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Manufacturers don’t have the luxury of inefficient planning or leisurely sales cycles— customers are highly price-sensitive, and as a result, competition on costs and efficiency is fierce. Moreover, given supply chain strains and talent shortages, many manufacturing sales leaders tasked to hit increasing sales targets with the same strained resources. Competitive manufacturers will accelerate sales performance by leveraging today’s technology with best-in-class sales processes.

Through streamlined processes, automation, and insights, you can give your sellers shortcuts past the cumbersome and inefficient sales processes that keep them from winning more deals.

1. Turning sales leads into customers

According to the recent Spaulding Ridge CRO Survey, revenue leaders this year have reported increased targets with no increase in headcount. Essentially, they need to do more with the same resources. This is especially true for manufacturers, who often find themselves competing on narrow margins. The key to selling more with the same sales force is to utilize their talents in the most efficient way possible. Achieve this by automating some of the more tedious tasks throughout the customer lifecycle.

More effective CPQ systems relieve your sales reps of time-intensive, error-prone processes around pricing, discounting, and configuring complex quotes and orders for run-rate business. Your reps have better things to do than calculating exactly what that latest order should cost —like contacting new customers, checking in on customer satisfaction, and chasing down new opportunities—so give them the time back to do just that.

CPQ systems also help your margins in another important way: By systemizing your pricing and quoting, you can keep your pricing in closer alignment across your organization, staying competitive while not over-discounting.

Moreover, by connecting your CPQ system with a manufacturing-tailored CRM solution and integrations to ERP platforms, your sales organization can also measure, compare and forecast program and customer performance, leading to actionable insights for pricing and negotiations.

The best CPQ systems can integrate with your contract lifecycle management software, creating even more efficiencies by ensuring consistent data and communications from negotiation through invoicing while automating the often email-heavy redlining and contracting process. Utilizing these two software solutions in conjunction with your CRM environment frees up your Sales team’s time to foster better customer relationships and pursue more deals. The partnership accelerates sales planning and performance, getting manufacturers from quote to cash faster.

Questions to ask:
  • What would a 5% reduction in average sales cycle time mean for my revenue numbers?
  • How much time is my sales team spending per week on low-value manual administrative tasks instead of generating business with prospects and customers?
  • How dependent is my sales organization on external data and reporting?
2. Successful scoring and segmentation

A key to successfully accelerate sales performance for manufacturers is getting the right leads to the right sales representatives. The process of identifying, prioritizing and covering the “right” accounts does not actually have to be painful. The Spaulding Ridge ASPYR™ solution enables sales leaders to see the full scope of account potential and optimize their segmentation plans.

Here’s how it works:

Assessing the market: The ASPYR solution uses AI and enterprise-wide connected planning to identify accounts with propensity to buy; prospects you’re most likely to land; and customers ready to renew, expand, or upsell, all from data you already have. Imagine scoring faster and smarter.

Segment by potential: Using weights and metrics based on your GTM strategy, the tool helps determine optimal segments to achieve your tops-down financial targets.

Produce capacity gap to top-line: Using bottom-up insights, ASPYR determines the average revenue per role, segment, and region and makes headcount recommendations.

Yield equitable coverage: Now you can align your territory model to your GTM strategy and assign coverage in a balanced way that utilizes your full sales capacity.

Realign Quota: Now that you’ve planned and optimized your territory structure, the ASPYR solution helps you automate, accelerate and align the quota-setting process.

Within tools like Anaplan, you can couple this framework with your in-house data out of your CRM and ERP systems to make data-driven decisions about which accounts to target, segment these based on preferred metrics, and ensure you have sufficient potential sales revenue to hit your financial targets. By leveraging connected data and automation with ASPYR, end-to-end sales planning is not only more accurate and powerful, but also faster, letting you spend less time on planning and more time on execution.

Questions to ask:
  • What are my criteria for finding and prioritizing prospect accounts to expand my customer base?
  • How do I determine whether my sales plan and target accounts give my teams enough potential to hit our bookings and revenue targets?
3. Driving sales performance

Of course, all the sales process optimization and careful planning in the world does not help if your sales force is not properly motivated. Incentivizing your sellers and offering them better transparency and consistency in their compensation model contributes to better sales performance.

Manufacturing CRM cloud solutions offer further powerful tools to analyze and visualize seller and customer performance (with optional AI modeling), providing insights on revenue realization, run-rate sales agreement performance, price variation among customers, and even demand planning-related dashboards for operations. Imagine how your revenue and margins could grow if your sales teams clearly understood the performance of themselves and their customers over complex multi-year contracts.

To make a clear roadmap to CRM tool optimization for sales performance, Spaulding Ridge created the ACHEVE™ framework to seamlessly dovetail with ASPYR. With ACHEVE, you create automated, tailored incentive compensation plans that align with shifts in the market, motivating your representatives from the outset. Dispute and payment workflows are streamlined and provide self-serve visibility to your sales reps and managers.

The ACHEVE solution also offers ongoing analysis of shifts in both market activity and Sales team performance, providing leaders the agility to adjust their plans if necessary. Finally, sales forecasting and in-year territory and quota management help leaders make dynamic plan optimizations, prorating goals to reflect opportunity pipelines and market shifts.

By considering market shifts and representative performance changes, quickly managing pay disputes and enabling reliable and transparent payment, ACHEVE offers reps the peace of mind that their sales leaders are doing everything they can to help them succeed. Very motivating indeed.

Questions to ask:
  • How well do my teams understand and leverage current portfolio performance of run-rate business in pricing and negotiations with customers?
  • How are we ensuring target attainment actuals translate into action real-time?
Time for a checkup?

Manufacturers are facing a challenging season, but by adopting best practices and modernizing their sales process, they can optimize and accelerate their sales performance and planning with confidence.

If your organization could use a ‘checkup’ for its sales process health, contact Adam Heinz to set up a no-cost, no-commitment GTM Health Check.