The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the face of technical sales, but things are slowly moving towards a new normal. There are new ways of prospecting in technical sales. For example, LinkedIn is now the social platform you should be using and working on the most. All technical sales engineers and industrial sales engineers should be using LinkedIn as their primary prospecting tool.
Even with LinkedIn being number one now for technical sales, the tried-and-tested sales techniques of pre-pandemic times are still effective. One of these is traveling to meet a prospect or customer. Although traveling for work practically disappeared over the last 18 months, technical sales people are now more comfortable going back to visiting and meeting customers in person. Meeting people face-to-face can be an important part of a well-rounded technical sales strategy, especially for customers who still prefer a personal touch.
In this article, we will just focus on two top tips for traveling technical sales people:
Technical Sales Tip 1: Never allow a member of the technical sales team to see just one customer on a business trip
A technical sales engineer or an industrial sales engineer should always work on keeping their sales pipeline full. This means that they should be working on multiple prospects at the same time. When planning a visit to a prospect or customer, make sure to schedule visits with other prospects who are located nearby as well. You should visit at least two customers on one trip and try to visit as many as five of them. Maximize the time and effort you are spending to go to a location, whether you drive or fly there.
One way to plan a business trip more efficiently is to use Google My Maps. This website allows you to create custom maps using your own prospecting database. On your CRM, like Salesforce or Hubspot, download your list of contacts. This will include information like name and location. Then take this spreadsheet and upload it to Google My Maps. The website will do its magic and create a custom map for you with little dots that pinpoints all your prospects and customers.
You’ll then be able to have a quick look to see where all your customers are located and plan a more efficient trip. Plan it out so you can see other prospects either on the way to your main prospect, nearby, or on your way back. This is one way to maximize the trip and meet with several prospects at the same time.
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Technical Sales Tip 2: Think about your value proposition that will make you stand out in Manufacturing
Ask a technical sales engineer or industrial sales engineer about their product or service’s value proposition. See if they can answer you without using the words “quality”, “customer service”, or “delivery”. Many times, they’ll just look at you without being able to answer. Too many B2B companies think that offering good quality or great customer service is part of a value proposition. For the last 15 to 20 years, companies have been saying the same thing and using the same terms. It’s time to think differently.
Good quality, excellent customer service, and on-time delivery are no longer special. These should be a given in any company or product. They are just a cost of doing business. To come up with a value proposition, think of what makes your company stand out. Think about the technology your product uses, the capabilities of the machine you are selling, or how your service reduces the supply chain. Other things you can consider is how it helps your customer be vertically integrated, or if you sell a piece of equipment, look at the lifecycle of the product and see what can happen down the road.
You should think long-term and what else you can do provide value. Set your company offerings and yourself apart from your competitors. If you are having a hard time thinking of what kind of value proposition you can give, try to build relationships with your customers and see what value you are already giving them. This can give you a better idea of what you can offer to others clients as well.
These are the two top tips for traveling technical sales people in 2021 and beyond. Meeting customers face-to-face is an effective tool to build relationships and hopefully, close some deals. Although Zoom calls and video calls are here to stay, technical sales engineers and industrial sales engineers can still benefit from traveling to meet prospects and customers. There are instances where it is better to meet a customer at their factory or business to gain a better understanding of their needs and how you can help them.
Technical sales has changed over the last 18 months, but what hasn’t changed is that you have to keep pushing yourself and stay motivated. Don’t be complacent. Constantly work on keeping your sales pipeline full and work on multiple prospects at the same time. When it is time to go on a trip to meet a customer, include other customers from your prospect list to make the trip more worth your time. Use newer technical sales techniques, like LinkedIn, but use whatever works for you. When you are able to adjust to the new normal and adapt as best as you can, you’ll be able to find success in technical sales.
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