Digital transformation continues to disrupt even the most traditional industries, and this article says that's creating an urgent need for technology and data to replace spreadsheets, paper catalogs, and face-to-face meetings. With that in mind, the need for sales and marketing to align around that technology and data has never been more pressing.
Marge Murphy is founder of mid-west-based Acadia Lead Management Services, and she talks about working with leading industrial and manufacturing clients to implement martech and salestech. Murphy left engineering school to work for a defense contractor and was involved with technical sales but became frustrated due to a lack of ability to apply accurate metrics to sales and marketing processes. She moved to Dayton, Ohio, and started making sales calls at a manufacturing firm where she began to track events herself - like how many calls it took to close a sale, for example.
As Marge puts it: "Fast forward twenty-two years, and here we are today." Her company now works with B2B industrial and manufacturing clients, helping them implement sales and marketing processes that can be analyzed. Murphy says that the pandemic is creating the need for industrial digital B2B maturity - and fast. She says, "It's generational. Many times these are family-run businesses, but I find it uncanny that even in 2011 or 2012, they weren't starting to say, 'we have to do something different.' There has been an uptick in maturity, but I think COVID has really pushed them through the door. Manufacturers are starting to wake up. They have processes for how widgets go down the manufacturing line, but no process for how we lead customers through the buying cycle."
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
That's been the case in the past, but Marge thinks that's no longer feasible. She calls for the end of a siloed approach to production, sales, and marketing: "Part of the characteristic of the space is that often-times they have outside sales reps and distribution channels. But the inside sales teams are often not integrated." When she worked with clients in Texas and Michigan, she says she worked to change things: "I brought each of them into a room together with a big whiteboard and sticky notes to walk through what everyone does and how they hand off information. When you get them all in a room together and take them through assessing what they're doing, the Presidents, higher-levels, CEOs start to realize the complexity of what's going on and start to understand they have to remove the silos.".
Marge says sales calls get a lot easier without silos: "If you take it a step further, if you incorporate customer service, they too then have the information they need in that platform."