Industrial sales has changed. Buyers know what they need and can easily access information to inform their purchasing decision — which means your sales reps have fewer opportunities to engage. One of the best growth strategies for manufacturing companies is implementing an effective B2B sales enablement strategy which gives your sales team the tools and expertise they need to reach more qualified leads and close more deals.
Manufacturing sales enablement is a systematic approach to giving your reps the training and resources they need to effectively sell your industrial products and services.
B2B sales enablement is a wide-ranging project that will be tailored to your organization’s sales process. However, there are three main initiatives that effective industrial sales enablement programs typically undertake to drive B2B manufacturer lead generation and growth.
Before you implement a sales enablement strategy, you have to set the stage with goals, a framework for your system, stakeholder buy-in, and a rollout plan.
Sales enablement is a strategic initiative that requires organizational commitment. For it to succeed, there has to be a vision, a plan, a way to “sell” the idea internally at your company, and a mechanism for tracking progress toward your goals. These four foundational factors will lay the groundwork for a successful sales enablement program:
Your industrial marketing department or partner is one of the key stakeholders in a sales enablement project. For it to be successful, sales and marketing must share overarching goals and develop a common understanding of the buyer journey so that they can coordinate meaningful interventions. Here are some common areas of alignment to consider:
Your sales reps need to understand what a manufacturing sales enablement means for them to buy-in, which means it’s up to you to lay the foundation for understanding why a sales enablement strategy is critical to your organization. This requires communicating with them about the process, defining individual expectations, and orchestrating proper training so that they can adopt the system and work it to their advantage. Your sales enablement rollout and training approach should be designed to:
Technology is critical to executing an industrial sales enablement program at scale so that your sales team can focus on what they do best. The key is to integrate technology systems early on to ensure proper organization, attribution, and access to customer data that will empower your industrial sales and marketing teams to be more effective.
Your manufacturing Custom Relationship Management (CRM) platform should be the operational headquarters for your industrial sales team. And it’s worth the investment to keep them in it, so that it becomes an ingrained part of how they engage, sell, and report. Make your sales CRM the operational hub for your manufacturing sales enablement program by using it to:
A B2B marketing automation platform (or “all-in-one marketing platform”) is an ideal way to structure communication between your industrial marketing and sales teams — and create full-funnel visibility. By coordinating marketing activities in a platform that integrates with your sales CRM, you can ensure that marketing and sales stay aligned and focus on what’s working to drive growth. Marketing automation is an effective strategy to help you:
In the evolving industrial buying landscape, the sales process has to become more individualized, or you risk getting lost in the ocean of information an industrial buyer is sifting through. An effective industrial sales enablement program has to cut through the noise and speak directly to buyers at a scale your organization can manage. Here are some personalization opportunities to get you started:
Sales enablement content is all about making sure a customer gets the right message at every touchpoint in the buying process.
If you create content that doesn’t respond to the needs of your audience, you’re missing a critical opportunity to center on the customer. Industrial sales enablement demands purposeful content that responds to customer needs at every stage of the buyer journey. The first step in developing effective sales enablement content is understanding how customers move through the marketing funnel stages — and what messages matter to them when. Here are some insights on where to start:
Chances are you have a lot of existing sales content that isn’t being leveraged. Take the time to understand what you have, as well as document opportunities to develop missing content that could impact the buyer journey. This will give you guideposts as you create and execute content that supports your B2B sales enablement program. Focus your initial content planning efforts on the following:
One of the biggest complaints sales reps have is that they can’t find the content they need, when they need it, which results in a lot of presentations prepared on the fly, in cars, or coffee shops. Eliminate this pain, improve close rates, and get your entire industrial sales team speaking the same language by providing easy access to sales enablement content. Here are a few key considerations:
Reap the rewards of B2B sales enablement by following a proven process and finding a partner that can help you dig deep under the hood to uncover the right strategies, execute a solution, and measure success.
Determine what you want to get out of your sales enablement strategy, based on specific use cases.
Find industrial companies doing sales enablement and explore strategies and best practices.
Identify partners to support your sales enablement efforts and reach out to assess compatibility.
At INDUSTRIAL, we’ve worked with hundreds of industrial sales teams to move them from a “good old days” mentality, when sales was more about line cards and well-honed sales pitches, to a modern, systematic sales enablement approach that helps them meet the sales challenges of today — and tomorrow. Contact us today to learn how we can help you align sales and marketing around an effective industrial sales enablement program.