Learn about the unique aspects of selling in manufacturing, and about the key players and how their contributions is vital to making the sale.
- The more you know about the manufacturing industry, the better positioned you're gonna be to sell into the manufacturing industry. You have to be on top of the trends, spot the changes, and know the players. While the trends can vary based on the manufacturing industry you are selling into, there are some general issues facing the manufacturing industry as a whole right now. They are issues that are important for every sales professional to know. They include a shortage of skilled labor.
This is probably the biggest issue facing manufacturing today. As the Baby Boomers, those born from 1948 to 1964, are leaving the workforce they are taking with them valuable skills and experience. It is expected that more than three million jobs in manufacturing will become available over the next decade, and manufacturers will struggle to fill the void. Technology. Technology is advancing at warp speeds, and manufacturers are struggling with everything from the cost of that technology to choosing which technology to invest in, as well as getting employees to adapt and use the new advancements.
Cybersecurity. Every industry is struggling with the threat of hacking and cybercriminals. Nowhere is that more true in manufacturing. The fear of data being stolen, software being hacked into, and production being shut down is something that is top of mind for every manufacturing CEO today. Regulation. Part of running any successful manufacturing company is mitigating risk and reducing costs.
But that can be nearly impossible when it comes to changing regulation. Regulations can wreak havoc on any plan your manufacturing customer has put together. A change in administration, a change in the tax law, and manufacturers have to adjust their entire business strategy. Marketing and sales. The traditional methods manufacturers have used to sell their products and services, things like advertising, trade shows, and even cold calls just are not working like they used to.
Manufacturers struggle with how to get above the white noise, get their message out, and outpace their competition in the digital marketing age. Being aware of these issues positions you to have stronger conversations with your manufacturing customers. When you know their issues, you can begin to think of your products and services in terms of solutions. Ask yourself, how can you take what you sell and position it in a way that provides solution-oriented value for your manufacturing customers? Speaking of those customers, you need to think about the people you're going to be having these conversations with.
The more you know about how the company is structured, who is responsible for what, and the issues that are most important to each of those individual players, the better prepared you will be to address the issues on a personalized basis. Understanding the issues and players boils down to investing the time. Do your homework, learn the industry, and know what matters to the people you're selling to.
- Defining manufacturing issues and players
- Using research and data to strategize the sale
- Positioning your sale as customer-focused
- Selling to multiple types of manufacturers
- Identifying and addressing urgent needs in complex sales
- Using storytelling and case studies
- Closing the deal
- Growing accounts into relationships
- Following up strategically