Short and sweet
The manufacturing industry is undergoing rapid change. In particular, the momentous crises of the past few years have revealed the failures in the area of digitization in many places, which must now be made up for as quickly as possible. The future of sales is called Sales 4.0 - here, demanding customers are setting the direction, also in the B2B sector. Accordingly, sales must adapt to the new requirements in order to stand out from the competition, reach new customers and attract them with tailored offers, while retaining existing customers in the long term with optimally managed measures. To master these challenges, you need a comprehensive strategy that is precisely tailored to your company and thus paves the way to a successful future.
In our following article, we show you what potential digitization of sales offers in the manufacturing industry and why it is also becoming increasingly important in the B2B sector.
Everything important at a glance
Digitization has long since arrived in our everyday working and living lives. It should not be viewed with fear, but as an opportunity for new market and growth potential.
Digital sales structures and communication methods are the optimal way to maintain your own company in a competitive market now and in the future, as well as to reach and retain demanding customers in the long term.
The COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, has recently demonstrated the urgency for the manufacturing industry to adopt new digital ways to function in times of crisis.
Customer orientation has also become much more important in the B2B sector. In the future, the customer will increasingly set the tone in sales work and should be the focus accordingly.
Automation and analysis in the course of sales digitization are not intended to replace employees, but to provide them with reliable support in their day-to-day work so that they can concentrate fully on their core business.
For the digital transformation to succeed, not only the technical requirements for a system implementation must be met, but also the will of your employees to get involved with the new system and to rethink their own habits.
To help you implement your digital sales strategy, we've come up with solutions that are cost-effective, quick to implement, and easy to use. Let us introduce you to our Salesforce modules for sales: Digital Sales Process and Digital Visit Reports.
What will sales look like in the future?
Sales of the future is digital. This does not mean that personal appointments or networking events will no longer play any role. But classic sales channels will continue to lose importance. With the numerous possibilities of data analysis and automation of a digitalized system, your sales staff will not be replaced in the long term, but supported, in order to ensure full concentration on the customer and the sale. Optimal solutions and customized offers no longer have to be searched for laboriously, but are available quickly and easily.
Offering one's own products or services via the Internet has long since ceased to be enough. Because digitization has become an indispensable part of our everyday lives and of the economy, and will play an even greater role in the future, companies must rethink in good time and adapt to developments. Customers will become even more of a focus and the determining factor for new models and measures.
What are the requirements?
A strategy for digitization should be thought through as holistically as possible in order to make implementation as efficient as possible. Because digital transformation requires both investment and a rethinking of previous processes, certain prerequisites are necessary to realize it:
First of all, the technical prerequisites for comprehensive digitization in the company must be in place. After all, the best systems and tools only work with the appropriate IT infrastructure as a basis.
In the best case, digitization should be thought of as a holistic corporate process, instead of being limited to individual departments or solutions. This can sometimes require a realignment of their structures and strategies.
There must always be a clear strategy behind the plan to digitize sales that is aligned with the specific requirements of your company. Here, consulting can help to develop the optimal strategy.
In addition to the sales competencies of your employees, it is also important that they are willing to rethink their own role and get involved in working with a fully digitized system.
Marketing and sales should be closely interlinked and transparent communication should be enabled. In this way, sales can rely on effective lead management and qualified leads, while marketing benefits from the extensive customer knowledge of the sales staff.
Tips for implementing a digital sales strategy
In recent years, competition and competitive pressure within the manufacturing industry have increased enormously. Accordingly, it is becoming increasingly difficult to meet the growing demands of customers and to stand out from the crowd.
With the help of the following tips, you can develop the optimal sales strategy for your company:
1. focus on customers.
Because customers are becoming increasingly important and their demands ever higher, it is crucial to fully align a digital sales strategy with them - whether in new customer acquisition or for long-term customer retention. This clear focus will also make it easier for sales staff to embrace new sales processes or automation.
2. Think across departments.
Your strategy should always include the areas of marketing and service. Close cooperation creates useful synergies here. With an intelligent CRM system like Salesforce by Salesfive and the right automation solutions, the departments can benefit from each other and thus optimize the entire sales process.
3. combine cleverly.
Provided the technical requirements are right, you can implement and link different systems and select the most suitable modules and solutions. With the right advice, you can put together a package that is tailored precisely to the needs of your company and that will accompany you optimally into the digital future.
4. rely on digital natives.
The Internet- and technology-savvy generation is not only important as a target group. You should also rely on the voice of digital natives within your workforce and especially in the areas of sales and marketing. Optimally, you can combine analog and digital offerings to meet all potential customers and, if necessary, accompany them into digitization.
5. Trust Big Data.
The collection and useful analysis of customer data has never been easier thanks to intelligent tools. Digital data management enables your employees to access all customer data at any time and from anywhere and thus always create the optimal offer. The more data you have at your disposal, the better you can tailor measures to your target group. Take advantage of new technologies and get involved in getting to know your customers better.
6. focus on touchpoints.
By keeping an eye on the buying and usage behavior of your target group, you can reach both existing and prospective customers at any touchpoint with the right measure. Make relevant information easily accessible and understandable at all times, and provide advice and service across multiple channels.
7. romp around on social media.
Social media can be used not only for advertising and campaigns with a wide reach, but also to make specific offers. Learn from the user behavior of your customers and address them via different channels. With versatile content and an emotional charge, you can arouse curiosity about your company and your product.
Our solution for implementing your digital sales strategy
Previously, we explained the tips for implementing a digital sales strategy. Now we don't want to deprive you of the corresponding tools for implementation. Especially for the manufacturing industry, we have developed modules based on Salesforce that digitize and automate your sales. The modules are quick to implement, easy to use and cost-efficient. Convince yourself of our specific solutions.
Salesforce Module: Digital Sales Process
Nowadays, customers want quick results and fast processing of their requests. A sales force must be able to deliver this. Gain speed and close deals faster with a digital sales process adapted to the manufacturing industry.
With our sales template, you can map your entire sales process clearly and holistically. All phases of the sales process are listed in a structured manner and are visible to all employees. With the modular system, the most important steps from initial contact to closing are standardized and provided with the most important fields adapted to the industry standard. Close and transparent collaboration between sales and marketing in particular is essential for creating content that is relevant to the target group. With Salesforce as a cloud-based CRM system, it is also much easier to adapt the sales structure to the new circumstances in the event of future changes in your company. It also opens up completely new sales opportunities that would never be available in the analog world.
Salesforce Module: Digital Visit Reports
Also essential to implementing your digital sales strategy, and especially important for the manufacturing industry, is ensuring seamless collaboration between inside and outside sales. In this context, visit reports are often mistakenly used by the inside sales force as a control tool for the field sales force. Here, too, a digital solution can provide a remedy: Our Salesforce Digital Visit Reports module.
The module offers the possibility of simple planning, documentation and follow-up of field service appointments. The central storage as well as the easy usability of the reports saves your employees time and long communication channels. After an appointment, your employees can fill out the visit report with one click. Thanks to the mobile app for iOS and Android, the report can be filled out directly on site. In the app, any data can also be viewed, edited and shared with other employees and teams, such as the office staff.
Special features of sales in the manufacturing industry and B2B sales
The manufacturing industry has to juggle a comparatively large number of variable factors and is heavily influenced by external dependencies. This makes it very susceptible to production problems or supply bottlenecks, especially in times of crisis. In addition, the COVID 19 pandemic has also revealed weaknesses in the area of digitization, which is becoming increasingly important for sales, among other things. In the course of the fourth industrial revolution, the demands of customers are also increasing, and they expect Sales 4.0 accordingly. This is also increasingly true for the B2B sector. Studies from recent years show time and again that the expectations of digitized B2B sales are not being met to a sufficient degree. Customers are usually already comprehensively informed at the time of the first contact and should be able to be picked up at every touchpoint of their customer journey. Sometimes direct contact is only sought when there is a complex problem.
The simple possibility of comparing different providers online before contacting a sales department is a central factor in the changed conditions in sales work. Active acquisition is required, as well as a personalized offer at the right time via the right channel. Just like private customers in the consumer goods market, B2B customers also want to feel that they are the center of attention.
Why should you digitize your sales?
Digitization is influencing all of our lives, both in our private lives and in business. Ignoring this change means losing touch in the long term and no longer meeting the demands of customers. Due to its strong customer proximity, sales is particularly affected by the advancing digitalization in the purchasing process. In addition, sales is one of the crucial areas of the manufacturing industry and is therefore an excellent starting point for digitization measures in the company. However, digital transformation should always be thought of for the entire company.
Digitizing your sales processes ensures a high degree of transparency and improved internal communication, especially with the closely interlinked marketing and service departments. Employees will benefit equally from intelligent data management and helpful tools. By using a CRM system, you generate more contacts, which you enrich into qualified leads through more targeted measures and, with the help of analyses and individual offers, encourage more sales, which in turn mean more revenue. By having all digital communication channels available at the same time, you can not only reach your target group more easily, but also get to know them better through their respective user behavior. Your employees are also less busy with administrative tasks, always have the right information at hand, and can engage with customers even more.
What challenges do you face?
Despite all the opportunities and potential, a complete digitization of your sales naturally also brings with it certain challenges.
Growing demands from customers:
B2B customers are also increasingly demanding sales. Their demands are becoming higher and require a constant adaptation of your offer and thus also increased investments. Both new customer acquisition and customer retention are becoming increasingly difficult. In most companies, the structure of sales is not yet sufficiently adapted to the new requirements. The customer is increasingly setting the tone and determining the direction in which sales must develop and what it must achieve.
New distribution channels:
Old sales channels such as trade shows or print media are losing importance and need an adequate translation into the digital age. It is not only the products and services that must meet the needs of customers, but also the advice and service.
New business models and strong competition make market conditions more difficult. You need to find a way for your company to present itself attractively online in order to be perceived in the digital world, both by existing and potential new customers.
Rethinking of the employees:
In addition to the right strategy, it is particularly important to get your employees on board and to encourage them to rethink. They must be prepared to rethink classic methods and familiar processes and to break new ground.
The use of different communication channels also means greater effort, e.g. to regularly deliver content that is adapted to the respective platforms. Trust and reliability are more important for interested parties than the mere communication of information.
For whom is it worthwhile?
In addition to the manufacturing industry, there is naturally a need for a comprehensive and efficient digitization strategy, especially within the technology industry. In addition, numerous other industries benefit from digitized sales, especially those that are particularly data-driven - e.g., telecommunications, media, or financial and insurance companies. But the consumer goods or services industry is also increasingly confronted with the challenges of digitization. In any case, the decisive factor is the right digitization strategy, which can be optimally tailored to one's own company through the use of intelligent systems and individually adaptable solutions.
The larger a company, the more complex its internal sales structures, which must be adapted to the digitization strategy. On the one hand, the financial and structural effort involved in a digital transformation is greatest in large corporations; however, the benefits and successes are correspondingly great. Medium-sized companies can benefit in a special way because the concrete solutions need to be less complex, but can be used comprehensively. Here, too, it is crucial to stand out as a company and reach potential customers at the right time. But even for small businesses and solo self-employed people, simple digitization processes or partial solutions can take business to the next level, and at a very manageable cost.
Regardless of the size and industry of your company, with a digitized sales force you benefit from numerous advantages such as:
Simplified work processes and automation
Transparent data management
New synergies through the fusion of marketing and sales
Concentration of the employees on the customers
Optimized new customer acquisition
Increased turnover through more sales deals
Sales of the future is digital, that much is certain. In our article on the current topic, we explained to you the prerequisites and tips for implementing a digital sales strategy. Through our industry expertise, we have developed our own modules for implementation that are based on Salesforce and configured specifically for the manufacturing industry. The challenges you face are no small ones, we know that. We also know that appropriate tools are the basis for successful sales digitization in the manufacturing industry.
Our conclusion is correspondingly simple: sales digitization offers only advantages for you, your customers and your employees - a win-win-win situation. At the same time, change management measures must not be neglected. After all, it is your employees who will have to work with the new system in the long run. As an expert, we are available to you in all phases of the process of your sales digitization. Feel free to contact us at any time with any questions.
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