Select the Right Team to Win Long-Term Growth in the Manufacturing Sector

By: Mitchell Edwards Manufacturing

A focus on innovation where final products practically sell themselves has well-served the manufacturing sector for decades. However, in today’s world, this strategy won’t drive long-term growth. For example, the next best widget cannot sell itself by solely improving features and benefits. Companies need a robust product pipeline that meets the changing customer needs—and the right team in place to connect the product development and sales pipeline. In other words, organizations must align resources to unlock revenue.

While product innovation continues to drive growth, the approach must connect well with customer insights to motivate market-driven solutions. The Alexander Group’s recent work in the manufacturing space has uncovered a disconnect between new product development and sales pipeline. Without a strong link between the two, sales will continue to focus on near-term opportunities, capturing growth only through cross-selling current products, while product development creates products without targeted opportunities in mind.

To drive sustainable growth, world-class manufacturing organizations leverage customer awareness to develop market insights and incorporate them into the product development process. These organizations should support the business case not only with broad, qualitative or subjective market variables, but also by the application of targeted opportunities and account planning. But how do they link these processes?

The successful execution of this process requires a team of players, in the right position in order to win:

  1. Revenue Leadership requires a CRO that understands the importance of organizational growth expectations beyond the next 90 days. They need to articulate the vision for a sustained set of continuous, customer-focused products and the insights required to develop them.
  2. Field Marketing has a critical role to play in collecting and synthesizing insights. Key responsibilities include the effective management of key opinion leaders (KOLs) and packaging voice of the customer (VOC) into personas that allow product development to develop targeted products.
  3. Future innovations in the Product Development team need to align with customer personas with a deep understanding of who the customer is and the type of challenge to solve. ROI and business case estimates require robust planning with sales to ensure revenue projections are achievable. Product development should be held accountable to revenue forecasts to maintain closer collaboration.
  4. Sales Operations acts as the foundational tether between each of the above groups. They manage the insight repository, ensure access to clean data and analytics to support decision-making and the development of strategy.

Does your organization have the right players in position to create a successful team?

Learn more about the Alexander Group’s Manufacturing practice or contact us to understand how AGI can help you set your lineup to execute the winning strategy.

To learn more about aligning resources and unlocking revenue, attend Alexander Group’s upcoming Annual Chief Sales Executive Forum.

Co-author: Kyle Uebelhor is a principal in Alexander Group’s Chicago office and one of the firm’s Manufacturing practice leaders.

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Mitchell Edwards

Mitchell Edwards is a manager with the Chicago office. During his tenure with the Alexander Group, Mitchell has worked across all areas of the firm’s Revenue Growth Model™ with a diverse industry base including distribution, manufacturing, media and software. Mitchell has gained extensive experience on local and global engagements. He recently helped lead a complete sales transformation with one of North America’s largest media organizations and developed a global sales compensation framework for a $5B technology provider.

Prior to joining the Alexander Group, Mitchell worked for GrainCorp, where he played a crucial role in the design and implementation of process improvements within the payroll division. As a billing analyst with ACT Conferencing, he worked closely with the sales division to understand and document requirements during the transition to a new billing platform. Mitch has a Bachelor of Resource Economics (Honours Class I) from the University of Sydney and is a Certified Sales Compensation Professional (CSCP), WorldatWork.

Kyle Uebelhor

Kyle Uebelhor is a principal in the Chicago office. He is a leader in the firm’s Manufacturing and Distribution practices. Kyle’s clients include leading companies throughout manufacturing and wholesale/distribution. By applying deep industry expertise and a pragmatic approach to each situation, he helps companies achieve their organic growth objectives. He brings nuanced perspective to the complexities of sizing the total available global market, delivering differentiated value, creating omni-channel designs, and motivating partners and the commercial team. Kyle frequently speaks on sales enablement topics. He has authored several articles and whitepapers including “The Power of Playbooks: Execute Your Vision” and most recently “Digitizing the Revenue Growth Model.”

Prior to joining the Alexander Group, Kyle spent 10 years in commercial banking. As a relationship manager and lender to large middle market companies, he developed a broad expertise across numerous manufacturing industries and developed solutions-based selling strategies with his C-suite corporate clients. Kyle has an MBA from the University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business and B.A. from Wabash College. He is also a Certified Sales Compensation Professional (CSCP).