In the early 1980s, when I was advertising manager of Koch Engineering—a manufacturer of process equipment—industrial marketing was a simple two-step process. First, you generated sales leads. Second, you turned the leads over to the sales force, who took it from there.
At its most basic level, the Web is an inquiry management environment. Consumers and businesspeople head online almost every day to source products and solutions that fit their needs. Depending on the urgency of their needs, they might request some sales literature or samples, or locate nearby retail outlets to check out the items in person. All the while, they have a host of competitive options at their fingertips—and then possibly just a phone call or short drive away.