It is no secret that one of the biggest challenges reported by manufacturing companies is strategically managing their sales process. To that end, MAPP and ARPM came together to create an event laser-focused on helping manufacturers understand best practices in managing sales. Together, MAPP and ARPM held the first-ever Sales Process Forum, a symposium focused specifically on how to best manage critical components to business
development. This full-day event featured seven presenters who are sales professionals from member companies, four roundtable exchanges and culminated in final event takeaways and action plans. This summary serves as only a brief, high-level overview of some of the presentations and discussions at this event.
To kickoff the event, the first speaker presented on how he is using tools to automate and track his prospecting and quoting process.
Utilizing HubSpot, his organization is able to:
With this system, they can automate alerts and reminders for specific checkpoints along the process.
In generating and evaluating potential opportunities, one speaker explained their organization has a detailed checklist of information required to vet out projects.
To start evaluating a new opportunity, they require the following basic information:
Afterward, they review with a cross-functional team made up of sales, purchasing, production, engineering, quality and tooling. During this meeting, they discuss capacity, process, tooling and quality.
Additionally, a feasibility review is conducted. This includes:
Finally, they negotiate and live by two important adages:
When evaluating your customers and projects, one organization completes customer account reviews. During this, the organization can decide if they want to grow this business, increase prices or exit a customer.
The process overview looks to identify if there are areas of growth potential. The results and outcomes could include:
Each option requires input from the CEO, CFO, operations manager, quality manager, toolroom, and sales.
After a decision and strategy are established, companies should conduct monitoring activities to track progress and stay accountable to the results.
The goal of these reviews is to improve margins, increase pricing, gain space and focus on the top customers with the most opportunity for growth.
When evaluating underperforming customers, everyone has an opinion on what it is and what to do about it. One speaker shared how they gather three key perspectives before they make decisions:
1. The Sales Perspective:
2. The Manufacturing Perspective
3. The People Perspective:
People from each department complete an evaluation spreadsheet on each of the above perspectives using a rating system of 1 to 5. Reviewing the metrics allows organizations to objectively see what is in the best interest of the company.
Marketing is more than just advertising, and it takes a detailed strategy. One opportunity is developing customer personas. A marketing persona is a “model of a particular type of person who will read and interact with your content marketing which will increase their chances of taking some desired action.”
These personas for customers are important because:
Included in a persona is are answers to questions like the following:
After investing in a new website, many companies have a system for following up with leads who convert into prospects or “hot leads”. However, it is equally as important to have a process for companies that are coming to your
website in your desired target markets that are not converting. These are “warm leads.”
By using Google Analytics companies can track website performance and create a custom report within Google Analytics to track specifically “behavior search patterns”.
This report allows one organization to see what companies are hitting their website and not converting.
After reviewing these companies and identifying those organizations inside your target market, one speaker recommends creating a target list. Using this target list, companies should spend time on LinkedIn, websites and other data information sites to find appropriate contacts.
Then, go after new business by cold calling, sending LinkedIn InMail, direct mail and email marketing campaigns.
Most importantly, continue to follow-up and use multiple methods for communication. Only 2 percent of sales are made on the first contact, while 80 percent of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth outreach!