Sales friction is killing your manufacturing business

Posted by Leo Boon Yeow on Jul 6, 2022 3:08:50 PM
Leo Boon Yeow
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In just a few short years, the business landscape for manufacturers has changed dramatically. Once the weaknesses of traditional sales have been exposed, there’s no going back—both for your manufacturing business and for your customers.

Manufacturers that lubricate the sales process are winning

Manufacturers that switched to digital sales now see win rates of offers go up by 20 to 40 percent. The costs of serving customers were reduced by almost 50%. These are incredibly attractive benefits of sales digitalization. But at the same time, manufacturers that delay sales digitization are bleeding customers to competitors that are much easier to buy from.

Forward-thinking manufacturers remove friction from the buying process by offering speed, convenience, and an amazon-like buying experience—expectations led by the consumerization of B2B manufacturing. This change offer customers more than just speed or better prices, they create and deliver the value your customers want.

This customer-centric approach is what helps manufacturers win deals and close contacts.

When you make it easy for customers to buy, they come back. If you don’t, then they find someone else who will make it easy for them to buy. It’s really that simple. And the solution is even simpler—an end-to-end Digital Sales Platform for manufacturing.

How sales digitization reduces friction for manufacturers

When your sales process is digitized, your business becomes much more accessible to your customers. In concept, it simply means your backend is connected to your frontend. But using data to power sales delivers powerful results. Customers get 100% accurate quotes and RFQ responses faster. They can find and order products and solutions instantly online. Your business uses historical purchase data to sell exactly what customers need. 

Once customers buy, their orders enter your backend systems with 100% accuracy. No delays due to pricing or costing errors, miscommunication between sales and the customer, and misalignment between sales, engineering, and production.

Customers order, your business makes, and customers get what they want. This is sales efficiency. 

Sales efficiency also removes any unnecessary barriers that prevent your business from serving customers to the best of its ability. Anything less is unacceptable from the customers' perspective. 

Sales digitization unlocks new possibilities for manufacturing sales

Digitizing the sales process is more than just buying additional digital sales tools. It requires a seamless flow of data between each tool your business uses. For example, CAD integration allows you to create 2D or 3D visualization to support online sales. With just a glance, customers can identify their product model and the corresponding spare parts.

A more specialized example would be the integration with Google Maps. One of our customers, a leading irrigation solutions manufacturer, uses our platform to automatically generate 95% accurate solutions, simply by defining the project’s location on the map. This customer also uses our platform to extend these advanced features to their partners and distributors across the globe.

Some of our customers also use the platform to ensure pricing accuracy or enhance their existing CRM with quoting capabilities. Whichever the use case, the goal is always the same—to provide customers with the first-class buying experience they want. But besides a great buying experience, digital sales also deliver other tangible benefits to your manufacturing business.

Immediate benefits of removing friction from manufacturing sales

Sales digitization removes friction from the customer’s journey with your business. But customers are not the only ones that benefit. Your sales team and manufacturing business also stand to gain when the sales process is improved with a Digital Sales Platform.

  1. Uncover new areas of revenue - In many cases, the bulk of a manufacturer’s revenue (up to 60%) comes from aftersales. Through a self-service online portal, spare parts and consumables sell themselves because customers can order whenever they see the need.

  2. Accelerated speed-to-marketECommerce is a two-way street. Customers get direct access to your business, but the reverse is also true. Once new products and innovations are in your online store (a more powerful digital catalog if you will), they are instantly in front of customers with minimal effort on your part.

  3. Improved customer retention - Customers want to solve their problems fast. With an integrated customer portal, customers can easily get the solutions they need from your business through a positive, personalized, frictionless buying experience. When that happens, retaining their loyalty becomes easier.

  4. Selling becomes more efficient - Digitizing sales instantly leads to efficiency gains in sales. The CPQ element improves pricing accuracy and quoting speed, the CRM uses transaction data to enhance forecasting accuracy and enables easier upselling cross-selling, and eCommerce empowers customers with 24/7 self-service access to everything you offer—from products, spare parts, consumables, or services.

  5. Sell through a united sales front and brand - A digitized sales process is a distinct advantage for manufacturers. But when it’s extended to your partners, distributors, and dealers, the effect is two-fold. Not only do they become just as efficient at selling, but they also send quotes with your brand on them—keeping it at the top of the customers' minds.

Raise the bar on customer experience in manufacturing

In a saturated market, manufacturers are looking for new ways to establish enduring relationships with their customers. Offering services is a proven way of keeping customers coming back. This development also puts the spotlight on the customer experience. B2C online retail businesses have set the bar extremely high and are responsible for increasing customer demands and the consumerization of B2B.

What this means for B2B manufacturers, is that eCommerce is simply one piece of the customer experience puzzle. To raise the bar, a manufacturer’s eCommerce customer (or even partner) portal would need to offer the speed, accuracy, and convenience only a fully integrated platform can deliver.

A Digital Sales Platform that’s integrated with your ERP, and embedded with a CRM, CPQ, and eCommerce fully digitizes your sales process. What that means for your customers, is that they receive 100% accurate quotes on the same day. They can perform self-service configuration and purchase instantly from your webshop. They have clear visibility into inventory levels, prices, and delivery times, and can plan ahead for their own business.

And these are just the improvements to the customer journey.

A Digital Sales Platform, once implemented, provides improvements to the entire sales process too. To find out more, download our Roadmap to Digital Sales Success. In the ebook, you will discover the full extent of how sales digitization can improve your manufacturing business, and what it will take to achieve success.

Alternatively, if you are ready to streamline your sales process, book a no-obligation appointment with our manufacturing sales experts to experience first-hand how our platform can accelerate sales in your business. 

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Leo Boon Yeow

Written by Leo Boon Yeow

Boon Yeow – is passionate about all things tech. His background as a journalist helps him understand complex B2B technology. His mission is to translate it into fact-based, comprehensible stories that help manufacturers improve their businesses.

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