Is a strict focus on selling slowing you down?
We’re in uncharted waters! As a sales and marketing professional, I typically spend a great portion of my day trying to advance my clients’ businesses—or more simply put—selling more! And while I still spend time each day generating client orders or “selling” in the traditional sense, I find that I’m spending a lot more time on something many of us took for granted not too long ago—inventory in-stocks!
Limited containers, backups at ports, and freight and workforce shortages have all led to significant challenges for most manufacturers this year. Combine these inventory challenges with off-the-chart demand for many categories here in the U.S. and you have a real headache for sales and product managers alike.
Talk to any sales or marketing professional who’s been working for any length of time in this industry and they’ll tell you they’ve never seen anything like it! Getting the sale isn’t the hard part today. The real challenge? Shipping on time and at a high fill rate.
If not selling, where should your focus be?
As a seller, this can be extremely frustrating and confusing. It can also be easy to throw your hands up in the air and say, “I’ve done my part. If the factory can’t ship on time, that’s not my problem.” It’s hard for salespeople not to go there in their minds, but unfortunately, many do.
Herein lies the missed opportunity!
Clear and consistent communication on inventory levels, order status, or even supplemental opportunities will help keep your customers from canceling orders or looking elsewhere for their product.
It’s true that manufacturers need their salespeople now more than ever, but the roles have shifted slightly.
Salespeople should take this opportunity to put on their nurturer hats. They are the boots on the ground and the first line of communication to the customer. If done with an honest interest for your customers’ wellbeing and growth, strong communication and relationship building will be where the biggest sales wins today can happen.
How will a refined communication strategy take you to the top?
Relationships at every level of the retail organization are more important now than ever! Leveraging relationships with key roles like replenishment analysts, assistant buyers, demand planners, merchandise managers, and of course, buyers will help your customer stay informed and up-to-date on product availability, and help the manufacturer keep their business intact—or even better, help the business grow!
All this is easier said than done, of course. Not every salesperson prioritizes these relationships or has access to their customers’ key employees. However, communication up, down, and across the organization should quickly become a top priority. If communication is ignored today, the outcomes will be detrimental to even the most sustainable businesses.
Continued growth and success are dependent on a transparent communication strategy. Savvy and progressive manufacturers realize this and are looking for sales support that goes deeper than simply getting a purchase order. Service for the client after the order is even more important today. And to effectively do this, communication is key!
The execution of a robust communication strategy will separate the manufacturers who win and those who lose in this new retail world we’re all trying to navigate. At Kelly Brand Management we prioritize communications and multi-level relationships with key retailers. If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help you win today, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.