Are you struggling to maintain or increase manufacturing sales?
You need consistent sales to generate revenue and keep your company afloat in a competitive market. When sales fall short of your annual quota, much is at risk: the success of your organization, the employment of your workforce, and the business survival of the company.
As the CEO or business owner, it’s time to analyze what’s not working. You have loyal customers, but repeat sales aren’t enough to grow your business. Competition that didn’t exist 10 years ago continues to grow, threatening to dominate new clientele.
Increase Manufacturing Sales; Identifying the Problem
If you want to increase manufacturing sales, take a look at the sales opportunities of your sales team. Each salesperson should have over 3 times the number of qualified leads than the projected sales goal (weekly, monthly, or annual quota). If they don’t, you know that’s where your problem is.
Where can your sales team find more leads? Ultimately, qualified lead generation begins online. The modern buyer completes 68% of the buying process before ever speaking to a sales representative. Buyers are online researching, price comparing, looking up business reviews, educating themselves on product/services, etc.
Online marketing is continually affecting the sales process. The most effective way to increase manufacturing sales is to create a digital presence and unite online lead generation with your sales team.
Create & Refine your Manufacturing Sales Strategy
How can you improve your sales strategy? We’re assuming you have one. If not, a sales strategy is the marketing plan designed to create and maintain a company’s unique selling advantage in their respective industry. This plan helps your marketing and sales team know what kind of customer to target, how to communicate with them in a meaningful way, and how to win more sales.
If you don’t have a sales strategy in place right now, it’s time to create one.
Salespeople can waste a lot of time giving their pitch to the wrong people. If they have a disciplined approach, they’re using it on those who do not have the authority to make purchasing decisions – individuals who aren’t focused on an overall business result, such as procurement. Procurement is paid to get the price as low as possible. If you want to increase your sales opportunity, your team needs to target top-level decision-makers – the individuals who have the power to close sales.
You also need to pursue prospects (or projects) who have the greatest resemblance to your ideal customer – your target audience – and offer the highest profitability to your company.
The Buyer Persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. The description usually includes:
- Name (fictional)
- Social status (married, single, divorced, kids)
- Occupation – CEO of an organization with how many employees?
- Annual salary
When you create a buyer persona, you learn more from relationships rather than markets. Each client is different, but they share a common denominator: they want a competitive advantage in their respective marketplace.
Once your marketing and sales team has a mental image who they’re targeting, they can unite their sales strategy and create a more disciplined approach to winning more manufacturing sales.
How can you implement this principle into your sales strategy?
Expand current accounts
Analyze if you can increase your most profitable accounts. Consider Pareto’s Principle – in business, this principle suggests that organizations get 80% of their sales from 20% of their client-base. Capitalize on your most loyal customers and upsell, and then decide how much time you should spend on the 20% in order to get the most profit from the most people.
Downsize least profitable accounts
Sometimes it’s necessary to downsize small accounts to spend more time on larger accounts. With any client, you will have to analyze sales time, potential return for both seller and buyer, service level quality, how much it costs to take inventory, and the effect of late payments. Think beyond gross margin line.
Revisit past accounts
Did you do business with someone in the past, but they fell away? If they still offer potential profit for your organization, consider contacting them and winning that sale back.
Contact businesses for referrals
If applicable, find businesses who can use your company as a referral or recommendation. Typically, these sales are low-hanging fruit.
Develop an Effective Business Case
The next step to create a manufacturing sales strategy is to define your business case. Your business case is what your manufacturing company provides to your buyers; do you enable them to:
- Implement efficiencies that save them money or time?
- Better meet compliance or state regulations?
- Increase their market share?
- Reduce overhead or operational cycle time?
- Improve their product/service quality?
- Empower their Unique Selling Point?
The business case is always directed to the decision-maker in objective verbiage that explains how they can achieve a measurable competitive advantage. This conversation should not talk about how great you are, or how great your products or services are. It’s about the customer’s potential gain.
Deliver the Message
Now that your marketing and sales teams know who they’re talking to and what they’re saying, how should they broadcast the message?
Your lead generation team should be online taking advantage of any opportunity – SEO, Pay-Per-Click, blogging, social media marketing, eblasts, drip email campaigns, and much more.
Your sales team should be monitoring an online chat, follow-up with leads via web-monitoring, attending networking events, teaching at roundtables, webinars, seminars, and tradeshows, and emailing/calling leads.
Meanwhile, marketing and sales are communicating a unified business case to the right people; your marketing team shares qualified leads with sales and your sales team communicates the annual sales quota.
If sales and marketing work together efficiently with a highly specific sales strategy, you can potentially see a dramatic increase in manufacturing sales. If you’re interested in increasing the quality and quantity of manufacturing sales leads, contact Joe Crestuk to determine feasibility, potential gain, and best fit.
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Posted on: July 31, 2017