Nucleus Blog

Collaboration is a Winning Sales Strategy for Manufacturers

Posted by James Grieve on Nov 2, 2016 10:00:00 AM


In recent decades, sales representatives for manufacturers have relied on their individual talents to prospect new sales leads, develop relationships with customers, and close deals. For many strong sellers, their product knowledge and emotional intelligence was enough to fill the sales pipeline, generate hefty commissions, and satisfy managements prescribed sales targets.

Today, the rules of engagement for sales have changed, and ‘lone ranger’ salespeople are no longer as effective as they used to be. Today’s hyper-connected digital economy has provided consumers with fast access to information that helps them make informed purchase decisions without having to rely on the expertise that sales reps used to provide.

Sales representatives' new formula for success is collaboration with product and marketing teams to understand market dynamics, consumer behaviour, and preferences to build broader solutions that add value for their customers. Sales presentations, sample kits and show rooms have given way to critical thinking, exercises in judgment, technology, and networking to generate business, and build and position broader solutions for customers.

The transactional aspects of sales are disappearing. Brent Adamson, and Matthew Dixon, co-Authors of the seminal book ‘The Challenger Sale’ have documented an extraordinary shift in the relationship between individual achievement and business unit profitability in the article ‘Why Individuals No Longer Rule on Sales Teams’. This is a good read that emphasises why manufacturers must embrace a more flexible and collaborative approach to sales that focuses on insight, judgment and networking.

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Topics: strategy for manufacturing, sales and marketing collaboration, marketing for manufacturing

Succesful Manufacturers have evolved into Service Companies

Posted by James Grieve on Oct 26, 2016 10:00:00 AM


If you were to ask manufacturers to explain their products, they will most likely provide you with a list of features, functionality, benefits, brand, and packaging. You can’t blame them for these types of responses, after all, they are accurate, and up until recently, this is what most of their customers cared about.

Recently, there has been a long-overdue and dramatic identity shift for manufacturers. No longer can products be thought of as something that can be packaged and shipped. There are new rules of engagement for manufacturers with their customers, and to survive and thrive, all products today must have a service aspect.

Loosely defined, service is the relationship between consumers and companies. In the past, good service was a nice to have, today, great service is a must have, and it is at the heart of any user experience. Providing meticulous attention to providing consistently high levels of service that meet and exceed users’ needs are what separate the great companies from the rest. By focusing on customer needs and aligning the business, technology, sales and marketing teams, manufacturers are better able to identify and solve problems and deliver better value to customers.

For manufacturers, the ability to efficiently and effectively deliver consistently high levels of customer service at all touch points can mean the difference between being a market leader and a oft-forgotten laggard. Given the many choices that customers have, and the relative ease that they have to recommend or condemn companies to their friends using social media and other outlets, it is in manufacturers’ best interest to embrace a service-led approach that puts their customers’ entire experience with the company at the forefront of their marketing strategy.

The Forbes magazine article ‘Why Manufacturers Should Pay Attention to Customer Service’ provides excellent insight into the importance of placing an emphasis on the fact that service is a key differentiator for manufacturers because service, not products is what the entire organization delivers continuously.

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Topics: service design, customer service, user-centred design, strategy for manufacturing, marketing for manufacturing

Manufacturers Must Maintain Customer Focus as Their Business Grows

Posted by James Grieve on Oct 19, 2016 10:00:00 AM


For most manufacturers, identifying and capitalizing on new market opportunities as a means of increasing sales is a strategic imperative. As these companies grow and expand distribution by adding new branch offices or dealers in new geographical locations, there is a risk of losing focus on what matters most – the customer.

There is a great saying, “don’t ever forget where you came from otherwise you will never remember where you are going”. This is invaluable advice for manufacturers seeking to grow quickly without wisely taking the time it takes to develop customer centered sales and marketing best practices, design service processes, and support sales teams and dealers so that they can consistently deliver experiences that support the company’s brand promise.

Achieving sustainable growth requires a disciplined focus on your customers’ experience with your company at all levels, at any time and in any place, and meeting this challenge takes discipline and leadership. The manufacturers that remain true to their roots and are obsessive about continuous improvement that will create, deliver, and capture value will reap the benefits of improved loyalty and increased sales.

Chris Zook’s article, ‘Maintaining Your Focus on the Front Lines as Your Company Grows’ identifies four practices that can help leaders remain focused on the front line as they grow.

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Topics: strategy for manufacturing, service design, marketing for manufacturing, sales and marketing collaboration

What Manufacturers Need to Know about Customer Service

Posted by Sean Shepherd on Oct 13, 2016 3:35:35 PM

As a proud advocate of a service approach to manufacturing, I often engage prospective clients about the importance of customer service. Although a key factor in Service Design, customer service itself is only a component of a larger service focus.

However, it is the most obvious place to start any discussion on service as it is the most visible.

It is also often the most misunderstood.

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Topics: service design, marketing for manufacturing, strategy for manufacturing

Treating Dealers Like Partners Improves Sales Performance for Manufacturers

Posted by James Grieve on Oct 7, 2016 10:00:00 AM


When you ask manufacturers about the key to the success of their distribution strategy,  they will tell you that it is the quality, commitment and loyalty of their dealers. Without a strong dealer network, sales performance falters, the threat of competitors entering and capturing market share raises, brand awareness is weakened, and the overall success and viability of the manufacturer’s business is at peril.

A manufacturer’s dealer network is an extension of their sales force, the face of the company in local markets, and brand ambassadors for the company whose products they are representing. Given the importance of their dealers’ performance on their bottom line, it is no wonder that progressive manufacturers have realized that dedicating resources to supporting their dealers with sales support can be a strong differentiator that creates loyalty and trust. It also helps attract, nurture, and retain dealers in competitive markets, thereby building  a strong barrier to exit that prevents dealers from defecting to the competition.

Our research and experience has shown that when it comes to designing, delivering, and executing marketing and sales strategies, the common constraints for dealers are time, expertise, and experience.

To create loyalty and benefit from improved sales performance of their dealers, manufacturers must follow five simple steps:

  1. Engage with dealers to understand what marketing initiatives work best in their markets.

  2. Invest in the design of proven, progressive, and scalable processes and marketing tactics that are easy to execute at the local level.

  3. Explain how the various suite of marketing tactics will work to build brand awareness, support sales teams, and increase sales.

  4. Execute the marketing programs by showing the manufacturer’s support of managerial resources and financial support, including the use of a co-op marketing budget to offset the costs of implementation.

  5. Evaluate the performance of manufacturer supported dealer led programs by demonstrating return on investment and the benefits to the dealers’ sales growth.


A successful manufacturer-dealer relationship is at its core a strategic partnership that prospers over time. As Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”

To learn more about the importance of positive working relationships between manufacturers and their dealers, read the Harvard Business Review article, Make Your Dealers Your Partners, by Donald V. Fites, Chaiman and CEO of Caterpillar. 

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Topics: marketing for manufacturing

Nucleus Strategies:The Right Choice for Manufacturers

Posted by The Nucleus Team on Mar 2, 2016 11:32:35 AM


At Nucleus Strategies, we believe that great marketing for manufacturing is built on a foundation of practical and relevant strategies that must work together to:

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Topics: marketing for manufacturing

Sales and Marketing Collaboration Benefits Manufacturing Marketing

Posted by The Nucleus Team on Jan 12, 2016 4:33:23 PM


When manufacturers’ salespeople and marketers work together, the results can be very powerful. The common objectives of these two business functions are quite simple: create customer value and drive company results. On the surface, realizing these objectives seems basic, but for manufacturers, it is not an easy task.

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Topics: marketing for manufacturing, sales and marketing collaboration

Two Reasons Why Manufacturers Should View Their Dealers As Partners

Posted by The Nucleus Team on Aug 17, 2015 4:15:26 PM


There are many factors that influence manufacturers’ success in the marketplace. They include value of the brand name, innovative products, quality and performance, operational excellence, and strategic marketing and sales initiatives. All of these factors are important, but it is imperative for manufacturers to treat their dealers as partners so that they can foster a highly engaged manufacturer-dealer relationship.

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Topics: co-op marketing, marketing for manufacturing, local marketing, coop marketing

Competitive Advantages of Local Marketing for Manufacturers

Posted by The Nucleus Team on Jul 27, 2015 4:57:16 PM



Local marketing generally refers to the marketing techniques used by a firm in any industry to market itself to the area in which it operates. It involves using tactics to support local dealers to supplement the broader strategic marketing initiatives of the manufacturer. There are many benefits of implementing a marketing strategy that is localized to add value for both manufacturers and their dealers.  

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Topics: co-op marketing, marketing for manufacturing, local marketing, coop marketing

5 Ways Manufacturers Can Generate More Leads For Their Dealers

Posted by The Nucleus Team on Jul 23, 2015 12:57:04 PM


Cold calling, print advertising and trade shows are tedious, expensive, and really hard work. They require a lot of time, money, and face-to-face communication to help capture the interest of prospective consumers.  Thankfully, there are new ways to attract qualified leads and convert them to customers without wasting your most valuable resources: time, money and talent.

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Topics: co-op marketing, marketing for manufacturing, local marketing, coop marketing