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Common Sales Issues in Manufacturing – Part 3: Solving Sales Inhibitors

Previously we’ve discussed how the manufacturing sales cycle has changed and what effective team management looks like. Continuing our series, we’re focusing on the reps themselves. Their methodologies and practices may require updating or, at least, evaluating to ensure they can be the best rep possible. In our experience, we’ve found common inhibitors to sales teams. They include:

  • Over reliance on inbound leads – this means that your reps aren’t prospecting and actively pursuing leads
  • Lack of training – Reps need training on deal qualification to guarantee junk isn’t polluting your pipeline and they understand what a real opportunity is.
  • Not speaking concretely about their work – it’s difficult to get straight answer about opportunities, next steps or their progress and you can’t forecast/understand the quality of your leads.
  • Improper use of or failure to use sales tools – not using the CRM to track activities properly means you can’t accurately forecast your revenues.

If Sales staff haven’t been setup for success by providing them with the necessary tools, processes, and training, we shouldn’t blame them if they aren’t meeting expectations.

When evaluating the arsenal provided to your team, make sure you’ve considered the following:

  • CRM: Does it automate and provide clarity into the pipeline, or is it too cumbersome for reps to use?
  • Sales process: Do you know how your team works through a sales cycle? Is it consistent and efficient?
  • Sales playbook. A single resource to training and operating in sales.  Do you have one?
  • Sales support materials for products and sales cycles. Is your team well supported? (brochures, spec sheets, case studies)
  • Lead Management: Do you know where your leads are coming from and how you convert?
  • Has your team been trained to sell in today’s world? 

Now we’ve outlined the common problems and touched briefly on how to fix them. Want another set of eyes to look at your team? Reach out to us to get you started.

To complete our series, we’ll go into effective customer strategy. It involves having strategic account plans, market research and customer profiles, expansion plans, customer on-boarding processes and plans encouraging customer collaboration.

Stay tuned…