The lengthy sales process in the industrial and manufacturing industries can be daunting. Like with any sales opportunity, the longer it takes to get from first engagement to a closed contract, the more likely you are to lose the deal. With that being said, we have written this blog to showcase some ways that your sales and marketing teams can shorten this sales cycle and increase your customer acquisition rates.
Most importantly, make sure the market has a strong need for your product or service
This may go without saying, but it is important that the service or product you are providing fits the needs of today’s economy. COVID-19 has brought on many challenges, but along with that an entirely new industry for manufacturers to consider.
Many companies have evolved to this new demand and have begun manufacturing face shields, ventilators, and other equipment to fight the global virus we are facing. Or consider the EV market. If you have followed Tesla over the past year, $70 a share to a whopping $484 per share, a key indicator that the market trusts the future of EV and the opportunities it presents from an economic standpoint.
Make sure you are keeping an eye on the market, how it is evolving, and most importantly listen to what your audience is asking for.
Let customers know that you will not be available for their project forever
Whether or not the lack of manufacturing bandwidth is a reality in your facility, you can still use perceived bandwidth issues to your strengths when speaking with customers. Your prospects already understand that your machines are large capital investments and must be kept running at all times to keep your business operational.
Explaining to them that your proposal has a deadline due to internal scheduling and current demand is a great way of saying:
- We are a highly sought-after manufacturer. While we want and appreciate your business, we can only keep our floor available for you for so long without a signed PO.
- If you can not commit to this proposal within this given amount of time, we are happy to requote but it may affect the overall pricing we have already promised.
Use ad copy that drives an immediate call-to-action
Make sure that you are offering your prospects something that relates to your call-to-action in your marketing, and most importantly make sure you are there to deliver on your promise. This should tie directly into your key differentiators as a company.
For example, if you have a robust ERP system that can pull data from previous projects similar to the nature of theirs, offer your prospects an instant estimated quote. Or if you’re in the machine repair business and have dispatchers nationwide to inspect jobs the next day, make sure you are pointing this out in your call-to-action.
Below are some specific call-to-action examples:
- Call us now for next day repair service
- 24-hour quote process, contact us today!
- Fill out this form for a free instant estimate
- Contact us and a representative will contact you within the hour
Customize your proposals and presentations for the client
Tailoring your proposals and presentations to your client’s specific needs is effective in articulating that you are qualified to take on their project and understand their specific business needs.
While this alone will not speed up the sense of urgency in your prospect selecting your manufacturing facility, this customized approach will leave a positive impact on the perception of your presentation and increase the likelihood of onboarding a new client.
Always end your engagements with clear next steps
From the first interaction you have with a client to the last touchpoint of a project, it is imperative that you clearly define the next steps. Doing so helps your prospect understand exactly what is going to happen after your meeting and what their expectations should be. It also helps put the ball in the clients’ court.
For example, when submitting your proposal and presentation to a client, assume that you are getting the business by creating a timeline that includes your expectations on finalizing the project details.
- The client will review this proposal in its entirety and express any comments/concerns prior to project kick-off.
- Client to sign the proposal and submit the PO by x date in order for this pricing and proposal to remain valid.
- Payment A on the project is due 90-days post-sign-off on PO.
The strategy of assigning the next steps gets all parties involved on the same page and will expedite the sales process. If a customer is engaging you, they have already subconsciously agreed that you are worthy of their business, you just need to help get them across the finish line!
Invite your customers to tour your facility
Now, this is obviously under the assumption that your facility is tour worthy. But getting face to face with a customer is a great way to build rapport and trust. While walking them through your facility is a good way to show off some of your capabilities and machinery, it’s really more about getting to know this individual and showing them that they can trust your company to take on their manufacturing project. Again, this is a great way to expedite the sales process instead of having a proposal stuck in limbo.
Keep the pressure on
Don’t be annoying. High-pressured sales can actually turn people off. But make sure you are staying in touch with your prospects on their proposals and reminding them that there is a sign-off date (as noted above). Remember, you’re not your customer’s only focus. They have other responsibilities and need to be reminded of how you fit in their plans.
From a marketing standpoint, content marketing can also be a great way to stay in front of your customers and reminding them that you are a valid option for their projects. For example, invite your prospects to your next upcoming webinar whether they have become a customer yet. This is a great way to showcase you are a thought-leader in the space and a trusted partner for their business.
Sales can be tough. It sometimes feels like all the stars need to align. But it doesn’t have to be. Using these tips above will help you shorten the sales cycle, build your book of business faster, and get you more customers for your business. If you’d like to share any ways that you have shortened the sales cycle in your manufacturing business, please comment below! We’d love to hear about it.