By Marc Englaro
The manufacturing sector has been hit hard by the combination of GFC, high Australian dollar and rising acceptance of imported products.
For many of today’s manufacturing businesses, innovative machinery alone does not guarantee competitiveness.
Further, price cutting doesn’t create a sustainable advantage and many businesses have reached parity in terms of lowering operating costs.
To stay ahead of the curve, manufacturing businesses are shining the spotlight on its sales and marketing channels.
Manufacturers are seeking ways to improve customer service and build deeper relationships with their customers. Manufacturers are also looking to streamline internal processes to increase collaboration between business functions, and as a result, empower their teams to create more sales opportunities.
To build the foundations for long-term and sustainable growth, here are three key tips every manufacturing business, regardless of size, can take on board:
1. Obsess about customer service and customer loyalty
Like any business, a key success factor is being able to deliver excellent service and value to customers. This means getting close to customers, understanding what’s important to them and using innovative ways to continuously improve service ahead of competitors. To build personal, long-term relationships with customers, manufacturers can employ a range of tactics, from conducting regular surveys to measuring customer satisfaction through tools like Net Promoter Scoring (NPS). Social media can also be a valuable channel for identifying honest customer feedback and more often than not, complaints.
2. Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate
Smart manufacturers get all their business areas, including marketing, sales, service, engineering and finance working together to contribute to a super-informed view. Close collaborations between these areas creates a virtuous circle around customer demands and attitudes, service levels, pricing, competitors and marketplace conditions. Collaboration also empowers the entire organisation to engage more quickly and meaningfully to deliver the absolute best service.
3. Empower sales to create and develop opportunities
It’s essential for sales teams to have the right information at the right time, whether it’s product information, contact details, account histories or compelling events. Manufacturers need to ensure their sales people have information on hand wherever possible so they can spend less time on researching and admin, and more time in front of people where it counts.
Manufacturers also need to build and capture intelligent information to build profiles or prospects and customers.