Manufacturing & Distribution Podcast

Changes in the Industry: Part 3

Alexander Group Principal Kyle Uebelhor discusses part three of a three-part series of changes caused by customers affecting the manufacturing industry. Part three reviews how organizations are deploying more complex sales models.

Hi again, it’s Kyle Uebelhor with the Alexander Group’s manufacturing vertical. I’m here today to round out our series on the three major themes that we’ve been seeing in manufacturing over the past couple of years. As you recall from our first couple of podcasts, what we know today that world-class organizations are doing and seeing in the manufacturing sectors kind of have a consistent theme. Theme number one is this notion that organizations are increasing focus on a full portfolio selling. Secondly, organizations are optimizing for differentiated growth, meaning they’re finding growth that is not necessarily through acquisition, but rather differentiated compared to their competitors and focusing on ways to achieve growth through better expense to revenue ratios and more revenue per rep. Finding the right balance of channels. Today, we’re going to discuss how organizations are deploying more and more complex sales models. As you’re probably familiar, buyers have evolved significantly over the past half-decade or so. We do know that the most successful sales organizations in the manufacturing sector are deploying ever more complex sales models. The good news is that there is no one size that’s going to fit all. But the bad news is it’s very difficult to determine that right, prior to developing the right sales model to the right buyer at the right time. There’s a couple of solutions we’ve seen work extremely well.

First and most importantly, is this deeper investment into sales operations. Many of the organizations out there in manufacturing have developed what we call a kind of a shadow operations function. In other words, an organization has all the tactics that are being done, but they haven’t professionalized their sales operations team. To really clarify the complexity of the revenue model, many organizations are going through a robust view into how their sales operations teams operate and elevating sales operations as a functional group similar to that of finance or human resources. And the most important thing that the sales operations can oftentimes do in addition to the things that you’re accustomed to, in other words the enablement of sales teams, is to make sure that the strategic components of your decisions to deploy a more complex model are being made. In other words, do we have the right voice of customer? Do our value propositions align? Are we making sure that we are investing in the right places when we have another dollar to invest so that we can make sure that the right course resource goes to the right place at the right time? Secondly, what we’re seeing organizations do is to develop a very robust channel partner program. Channel partner programs is this notion that we don’t see ourselves or see many organizations walk away from their historic distribution partnerships, rep agencies, or other third parties who help provide access to our end users. But what we do see as a strong channel partner program that really allows alignment, sort of a mutually beneficial growth orientation to the manufacturing organization and to the partner so that we’re all rewarded for growth. And we make sure that there are multiple ways to enumerate our partners beyond just discounts or marketing dollars.

To do this right, we’ve seen organizations go through a very robust review of the partner program and actually segmenting partners before they go deeper into a program development. It’s OK to have multiple programs that are running simultaneously, so long as we put the right amount of effort towards each of our distribution partners. And finally, we want to make sure that we take time to always investigate and review how you pay and create a pay and performance program for those driving behaviors that are aligned with your strategies. In other words, it’s crucial that everything that we do with our internal teams doesn’t contradict how we want our partners to behave. If you’d like to learn more about how the Alexander Group reviews and assessed partner programs or helps organizations professionalize their sales ops team as they develop more complex sales models, please go to our website and visit the manufacturing page at

Visit our Manufacturing or Distribution practice

Back to Top