A Guide to Optimizing Product Sales for Manufacturers

Manufacturing is a thriving industry in the U.S. According to the Institute for Supply Management, 16 out of 18 of the major manufacturing industries saw growth in early 2019. Demand seems to be growing for many products. This is a great outlook for today’s manufacturing companies.

However, it’s still a competitive industry with many moving parts-literally. Just as important as streamlining production is optimizing product sales. Here are a few tips for doing so in today’s economy.

Meet Buyers Where They Are in the Sales Funnel

Earning new business depends on meeting buyers are where they are in the sales funnel. Some people are learning about the product lineup for the first time. Others are pretty much ready to place an order-they just need that last push to finalize. Yet other customers have already done business with with a company but have the potential to become loyal regulars.

What a customer needs from a business depends on where they are in the sales funnel. Early-stage buyers want information about their products and processes, and lots of it. People closer to “checkout” want details about cost, order fulfillment, warranties, etc.

One way to personalize how communication with customers is by using artificial intelligence (AI) to identify where people are in the funnel based on certain actions-like visiting certain pages on the website.

Don’t Forget The Best Customers

Acquiring new customers is important, but the fact is that most sales will come from about 20 percent of the customer base. Identify key accounts and focus on keeping and expanding their business. This is a more cost-effective way to market, and a company see more growth than if they were to focus almost exclusively on earning new contracts.

Make Ad Hoc Sales Analytics Available to All

Knowledge is power, especially in the hands of employees making decisions that affect sales and profitability. Giving the right people access to timely data insights is key. With ad hoc sales analytics, users can ask questions and get answers based on company data in seconds. ThoughtSpot’s relational search engine, for instance, allows employees and partners with no data expertise query data and create instant charts.

Better business intelligence (BI) on product development, manufacturing processes, inventory levels, growth by channel and sales forecasts helps optimize the entire process start to finish. The latest wave of data analytics tools are designed to help teams cut waste and grow sales.

Provide Responsive, Personalized Customer Service

No matter what is being manufactured, a company can bet potential and existing customers will have questions along the way. How well their company is equipped to respond to these inquiries, and generally assist customers through the entire purchasing journey, will greatly affect the bottom line. Customer service plays a key role in convincing people to buy for the first time and giving existing customers a reason to make repeat purchases from the business.

Above all, the customer service provided must instill confidence-whether a customer is speaking with a salesperson, customer service representative, account manager or other employee. The goal here is conveying to each and every patron that the company cares about them personally, understand their needs and are committed to smoothing out their pain points.

Work to create a seamless customer service experience across channels and teams from day one. Make sure customers know how to contact the company easily. Implementing an AI chatbot for off-hours questions helps provide more responsive customer service, even when employees aren’t in the office.

Optimizing product sales is a matter of harnessing data insights, understanding buyers’ needs and providing excellent customer service.

Melissa Thompson
Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn't know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.