Many manufacturers rely on individual sales staff to create and follow their own sales process using tools and information that they have created. They form personal relationships with a small number of clients and generate sales from there.
This may have been an effective method in the past but it's no longer competitive.
You can bet your competitors are looking for any advantage they can get to gain marketshare by improving their sales process. If you're not up to speed with the latest tools and techniques to provide your prospects with better service, you're risking losing business to your competitors who are.
You might be reluctant to update your sales process. What you have now works and you don't want to break it. Unfortunately the downside to not adapting is scary: declining sales and no growth. On the other hand, some savvy sales process updates can have tremendous benefits: competitive advantage, increased sales, and more growth!
Let’s take a look at a typical sales process and see how you can make it more effective by bringing it into the 21st century.
Confusion Reigns - Does Everyone Know What They Should Be Doing?
A common problem, especially in global manufacturing enterprises, is that each team or even each individual salesperson does not follow the same sales process. This could be because they have not been trained properly, or that each team has a different sales process, or even that there is no company-wide sales process.
Whatever the reason, the lack of a standardized sales process will result in lost productivity and ultimately loss of sales because crucial steps in the process will be not followed.
A sales process implemented by a centralized and integrated sales system will ensure that every sales team member follows the same process. Your process that was designed to maximize profits!
A modern sales system will guide the sales team through each step of your sales process and not allow them to either forget a step or deviate from your carefully planned system.
Why Is This Taking So Long? - Shorten Your Sales Cycle
Time is crucial in sales. The faster that you can move on to the next step the faster you can turn a promising lead into a sale.
If your sales representative is on site with 10 spreadsheets open and their answer to a crucial client question is:
“Err...hold on...let me just cross-reference these spreadsheets.”
You’ve lost a sale.
Eliminate those brittle, slow spreadsheets and worse paper binders, by implementing a centrally managed sales system that provides your sales team with instant quotes including any volume discounts, material costs specification changes, and BOM.
You only need to update the sales system in a single location and every salesperson in every sales team will get the same information. You no longer need to email out yet another revision of a spreadsheet for every update.
One click and everyone is up-to-speed.
Even better, you can update any aspect of your inventory and any prices as often as you like. You can now respond instantly to changes in the market and keep one step ahead of the competition.
They Never Tell Us What’s Going On! - Integrate Everything
A common problem in maintaining an effective sales process is slow communication or non-existent communication between departments.
Your marketing team may be pushing a particular product line or have introduced a new volume discount and have neglected to tell all of your sales teams. Similarly, the manufacturing department might have a supply chain hold up and can’t meet a booked order.
In either case, your sales are lost and your reputation is damaged.
These mistakes can be easily avoided. In this connected world, there is no need for any department of your company to be disconnected from any other.
With the right sales system integrated into your CRM and ERM systems, there is no need for any team to make a mistake through ignorance. All your company information is instantly available to everyone.
That’s not what I ordered! - Eliminate Human Error
No matter how good your sales team is if they enter incorrect details into the order that goes to manufacturing then the client will not receive what they ordered.
This will cost your company a return and harm your relationship with the client. No one wants to look like they don’t know what they’re doing.
When your sales process is guided by a modern rule-based system then the quote that is accepted by the client will be the exact information that the manufacturing department will receive.
Your salesperson doesn’t need to waste time entering and checking complicated information when they could be back selling your products.
With a modern sales system, there will be a far reduced scope for human error to interrupt the smooth flow of your sales process. In fact, a properly designed sales system can reduce human input error by as much as 93%.
A New Way To Implement Your Sales Process - A CPQ Solution
A CPQ, or Configure Price Quote solution is a complete sales solution that will implement the sales process you have created for your products and marketplace. A CPQ will guide your sales team through every stage of your sales process providing the sales team with accurate information and even generating beautiful quotes to send to the client - instantly.
As soon as the order has been booked your salesperson does not need to hand over or enter lots of information for the manufacturing team. Every detail of the order will be automatically and accurately passed on to manufacturing.
Your sales and manufacturing departments will love the ease with which they can get on with their jobs and your clients will re-order because you were so easy to deal with.
Here at Verenia, we have built a world-leading CPQ solution that will provide all the benefits we have explored in this article. If you have any doubts that Verenia will be able to turn your sales process around and exceed your expectations get in contact with our CPQ experts and take the demo for a spin.