Table of Contents

    Successful manufacturing leaders understand the need for a strong manufacturing marketing strategy. However, with ongoing inflation raising production rates by over 33.9%, implementing a powerful manufacturing sales strategy is equally important.

    But where do manufacturers start?

    Understanding The Markets and Your Current Manufacturing Sales Strategy

    A successful manufacturing or industrial sales strategy starts with identifying market trends and evaluating your current sales processes.

    Determining the Trends and Demands of Your Market

    Uncovering market trends is pivotal to uncovering new sales opportunities, expanding reach, or simply meeting the current needs of the market. 

    For example, the pandemic created an economic downturn and labor shortages. Manufacturing leaders with a pulse on market trends and demands quickly pivoted, implementing robotics and automation to alleviate labor shortages, speed manufacturing times, and reduce costs. 

    Evaluate Current Manufacturing Sales Efforts

    Market research can also help manufacturers and sales teams identify gaps and challenges within their current manufacturing sales strategy. Take an honest inventory of your current manufacturing sales outcomes by analyzing key sales metrics (conversion rates, customer acquisition costs, revenue). 

    Then, analyze the efforts of your current sales plan, including:

    • Product offerings
    • Production processes
    • Data analytics and research
    • Current advertising campaigns and audiences

    Have your efforts generated the outcomes you wanted? If not, why? Consider these questions as you move forward.

    Building a Conversion-Driving Manufacturing Sales Strategy: A Step-by-step Guide

    With market insights and internal analysis complete, it’s time to optimize your sales strategy.
    A successful manufacturing sales strategy takes just five steps:

    1. Clearly Define Your Sales Goals (SMART Goals)

    Navigating complex sales cycles and nuanced B2B sales approaches can make defining clear goals daunting. Manufacturers should follow the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Result-oriented, and Timely) goal model to mitigate challenges in developing clear sales goals.

    When defining your sales goals, ensure they are

    Specific: Make goals as clear as possible, avoiding vagueness. 

    Example: Increase lead conversion rates by 10% in H2.

    Measurable: Set goals you can easily track and measure

    Example: Increase sales by 8% from Q2 to Q3. We will track the number and price of each unit sold in Q3 and cross-reference it with unit sales in Q2. 

    Achievable: Setting realistic goals is vital to the motivation and success of your sales representatives. 

    Result-oriented: Align your sales goals with the larger business objectives. 

    Business Objective: Introduce new technology to operations to grow business and enhance workflows.

    SMART Sales Goal: Utilize Machine Learning (ML) to improve sales efficiency and win net new customers. 

    Timely: Goals with clear timelines maintain accountability, simplify task prioritization and drive production.

    Using SMART goals, Manufacturers and sales generate achievable and trackable goals that align sales goals with overall business aspirations.

    2. Identify Your Target Market and Build Buyer Personas

    To improve market share or discover new market segments to target, manufacturers must stay up-to-date on the components of their industry, including geographical, location, firmographics, size, and technographics.

    Also, Political, Economic, Sociological, technological, legal, and environmental analysis (PESTLE analysis) can determine key external factors that influence your target market’s strategic decision-making.

    These insights and analysis help manufacturers identify and capitalize on market trends–giving them an edge over the competition.

    For example, sociological, environmental, and political sentiments around climate change have influenced the automotive industry. Car manufacturers like KIA and Chevrolet have monitored these developments and entered the EV market to capitalize on environment-friendly trends. 

    Building a Buyer Persona

    A buyer persona is a fictitious profile of your ideal customer within your target market.

    A buyer persona includes:

    • A fictitious name and title 
    • The person’s industry, age, gender, location, salary, and education
    • Their goals and challenges
    • How your company’s value proposition aligns with their wants/needs

    Below is an example of an ideal buyer persona for a high-quality, large-scale textile manufacturer located in the United States looking to enter the automotive industry.

    The insights gathered help determine quality target buyers within the automotive industry (luxury models) and attributes that make the manufacturer stand out over the competition– high-quality nylon and polyester products, large-scale operations, and location.

    Explorium’s AI data technology helps manufacturing leaders keep up with market developments effortlessly–identifying business trends while also determining new high-value customers to target. Explorium allows manufacturers and sales teams:

    • Filter and identify high-ROI customers
    • Seamlessly gather and analyze unique prospect data
    • Leverage predictive processing and scoring models to optimize sales outreach

    Leveraging Explorium’s AI technology allows manufacturers to monitor, analyze, and revamp sales strategies in a fraction of the time.

    3. Choose a Sales Approach

    Outbound sales like cold calling and direct mail are staples in the manufacturing sales industry because they:

    • Let sales reps speak directly with targeted prospects.
    • Produce immediate responses and quicker sales conversions.
    • Create a more personable, in-person connection with potential buyers. 

    However, technological advances and an evolving buyer’s journey make inbound sales a critical component of overall sales success. By leveraging marketing channels (i.e., social media, email, website) and your marketing team’s valuable content, strong online presence, and SEO, sales teams can:

    • Drive high-quality lead generation for sales
    • Expand trust and credibility by providing solutions, FAQs, and thought leadership content
    • Nurture leads through personalized email campaigns 
    • Synchronize with the marketing team’s strategy

    Further, inbound sales allow manufacturers to utilize AI, automation, and ML to: 

    • Automate sales pipelines, customer follow-ups, and more.
    • Analyze key data to gain insights, uncover new opportunities, and predict future trends. 
    • Measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

    While there is no bolt-on sales approach, organizations that combine inbound with outbound sales techniques are better equipped to navigate today’s vastly evolving manufacturing market. 

    4. Implement Strong Sales Strategies

    Strong sales practices are the bedrock of a powerful manufacturing sales strategy.

    The most influential sales practices include:

    Creating a Strong Sales Team 

    A great sales team is critical to meeting and exceeding sales goals. Enable sales opportunities wherever possible and invest in your sales team with training and team-building programs. 

    Generating a User-Friendly Website Content

    Optimize your website’s content so that it not only highlights the products you manufacture but makes it easy to find (search bars, dropdown categories, images, drawings, pricing placement, technical information) and understand (descriptions, self-help portals, FAQs). 

    Perfecting Your Sales Pitch

    67% of sales are lost because reps don’t effectively qualify their lead. 

    Before selling, sales teams must crush the qualification process, fully understanding the customer’s industry, pain points, challenges, and goals. That way, sales reps can present a personalized pitch that directly aligns with the potential customer’s wants and needs.  

    Utilizing a Competitive Pricing Strategy

    Staying ahead of the curve on data like market trends, competition, customer attributes, and production costs will help you to constantly evaluate your pricing models and remain competitive. 

    Providing a Superior Customer Experience

    Whether it be pre-sale or post-sale, a great customer experience goes a long way in building trust retaining customers, and generating positive word-of-mouth marketing. 

    Provide superior customer experience with:

    • A great customer support team. Knowledgeable customer support teams increase customer loyalty and retention. And, satisfied customers are more prone to give and qualify referrals.
    • Online chat support and/or email support. Quickly responding to customer’s needs builds trust and increases conversion rates. Great customer support teams offer chatbots and automated email responses along with live chat support for more complex questions.

    Investing in Smart Sales Technologies

    Automated tools and AI technology enhance productivity, streamline processes, improve lead conversions, and minimize time wasted. 

    Explorium’s AI solutions provide personalized and enriched databases, helping manufacturers discover businesses in their market, fine-tune segments, and ensure sales teams are prioritizing the right customers. 

    Explorium’s Manufacturing technologies provide:

    • Unmatched industry data quality and accuracy.
    • Personalized data solutions to meet a manufacturer’s unique needs.
    • Access to the most granular data insights using world-class AI technology.

    By investing in smart sales technology, manufacturers equip their sales teams with the tools and resources necessary to crush sales goals and outpace the competition. 

    5. Establish a Manufacturing Sales Plan

    You now have the insights needed to establish a successful manufacturing sales strategy. 

    You have:

    • Identified your goals
    • Defined your target market and buyers
    • Chosen the right sales approach for your company
    • Implemented strong sales strategies and smart technologies

    Now, it is time to establish the right sales plan to achieve your sales goals. A sales plan outlines your overall sales goals, obstacles, target markets, prospects, tools, and budget while creating a blueprint for representatives to follow in the action plan. 

    By creating a sales plan, manufacturing leaders:

    • Ensure team members are working toward a common goal.
    • Help streamline sales operations.
    • Stay aligned with sales objectives.  
    • Can better flag and alleviate problems.

    Below is a Sales Plan Template.


    Building an effective manufacturing sales strategy starts with defining your sales goal and understanding your target market and customer’s needs and wants. From there, manufacturers can implement the ideal sales approach, strategies, and tools to meet their overall sales goals.
    The final step in creating a powerful manufacturing sales strategy is to continually monitor, analyze, and optimize the strategy. By constantly tracking and analyzing the progress of a sales strategy, manufacturers can remove or revamp processes to continue to grow and succeed in all of their sales objectives.