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  • David Kohar

6 Ways Digital Selling is Improving Manufacturing Sales

The last 18 months of market changes & global challenges brought on opportunities for Manufacturing Sales leaders to digitally innovate as they were forced to move away from sending sales and marketing teams to trade shows or holding meetings at customer locations. Sales leaders who made the move to modernize with digital selling, shifted their sales approaches & strategies for the better. Leaders who prioritize innovation now will hold the key to unlocking growth in the future.

A recent McKinsey poll showed that 90% of executives from over 200 organizations believe the COVID-19 crisis will fundamentally change the way they do business over the next five years. And 75% of them believe these changes are a big opportunity for growth.

In this post, I share the 6 key areas of opportunity that we’ve been helping our customers grow with Digital Selling, featuring snippets from our recent Digital Selling virtual event (Stream it here).

1. Pipeline Analysis

This is a space where we’ve seen a much more robust view of actionable intelligence - from qualification all way through how deals are closed. Sales teams are really starting to dive in and understand whether they’re actually closing deals or simply putting a lot of quotes out the door. These analytics are helping both the sales team and sales leadership move from just sharing information back and forth and getting bogged down reviewing details in sales meetings to having much deeper conversations about which deals are the right ones to focus on and their performance against them. You can see whether a sale is executing as fast as it should, with a much sharper focus by sales leadership and the sales team as a result of that. Here’s a demonstration of pipeline analysis that shows how sales leaders can quickly see their entire pipeline, clearly identify gaps and risks, and prioritize the right deals with AI-based forecasting.

2. Digital Sales

The strength of modern digital selling tools is they give your team the insights they need to prioritize and follow up more effectively. They track marketing effectiveness, give lead scores, along with research and communication tools. It’s a wholistic tool that improves collaboration, customer communication, pricing and quoting, and centralizes all the details and stages of every deal. In this clip from the Intelligent Enterprise series, Alpha Technologies’ Global Sales & Aftermarket Vice President, James Hill discusses the positive changes his company experienced in just a couple of months after their move to a digital selling platform.

3. Account Management

The very best account management tools give sellers a robust understanding of a customer’s business and forward-looking insights that allow them to anticipate their needs. It’s a much more holistic, 360-degree approach. Before a seller has a customer conversation, they can see how the customer has actually been performing, where they’re spending their wallet share with you, whether that spend is up or down, and if there are gaps. These insights empower your sales team to have highly focused, personalized conversations with customers. In this clip from our Intelligent Enterprise series, you’ll hear from Tarkett Hospitality’s Regional Vice President, Jeremy Clouse who shares how a digital selling platform improved their approach to account management.

4. Seller Performance

Sellers are competitive. Digital sales platforms are a fantastic tool when it comes to elevating the stats that get their A-Game on. User-friendly dashboards within their digital sales solution can highlight how they’re performing versus plan, versus forecast, their individual performance, and performance against peers. It also saves leadership time spent gathering data and crunching numbers in spreadsheets to find gaps and successes. Within moments, sales reps and leaders can understand exactly how they’re doing so they can start having meaningful, strategic conversations. In this demonstration, I’ll show you how a digital platform can be used to improve seller performance and inform growth strategies.

5. Competitor Insights

If you’re selling, you’re dealing with competition. As you start getting into hundreds or thousands of deals that you've won or lost, you start to see some real patterns. And it might be that a particular competitor is beating you on product or price. Or maybe that it's only in a certain territory, or a certain product family.

Having that data surfaced by analyzing hundreds or thousands of deals, in a way that is easily accessible to a sales team will help them to look at an ongoing deal, see how they’re performing against specific competitors, and reveal patterns that can inform their strategy and approach with each customer. Here’s a look at competitive insights in real time.

6. Pricing

Of course, pricing and managing margins are closely tied to competition. Having insights into margins across the last two or three years with a given product or product family, margins against a customer or against a segment, or end-use market, can inform pricing strategies that keep you competitive.

These insights can help you fine tune pricing and margins that make a huge impact. CFOs and finance teams also can take advantage of visibility into pricing and margins to improve projections.

Learn More

For more on these Digital Selling success factors, stream our recent Intelligent Enterprise event series, now available on-demand! Stream the series here. Our Digital Selling event features two of our customers: Jeremy Clouse (Regional VP) from Tarkett Hospitality and James Hill (VP Global Sales & Aftermarket) from Alpha Technologies.

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