Find it difficult to calculate cash flow or a consistent flow of sales? Learn how you can create more predictable revenue by aligning sales and marketing in manufacturing.
Unpredictable revenue is common, especially for new entrants in the manufacturing industry. While “sales” and “marketing” are often interchanged, sales refer to the operations and activities that lead to the selling of goods and services. On the other hand, marketing refers to the processes and techniques of promoting and distributing products and services to people and organizations.
Nonetheless, both sales and marketing teams must be defined and in line with each other to generate consistent and repeatable revenue spikes.
One way to do this is through revenue growth using the Predictable Revenue Framework, which we will discuss in the next section.
What is Predictable Revenue?
Predictable Revenue is a sales framework formulated by Aaron Ross and Marylou Tyler. This framework can help you scale your lead generation and consistently convert leads to sales year after year. In a nutshell, it’s a structure that enables you to calculate your revenue accurately.
As a B2B marketing process, it aims to create a specialization at each stage of the sales funnel. And to achieve this level of predictability, you must be able to do the following:
- Understand your sales and marketing funnel.
- Determine the average deal size that’s acceptable to you.
- Define the time frames in your sales cycle.
Furthermore, it creates a value system while allowing you to make connections with existing and prospective buyers.
The Importance of Predictable Revenue for Industrial Companies and Manufacturers
For industrial and manufacturing companies, a predictable revenue framework will allow you to better track and connect with your buyers. Additionally, you can ramp up your sales process and gain a strong market position by understanding and forecasting your company’s growth.
With today’s technology and software, a salesperson relying solely on outdated or traditional tactics will not get the sales that will keep your business afloat. Customers today have access to unlimited information and complete control over their supplier selection, so a formulaic approach is necessary.
Predictable Revenue entails several benefits for a manufacturing company with its proactive approach.
- Increases revenue in sales. This is possible through calculated steps that will shorten the sales cycle and hasten its cash flow.
- Improves lead generation. It requires you to qualify your leads. Double sales by doubling qualified leads, not headcount.
- Builds rapport with customers. A predictable revenue requires you to focus on your customer’s goals and ask: “What problem can we solve?”
- Increases your company’s efficiency. A predictable revenue system is cost-effective and can help you scale up. Knowing which resources to use and where to put more effort and manpower wherever there are bottleneck situations in the cycle is key.
- Allows the company to align around the goal of the customer. A predictable revenue system requires your departments to be client-driven. This creates a culture of helping buyers make the best decision with a smooth end-to-end process.
- Strengthens your brand identity. Predictable revenue is about consistency. By following an established process, your manufacturing company is not only selling a product or service but a brand as well.
If you are looking for ways to create more predictable revenue, then start by align your sales with a marketing team that knows your business.
What are Predictable Processes?
There are three fundamental principles in a predictable revenue machine: no cold calling, focus on results (not activities), and everything must be systematically process-driven. More than that, there are predictable processes that can provide consistent success for your manufacturing company.
1. Lead Generation
Research is an essential aspect of lead generation. It might be helpful to hire sales development representatives to qualify your leads. You may acquire inbound leads through content marketing such as webinars, word-of-mouth, SEO’s, or outbound leads such as LinkedIn and purchased contact lists. Even though buying leads is an acceptable strategy, it poses the risk of contact details being outdated or low quality.
- Seeds – Grow “seeds” by providing highly satisfactory service. Organizations acquire seeds through word-of-mouth, referrals, and public relations (earned media).
- Nets – These are the leads that come from marketing strategies such as webinars, newsletters, etc. For instance, they may come in high quantities. However, the pool may hold less qualified contacts than the other types.
- Spears – Acquire spears through outbound prospecting and targeted sales. Specifically, spears are generated in small numbers but high in quality. These are your targeted customers.
After obtaining a list of potential customers, it’s time to reach out to them. Ross proposes an outreaching method called “Cold Calling 2.0”. To implement this, at least one person should be completely dedicated to prospecting. If you’re a larger industrial company, you must have a dedicated team for prospecting.
Additionally, this technique involves sending an email to at least a level or two positions higher than your target prospect. For instance, if you’re looking to reach out to the PR Manager, email the PR Director or Head of Marketing Department.
This way, you are immediately referred to the right person. Therefore, the response rate is generally higher since their boss referred you.
3. Qualify Further
The contacts your company reaches out to in the second step have already been filtered based on data such as web visits, downloads, and searches. With this in mind, decide whether the buyer is the right fit and can be pursued as a paying customer. For instance, sales representatives conduct demos or send samples to be more informed about the product or service.
Most importantly, this is the stage at which you convert leads into sales. Dedicate a specific position, like an account manager, to this part of the funnel to provide quality service.
Aligning Sales and Marketing for Predictable Revenue
While sales and marketing are different, some of their functions can overlap. In the same way, marketing has a vital role in supporting the sales unit with promotions and other marketing strategies that will help inform the buyers. That is to say, to avoid any confusion and disruptions in the system, align these two units in your manufacturing company.
Furthermore, build better relationships when sales and marketing unite on the same goals and metrics. Trust is fostered. Plus, it is easier to deliver a persuasive message to potential clients.
Collaborate on Lead Scoring
Lead scoring is a method used by marketing and sales departments to find if a lead is worth pursuing. Both marketing and sales teams must qualify leads. It is common for departments to disagree on the qualifications, so ensure that both teams understand each other’s bases and objectives.
The marketing team implements the first filter. Marketing-qualified leads or MLQ are selected based on perceived interest. Gather data from searches, web visits, downloads, newsletter sign-ups, webinar registrations, and other inbound sources. A lead scoring system with assigned point values to MLQ qualifications is in place to guarantee high-quality leads.
The sales team implements the second filter. Then, sales-qualified leads (SLQ) are selected based on perceived intent to buy. Lead scoring is also employed to target more serious buyers. In short, ideal customers have the highest potential and close rates.
Align your lead scoring methods. You don’t want to make the mistake of wasting time with the wrong prospects.
Sales and Marketing Alignment at Training
At the time of onboarding, make sure marketing and sales officers are aware of the SOP’s, protocols, and KPIs. Additionally, everyone needs to know how they will work with the different units within the company.
Best Practices for Marketing and Sales
When your sales and marketing teams are working together, it’s easier to offer a seamless experience for buyers. Here are some best practices to help foster systems for collaboration.
Be clear in the assignment of roles and functions in the sales and marketing units. Specialize your core sales roles:
- Sales development representatives – They prospect into cold accounts and other outbound leads.
- Market response representatives – They qualify incoming leads from your website or phone lines.
- Account executives – They close the deals with customers. According to Ross, account reps shouldn’t do prospecting. Their role is to focus on generating sales.
- Customer Success/Account managers – They maintain the relationship with new customers to make them champions of the brand.
Without a doubt, assigning these roles within your company units will smooth the processes in your sales pipeline.
Persuasion and inspiration are critical to the sales process. Likewise, your sales and marketing teams must work closely. Both teams should focus on creating consistent and aligned messaging. Let the marketers build the brand through promotions and public relations. Leave the talking to the sales representatives.
Selling should be about helping people. The question that salespersons and marketers must always ask is, “How can our products or services solve problems?” Focus on what your clients need and direct your conversation around solving that need.
Information is power. For any strategy, quantitative and qualitative data are crucial in making decisions and plans. For example, use your previous figures to determine the next steps. Next, collect feedback from customers to know which areas of your system must be changed or improved.
Finally, as a decision-maker, you must realize the critical areas where your sales and marketing departments overlap. In other words, find ways to integrate ideas and actions into one cohesive system.
For these reasons, optimize both your sales and marketing pipelines. You’ll be able to generate a steady stream of leads. This will allow you the ability to predict your revenue. In addition, it will direct your company’s overall growth.
As the leader in industrial marketing, MFG Tribe has been helping Industrial companies from $2 million – $3 billion dominate their competition with the most aggressive marketing tactics that work in today’s competitive environment for over five years. Our strategy adjusts based on what’s most effective for YOUR company, and we only work with industrial companies. If you’re looking to set up your marketing efforts with the Industrial Marketing leader, schedule a discovery call today!