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How to Increase Account Growth in the Manufacturing Industry

3 min

In the manufacturing industry, long standing relationships often drive business. Thomasnet, a company that specializes in manufacturing insights, reports that 65% of a company’s business comes from existing customers. This percentage can climb even higher for specialized industries.

Without substantial changes in your market, to your business model, or your offerings, your greatest opportunity to grow revenue is often to deepen engagement with existing customers and grow their accounts.

The ups and downs of upselling

The benefits of focusing on upsell or account expansion include:

  • No more cold outreaches
  • Building on a history of delivered value
  • Established relationships with your customers

The challenges can include:

  • Lack of awareness of other products or solutions you offer
  • Limited visibility into other departments or business units that could benefit from your services
  • Difficulty introducing different products and securing expansion opportunities within an account

Gain more insights into sales opportunities

Your established relationships probably give you some ideas about services a customer could be interested in. But, that’s no math for real-time and historical data.

Limitations of relying on relationships and referrals

Customers increasingly use online research as a major part of their purchasing decision, and as they do that research, they leave a trail of breadcrumbs that can help you determine buyers are in-market, how far they are in their journey, and the services they care about most.

They read reviews, visit different websites, and search many different keywords before making a purchase. In fact, 70% of the buying journey happens online, and anonymously. We call this anonymous research the Dark Funnel™ — because it’s full of potential customers, but since they have not filled out an online form or given you a call, you don’t know that they are in-market.

Even if you do know which company is researching your services, there’s no guarantee you’re talking to the right person — or people. Maybe there’s another plant across the country that could really use your business, but you’ve only been interacting with headquarters.

Expand Accounts by Uncovering Your Customers’ Online Activity

The good news is that your customers are telling you exactly what they’re interested in, you just haven’t uncovered that information yet and it’s still getting lost in the Dark Funnel™.

The right digital technology will help you uncover the online activity of potential customers and allow your business to understand what they need, the best way to market to them, when it’s time to talk to them, and key topics to talk about.

Think about the benefits your business could see if you had this information about your key accounts:

  • The specific pages on your website they’re consistently reading
  • Data and trends on the keywords they’re searching — even those tied to your competitors
  • New contacts (that you haven’t met), plus their role in the organization and details about what they are researching
  • The level of engagement contacts have with your brand — and how that compares to past deals
  • Which contacts are key decision-makers that can make deals come to fruition
  • Where your buyers are in their current journey

Crafting a better sales conversation

When you are armed with this information you can easily prepare campaigns that target your existing customers and speak to them about things they are truly interested in.

You will know:

  • what customers are interested in
  • when they’re interested
  • where they are in their buying cycle
  • how their activity compares to previous deals

If they’ve just begun their research, you can engage them with marketing to let them start learning about the services you offer that align with their interests.

When they’re further along their buying journey and the time is right, you can put outbound sales processes in motion that are perfectly personalized and relevant to their unique situation.

To effectively use this strategy, and scale it with the number of existing and potential customers you have, you will need to leverage an account engagement platform that makes it easy to quickly dive into the data.

With that data in hand you can start:

  • More accurate forecasting of demand for your products
  • Better understanding broader market trends
  • Creating a more personalized buying experience for your customers
  • Improving your sales and marketing campaigns
  • Optimizing the time and resources you put into expanding accounts
  • Implementing more accurate revenue forecasting

This will give you a better understanding of your customers, streamlined operations, and lower market research costs.


Many manufacturing companies only have a handful of extremely high-value customers. That makes account expansion and upsell opportunities very important for growth.

But, without the right tools it can be difficult to identify the best growth opportunities.

Thankfully, technology now exists that can uncover exactly what your customer wants and you can deliver them the right product at the exact right time.

The 6sense Team

6sense helps B2B organizations achieve predictable revenue growth by putting the power of AI, big data, and machine learning behind every member of the revenue team.

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