New Manufacturing Study Reveals Top Industry Challenges

Today’s manufacturers face numerous challenges selling complex products and solutions amid a technologically charged landscape. From aligning the sales force around highest value customers to investing in digital sales and marketing channels to drive growth, global manufacturers strive to keep pace with major technological innovations.

Alexander Group’s recent Global Manufacturing Sales Practices Study uncovered key insights on commercial trends, threats, initiatives and investments. Over 60 leading manufacturers from North America, EMEA and APAC participated; four industry segments were represented—building materials, building systems, industrial materials and industrial & capital equipment. In addition, over 70 sales forces provided data sets, yielding rich industry benchmarks on growth, margins, costs, productivity, organization structure and sales compensation to the findings.

The top challenge for manufacturers? Customer alignment. Nearly all interviewed executives cited its high importance, but only 30 percent indicated that their organizations are currently effective in this area. Another key insight revealed that manufacturers are struggling to find, develop and retain talent who offer advanced business and technical skills. This lack of specific skills has resulted in higher turnover within sales forces, a trend that is likely to continue. In addition, only one-third of manufacturers utilized a formal, centralized sales operations team. However, participants who did have a sales operations team saw higher revenue growth and lower sales costs.

In the video below, John Drosos, principal and Manufacturing practice lead, and Parker James Thomas, business analyst and manufacturing study team leader, provide an overview of the current manufacturing landscape and key outcomes from the study.

Specifically, at 2:27 in the video, John discusses how manufacturers are investing in the digital space, which presents an exciting new opportunity for revenue growth.

Interested in learning how your sales team compares? Contact our Manufacturing practice leaders today.

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