Manufacturing sales can be time-consuming and complex. Products and services sold at this level are often expensive, with lots of custom components. And purchasing managers are often in no hurry to make big decisions.
Read on to discover seven ways to make your task as a manufacturer’s sales rep far easier and more productive:
1. Master your manufacturing company’s product features and benefits well.
The first step to being an outstanding manufacturer’s sales rep is to know all about what you’re selling. Your clients will notice if you only have superficial knowledge about your products. You need to know about the product’s features and the benefits to your customers.
Here are some ways to get up-to-speed:
- Take advantage of any training courses your manufacturer may have.
Study product literature, specifications, and case studies.
Talk with the engineering or software team that designed the product.
Discuss the finer points with other sales reps or your sales/marketing manager.
Try using the product or service yourself.
2. Learn all you can about your industry, your competition, and your prospects.
Remember, you’re not selling in a vacuum! There will always be competition for your manufacturer’s products.
Learn who your competitors are and how their products stack up against your own. Find out your product’s USPs, and practice discussing what makes your products better than your competitor’s products.
To learn more about your industry, read trade magazines or articles online. Attend your industry’s trade shows. Or seek out the most knowledgeable, experienced employees in the company and ask them lots of good questions.
Understanding buyer behavior means finding out why clients buy. Sure, the right technology, product features, and benefits are essential. Even though we live in a super high-tech world, you ultimately have to work with buyers who use their human emotions to make buying decisions. Sometimes, your clients aren’t even aware of these.
When discussing your products with clients, practice “looking between the lines” and take note of precisely what’s most important to them. Encourage them to talk about how they feel about the products they’re considering. Make a list of these motivational factors, and use them to your advantage in your future sales calls.
3. Find ways to build up your emotional intelligence, and become a better communicator.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to manage and read emotions, connect with other people, and use the information to control emotions, especially when dealing with stressful situations. The higher your emotional intelligence is, the more success you’ll have as a manufacturer’s rep.
Here are a handful of ways to improve this:
- Observe how you react to people. Don’t rush to judgment, and practice being empathetic. Imagine being in their shoes.
- Practice humility. Don’t brag about your accomplishments. Put more focus on others, and utilize “you-centered” language to make the interaction focused on your prospect’s needs.
More communication is nearly always better than less communication. Manufacturing companies rely on their sales reps to communicate well during sales calls when their products are highly-configurable and complex. But excellent communication is also vital for follow-up, referring the client to other experts in your organization, and especially if the client has problems or needs field service.
Effective communication also includes efforts like answering emails, setting up product demos or sending samples, and staying in touch after the sale.
A wise man once said “Communication is the universal solvent. It dissolves everything!”
4. Utilize 3D manufacturing technology.
One way to get ahead of your competitors is to provide your prospects with detailed, accurate visualizations of the products they are intending to purchase. Here’s an example of Verenia’s 3D product modeling technology, utilizing CAD features, that empowers their reps to provide prospects with models of their custom products within just minutes of configuration.
Screenshot of Verenia 3D visualization.
5. Use a robust CRM system to keep track of potential customers and where they are in the sales process.
CRM, or Customer Relationship Management, refers to software that manufacturers can use to seamlessly manage and organize their relationships with customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders.
With a CRM system in place, you’ll find it becomes much easier to find new customers, win their trust, provide qualified support, and provide additional services throughout the relationship. This directly leads to higher conversion rates.
Verenia offers the industry’s top CRM, specifically built for managing manufacturing customer relationships. The platform offers a place for omnichannel selling and a 360-degree view of all prospect and customer activity.
6. Take advantage of CPQ software.
CPQ stands for configure, price, quote; a software system used by manufacturers to produce accurate quotes for complex and configurable products.
With a CPQ system, you can create every single configuration, price, and discount combination quickly and automatically while on the phone with your prospect.
By using your manufacturer’s CPQ software, you’ll save tremendous amounts of time on paperwork, errors in the quoting or configuring process, and proposal generation. Use this time instead to get to know your customer better—so you can sell them more precisely what they need.
Verenia’s CPQ system is perfect for manufacturing sales reps.
7. Establish a good relationship with your field service team for after-the-sale implementation and issues.
Every good manufacturing rep knows that the sale doesn’t end when the contract is signed. It’s also crucial for you to have a close relationship with your field service team. These technicians may be the ones to implement the sale—by building, assembling, or testing the final product out in the field. Plus, they can be your “eyes and ears” for feedback from your customers after the sale.
Providing a Full-Service Sales Experience
The best way to keep your sales process organized, accurate, and reliable is to utilize 3D, CPQ, and CRM software for manufacturers, streamlining the process from when you first get a new lead, to creating a full quote, to delivering on the sale.
Check out Verenia’s manufacturing sales technology in action today, and start your journey to becoming the best manufacturing sales rep.