Turning a sales overhead into a sales advantage

It might be stating the obvious, but companies that produce products for sale survive or fail on their ability to sell those products. Plenty of great products fall by the wayside without an avenue to market. And the avenue to market is the sales organization.

When it comes to asset management the information requirements of Operators are an overhead to Manufacturers of products.

The sales organization of a Manufacturer is the engine of growth for that business. If we can turn the information requirements for Operators into a sales advantage for Manufacturers then an overhead becomes an advantage.

Farmers & Hunters: Intelligence is essential

In sales management we often talk of two distinct types of sales activities – farming and hunting. Farming is where you take your existing customer and nurture them to ensure they grow to their maximum potential. Good farming delivers reliable results, but it is a finite amount of growth given that it does not expand the client base. Hunting is where you are capturing new customers to expand your client base and in turn your farmers can continue to grow.

Sales management is no different to any other aspect of management – if you don’t have good information then your decisions are not based on any basis other than the manager’s “gut-feel”. But with good information you are able to take a more rational & reliable approach to your decision making and generally deliver better results to your organization.

Something as basic as knowing who my customers are is obviously an essential part of farming an account. However, in many cases companies sell their products through a network of Suppliers. And in just as many cases these Suppliers might sell the products to Contractors who are delivering the products to an Operator as part of a turnkey solution. By the time the products reach their ultimate destination many Manufacturers have lost track of who is actually operating their products and who the target customer is for ongoing farming activity.

Additionally, when I’m farming an account I’ll want to know the potential opportunity in that account. If the customer has lots of my competitor’s products then I have a potential opportunity to replace the competitor’s products. If the customer is already at saturation with my products then maybe I’m limited to selling them value added services and genuine spare parts. That information will help the sales manager focus his finite sales resources on the accounts with the opportunity for maximum revenue.

Hunting on the other hand requires the assistance of marketing to create brand awareness and feed qualified leads to the sales organization for follow up. Good information is key to this process too, but we’ll deal with marketing as a separate blog post.

When sales is done professionally it leads to a benefit for both the seller and purchaser. Companies purchase products because doing so solves a business problem in the most cost effective fashion. It is the job of the sales organization to communicate with a client as to how the company’s products can solve a client’s problem cost effectively through a sales engagement. There is a physical limit to the number of sales engagements that a sales organization can conduct so good information will help the sales manager allocate sales resources and get the greatest return from his sales investment.

Stating the obvious, but companies that fail to sell their products will not survive. A company can produce a great product, but if they don’t have a sales channel that understands the customer’s problems and can communicate how the products can cost effectively solve the client’s problems then they will fail. For that reason the sales organization drives most product producing companies.

“ORDITAL provides sales intelligence for maximizing sales revenue”

ORDITAL: Turning product information into Sales value

The ORDITAL network allows Manufacturer’s to connect their products with assets from Operators through a mutually authenticated claims process to ensure trusted relationships are established. Once that connection has been established, both parties gain standing in the network for the quality and timeliness of information that is provided.

Manufacturers in good standing in the ORDITAL network gain sales advantage for their contributions – turning what would normally have been an overhead into an advantage. The ORDITAL Social Network allows the sales manager to:

  • See who is currently operating his products.
  • See current status of his products such as in-service or retired.
  • See where competitor products are installed in his customer base.
  • Run targeted promotional campaigns to alert customers to products, services and special offers that are relevant to their assets.
  • Receive notifications when any of this information changes.

Reliable information on your customers’ usage of your products and those of your competitors is an essential tool for sales managers. Reliable information allows the sales manager to plan the most effective allocation of finite sales resources to achieve maximum returns for his organization.

Operators acknowledge that the provision of product information for asset management is an overhead for Manufacturers and most Operators struggle to obtain and maintain this information. Allowing Manufacturers in good standing with the ORDITAL network to gain a sales advantage from quality information provided in a timely fashion can provide a benefit to all parties.

Stephen Crampton