Manufacturing: Simplifying Sales With New Roles and Motions
New Revenue Roles and Motions
Traditional manufacturing revenue models feature siloed marketing, sales and service roles, with limited accountability across functions. The model can work well for transactional and non-connected product sales. However, as products and solutions become increasingly inter-connected and digitized, the traditional model breaks down across the three functions.
In complex selling environments, marketing roles need to provide constantly evolving and customized data and insights to customers. Sellers need much broader skill sets to sell digitized and interconnected solutions. Service teams are more heavily involved in delivery, solution adoption and ongoing maintenance. New roles across functions also require end-to-end coordination and consistent communication through well-articulated ‘motions’ to ensure customer satisfaction and maximize sales opportunities.
Extensive AGI research and project work clearly indicate that the majority of manufacturers are not prepared to sell more complex products and solutions, highlighted by the recent cases below.
A manufacturer experienced declining growth in their core division which sells highly customized factory automation parts. AGI found the root cause of the sales drop to be lack of both skills and accountability in ordering and services teams.
Another manufacturer was losing share in smart monitoring equipment in the utilities space, but was a leader in non-connected infrastructure products. AGI found that the smart product sales teams underinvested in post-sales service support and lacked coordination with legacy product teams who brought them into many opportunities.
A Way Forward
To effectively sell more complex products and solutions, manufacturers can employ the following three steps:
Determine all roles and competencies across marketing, sales and service functions that are needed to sell complex products and solutions. This effort will often reveal a need for more and better skilled service teams, along with more experienced, technically savvy sales roles. One executive told AGI that after reviewing role needs it became clear that “a generalist can be a traditional seller; I need someone with an electrical engineering degree and 10 years of industry experience to sell our smart solutions.”
Assess and document key points in the sales and service process that create bottlenecks or pain points for more complex sales. The process pain points often occur where handoffs are involved, in particular from sales to service. Many parts of the sales and service process require relatively straightforward fixes, like reporting flags and structured cross-function communication.
Hire and up-skill the right roles, and support with upgraded selling and service motions. Once job needs and process pain points are identified, companies need to make targeted investments to support more complex sales. Manufacturing sales executives often do not realize that inter-connected and digital products require more investment and long-term sales and service support than traditional products do. They have to keep in mind that innovative, new products and solutions are key in maintaining profitable growth as technological and market forces commoditize an increasing share of legacy products.
John Drosos is a principal in the Chicago office. He helps lead the Manufacturing and Distribution practices. John has been with the firm since 2006 and brought with him diverse experience in strategy consulting, general management and technology consulting. John is a key thought leader on complex sales model transformations, global coverage strategies, productivity and analytics. He has also helped shape the firm’s talent recruitment and development practices, playing a key role in the rapid and consistent growth of our Midwest consulting practice.