Timing is everything in this life. And you cannot change it. Good skills and wrong timing still means no results. Timing is sales is absolutely critical. No matter what piece of sales puzzle you’re working on, timing is an important factor and element of any sales process. And when you got that “timing” and “opportunity” right together, don’t miss it.
PLM industry is going through the unique period of investment growth. My guess that investors put ~250M U.S. dollars in PLM industry over the course of last 12 months and this money needs to work. And it means – sales!!! And when you have so much money in work the demand for sales people and sales skills in PLM will be skyrocketing.
How to tune your PLM sales skills to make it matching 2019?
Whatever people will tell you, you need to have a special skills to sell PLM. It is a mix of engineering, enterprise software and vision mixed with very good sales skills. Try to practice in selling iPhone to you grandma knowing that the most sophisticated device she used before was TV remote controller. This is how you get best preparation for PLM sales in 2019.
The biggest challenge in PLM sales is to get enough information about organization, to match it with your brand vision and strategy and then decide to execute your best sales shot. Otherwise, step back, give up and move to the next opportunity. The faster you go through this cycle – better for your results.
The best results in PLM sales is to sell PLM to a company already implemented PLM and failed. You can save tons of time. The worst results in PLM sales is by going to a company that never heard what is PLM acronym.
Here are 7 questions that can help you to go through the process of account qualification and deciding about sales strategy.
1- Is there active PLM system in organization? Yes- learn as much as you can about existing PLM. No – ask why and be ready to give up and move on.
2- Is there PLM program in an organization or at least are there people familiar with PLM. Yes- learn as much as you can about PLM program, goals and responsibilities or talk to these people. Try identifying replacement opportunities. No- give up immediately.
3- Get information about CAD, PDM, ERP systems. Are there competing brands? Yes – revisit strategy. No – build a plan to up sell or cross sell.
4- Learn about company vision, engineering and manufacturing process as much as you can
5- Try to get any information you can about PLM budget. Coming too expensive will put you off chart. But coming too cheap can create a perception of “bad solution”.
6- Try to get information about compelling events – new projects, products, timelines, etc.
7- Get information about IT strategy.
PLM sales strategy options
With all above information in your mind, when you come to a potential PLM buyer, apply you research skills to build PLM sales strategy. You must have PLM sales strategy before you start selling to a specific account. Here are possible four options to sell PLM to manufacturing company in 2019:
A- get in a new manufacturing program (if you found one, it can be your golden shot).
B- replacement of failed, broken or non-supported PLM system (this is very popular strategy. Old PLM is broken, new is coming… blah, blah. Remember, you need to deliver. Look in the mirror and check you buzzwords agains the reality.
C- optimization of PLM as a result of M&A (parent company requirements). You have a good shot in 2019. With lot of corporate acquisitions, you have a good chance to find manufacturing company adopting PLM because new owners told them to do so.
D- new PLM initiative and vision. This is the hardest one. Look for PLM champions in the organization. Be sure you pick the right one and try to support him, It can work well and you can find a pathway in the future.
To future improve your non-BS PLM sales skills, I recommend you my blog – How to practice PLM extreme sales listening.
What is my conclusion? No-BS would be my keyword to growth the sales of PLM in 2019. PLM sales put enough buzzwords, BS and marketing in the past to really annoy people. To come clean and non-BS, you have the best chance. You need knowledge about PLM story in organization. Without the story, you most probably fail miserably without setting contacts with key stakeholders. Depends on company readiness you can spend 3-12 months selling PLM system to the account. Plan you timeline, holidays, sport events and weather condition – you’re going to spend lot of time in this place. Just my thoughts…
Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM developing cloud based bill of materials and inventory management tool for manufacturing companies, hardware startups and supply chain. My opinion can be unintentionally biased