As a sales leader in the manufacturing industry, you know that there is no such thing as a quick sale to a new customer. Manufacturing sales are medium to high involvement decisions for your client, often requiring multiple persons in your client’s enterprise to sign off on purchase orders that are hundreds of thousands to many millions of dollars.
Selling in this environment requires a consultative approach with your personal skills and knowledge backed up by compelling and convincing collateral. You need to seize every possible advantage to prevent your sale from dying somewhere between initial contact and close. Mobile sales enablement tools provide a powerful way to augment your existing approach in order to build better customer awareness, turn that awareness into serious consideration, and guide your customer to the conclusion that your product provides the best value and should be the product selected.
In addition to putting your firm’s entire library of support materials in your hand for every client meeting, mobile sales enablement tools provide analytics for follow up and learning that will enable you to better target your pursuits. Here are a few points to think about in enterprise manufacturing sales and how mobile sales enablement tools can play a role.
The first problem is simple: if your customer doesn’t know you exist, they cannot buy from you. While building awareness is normally a marketing communications function and involves many kinds of media, in the manufacturing industry, person to person contact at trade shows remains a key way to build awareness and make initial customer contacts. Trade shows are awash with printed materials that normally fail to be comprehensive since you can’t always have your entire product library on site. These printed materials are often thrown away as soon as they are distributed with no follow up with the potential clients who grabbed the materials on the way out the door.
Mobile sales enablement tools can improve your ability to create awareness by providing every representative at a trade show with your complete library of marketing materials for any question a potential client may ask, all ready to share at a moment’s notice and presented in a visually compelling package which supports your brand.
Furthermore, unlike paper, after the content is shared with a target using a mobile sales enablement solution, you can track when your customer downloads and reads your information as well as consolidating contact data for shared documents. This provides an analytical way to follow up with new targets to ensure that your firm builds name recognition and is in the potential buyer’s awareness set when they are ready to make their next purchase decision.
For complicated buying decisions, the combination of awareness and compelling features and benefits is not enough. Your customer must also be assisted through the decisions they must make and you must build the confidence that your product will perform as advertised. This means that you need to be able to present anything a customer may need to make his or her decision, going well beyond sales sheets to detailed materials including technical manuals, detailed specification sheets – basically, anything that is cleared for public consumption that may help the customer to choose your product. It is impossible to predict every document that a customer may need and furthermore impossible to carry all of these in hard copy.
Mobile sales enablement tools make all these materials instantly available to your sales staff in digital form, continuously synchronized to ensure they are up to date and immediately available to share with the customer. This prevents any gap where your product falls out of consideration while you go back to the office to search for materials to send to the customer. This takes “let me get back to you” or “I’ll have to go and look” out of the conversation at critical moments in the buying decision.
Throughout this process, you can verify that your client contact is downloading, viewing, and sharing your collateral, so you can track where they are in the buying decision, if they are still in consideration, and make timely contact to further the process.
For major decisions such as buying a large piece of capital equipment, customers will normally force themselves through some sort of linear decision-making process to qualitatively and quantitatively rank each option across multiple variables and attempt to make a rational decision.
Don’t let the customer come up with their own decision-making matrix: provide one to them with items such as interactive total cost of ownership calculators built into your mobile sales enablement tool. By using mobile sales enablement tools to take ownership of the customer’s analytical process, you can help guide them in making the right decision to choose your product.
After you have convinced your initial contact, these sorts of tools then become key selling points for your contact to become the internal champion for your product and convince other decision makers to also support the purchase.
Customers choose their product based not only on the immediate tangible benefits, but also on their perception of the extended product ecosystem that includes complementary products, add-ons, maintenance, and support. It is difficult to effectively sell all of these items using internally produced documentation, and brochures are not always the most compelling means to demonstrate excellence in service.
Mobile sales enablement tools help you to better present these features of your product by providing easy ways to link and show information on complementary products as well as providing rich multimedia capabilities for items such as video testimonials that can bring your service offerings to life.
Finally, it is critical to follow up on every buyer decision whether they decide to buy from your firm or not. Which documents were presented to the customer? Which ones were read and which ones were ignored? Which ones were re-shared while your product was under consideration? And how does this vary between wins and losses? The analytics that come from using mobile sales enablement tools can help answer these questions and allow your sales force to continually learn and improve after each pursuit.
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