Improving the Bottom Line in Manufacturing - Sales: Part One – Managing Existing Customers

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Whilst working closely with manufacturing companies over the last 20 years, Assess Improve Measure Ltd has identified six key areas Improving the bottom line in manufacturing. This is the first article in a series that highlights critical issues within those areas

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To improve your customer advocacy, you need to create a sales machine that shares the culture, values and vision of the whole business

Often, manufacturing businesses have large customers managed by someone in the company with a great understanding of ‘the product’. This person’s sales skills are frequently home-grown. Whilst the old cliché of ‘people buy from people’ is true and it is always good for a ‘customer facing’ employee to have a high level of understanding of the product, it is also true that this approach to dealing with your largest sources of revenue is simply inadequate. More often than not, employees without any formal sales training simply do not possess the skill sets required to maximise the potential relationship with the customer. Therefore on the surface the immediate solution appears to be, employ a major account manager, or get some professional training for existing staff. However, this still falls short of what is achievable.

To enable an organisation to develop the processes to support a ‘sales machine’ for major account selling, all of the touch-points between the sales department and the rest of the business have to be identified. This facilitates the embedding of the process into the business. The ‘sales machine’ process will then be capable of operating as an integrated part of the business. The goals and vision will be aligned, communicated and shared. Consideration of all the touch points and imbedding the process will also mean that major accounts can be successfully managed irrespective of future personnel changes. With the correct processes in place, all the intellectual knowledge about a customer is collected by the business.

“To improve customer advocacy, a sales machine needs to be created that shares the culture, values and vision of the whole business” commented Nick Vincent of Assess Improve Measure Ltd.

John Sanders, Director, Assess Improve Measure, said “Our structured selling programme (SSP) is part of a larger framework for embedding a sales machine into an organisation. It enables the users of the programme to be effective in selling and in managing their customers. SSP provides the touch points for the integration of the programme into the corporate culture providing World Class compliance.”

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