So Your Industrial Sales Team Isn't Hitting Quota...
Whether you sell capital equipment, consumables, or services, it's likely that you're losing more to the status quo (no decision), having a harder time finding projects, and seeing more opportunities die slow deaths in the pipeline.
Let's assume that your product is good, your industry remains viable, your pricing is appropriate, and your company has a solid reputation.
What do you do?
If you're like most companies you've probably considered some sort of sales consultant or trainer. Maybe you've even hired one.
But is that the right answer?
First, Is It Even a Sales Problem?
Let's back up to understand how companies buy - better yet how individuals work as part of buying teams to make complex purchase decisions for companies.
You have certainly heard the basic statistics:
- buyers are 70% of the way through their buying journey before they want to talk to a sales person
- 93% of B2B procurement starts on the internet
- 74% of the time companies buy from the vendor that first helped them understand their requirements
- complex buying teams average 10.2 buyers
- only 3% of potential buyers are in the market at any given time
So before you start worrying about sales training in SPIN, BANT, BASHO, MEDDIC sales or any of many other sales process models, the first question is whether you're identifying and connecting with buyers early enough in the process.
Understanding the buying journey and how capital equipment and machinery sales happen is fundamental.
You've got to be strongly invested in digital marketing with the right tools, sophisticated SEO, great content and optimization at each step of the process (getting found, clicked, engage, convert, nurture) to ensure your generating appropriate industrial sales leads throughout the buying journey.
Then you can start to look at sales.
And yes, it is an industrial sales problem. However, it's not JUST a sales problem.
Lead Management, Pipeline Management, Knowledge Sales
In 15 minutes you can set up a system to send quotes automatically. You don't need a sales trainer for that. You don't need sales people to satisfy prospect quote requests reflexive demands.
Now, I know...your industry is different. 🤣
Actually, it's not.
EVERY company I work with thinks they have a lead problem. And most do. But once the leads start to flow they gradually have to acknowledge a sales problem. Leads are rarely worked effectively. Pipelines aren't properly qualified and managed. And most sales people are simply administrators - even some of your experienced and "successful" veterans.
Topline industrial sales relies on a much deeper set of skills than roll playing the right way to turn a phrase, or calculating the activity levels required to hit sales goals given quota, deal size, close rates and sell cycle.
Social selling, sales video, business finance, data analysis, writing, research, and story telling are all important skills; and skills that B2B sales consultants don't typically bring.
Instead they focus on their same (often tired) franchised sales process model.
A Manufacturing Marketing & Sales Strategy - Unified, Predictable Revenue Growth
The problem facing most companies is actually bigger.
Sales trainers probably aren't the answer. But neither are most inbound or content marketing agencies. They may check the boxes with blogs, offers, landing pages, HubSpot or Marketo marketing automation, chatbots, SEO and other tactics and tools, but they don't understand industrial markets.
And behind it all, the sales trainers don't understand digital marketing - just as the digital marketers don't understand machinery sales and other industrial situations.
Yet, from the buyers perspective the engagements they have with your marketing need to be sales experiences, and the engagements they have with your sales team need to be educational (almost like marketing.)
You see, the functions are now largely conflated - but from the buyers perspective that doesn't matter. They have one experience with your company regardless of what department you want to call it.
And that brings us back how to solve for top-line revenue growth.
Manufacturing Revenue Growth
Buyers expect to have a contiguous experience with your marketing and sales.
So that's what you need to provide.
That means digitally enabled in and outbound marketing, coordinating closely with in and outbound sales. They need to work together using tactics and tools guided by a strategy which contemplates the entire journey from the buyers' perspective and brings that understanding to interactions with each of the more than 10.2 buyers on a typical capital equipment buying team, and at each stage in the journey.
The details of the email templates and call scripts are important, but only once you've solved for the big picture challenge.
So before you chase after a leads generation service, a manufacturing marketing firm that specializes in HubSpot and inbound marketing, a B2B sales expert or trainer or some other symptom focused solution, step back and look at the overall program.
If you're trying to apply a circa 2005 treatment to a symptom, it's likely to fail. Instead the important first step is to adapt your revenue growth model to a 2021 procurement environment.