American manufacturers face a shifting landscape between unpredictable geopolitical struggles, overseas competition, a looming talent crisis and radically changed expectations from their buyers.
In our new whitepaper, “Reinventing the Machine: Growing US Manufacturing Sales in the Time of Tariffs and Globalization,” we explore the latest research on manufacturing sales and trends and provide strategies that organizations can take to overcome these challenges and transform their sales performance.
Buyers Expect More From Manufacturing Sellers
Buyers are more informed than they’ve ever been, and expect manufacturing sellers to deliver a personalized and individualized sales approach that includes both technical product knowledge and a deep grasp of their clients’ business, including meeting the needs and wants of a growing number of diverse decision-makers.
Only 35% of manufacturers believe they deliver consistently positive customer experiences according to CSO Insights, the research division of Miller Heiman Group—and given how much power buyers now have in the sales process, that means there’s a huge opportunity waiting for those manufacturers who get buyer-focused selling right.
Getting the Most Out of Technology
CSO Insights data shows that only 13% of manufacturing sales leaders feel as though their sales technology stack effectively addresses their selling challenges. Additionally, only 20% have confidence in their CRM and 80% don’t effectively use sales analytics to measure and predict performance. Many organizations today struggle to get sellers to update data in their CRM systems. Salespeople don’t want to spend their time entering data into a system when they could be selling, especially when they don’t feel as though they are seeing actionable results—which contributes to issues with clean data. Sales leaders can solve for this by to motivating their sellers to change they views of CRM platforms—by showing how the data can inform your sales strategies and lead to more growth.
Cost pressures have led to a limited investment in new tools and technology. An investment in a sales technology that uses CRM data to show actionable insights backed by methodology helps fill gaps in areas that aren’t as strong within your sales force—but this technology cannot stand alone.
Manufacturers that invest in technology, linked with a strong sales methodology and a predictive analytics platform such as Scout strengthens customer relationships and increase the likelihood of closing deals. Predictive analytics empower sales managers and leaders to more effectively coach their sales force to improve performance by analyzing data within your CRM and tells sellers what actions to take and which specific buying influences to speak with. For example, Scout uses historical data to show sellers the deals that are more likely to close and shows how to move opportunities faster through the funnel. From there, leaders can look for patterns of success to inform how to approach new clients and improve close times.
How Manufacturing Sellers Stack Up Against World-Class Sellers
U.S. manufacturing sellers have work to do when it comes to being world-class sellers. Luckily, now is the time for leaders examine their sales force and to invest in sales transformation to future-proof their organizations. We found that:
- Only 40% of manufacturers feel their sellers effectively communicate valuable messages that are relevant to buyers’ needs.
- Only 43% of manufacturers feel sales, marketing and customer service effectively align on customer wants/needs.
- Only 45% of manufacturers believe their culture supports continuous development of customer-facing professionals.
What U.S. Manufacturing Sellers Should Do Now
The report features eight practical, actionable steps manufacturers can take now to improve seller performance and grow sales revenue. These include:
- Investing in your people by pairing sales training with technical product training
- Understanding the complex web of buying influences by speaking to the needs of the six or more decision-makers involved in a buying decision
- Informing sales strategies with predictive analytics
- Connecting sales and service
U.S. manufacturers are able to turn their challenges into opportunities with improvements that will usher in a new era of customer relationships that lead to scalable growth. Get started by downloading the report here.