The Complexities of a Manufacturing Sales Environment

Posted on October 18, 2018 9:03 AM | Updated on Nov 13, 2018 6:29 PM

Complexity in sales means many things. More buyers per deal. More parts of the solution. Longer sales cycles. More diverse and complex selling moments. Differing messaging based on persona, industry, and situation.  And today the selling moment can happen anywhere - phone, web meeting, elevator, or conference room. This is a lot for a salesperson to manage, and as companies continue the push to go fully digital, printed sales collateral will not suffice.

The Complexity of Solution Selling in Manufacturing

According to an Alexander Group study95% of companies say portfolio selling is important to their future strategy. However, most manufacturers have a history of selling singular products such as pipes, valves, and car parts.  Now they need to sell bundles, packages, and streams of services. That means more complex selling, more knowledge, about more products, and a jumble of value propositions. When a plant manager asks about a particular adhesive or how to solve a systemic issue, he likely has the standard answers in his head - he wants insight into how it applies to his world.  Solution selling means delivering industry insight and applying value to their specific situation. That is a lot to ask of both legacy seller and news ones.

The Complexity of CRM Adoption in Manufacturing

CRM adoption in manufacturing is terrible. Period. Generally, the manufacturing industry has an older, less tech savvy workforce. Besides lower tech skills, an older workforce will tend to have lower desire to learn new systems and change the way they work. This, by the way, is not an indictment of older workers - I am over 50! - it is just facing statistical realities.

Top industries that use CRM software

Manufacturing CRM usage

Source: Capterra - CRM Industry User Research Report

So if you want to drive adoption in the older manufacturing salesperson, simplicity of access and simplicity of user experience is key. This means a great user experience that can be mirrored from desktop, to smartphone, to tablet, and across all OS options.  It also means simple work flow, big buttons, and intuitive experiences. 

How Can Sales Enablement Help?

Sales enablement brings simplicity and value to manufacturing salespeople by putting context, perspective, and basic information at their fingertips. It delivers experiences that are elegant, easy, and consistent, while also assisting with the complexity of messaging. Sales enablement also can automate a lot of the tedious day-to-day manual tasks that deters salespeople from selling.

By integrating with CRM and other systems, your sales enablement platform can deliver insight, training and thought leadership, all within seconds. This means giving salespeople the benefits of CRM without the nightmare access, user experience, and logging headaches that they have come to expect.  Then suddenly, the CRM is getting better quality data than it ever before - because collecting data just got a lot easier. And now, with more data, the CRM itself delivers more value, to both reps and management.  

Though Manufacturers have traditionally been laggards in leveraging technology, the past is behinds us. With sales enablement, manufacturers can now learn from their mistakes and overcome some of their most systemic problems at scale.


If you are interested in how to take your behavior and learning challenges and gamify them, I welcome a conversation ( or leave a comment below).