The manufacturing industry is no different to any other in that its sales models have had to evolve over time to keep up with the competition and to continue to give consumers what they want.
Sales methods which would once have seen a manufacturer ahead of their competitors are now becoming outdated and ineffective, and progression in sales departments has become compulsory.
There's no doubt that change on a large scale is required for manufacturing companies to remain at the peak of their industry long into the future.
If your manufacturing company has a sales team which needs some inspiration on how to get results and work to the best of their capacity, here are some things you can implement, starting today!
Manufacturing isn't traditionally an industry with its roots planted in the online digital age so this might seem daunting at first. By now I expect you have a fully functioning website, but this should also include a comprehensive online catalogue of all the products you have for sale.
Create versions of your catalogue that you can email to prospective clients so you have a variety of methods to communicate with them and to provide the specific information they need.
Your online catalogue should contain the various makes, models, and sizes of your product and, of course, include the option to buy. This instant access to your services will provide your customer with all the information they need, and the opportunity to buy your products without leaving the comfort of their home, just as your competitors do.
2) Create a customer focused strategy for all your accounts.
You need to put the time into creating a proper strategy for each one of your sales accounts to make sure that you identify and capitalise on every opportunity.
Formally document contacts within those businesses, the nature of their business, along with a detailed overview of their sales history and their future goals and objectives.
This is a time-consuming process if you're just starting to get all your records up to scratch, but once you've adopted this as standard protocol for all your new accounts, it'll save you time and increase your sales in the long run.
3) Treat your sales department like all operational departments.
Your sales team is an operational department and should be treated as such by enforcing a set of streamlined procedures that reduce costs and keep things running efficiently.
Your sales team won't need to follow the same protocol as other departments because each one of their sales accounts is unique and a comprehensive step-by-step procedure might not be relevant. Regardless of the tools they use, they do need to make sure they're working to the highest of their efficiencies and meet company benchmarks set by those who understand the performance indicators required.
Any time that's not spent on servicing existing accounts should be allocated to prospecting for new clients to bring in new revenue for the company.
4) Treat your customers as individuals.
We already know a lot about a potential client's behaviour before we've even met them so in many industries it's efficient to target a specific market, but this isn't the case in manufacturing.
The needs of every manufacturing client are all so unique, it's unproductive to introduce yourself with a blanket approach. Not only are the customer's requirements industry-specific, but also business specific too. Every manufacturing customer is likely to have their own needs for your product and if a sales team targets all prospects with an umbrella approach, your potential customers will think that you don't understand them and they're likely to move on to someone who listens.
You'll need a sales pitch, of course, but make that the second part of your conversation and adapt it once you've heard the problems of your potential customer and worked out how you can accommodate their needs.
5) Provide a dedicated service to your top accounts.
The Pareto Principle is widely known and has identified that 80% of your sales come from 20% of your customers. It's that 20 % that need the TLC to make sure they reach their buying capacity. It's essential that you focus the attention on nurturing those clients and getting the best out of those relationships to leverage your sales to their maximum capacity.
While doing this, it's important that you don't neglect the 80% who have the potential to move into the 20% and consistently offer a level of service that your customers have come to expect.
It's never an easy task to adopt new processes to increase sales in your industry, but 'not easy' doesn't mean 'impossible' and by tightening up and streamlining processes, you will notice results in no time!
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