It can take more than a half-dozen communications between a material handling sales rep and a prospect to generate a sale. Plant and facility managers are naturally more hesitant to buy products and services than consumers. They must selectively choose products and services that are useful and valuable to their own company. And if you don't project the value and utility of your company's products or services, prospects probably won't buy them. The first step to boosting your material handling company's sales, however, is understanding the different stages in a typical B2B sales cycle. While no two material handling companies are the same, most use a similar sales cycle that consists of several basic stages.
The first stage of a typical material handling sales cycle is lead acquisition. In the most basic sense, a lead is a business prospect who's expressed some level of interest in buying your material handling company's products or services. You can generate leads using a variety of channels, including social media, email, direct mail, TV commercials, online ads, banner ads and more. Once a prospective customer has submitted his or her contact information, you can add them as a lead to your database. Lead acquisition is at the very top of the material handling sales cycle, so it plays a pivotal role in companies' ability to sell their products or services. If you're unable to keep the top of your material handling company's sales cycle full of fresh leads, you'll struggle to generate sales.
Lead Acquisition with an Identified Project
This type of lead isn’t generated through typical marketing channels, rather these leads have been developed with a project identified at the company. The projects can be a relocation, expansion or renovation at a facility or manufacturing plant, all of which are critical to material handling companies.
SalesLeads generates high quality leads with identified projects allowing you, the sales rep or marketer to immediately begin an intelligent dialog with the prospect as you’ve reviewed the notes SalesLeads’ researchers gathered on the project. Along with the identified projects, you’ll also receive the contact names, titles, email addresses and phone numbers to ensure various marketing touch points, and a way to ensure contact. This type of valuable content allows you, a material handling sales rep or marketer to quickly bring the opportunity further down the sales process, and further down the pipeline.
The best way to evaluate our services is to give it a try with a few complimentary project samples. They will be recent, so be ready to call.
After acquiring a lead, you should evaluate it to determine if it's a sales-qualified lead or marketing-qualified lead. What's the difference between these two types of leads? Sales-qualified leads are those who've been vetted by you or other members of your company's sales team. This means they've expressed strong interest in buying your products or services, in which case they are typically assigned an account manager to further assist them through the sales process. In comparison, marketing-qualified leads have been vetted by your company's marketing team. While they too may purchase your company's products or services, they haven't shown the same level of interest as sales-qualified leads. According to one study, only 27% of B2B leads are considered sales qualified.
In the middle of a typical material handling sales cycle is the communication stage. As the name suggests, this is when you, as a sales rep or marketing professional, reach out to communicate with the prospect. Generally speaking, the sooner you communicate with a prospect, the greater your chances of winning him or her as a customer. If you wait days or weeks after acquiring a prospect's information, he or she may choose a different material handling company from which to buy. This is why it's important to prioritize fast communications with prospects. After generating and qualifying a lead, you should immediately reach out to the prospect to learn more about his or her needs. Using this information, you can further nurture the prospect to increase your chances of sales success.
Perhaps the most important stage in a typical material handling sales cycle is the nurturing stage. This involves projecting the value of your product or service while also revealing how it can solve the prospect's problems. Unfortunately, many material handling sales reps are too aggressive in their nurturing approach. According to HubSpot,
roughly half of all industrial prospects say that material handling sales reps are too aggressive, while only 17% of sales reps think they are too aggressive. As a sales rep, you must balance a fine line between projecting the value of your product or service while still giving the prospect room to breathe.
Now comes the proposal stage. In this stage, you should provide the prospect with a custom proposal regarding your company's material handling product or service such as forklifts, cranes, aerials, rentals, conveyors, production lines or robotics. Depending on what exactly your material handling company sells, you may want to create a business proposal for the prospect. This comprehensive document outlines the prospect's unique needs, as well as your company's product or service and how it can help them. Whether you use a written business proposal or not, though, you should pitch your material handling company's product or service during this stage of the sales cycle.
Closing the Deal
The final stage of a typical material handling sales cycle is closing the deal. During this stage, the prospect has agreed to buy your material handling company's product or service, and now you're faced with the task of billing the prospect and delivering the purchased item. Closing the deal essentially means that you finalize the prospect's purchase. But you should proceed with caution to ensure that you don't lose the prospect as a customer during this stage. Including the wrong pricing or product type, for example, may discourage the prospect from proceeding with his or her purchase.
Statistics show that 80% of sales reps ignore the sales cycle. If you don't take advantage of the sales cycle, you'll probably experience fewer sales. So, make sure your material handling company has a structured, detailed sales cycle that allows you to nurture prospects through the process.