With the changing landscape that is moving towards mass customisation, it has been getting harder and harder to quickly estimate the ‘80% manufacturing-ready quote’ for manufacturers. After all, even if you’ve been in the industry for 20 years, it’ll still be difficult to, at a moment’s notice, be able to immediately calculate costs or project margins. All this information is bound to be split between the most experienced sales reps, the engineering team, the backend ERP system, and more. After all, not all businesses have a Manufacturing X sales platform, like the one we've just launched!
To keep up with the times, many businesses have been working on streamlining processes on the factory floor using Industry 4.0 solutions, from predictive maintenance to Internet of Things (IoT) sensors. However, they’re still missing out on one key process: the sales process.
Sales is a task that doesn’t automate easily; when processes depend on human interaction and on-site training, delays are expected. However, just because it’s expected doesn’t mean it’s normal. There are methods to improve sales processes.
From quicker on-boarding in terms of new sales reps, to user-friendly design during quote creation, business owners can make sure that they don’t have to spend excessive time on training new sales reps.
The New Guided Selling
When a new sales rep joins your company or starts selling a new line of products, they need to be onboarded quickly, so they can start selling faster. Instead of just allowing them to focus on smaller ticket-items, new sales reps should be given the same amount of support so that they can upsell with confidence.
To do this, we need guided selling options that are tailored for the manufacturing industry. Beyond questionnaires and templates, guided selling needs to be able to leverage machine learning to continually form a unified database of selections and requirements, as well as an updated product catalogue. This will reduce the time that new sales reps will spend on understanding the product, and more time that they can spend selling larger deal sizes.
From a simple gathering of requirements to recommend the best product, to the ability for sales reps to configure products with the help of contextual intelligence, and, most importantly, the verification of selection viability and accuracy through instant feedback loops, new sales reps can use guided selling to lead them through the sales process, without the need for constant training and human mentorship. As mentioned, upselling and cross-selling will also be vital to the onboarding of new sales reps, as they can gain valuable experience in the best upselling options through an appropriate sales solution.
The Visual Method
To make it easier for sales reps to understand complex configurations or calculations, visual representations can help. Instead of getting drafting or CAD teams to help, which will cause time delays, Auto-CAD can be integrated into a sales solution to quickly generate a design using parameters and calculations. The sales rep then can easily visualise the final product, and immediately see potential problems or opportunities in the design. This also provides an unintended benefit of helping the sales reps understand the vital role of the sales solution, ensuring that they use it and keep the system updated.
Another example, besides Auto-CAD, that can help sales reps quote faster is in terms of calculations, especially in terms of geography. Geospatial Maps that can display geographic information such as contour lines and high and low points would definitely be useful for sales reps that are looking to quickly estimate project requirements without the need for the engineering team to be involved from the beginning.
In the end, it’s about making it easier for your sales teams to quickly sell, and to sell more. Using a manufacturing sales solution that uses machine learning can allow manufacturers to focus on the production process, instead of wasting time on incentivizing sales reps.