Struggling with meeting your quotas? Here are three solutions to your manufacturing sales challenges.
Challenge 1: I can’t get anyone on the phone.
It used to be that you could drop by a potential buyer’s office and have a conversation about how your industrial manufacturing company was the answer to their prayers. Now, though, you can’t even get past the front door — and forget about placing a successful cold call.
So how can you reach the modern buyer to start the conversation?
Solution: Think outside the box by upping your digital marketing and sales game.
The world has turned increasingly digital, and the industrial manufacturing industry hasn’t been immune. Reaching potential buyers is one of the biggest manufacturing challenges in 2019, and it’s not likely to change anytime soon.
With more and more processes being automated and digitized, isn’t it time to apply the same principles to your marketing and sales efforts?
Inbound digital marketing and sales are the perfect solutions when you can’t get anyone on the phone. They represent a shift from traditional sales and marketing efforts, which are all about chasing down your customer with billboards, newspaper ads and cold calls.
By comparison, when you adopt an inbound marketing methodology that’s aligned with an inbound sales methodology for your manufacturing company, you’ll be helping your ideal customer find you. In broad strokes, here’s how it works:
- Provide your potential buyers with online content that speaks to their manufacturing needs, such as case studies that provide concrete examples of how you’ve helped people just like them or a newsletter that provides expert insight into the problems they're facing every day.
- As your ideal buyer searches online for solutions, your content will show up in their results pages, leading them to your website and (eventually) to contact you.
- Then, it’s time for your inbound sales strategy to kick in. Use custom messaging that speaks to their pain points and meet them at every stage of their decision-making process with helpful resources, not sales pitches.
You can make this process even smoother by making it as easy as possible for prospects to get the answers they’re looking for online. Make sure your company is present on the social media channels your ideal buyer frequents, provide easy-to-find resources on your website and consider adding a chat function on the site to put people directly in touch with sales.
Challenge 2: Maintaining regular contact and consistent messaging (across channels).
Of course, it’s all well and good to say that you should be meeting your potential customers where they’re at with online resources tailored to their needs. But that’s easier said than done.
How do you stay in contact with all the leads you’re trying to close without spending too much precious time?
Solution: Sales enablement.
A sales enablement strategy is the process of providing sales with information, content and tools to help salespeople successfully engage prospects throughout the buying process.
A sales enablement strategy looks different for everyone because it’s tailored to your company and your persona. To give you an idea, your sales enablement strategy might include email templates that you can quickly add the lead’s name to and send out in a matter of minutes. You didn’t have to take time to write it but they’ll never know, as it will look like you wrote the email yourself with them in mind.
It might also include a content library full of materials to pass along to potential customers, materials that answer their specific questions about how your products and solutions can help them. It might be a variety of case studies highlighting real-world successes that are all thanks to your company. The options are endless.
No matter which route you choose, be sure to keep your messaging simple and quick. Don’t overwhelm prospects with information or give them a lot to digest. Be sure to show them exactly how you can help with examples from similar customers.
Challenge 3: Closing the deal with qualified customers.
You have leads coming in, but not enough sales. What’s the problem?
Solution: Sales and marketing alignment.
The first step is to identify the root cause of your problem. Are you not getting the right kind of leads from marketing? Is there inefficiency in the handoff from marketing to sales? Do you not have the proper resources to close the deal?
Once you identify the issue, it’s a good idea to put a service level agreement in place to ensure that marketing and sales are aligned. You want your marketing messaging to match what you’re saying on the sales side of things, so the potential customer isn’t getting mixed messages.
You also want the leads marketing is delivering to sales to be qualified, good-fit leads who are ready to buy. That’s what a service level agreement is designed to shore up.
A service level agreement (or SLA) outlines a set of deliverables between the two departments. It also outlines goals for both marketing and sales, with marketing goals helping to support sales goals, and defines what a good-fit lead is. Furthermore, it clearly defines who is responsible for contacting leads at each stage of the buying process so there aren’t any leads falling through the cracks.
Here’s an example of an internal SLA from Hubspot:
“Let's say Company X's sales department has to close $5,000 worth of sales per month in total, and each sale is worth $100. If the sales team's average win rate for the leads they engage with is 50%, Company X's marketing director, Josh, can work with the sales team on an SLA, stipulating that Marketing will deliver 100 qualified leads to sales director, Amy, by a certain date every month.”
If those goals aren’t being met, then you can dig in further to see where the issue lies.
Solving Your Manufacturing Sales Challenges
Of course, one of the biggest challenges is time. If you’re already overwhelmed, adding additional things to your plate isn’t likely to help simplify your sales process. If that’s the case, it may be time to find a partner to help with your sales strategies.
If you’d like to talk, you can contact us at any time. And if you’re not quite ready, our free guide, How to Win B2B Sales in the Digital Age, can help.