Ensuring your business has the correct sales tools can make the difference in getting access to, winning or losing a sales opportunity. It can also make a difference to the amount of money you can invoice for that opportunity. So, what do you need to consider to maximise your sales team or sales partner opportunities in a manufacturing, engineering or technology world? Tweaking your sales process order and arming your sales team with effective tools will have a positive impact on the bottom line. Here are some thoughts on how to go about it.*
*For this article please put aside thoughts on regular marketing tools like business social media and scheduled communications like newsletters – this article is about targeted sales contacts or companies.
Warming up the opportunities before direct sales contact
Don’t give your sales team cold contacts to reach out to, warm up your target contacts with solid and memorable targeted personal communications. Consider the best forms of direct contact; is it a focused postal mailing / letter (yes, these work, especially in the age of GDPR), or should you take a wider approach with a targeted LinkedIn advertising campaign?
Do you have the email address of the key target? If so do you have a quality introduction email with engaging attachments or links for the sales team to use? Can a potential target quickly and effectively understand what you are offering? Does it add value to your offering / deliver the same levels of quality as your offering? This may all sound basic, but the reality is that many businesses do not have the core items covered to an engaging high-quality level.
Often the sales team are left to their own devices, and although a sales person can often talk-the-talk effectively, presenting those same messages professionally in marketing communications is not so common. That’s fair enough, they probably should be focusing their time on sales not marketing! However, marketing should absolutely be aligned with your business’s sales goals.
Giving your sales team the one-to-one tools
Your first communication has gone to your key targets, your sales person does not have to make a cold call, maybe a meeting appointment has already been made. The first hooks might well be in – but how do you help your sales team get to the next stage from here? How do you progress the sales process?
If your sales person is pitching over the phone they need online tools to support their verbal efforts, and they need them quickly. This could be pages on your website, that can quickly and effectively be talked through, and that tell a story. Maybe they could be directed to a specific landing page, or a solution example page that fits the target company’s profile.
If it is a scheduled call, why not switch it to an online meeting? Create a presentation that is graphics heavy not text heavy – your sales person is doing the talking, let infographics, pictures and iconography support them. Maybe you have a product / service offering that fits the opportunity for an online configurator that can show specification and benefits to the customer live? Maybe a product demonstration is an opportunity? Consider that many of these tools would work on an exhibition stand. Do these tools all sing from the same song sheet (messaging, accuracy and brand)? Do they support your original communications? There are lots of ways to get your message across, and to effectively differentiate you from the competition.
Getting the bid in correctly
Great, your target customer has confirmed an opportunity and has requested a proposal, but now is not the time to drop your guard on professionalism or to stop actively driving the sales process. Does your tender or quotation documentation look as professional as your product / service portfolio?
Don’t reduce the value of your deal by looking low quality in your communications. Who else in your target’s business is going to see these items? It may be the first introduction to your company, what will it mean to them? What supporting documentation / tools would be useful? Put stats quickly and effectively behind the proposal – professional datasheets, diagrams / drawings with confirmation of specifications that meet the customer’s needs?
Deal closing tools
Progress! The bid is in, you have good vision of the opportunity, but you know it is a competitive situation. What can you do to ensure the deal comes your way, ideally without reducing price? How can you install confidence, trust, perceived quality and deal fit? Do you have whitepapers that highlight solution benefits? Do you have an ROI tool that 1) helps you obtain further deal information for you 2) helps justify the solution to the customer management and procurement? Do you have case studies / references / solutions examples that install confidence ahead of the competition? Should you send an invitation to a manufacturing plant visit, or an opportunity to meet your team? Do you have a visual model that highlights Whole Life Cost / Value? There are lots of opportunities to wrap the customer into your offering.
Every business and customer is different, and a different mix of sales tools is likely to fit each opportunity. Different tools are needed for different communication methods, whether that be phone, email, exhibition stands, or typical meetings. Getting the core tools nailed down first is vital – including the correct messaging – but then we would recommend considered slightly wider opportunities to effectively develop existing customers and new customers, opening more doors. Having quality sales tools can install confidence and pride in your sales team and the teams around them. They can help enable and educate your internal team as well as customers. There are many benefits to quality and effective sales tools.
At Motion Marketing we are lucky to see what happens across a host of industries. We may have considerations that have proven themselves in a different industry to yours. You are welcome to reach out for a brainstorming session on how you can maximise your sales team’s effectiveness through marketing.