Manufacturers today are facing several challenges with the revenue-generating unit of their business: Sales. When your sales team’s job includes calculating production costs, configuring the right solution out of a million options, and compiling Bills of Material with hundreds of items, your sales is now playing a data game—not a numbers game.
Leading manufacturing sales with data
Creating a feasible manufacturing solution for your customers while navigating the data game is complex. It involves large data sets stored in Excel siloes and requires salespeople with vast experience, and a perfect understanding of the customers' needs. That makes mastering it near impossible without a digital sales solution built for manufacturing. In this complex scenario, the person responsible for creating winning solutions that appeal to customers would need time - lots of it.
This person would also need to claim extra time from multiple departments -such as engineering, materials, or purchasing - to help prepare a feasible solution that matches the customer's requirements. All of which adds significantly to the total cost-of-sales. For manufacturing firms with business goals focused on growth, market share, or increase in revenue, their sales managers have to:
- Deliver 100% accurate RFQs on time, every time
- Meet tight client deadlines ahead of the competition
- Ensure the highest margins and customer satisfaction
- Keep cost-of-sales low to ensure the highest profit
- Stay updated on the customers' every interaction
- Keep the business accessible 24/7 via multiple channels
Manufacturers are prone to dwindling margins and increasing competition from digital natives who have mastered digital transformation or Industry 4.0. The above-mentioned KPIs can help keep your manufacturing business competitive. But the urgency to digitalize and automate your sales process is becoming more intense.
Explore the potential of digital transformation for your manufacturing business by fully understanding its strengths and weaknesses. Download our Manufacturing Sales Handbook to learn more!
System integration is crucial in sales automation
However, the implementation is easier said than done. Digitalizing (and thus automating) the entire sales process is a huge challenge - not only for sales leaders but for IT leaders as well. The most obvious solution would be to onboard a comprehensive digital sales solution. Manufacturers can start with onboarding a CPQ, one of the fastest-growing enterprise applications in sales.
However, simply getting a CPQ is not enough. This approach may leave gaps that require more work to cover. A modern digital sales solution needs to cover the full spectrum of a manufacturing sales team's needs. That includes a manufacturing-focused CRM to keep track of the most profitable deals, and an e-commerce solution that sells products on its own—with your CPQ acting as the primary engine that powers them.
One key factor that manufacturers need to note, is that their unique IT landscape—which includes legacy systems, configuration, and costing models—and requirements rule out a one-size-fits-all solution. A Digital Sales Platform that can solve the manufacturing challenges needs to be built for manufacturing. For it to work as intended, your digital sales solution requires deep integration with your ERP systems.
This allows critical operational data to flow to the relevant teams and systems, and keep the ERP updated with new data (e.g. customer orders from CRM or e-commerce). When your Digital Sales Platform is set up and fully integrated, your sales teams will be able to cut back on tedious manual work and do what they do best—sell winning manufacturing solutions to your customers.
Are you ready to elevate your sales process? Download our Manufacturing Sales Handbook to fully understand the process, and how you can improve it with digital.