Structure Sales 4.0: How to build sales structures

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

What are sales structures? Why are they so important? How do you build digital sales structures? You can learn all about this in the article.

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Short and sweet

Digitization has not only greatly changed our everyday lives, but is also increasingly determining the makeup of modern corporate structures, not least in the manufacturing industry. Companies in the sector face the challenge of fully embracing the digital transformation in order not to be left behind by the competition. Digitalization must be thought of holistically - because even the most modern smart factory is of little use without the appropriate digital sales structures. In this article, we would like to show you why sales structures are so important for the manufacturing industry and how you can make the most of the digital transformation for your company.

Everything important at a glance

  • The 4th Industrial Revolution will determine the future of the manufacturing industry. Accordingly, companies should definitely embrace the challenges and opportunities of digitization in order not to lose their connection in the market. 

  • The Corona crisis has also presented direct sales in particular with entirely new challenges and led to a rethinking of structures that can guarantee flexibility and customer proximity even in times of crisis. 

  • Winning new customers and increasing sales are essential for long-term success and continuous growth. The customer journey can take a lot of time and effort, even in the B2B sector. 

  • No customers, no sales: Sales play a central role in the manufacturing industry. Accordingly, an optimal working environment should be created for the employees. 

  • Thanks to a cloud-based CRM system like Salesforce, you create a common working basis for sales, marketing, customer service and e-commerce. Intelligent analytics, automation, and process optimization allow your employees to focus on customer contact and ensure the best possible buying experience. 

  • Today's customers expect excellent service, personalized offers, and information via multiple channels. You can achieve this with intelligently structured, digital sales in the B2B sector. 

  • By digitizing your sales structures using our Salesforce modules, you save time and money, increase sales and revenue, and at the same time promote customer orientation as the heart of your sales. 

  • The basis for digital sales: Salesforce Sales Cloud paired with our digital sales process and visit reporting modules: simple, fast and cost-efficient. 

Definition of sales structures: These processes are the basis of digitization

The sales structure of a company includes the entire sales organization, all sales employees and stakeholders, as well as all sales systems and sales channels. The options for setting up and designing your sales organization are very diverse and should be carefully weighed up according to the status quo of your company and the individual requirements. First of all, you need to know your target group very well in order to set your sales targets accordingly, select the most efficient measures and choose the most important sales channels. The structure of your sales organization should be comprehensible to all employees and, in the best case, assign them a clear place with clear tasks, both within their department and the company as a whole. Digital sales B2B must guarantee access to all data and processes as well as the bundled expert knowledge in order to be able to optimally tailor communication and offers to customers. 

What are the distribution types? 

Before we already present you with an initial solution for digitizing your sales structures and then talk about the importance of digital sales structures and how to set them up, we would like to briefly introduce you to various types of sales. Of course, not all of these distribution types are represented in the manufacturing industry, or more precisely, make sense. The choice of distribution type also always depends on company size, budget, product and competition. You should be aware of where you and your team are at this point before it comes to optimizing certain structures. 

  • Branch Sales: Your company operates its own branches to sell the products to end customers. 

  • Direct sales (B2C): You sell your products directly to end customers via independent sales representatives. 

  • Direct sales (B2B): Both employees and self-employed salespersons sell their products in the commercial sector. 

  • Structured sales: Your sales employees recruit additional sales employees, for which the recruiters receive a portion of the commission generated by the new employees. 

  • Telephone sales: Often combined with direct sales, new customers are acquired through cold calls, possible through in-house and freelance call centers. 

  • E-commerce: Direct sales are carried out via the company's own online store; traditional sales staff and salespersons are less likely to be employed here. 

Customer centricity in sales - with Salesforce  

In all these types of sales, the focus must be on customer centricity, even beyond the initial contact. After all, generating a lead does not necessarily mean closing a sale. Industry 4.0 is primarily determined by the high demands of modern customers. These days, they expect an all-round convincing and satisfying buying experience, which can only be guaranteed by an optimal digital sales strategy. The customer journey to the purchase decision can sometimes take a long time. What's more, even in the B2B sector, customers often enter a sales conversation already well informed. Your sales team should be prepared to meet potential new customers at every touchpoint and put together the perfect offer. To ensure that your sales staff can concentrate fully on the needs of your customers, you should rely on the digitized processes of a CRM system such as Salesforce. The basis for this is first of all a state-of-the-art IT infrastructure that enables you to work across departments with a central system - without endless stacks of paper and superfluous work steps. The Sales Cloud is a particularly powerful tool that allows you to manage your entire sales processes and interact with customers in real time. There is also the option of recording the exact status quo of the customer contact in the form of visit reports and subsequently reacting with individual support and tailored offers so that a lead is guaranteed to become an opportunity. 

Why are sales structures important?

No matter how committed and progressive a company is on the path to digitization, without clear and efficient sales structures, even the best product will not ultimately reach the customer. Because the sales department, as the central link to the customer, is responsible for selling the product, it also plays an important role in your company's revenue, which should not be underestimated under any circumstances. Accordingly, digitization must also be consistently implemented in this department in particular to ensure optimal work results. Because during advancing digitization and Industry 4.0, new technologies are constantly conquering the manufacturing industry, for example in artificial intelligence, 3D printing or robotics, sales in particular faces the great challenge of keeping pace and adapting its own expertise to the rapid developments. 

Customer expectations change during digitization 

But the expectations of customers themselves have also changed considerably. Particularly in the B2B sector, sales processes can sometimes be very complex, as many individual steps are often necessary and several players are involved. Due to the high demands of customers, a successful customer journey can become a real challenge. Surveys show time and again that contact and experience with the company are just as important as the product itself. To be able to offer excellent communication, individual advice and tailor-made offers, your sales team must be able to fall back on reliable structures. This is the only way to ensure full concentration and a 360-degree view of the customer. To achieve this, the entire sales process should be clearly structured and digitized. 

How does a CRM system help you build digital sales structures?

Without the digital support of intelligent tools, sales staff can hardly maintain an overview of the wealth of information and analyses that today's demanding customers expect in a personal consultation. The great advantage of a CRM system like Salesforce is the central bundling of all relevant contact data and processes for all players and channels. The software can be integrated into existing systems. By automating processes and actions in this way, your sales team can work far more efficiently and always offer the optimal solutions thanks to intelligent analyses and new insights. This eliminates the need to spend time on administration, document creation, and queries, and frees up your sales force to focus on selling and on responding to each individual customer. 

Fast start, optimal ROI: With our "Digital Sales Process" module 

For a quick start with defined processes and rules, we have developed the Salesforce module Sales Process. With the modular system, the most important steps from initial contact with closing are standardized and provided with the most important fields adapted to the industry standard. 

All departments can work with the same CRM system, which can also be linked to Salesforce CPQ and your ERP. This creates a continuous flow of data in real time, which enables holistically conceived sales digitization and at the same time facilitates exchange with other departments. Especially between sales and marketing, close and transparent collaboration 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. 

In addition to the immense simplification within your team, there is another major advantage: Your customers also benefit from the digitization of your sales structures through better communication and an optimized buying experience. Data and content can also be made available to customers digitally via the same platform. In addition, entirely new sales opportunities arise that would never be available in the analog world. Through intelligent data analysis, your CRM system determines the optimal strategy and offer, so you can respond much more accurately to your customers' needs and ensure even better results in future actions and interactions. 

Tips for setting up sales structures

  • Use pre-built packages such as our Salesforce Sales Process or Visit Reports module to benefit from the industry standard and get started quickly. 

  • Ideally, you should establish a clear sales structure tailored to your products as soon as you set up your company. 

  • Don't be afraid to rethink previous structures and strategies or, if necessary, take a completely new approach. We therefore recommend that you orient yourself to the industry standard. 

  • Digitization should be thought of holistically, i.e. for all departments and processes equally. 

  • In the course of the change to Industry 4.0, you should also focus on digital sales 4.0. 

  • Rely on flexible sales structures of the future that you can easily adapt to even drastic changes in your company at any time. 

  • Adapt your CRM system to your company through a flexible composition of Salesforce modules and the given individualization options. 

  • Today, customers need to be looked after far beyond the purchase in the form of additional services, maintenance etc. Contact should therefore always be established on a long-term basis. 

Combine our Salesforce modules for the manufacturing industry and benefit from the industry standard: fast, cost-effective and simple. Lift your sales to a Sales 4.0 in the wake of Industry 4.0. We know that this only works with the right tools. It is precisely in view of this that we have developed the Salesforce modules Sales Process and Visit Report. A win-win situation for everyone: your sales department works faster and more efficiently, making your customers even more satisfied. Would you like to learn more? Arrange a no-obligation meeting with our experts today! 

Sales structures of the future

And now there's a bit of future melody! What could a distribution of the future look like? There is no question that things will change. Intelligent technologies such as big data, social selling, predictive analytics, artificial intelligence and many others will have a significant impact on sales structures in the future. However, this does not mean that there will be no more face-to-face customer contact. Personal customer care is and will continue to be the foundation of every functioning sales team. So, the social skills of the B2B salesperson will remain. What will change are the surrounding conditions/her. 

Personal meetings with customers will still take place. But only when it is really necessary or requested by the customer. Simple sales activities, on the other hand, will no longer have to be performed by employees themselves. Robots will take over these tasks - such as booking appointments via chatbots or similar. Complex activities and personal contact will continue to be handled by your employees. However, they now have much more time to focus on the essence of their work: Customer centricity. 

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