by Lindsey Munson, editor, The American Molder Builder
The American Mold Builder Association held a virtual forum in early November, it was a collaborative and informative event that lead to discussing and actively engaging in sharing ideas and best practices for marketing and sales team techniques, prospecting to win the lead and aligning qualified sustainable customers. Facilited by Shelly Otenbaker, WayPoint Marketing Communications, and Ken Seawell, Sandler Training, the forum ended with a panel session, where industry professionals shared several tips and ideas that easily can be applied to everyday business and implemented in the field with sales teams.
SALES TEAM TIPS AND TECHNIQUES
Define a sales and marketing strategy that aligns the sales team and company with short- and long-term goals. These goals could be outlined by three areas of the sales approach: Outreach and engagement with prospects; moving prospects from awareness/interest and converting them to a sales lead; and finally, into actionable and sustainable customers.
Create a profile of the ideal prospect/target audience, pulling insights from current customer characteristics, understanding what motivates and drives prospects/current customers, addressing sales lead goals for product/service outcome and evaluating past and present behaviors of prospects/current customers, among other key resources.
Be open to unconventional methods and, if needed, re-evaluate the marketing strategy to fit the industry of “today.” Maybe it’s moving away from 75% print to 50% print and 50% digital, or it’s introducing the unexpected instead of doing the expected by trying a new marketing method. Tactics could include recording a podcast, hosting a webinar or hopping on the phone with a new lead or a current customer to just say “hi” and talk shop.
Develop an elevator speech that is concise and honest, telling a company’s guarantee and story. Typically four to six sentences in length, it is important to keep it relevant and compelling to the ideal prospect/target audience and most importantly, it needs to be memorable.
Launch an active and passive marketing plan to reach prospects, leads and customers with full commitment from leadership and the sales team. Through this plan, an active approach develops loyalty and trust that can be accomplished through phone calls, coffee dates, a game of golf or any other form of direct contact. Equally important, a passive approach opens the mind, creates interest and brings awareness with little to no interaction by pushing content on social media, sending an email, conducting a Zoom live or any other form of indirect contact. The engagement plan depends on where the sales team is in the sales process.
Invest in and utilize customer data management systems. A CRM software system delivers actionable information, integrates across all digital platforms and opens team communication. It collects, organizes and manages prospects, new leads and customer information. A data visualization tool is a software application that produces graphs, charts and mapping that assist in data analysis; it is vital to making practical, intuitive sales decisions.
Set annual sales metrics to align sales goals with the company sales strategy. Metrics outlined but not limited to include revenue per quote, average close rate and company touchpoints, which are an excellent benchmark source for tracking prospects and leads, qualifications for sales leads and current customers, and overall company sales goals.
Ask for ownership from the sales team – where work becomes more than just a goal. The idea is centered on the development of a top 10 list or less of company goals and sales expectations set by the sales team and leadership. This list would be signed and dated by the sales team, creating ownership and self-accountability.
Listen intently to build trust. Leadership must “listen” to its sales team and the sales team must “listen” to prospects, sales leads and current customers. By making this small change to listen, a sales team now is aware of potential and current customers’ pain points (problems, reason of concern, business impacts) and because of this an honest relationship can be formed and together a solution found – paying off dividends in the end.
Be actionable and a solution seeker when a customer delivers a complaint, service was not 100% satisfactory or a product malfunctions. It’s an opportunity to truly shine in the face of adversity and a chance to provide exemplary customer service. When one door closes, another door opens – behind it could be a sale or a customer that was about to walk but didn’t because someone listened.
Integrate tools that are value-added for the sales team and can be cross-functional within the company. An example of a tool is a “sales book” that is owned and managed by sales team members, built in the field and includes everything from prospecting conversations and goals for pushing new leads across the finish line to stats and general activity. Couple the sales book with bi-weekly meetings with leadership to discuss failures and achievements, set timelines for training that may be needed, gather new data points both qualitative and quantitative, discuss resources that are working and not working and continue to build out sales goals with overall company goals.
As 2022 comes to a close, companies and their sales teams are pushing hard to the finish line and there’s no time like the present to take action – call a new lead and make a coffee date, create a podcast and get uncomfortable, network with mold building peers and share resources or, utilize the easiest tip of them all – simply just listen.
Thank you to the AMBA member panel, including Jim Bott, INCOE; Charles Daniels, Wepco Plastics, Inc.; and Michael Thiessen, Tebis, Inc., for sharing their sales and marketing expertise and being a resource within the tool building industry. For more information on the November 2, 2022, AMBA forum, visit www.amba.org.