZ advisers, who touches on DTC from Amazon from a marketing channel standpoint.
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