Finding answers to questions about sales performance and growth
What is our sales force doing? Are they doing the things that need to get done? Do they need any more support to achieve our goals? Are we losing or gaining market share? These are all questions that manufacturers ask when they talk to their sales teams.
Martech is a contracted sales company driving sales in Canada for manufacturers around the world. How do we answer these questions for manufacturers? How do we take direction from our manufacturers?
Starting with an aligned plan for the sales territory is critical. Timely updates and scores against the plan leads to success and strong relationships between the sales force in the field and the manufacturers. Sounds simple! So why doesn’t it always happen?
Step 1: aligning and agreeing on a sales plan
The first step in a sales planning process is joining in a forum to collaborate with the manufacturers and list out what business they want to get done, how they want it done and when they need it done by. This is exciting and insightful for both Martech and the manufacturer! The energy in both groups flows and we establish accountability and agreement which leads to the ‘official’ plan!
Step 2: executing, measuring and scoring on the sales plan
Where it gets challenging for most, Martech included, is the measuring and scoring of the plan. How are we doing? Are we on track? What have we done so far?
We all get busy ‘in the business’, working hard, running hard, reacting to the urgent issues of day-to-day business and and it can be challenging to sit down and right a monthly or quarterly report to show our progress on the plan we agreed to execute. It’s especially difficult when you have to go through the actions in your mind from the previous months, the wins the losses, the intelligence you got last month on a competitor, etc. And in some cases, with no aligned “plan” with a manufacturer to measure the sales progress against. These challenges result in incomplete or missing reports and a strain on the relationship between the sales force and the manufacturer.
Executing the plan using advanced Customer Relationship Management tools
In 2011 and 2012, Martech worked hard to build a system that will address this and make us truly transparent and collaborative with our manufacturers.
We now have a solid process to build proactive, strategic plans with our manufacturers. A great starting point! For those manufacturers that choose to engage in this process, we are all rewarded with a clear plan and measurements that ensure the best chance of success for their business ambitions. And maybe more importantly, we both have a way to make adjustments along the way and make ‘course corrections’ if needed.
With our new Customer Relationship Management system (CRM), Martech can integrate the manufacturer sales plans across our entire company. From our Sales Teams, Marketing, Customer Service, Purchasing, Operations and Accounting, all groups have a clear picture at their fingertips of what our manufacturer wants Martech to accomplish. Martech’s sales teams see their goals and can assigns meetings, deals, opportunities and tasks against this manufacturer plan all from within the CRM.
With the launch of our new website and its exclusive secure manufacturer portals, Martech now has the ability to list the actions, information and results of our efforts and automatically report back to our manufacturers! We can isolate wins, leverage them and use them to generate more leads and deals. We can track new product launch initiatives like training dates, product shows and new pipeline opportunities to drive sales results.
We are excited and anxious to engage in this process with our manufacturer partners and fully realize the power of our mission statement: “to align our manufacturers ambitions with core clients to drive profit through strategy and action”