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Roles, Approvals, Country Discounts: Speeding Up Manufacturing Sales Cycles

Posted by Charing Kam on Apr 13, 2018 10:14:41 AM
Charing Kam
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“Manufacturing” as a category might make up a huge part of a country’s GDP, but when you break it down, the types of products made can range from the smallest screw to the largest forklift. There are automotive manufacturers, medical equipment manufacturers, contract manufacturers, engineer-to-order and make-to-order businesses…the list goes on.

It stands to reason that sales processes can differ dramatically according to the type of manufacturing as well. In this article, we will be looking at the ability to expedite the industrial B2B sales cycle for a section of manufacturers.

"How complex is your manufacturing business? How many quotes do you send out per day? Where are all your sales offices located?"

If the answers to those questions above are ‘very’, ‘too many’, and ‘globally’, then this article on enterprise manufacturing sales will be very helpful for you.

Managing Country-Specific Up-To-Date Pricing

When companies have multiple sites across countries, costing can differ widely due to the material situations, leading to varying pricing models that may not be accurate or producing the best margins. From a business point-of-view, there is hence a need to combine these differing pricing models into one system that can be controlled and managed centrally.

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This helps manufacturers ensure that sales organisations across different countries are using the correct material costs, updated with the latest data from their ERP systems. For some sites, some products might include or exclude certain items that aren’t available in the region, for example. Teams from different sales regions need to be looking at the accurate pricing models and up-to-date costing, in order to churn out a quotation quickly and efficiently.  

For example, Mindray is a global Medical Manufacturer that covers the whole value chain from product design through manufacturing, shop floor, distribution, etc. With a number of offices in different geographies, pricing became a manual process, with country-specific processes that depended on the local managers. There were many configuration options when it came to medical devices as well, which were subject to change during the product lifecycles. 

“This required significant lead time to push to the frontlines and ran the risk of introducing errors each time,” explains Mindray CIO Henry Wu.

Multiple Roles And Rules In Quotation Creation

Speaking of teams, each role in a team would be responsible for different parts of the sales process. For example, sales reps need to manage RFQs and quickly create a quote that is accurate. Some of them would also need to give discounts to potential customers in order to close the sale.

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On the managerial level, there’s the need to maintain margins, so they would have to be able to look at the feasibility of a quote to generate the amount of profit that will help them meet their sales targets. For managers, the ability to forecast margins over time (with, as usual, data from the ERP system) will hence be an important part of any sales solution.

Both these roles are different, and hence the types of information they would need to view would be different as well. A central solution that can create rules that will restrict access to certain points, like margins, would allow the sales rep or manager to focus only on the points that matter to them.

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Getting Past The Approval Gates

Approvals can be a pain to manage, especially in enterprise manufacturing companies. Many sites would have role hierarchy in approvals, leading to roadblocks and delays that can happen at any step of the approval process.

To get a quotation created quickly, it is necessary for approvals to be efficient. Quotations that are under a tight deadline might need to go to the top of the approval list or be flagged to skip certain additional approval gates.

What Can Expedite The Manufacturing Sales Quotation Process?

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When it comes to enterprise manufacturing sales, where there are a high number of quotes sent out every month, efficiency of the quoting process becomes a key factor of success. It isn’t enough to use pure Excel sheets to manage the sales process; accuracy and efficiency need to be combined with speed.

For this, manufacturers require a centrally-managed repository of data that is hosted on the cloud, for updated prices at all times. This solution needs to manage pricing models and costs from different countries or sales regions, with rules that will restrict access based on certain roles or regions. At the same time, when role hierarchy appears, there needs to be an option to get approvals quickly, to ensure that quotes can be sent out with minimal disruption to productivity.

For our customers, a manufacturing sales automation tool is the right choice to automate the exact parts that cause delays. With a manufacturing sales automation solution, you can ensure that sales regions are all working from the same solution, but with different rules that make quoting easier and smoother. 

Mindray was determined to get a global solution that could handle all of their requirements  - from prospect to quote to production and to after sales, and with a manufacturing sales solution, they now expect quicker time to market and efficiency gains that will help them to remain relevant and competitive. 

“We expect a significant time savings, but even more importantly, this was essential to our overall Sales Transformation.” - Henry Wu, Mindray CIO

Are you interested in a manufacturing sales solution? Download our whitepaper: "CPQ for Manufacturing Industry 4.0: Values and Benefits"!

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Charing Kam

Written by Charing Kam

Charing is responsible for In Mind Cloud's Inbound Marketing initiatives. A content marketing enthusiast, she works to find out how consumers make decisions and aims to help them along the way.

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