Many manufacturers outline their sales process with a flowchart or series of stages from prospect through to paying customer. It’s visually appealing and clearly shows the continuous forward progression. But it might also be oversimplified.
A high-level sales process document is often missing the details of how to deal with various potential breaking points and common scenarios that arise along the way. The decisions industrial buyers make aren’t as simple as ordering take-out for dinner or buying a new TV for their homes. Most don’t know what specific products suit their application. They may be one of a committee of decision makers that must agree on purchases. And they’re charged with making a long-term investment that will be profitable for as long as possible. This complex buying process includes considerable research and evaluation, changing minds, and tentative schedules based on corporate budget restrictions. Your sales process should accommodate this complexity.
If a prospect doesn’t follow the process or flowchart as it’s written, they’re often set aside or not tracked as carefully as one who fits the boxes from the start. But discounting them is leaving potential revenue on the table.
What happens inside each of the boxes? Depending where the prospect is in their research and decision-making, they need a different response from you. What’s more, the current procurement situation at their company factors into your nurturing schedule so you can stay connected. It’s important to review your sales process to see if it anticipates common scenarios and corresponding responses, and clearly establishes criteria to qualify or disqualify prospects.
Not all prospects find you at the same place, and your sales and marketing team uses your documented process or flowchart to meet them where they are and guide them forward. for example:
You probably encounter each of these situations regularly, but each calls for a different approach. That’s why it’s best to decide how you’ll respond in each case and integrate it into the workflow utilizing the systematic “if/then” logic on which engineers and programmers rely.
Following a detailed sales process like this is much easier than having to reinvent a solution each time a prospect deviates from the chart. Instead, you have time and energy to nurture more prospects and manage leads throughout pipeline
Your detailed sales and marketing processes serve as the foundation for all of your next steps. Each business is different, but there are some common tools and techniques:Goal setting. Specific goals drive concrete plans. Decide what you want to accomplish, from more leads to entering a new market to higher conversion rates. Then ask yourself if your processes and teams are aligned with and working toward them.
Manufacturing technology evolves, your business goals change, and B2B buyers seek to expand their knowledge. That means your strategy has to grow and adapt byrefining processes and addressing lingering problems, such as:
The approach to strategic sales and marketing planning outlined here is what we’ve taken in our own business and with many other clients. We think it will work for you too – please schedule a consultation or contact us today!
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Sometimes in sales and marketing things go along great – until they don’t. Other times you know something’s not working quite right, but it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it is.
Both are signs it’s time to take a step back and assess the situation. A closer look at your people, processes, and technology, and how they work together (or don’t) may reveal invaluable clues to problems and possible solutions.