3 Best Practices to Surge Manufacturing Sales

Highlights

  • Evidence-based best practices show how to grow customer acquisitions most effectively. They shift unsupported ideas that lack measurable execution to prescriptive guidance that achieves forecasted results. Industry research and evidence-based best practices take the guesswork out of growing customer acquisitions.
  • Three manufacturing sales best practices to increase customer acquisitions are a sale methodology, salesforce automation software and revenue engineering.
  • A sale methodology is a prescriptive but dynamic framework of sales strategies, tactics and responses that aid the buyer in completing their purchase decision and at the same time help the seller maximize the win rate.
  • Salesforce automation software brings process automation, information reporting and scale to business development execution. Research shows the most effective applications initially focuses on user benefits such as staff productivity and performance goals.
  • Revenue Engineering depicts the company's revenue progression in a Lead-to-Revenue funnel. The funnel shows the sales stages, conversions and velocity for all leads as they traverse the pipeline. It displays real-time revenue visibility and date-based predictability. And it permits What-If analysis, pro forma modeling or the manipulation of leads with sales and marketing programs to improve and accelerate customer acquisitions.
Johnny Grow Revenue Growth Consulting

Manufacturing sales recommendations without supporting data are just somebody's opinion.

A smarter approach is to apply evidence-based best practices that are validated by research, include prescriptive frameworks, have purpose-built measurement systems (i.e., metrics and dashboards) and leverage technology automation.

Manufacturing sales best practices are prescriptive recommendations that save time, increase focus and lower risk. They show the most direct route to year over year revenue growth, revenue plan attainment, quota attainment and improving the opportunity win rate.

Manufacturing Sales Best Practices to Grow Customer Acquisitions

There is no single method to grow customer acquisitions. But there are manufacturing sales best practices that maximize lead to revenue conversions and top line revenue growth. Here are three of those lessons.

Manufacturing Sales Best Practices
1

Start with a Sale Methodology

A selling methodology changes the focus from what you sell to how you sell. It advises the methods or techniques to advance prospects within each step of the selling process. For example, it defines the qualifying questions to assess a lead, the path to align buyer pain with product benefits, the strategy to create a solid win plan, the negotiation methods to preserve revenue, the incentives to get the opportunity closed and many other tactics to win competitive deals.

To achieve repeatable and predictable success, the methodology must promote specific principals, including the following:

  • Show how to solve buyer problems with customer insights, unique perspectives and points of view (POV)
  • Show how to navigate the customers' buy cycle and lead to a predictable outcome
  • Deliver the right action, content, recommendation or response to the right buyer role at the right time
  • Identify roles and responsibilities for team selling coordination and effectiveness
  • Closely coordinate with indirect sales channels such as partners or manufacturing sales reps
  • Seamlessly integrate with a multiple step manufacturing selling process
  • Convert customer and sales cycle data into insights to support guided selling and deliver contextual next-best-action recommendations
  • Apply KPIs to measure progress and quickly identify variances or red flags that need swift remediation
  • Use a knowledgebase to store post-sales results and analysis so lessons learned can be delivered to similar future sale opportunities
  • Use closed loop reporting to deliver real-time alerts, predictive analytics and coaching opportunities

Sales performance research findings published in The Sales Excellence Report reveals that sellers with optimized sale methodologies achieve an 11% higher sales win rate than those with informal methods.

The research also found that selling success is further boosted when a sale methodology is integrated with a structured sales process and CRM software. These three components create the sales trifecta and increase win rates 6% above sale methodologies alone.

The Sales Trifecta
2

Apply SFA Software

Manufacturer and industrial company sellers pursue multiple complex sale opportunities in parallel over extended periods. Sales technology can help proactively manage those pursuits.

Sales software research findings published in The Sales Excellence Report revealed that Sales Force Automation (SFA) software, often called a Sales Cloud and normally a component of a CRM suite, was scored as the most effective software tool by salespeople.

Top 5 Sales Technologies

However, not any SFA software will do for industrial sector sales reps. Depending upon the manufacturers products and go-to-market model, sellers may have unique requirements such as the following.

  • Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) automation is the part of the manufacturing CRM software that helps sellers quickly quote highly configurable and complex products. These products are often governed by operational constraints, compound configuration rules and razor thin margins. CPQ software can put engineering expertise into the hands of manufacturing sales reps and decrease the sales cycle duration while simultaneously improving quote and sale order accuracy.
  • Partner Relationship Management (PRM) aids industrial companies that sell through indirect channels such as distributors, retailers, resellers, business partners and independent sales reps. PRM is designed to deliver sales enablement to indirect channels. This software automates partner onboarding, accelerates time to value, improves the partner relationship and grows mutual success. The increased automation enables industrial companies to better manage and scale partner programs with fewer partner management resources.
  • Opportunity scoring increases seller win rates. Many industrial companies have notoriously low conversions for new customer acquisitions. Using SFA capabilities such as automated opportunity scoring, the opportunities can be quantitatively compared to prior wins and losses to show which are solid, which need intervention, and which should not be pursued. This improves staff productivity and win rates by helping sellers focus on the opportunities they can win.
  • Product Lifecycle Management can be aligned for contextual selling. Unlike most other industries, industrial companies can track how a product is being consumed, when it is approaching the end of its useful life or when the useful life is over. These lifecycle events can be configured into SFA or CRM software using workflow notifications. This allows sellers to be notified of proactive opportunities and reach out to customers at opportune times.

There are many other purpose-built SFA and CRM capabilities to aid industrial sellers. They include things like digital selling, direct to consumer, guided selling, intelligent promotion (i.e., up-sell, cross-sell and bundling) and seamless integration with field service management apps, IoT hubs and ERP systems.

3

Make Revenue Results Deterministic with Revenue Engineering

Many manufacturing sales executives don't know what business development programs will drive the biggest revenue impact. So, they guess, hypothesize or revert to a familiar program. They generally focus on one effort at a time, hoping it's the most effective one. It's usually not.

The research referenced previously reported the Best-in-Class companies use revenue engineering to plot the most effective route to increased revenues. In fact, they do it 4.1 times more frequently than the combined average of Medians and Laggards.

Here's how they do it.

Revenue engineering applies a dynamic revenue model that measures the Lead-to-Revenue progression. The model is displayed as a conversion funnel that shows each sales stage, the volume of leads or opportunities in each stage, and the conversion and duration metrics between stages.

Lead Requirements Planning

It shows how and how many leads traverse from the top of the funnel to the bottom. It permits interactive modeling to show how different sales or marketing programs will impact lead conversions and sales cycle velocity.

The model brings visibility, predictability, and deterministic engineering to revenue generation.

When the lead to revenue funnel is applied in reverse (i.e., turned upside down) it can start with a slated revenue projection and then show exactly how many manufacturing sales leads need to go into the top of the funnel to achieve that revenue target.

Because you know your lead-to-revenue conversion rate and velocity, you know exactly what must go into the top of the funnel to get the desired revenue out the bottom of the funnel by a specified date.

Since the model calculates the sales stage conversions and durations of leads and opportunities pursuant to many variables (i.e., customer type, product family or type, opportunity type, sales rep, region, line of business) it can identify stalled leads, illustrate the factors that impede or accelerate lead throughput, and show the levers that will improve or optimize funnel top line revenue growth.

Manufacturing sellers often incur long sales cycles. So, bringing visibility and applying levers to improve sale opportunities in the funnel will increase win rates, customer acquisitions and top line revenue growth.

See the manufacturing sales best practices to increase win rates, acquire customers more quickly and accelerate top line revenue growth.

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The Point is This

An enterprise sale methodology, salesforce automation technology and revenue engineering are three of several evidence-based best practices that can be applied to increase customer acquisitions.

Other best practices include predictable selling processes, sales playbooks, win plans, strategic pricing, AI-fused guided selling recommendations, sales and marketing alignment, coaching, white space mapping, sales enablement technologies, and sales technology stacks to name a few.

The most helpful best practices for any given industrial company will depend upon the company's baseline performance and target goals and be validated with a predictive analytics model.

The point is that evidence-based best practices are effective roadmaps to acquire more customers more effectively. They provide prescriptive guidance to forecasted results and share lessons that save time, reduce investment and minimize risk.