Blog posts tagged with Sales

Managing the Probability of Your Pipeline

April 06, 2017 by Tim Nevin

Vetting your pipeline is a game of chance; it’s taking the time and energy to figure out which leads have a higher probability of turning into sales than others. So how do you calculate this probability, and thus confidently forecast your monthly, quarterly, and annual sales? Well, you have to start by understanding all of the variables that go into developing your pipeline. You have an existing customer base with the potential to place new orders, and you have an existing pipeline of customers in the current markets that you serve, but there are countless potential customers you might not even know about yet, and even if you do know of them, you might not have the necessary information to reach out to them in a meaningful way that will earn their trust and ultimately their business. Outside of the number of prospect customers, you also have to consider the size, variation, and time commitment of each potential order. Now, although this may seem daunting at a high level, there are solutions. Depending on the size of your company, the first step is to prioritize the time you spend on companies that either have the highest likelihood of closing a

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Partnering for Growth: Tap into the Power of Your Supply Chain

July 18, 2016 by Liz Fox

Small and mid-sized manufacturers (SMEs) face tremendous disadvantages vs. larger competitors — from financing to production efficiencies to distribution channels. But SMEs also have a secret weapon: their supply chains. Suppliers and customers offer a vast array of capabilities (intellectual property, talent, strategies, ideas) that can be leveraged into profits for your company — and theirs. For example, a customer in need of new material will often finance a small manufacturer’s R&D, especially if they can share the rewards with limited risk. If you’re a small customer in need of new components or materials, it can work the other way; a larger supplier might finance the required R&D and tooling, in exchange for a long-term contract. These partners — or others — might also offer as-needed production capacity, for seasonal demand spikes or unexpected orders. Unfortunately, for most manufacturers, “partnership” is an unfamiliar term. Only 25% of manufacturers report that their relationships with suppliers are “partnerships” in which they share resources, intellectual property, etc. Among smaller manufacturers — less than $25 million in revenues — more than half have a “buy and sell” relationship with suppliers. Relationships with customers are just as bad (or worse) (see Infographic). These low-value relationships

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Back to Basics: How to Make More Money Now

July 05, 2016 by Liz Fox

There’s lots to talk about in manufacturing these days — the Internet of Things, cloud computing, additive manufacturing, robotics, etc. And there’s no question these new technologies could transform your company — but only if you’re ready for them. Alas, there’s the rub: Many manufacturers — especially smaller firms — ignore the improvement strategies that could put more money in their pockets now, while positioning themselves for an more lucrative tomorrow. In fact, 17% of manufacturing companies have no improvement methodology in place at their plants. Sadly, two-thirds of those facilities belong to small manufacturers (revenues of less than $25 million). Make no mistake: These “No methodology” facilities woefully underperform vs. their improvement-minded peers: They lag in sales per employee by $105,315 per year — $168,844 (average) vs. $274,159 at plants with an improvement methodology in place - and they’re much less likely to lower production costs: 22% reduced manufacturing costs (excluding purchased materials) over the past three years vs. 37% of plants with an improvement methodology. It doesn’t have to be this way. Small manufacturers have major advantages and opportunities in adopting improvement principles. First, the scopes of their efforts are smaller — which means fewer people to train and

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