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    Our previous post about our 2024 State of Manufacturing Data Survey provided an overview of the survey’s noteworthy results. 

    Among other things, we saw that 81% of the manufacturer-respondents procure  data from two or three providers. And when it came to determining which types of external data were acquired, the marketing teams had the most say. 

    In this post, we’ll be looking at manufacturers’ GTM strategies and activities. A fundamental principle of marketing and sales activities is to know your target customer. The 2024 survey results indicate that the main methods used today by manufacturers don’t always lead to this outcome. 

    Defining the TAM (total addressable market) and the best potential customers

    To efficiently engage in successful GTM activities, it is essential to have as accurate an understanding as possible of the market and its potential customers. 

    The survey results show that customer surveys and interviews play an important  role (73%) in manufacturers’ efforts to locate ideal potential customers. Purchased lists comprise a significant part of these efforts. These are time-consuming, “soft” methods which can lead to inaccurate insights and poor strategic decisions that are not based on data.      

    Fig. 1: The tools manufacturers use to locate their ideal customers.

    What do manufacturers see as the strengths of their GTM strategy?

    The above reservations about the tools used to locate customers are borne out by the manufacturers’ responses concerning the top three strengths of their GTM strategy.

    Fig. 2: The top three strengths of manufacturers’ GTM strategy.

    Despite the extensive use of customer surveys and interviews for the purpose of knowing their market and their customers, only 33% of the manufacturers respond that knowing their target customer is one of their strengths and only 29% state that their sales team’s in-depth knowledge of the market is a strength.

    A further analysis shows that 42% of Marketing and Management believe they know their target customer and that this is a strength while, curiously, only 15% of the Sales team believe this to be a strength.

    Fig. 3: Who said what? “We know who our target customer is.”

    Another breakdown of the responses (Figure 4) shows that 26% of Marketing & Management personnel believe that their sales team knows the market “inside and out” and that this is a strength, while 35% of Sales believe this is a strength.           

    Fig. 4: Who said what? “Our sales team knows the market inside and out.”

    External data goes a long way in providing important information for keeping up with market trends and fluctuations, even before they become so evident that they appear in industry reports and the like. The right types of external data, beyond demographic and firmographic information, provide insights about target customers that often determine which businesses to pursue and which not to waste time on.

    And extending the use of external data, it can also be helpful in breaking down some barriers between the different departments and creating a shared view of the TAM and ICP (ideal customer profile).     

    Click to download the complete 2024 State of Manufacturing Data survey report and see all the varied results and analyses.