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How to Implement Sales Acceleration in Specialty Manufacturing

There are two ways for manufacturers to increase sales:

1. Expand production output and sales teams to handle a higher volume of customers
2. Optimize processes to speed up time to quote, so you can close deals in less time

The latter is called sales acceleration — a strategy of leveraging digital tools, data, and other resources to streamline the sales process. Implementing sales acceleration frees up bandwidth so you can convert more leads without investing more resources. With inflation, supply chain disruption, and an ongoing labor shortage creating a competitive environment for manufacturers, efforts to control costs and operate more efficiently are vital. Sales acceleration is a proven way to close deals fast and effectively, so you can generate more revenue.

How to Implement a Sales Acceleration Strategy

For a sales acceleration strategy to succeed, manufacturers need to analyze their current process, refine it, and implement the right tools. Here’s what implementation should look like:

Assess Your Current Strategy

Create a detailed map of your sales funnel and customer journey, and analyze overall performance. Clearly denote each phase, the tasks performed during each, and what each lead experiences.

Utilize Data

KPIs like cycle time, response time, and customer churn will tell you almost everything about your sales process you need to know. Look for any stages of the sales process where a high number of leads regularly drop off, or take significantly longer than others to move toward a sale. For example, manufacturers often have an unusually high cycle time during the configuration and pricing portion of an order. Both of these issues indicate a problem with your current processes, and the entire organization needs to work collectively to address it.

Align Teams

Making improvements to your sales process will require refining processes in other departments. For example, improving early lead retention could mean updating marketing and sales enablement content to better address customer challenges. Streamlining the configuration process might require more efficient communication with engineering. Once problems are revealed by the data, employees across the entire company will need to work together to find a solution and take ownership of their roles in new processes.

Leverage Experts

Change is challenging, especially for long established processes in large organizations. Depending on the size and scope of your sales acceleration strategy, it may be helpful to bring in consultants who can help you keep teams aligned, avoid costly and time-consuming mistakes, and overcome unforeseen challenges. Expert consultants should help identify hidden issues with your sales processes and suggest solutions your team couldn’t come up with on their own.

Upgrade Technology

Inefficiencies in your sales strategy can be rooted out simply by removing manual tasks. Investing in new software to streamline sales workflows and improve collaboration can dramatically reduce sales cycles, and give sales more time and energy to focus on revenue generating activities.

The Digital Tools For Sales Acceleration

In today’s high-tech business landscape, implementing new technology is often the fastest way to achieve results. Product lifecycle management (PLM) and configure, price, quote (CPQ) software are two enterprise solutions that specialty manufacturers can use to streamline operations and close deals faster.

PLM software helps manufacturers manage all of the data associated with every product, including materials used, manufacturing processes, initial designs and CAD drawings, marketing materials, and even sales performance after going to market. Since every team is able to digitize their product data and store it in a central database, it’s easier for sales to communicate and collaborate with other departments, speeding up the overall sales process.

CPQ software is designed to streamline and elevate the sales process for custom products. Cloud-based CPQs replace manual configurators with a self-serve web portal customers can use to assemble their own orders.
Engineers can program each item in the catalog to follow specific configuration rules, so customers aren’t able to select non-viable combinations or variables. CPQ also automates pricing, and can even auto-generate quote documents and send them to customers for approval. Customers can receive quotes in a fraction of the time it would take if sales had to manually configure products.

Sales acceleration requires a lot of analysis and operational change, but often, this can be as simple as implementing a CPQ solution. Whether you need to create a more engaging experience during the configuration process, or just generate a quote faster than your competitors, CPQ can help you improve the metrics that matter most.

Revalize offers a full suite of software platforms designed to accelerate the idea-to-cash journey, from PLM to CPQ solutions like Configure One Cloud. The versatile platform streamlines quoting for specialty manufacturers operating in a wide array of industries, and even offers robust product visualization so customers can see what they’ve built before making a purchase. 

See how Configure One Cloud can accelerate your sales Schedule a free demo here.

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