While most realize that engineers either make or influence the buying decision, manufacturers still struggle to engage with them. Specifically, they seem to struggle with how much content to provide engineers (spoiler alert: you don’t have enough) and when to turn them over to sales.
Communicating to engineers at their level, engineer-to-engineer, is difficult (and is a GGC specialty!). Many marketers talk about how they take technical topics and “simplify” it for the layman. However, engineers need information that must be written to the standard, “teach me something to help me do my job better.” Layman’s language just won’t cut it for the technical buyer.
Here are a few ideas for how you can improve engagement with engineers:
Timely, Accurate Technical Content
Engineers value search engines as a primary channel to find information for work. Most often, they are researching specific product or service types, product features, specifications, demos, how-to articles and videos, etc. Therefore, it is critical that you provide timely, accurate information about your products and services, including tested and reliable specifications, comparison charts, and visual graphs showing a variety of performance results. Technical content can also focus on trends in certain industries and applications, or can detail tips and techniques for solving certain technical challenges. Technical content is also a critical way to drive your lead-generating efforts. Not all technical content should be “gated.” Gated content should be more in-depth content such as white papers and webinars and leave product or service information as well as case studies and blog posts ungated.
A Picture Says A Thousand Words
Like everyone else, engineers love images and pictures with callouts – they can be some of the best ways to communicate and assist in solving problems. Images also greatly improve the readability and comprehension of your technical content by having interesting visuals accompany paragraphs of text. This can come in the form of photos of application shots, product shots up close or in action, graphs or charts showing performance levels or time-based results, flow charts explaining a system or process, tables, or even a video.
Engineers Value Online Searches AND Your Website
While one of the primary ways engineers find information and seek answers is through search engines, studies show that visiting a vendor’s (or potential vendor’s) website is a close second. From learning about a new standard affecting their designs to seeking possible system-level component solutions, engineers use search throughout the development process to find the information and products they need. So, that means you need a search engine optimization plan that includes organizing your site around the desired search terms, and making programmatic changes such as page titles, meta-tagging, and “look at me” submissions to major search engines. If done thoughtfully and monitored regularly, SEO can be a powerful, efficient lead generator for your business.
You Can’t Have Enough Content
Engineers are voracious consumers of content. According to a recent survey, engineers spend 8.3 hours per week consuming “engineering content.” Eighty six percent of those hours are spent on digital content. Engineers prefer to consume content in the form of short written articles followed by video. So, if you think you have enough content … make a few more videos!
Webinars are among the engineer’s most popular ways to consume content. Manufacturers, trade magazines, and trade shows now offer them as another venue for engineers to gather information. GoToWebinar analyzed data from more than 350,000 webinars over the last year to provide insight into webinar trends and best practices. According to the study, 73 percent of B2B sales and marketing leaders say webinars are the best way to obtain quality leads. Further, 61 percent of companies hosting webinars are B2B. For the engineer, webinars are convenient. They can “attend” right from their desk, log in and listen – all while avoiding in-person encounters or phone calls. Webinars work best when part of an integrated marketing campaign. For example, they can be a strong follow up action for people who attended your booth at a trade show, or a dynamic way to “demo” a feature of your product to prospects who've shown interest from a previous activity.
Hold Back the Sales Team
Holding back the sales team from going after customers can be like holding back the ocean. But it’s important. Nearly 75% of engineers have indicated they don’t want to be contacted until they’ve narrowed down their options or are coming to the end of the buying cycle. If you can prep them with good content and make your website findable online, you’ll go a long way to arming the engineers with information they need … all while making the sales cycle easier for your team.
Bottom line, engineers are out there and looking for all the content they can get their hands on. But you have to be willing to meet them where they’re at and on their terms if you want to find success. Talk to GGC about our efforts in engaging engineers! Or, read through our Market to Engineers white paper.