More than any other industry, manufacturers find it challenging to sell in a world gone digital. The industry has typically relied on personal relationships to close deals. Until recently, most sales happened during in-person meetings, often over lunch or dinner.
With more Gen Xers and Millennials moving into decision-making positions, things are changing. Many younger buyers have busy personal and professional lives and prefer to communicate virtually. This presents a challenge to manufacturers, especially those that have complex offerings to sell. They’re being forced to find new ways to close deals.
Salespeople working for manufacturers have typically relied on brochures to support their in-person sales conversations. With the shift to virtual selling, companies that rely heavily on paper sales materials are at a major disadvantage. They’re impossible to use during phone or video conferences, even if sent ahead. PDF versions are difficult to navigate and read online.
Another complication: Whether online or in-person, today’s buyers of manufacturing services expect the same type of sales experience they have when they purchase other things. They want to be taken on an interactive journey that demonstrates why a manufacturing service or process is the right one to meet their needs. They also need to come away with a clear understanding of the return they can expect on their investment.
Because of the rapid transformation in how manufacturers sell, more and more are implementing sales enablement programs and systems. Sales enablement provides the tools, training, and data required to facilitate a major change in how organizations sell and make it an effective transition.
Sales enablement allows reps to deliver the right content, in the proper way, anyplace, anytime, in-person or virtually.
This is particularly valuable for reps working for firms that sell a wide array of manufacturing services. It can be almost impossible for any one person to understand — and be able to explain — all of them while being prepared to answer questions from prospective clients.
A sales enablement process and system, if set up correctly, gives generalist reps ready access to the specific information they need to sell virtually anything. They can:
- Learn about what they’re selling prior to meetings
- Identify sales support materials they can share with clients
- Access training on how to use sales tools
- Find answers to frequently asked questions that will make them look like experts.
Making the transition from a traditional to a modern buying experience isn’t simply about converting paper materials into online content. It actually involves creating meaningful pieces designed to support a new and evolving sales process that’s more about having conversations rather than delivering one-sided presentations.
These conversations can be supported by an iPad or other convenient devices.
New types of content could include:
- Interactive experiences, such as quizzes, that help identify the right solutions for different types of prospects
- Dynamic calculators that determine the return on investment
- Animations that provide easy-to-understand information about complex concepts or processes
- Videos that explain what your firm does and its unique value proposition, delivered direct, without having to scroll through YouTube clutter
- Tools, such as automated quoting forms, that help speed the process of closing deals and onboarding new clients.
All of this can be supported by training that will help salespeople use new tools in the most effective way.
Anything is possible if you use sales enablement to help move your manufacturing firms into the future of marketing and sales.
Mobile Locker has developed a sales enablement system from the ground up that provides the flexibility needed by manufacturers to sell a wide array of solutions in all situations. You owe it to yourself to check it out to see how it could benefit your business.