Manufacturing Sales in the Modern Age
The modern manufacturing landscape is extremely competitive, and consumers can be easily swayed by effective marketing strategies. Through a well-equipped sales team, manufacturers can more accurately target their customers, and further reinforce their business’s connections.
In a sector that’s seeing more activity than ever, manufacturers must learn to differentiate their brands from those of their competitors if they want to win the attention of potential customers. It is no longer possible to reach your intended audience simply by offering a superior product — today’s manufacturing consumer demands value throughout every step of the sales process, and, thanks to the wide variety of choice available in the market, sees no reason to commit to a single provider. As such, leaders in Canada’s manufacturing industry must modernize their customer relationship management efforts, and take the appropriate steps to maximize the effectiveness of their sales communications. Fortunately, by utilizing current industry trends and software, manufacturers can collect the data they need to make informed sales decisions, and determine which methods of customer relations most strongly resonate with their target demographics.
The right resources — technological and human — are required when building modern sales methods. Consider the salespeople that your business employs: Do they have a reason to work hard? Do they have goals? What are their goals? Passion and motivation are critical aspects of the sales process, and any employee hired for sales should be able to articulate and demonstrate the value that they can provide to both your enterprise and those of your customers. Modern salespeople must also understand the importance of marketing and should have strong skills in written and verbal communications to productively correspond with customers over any medium. Company culture should be taken into account, as well — successful salespeople are well-attuned to their company’s values, attributes, and tone, and should ensure that these elements are represented in each of their customer interactions. Experts in sales recommend that salespeople are hired up to three months before they begin corresponding with customers to give them the time they need to learn about their company’s culture, products, manufacturing methods, and sales processes, thoroughly preparing them to successfully advocate their brands.
Modern salespeople cannot complete their tasks alone, and an effective Customer Relations Management (CRM) suite is necessary for maximizing sales potential. Typically, CRMs allow companies to gather data on their customer base — their activities, buying habits, and general preferences — and capitalize on them through the development of targeted sales and marketing strategies. Today’s CRMs offer a wide variety of automated features that significantly expedite the sales process, lending salespeople the time and capacity they need to establish meaningful connections with their customers. Follow-up, research, scheduling, task management, invoicing, and mistake correction can all be performed by modern CRMs in a near-immediate timeframe, and, when combined with a well-trained sales team, provide companies with unparalleled support in administrative duties. Not all CRMs are equally useful, though, and sales experts are adamant that companies unsatisfied with their current software replace it as soon as possible — outdated automation processes can generate faulty or irrelevant data, which can increase time taken away from customer interactions. Successful salespeople update their technical systems frequently, and stay constantly informed on cutting-edge innovations in their field.
The importance of sales to a manufacturer’s bottom line cannot be overstated — this field is at the forefront of driving revenue throughout any industry and, without succeeding in it, business leaders will find themselves quickly losing relevance and market share to their competitors. Through the proper combination of salespeople and sales-technology, manufacturers can feel confident in the financial application of their productivity, and keep the connections they’ve built with their customers strong.
For more on up-to-date sales strategies, please contact David Munro, EMC’s Manufacturing Consortium Manager for Western Canada. Attend EMC events frequently for knowledge and expertise crucial to leaders in the Canadian manufacturing industry.