The chemical manufacturing industry has been experiencing many problems and is expected to face even more issues in the coming years, with rising regulations and the unpredictability of markets. It is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain a reasonable profit margin in today’s environment. A small number of companies are finding success through breakthrough products, but revolutionary innovations are becoming increasingly hard to uncover.
Chemical manufacturing companies have had to reduce costs by sacrificing operational efficiencies. One key area that is commonly overlooked is an optimised sales strategy. Many companies continue to adopt a traditional sales approach despite these rising expenses.
Traditional sales approach
Previously, chemical manufacturers developed speciality products designed to meet individual customer requirements. To help justify the high costs of these speciality products, companies included complementary comprehensive support services. However, these services were available to every customer and not restricted to the ‘top-tier’ customers. By adopting the same level of service approach for all customers, profitability suffered.
Some chemical manufacturing companies have created innovative ideas to help boost revenue.
- Multiple service levels: Instead of following the traditional approach of bundling the same services with every purchase, segment and implement several service levels at different price points based upon customer requirements. When purchasing basic products at low costs, standard automated services should be used in terms of delivery and payment options. Along with these basic services additional services should be made available to customers who chose to pay for it. Data analytics can help companies target certain customers with different service extras.
- Product-only pricing: Chemicals are viewed by many people as pure commodities. Chemical manufacturers can use this mindset and unbundle their services from their products. This will allow companies to meet low pricing demand of customers willing to buy in bulk and do not require extra services. This gives the opportunity for chemicals to be ordered from machine-to-machine, removing any human interference.
- Separate Business units: Introducing a separate business unit allows for ‘the best of both worlds’, allowing companies to meet the low pricing demands but also contain the extra services required by the ‘top-tier’ customers. This allows those customers who are willing to pay more for extra services to retain a speciality status
Strategies to boost the performance of the chemical manufacturing industry
There is no doubt that major players in the chemical industry are struggling to bring profitable expansion to their business. Industry experts believe that this struggle will continue for the next number of years due to the growing competition between players and the uncertainty of the market.
Actionable plans are needed that can provide growth and increase profit for companies in the chemical manufacturing industry
Finding the balance between price and volume
It’s a myth that high volumes of chemical sales will fetch companies higher profits. The uncertainty of the chemical manufacturing market provides little insight into the demand from consumers. It has shown in the last few years that demand for conventional chemicals has dipped at a significant amount.
Manufacturers will see benefits if they prioritise improving their pricing strategy over increasing their volume of sales.
It has been shown that one of the best ways to stay relevant and competitive is to revamp or extend your product portfolio. Some of the biggest names in chemical manufacturing have already entered into mergers and extensions, such as Bayer and Dow. By expanding on their current portfolio they allow for a larger consumer audience and the opportunity to enter more segments of the market, in turn enhancing profitability of the company.
The so called digital revolution has completely rearranged the chemical manufacturing industry, from the operations stage right through to the sales stage. It has allowed manufactures to advance from being ‘product sellers’ through the integration of manufacturing and business processes, and in the optimisation of the sales and marketing strategies. Although the implementation of machine learning and AI has reduced reliance on human workforce, it enhances the overall functionality of the chemical manufacturing process.
Strategies to boost sales performance
Along with these specialised sales strategies, chemical manufacturing companies can use generalised sales strategies in order to increase profitability and company sales.
- Sales techniques -This can include forging relationships between the business and consumer. Staff can ask the right questions and find out the customers needs and wants. They can then advise on what chemicals would best suit their needs and help solve their problem.
- Samples and demonstrations- Persuade the consumer to give up their current techniques or products and try your product on a trial basis.
- Expanding markets- Identify new areas of the market that you can exploit for new sales. Market research companies that specialise in chemical manufacturing can provide crucial market research into what areas have room for new products or a new supplier. They can look at trends and make predictions for the future as well as getting information about the main competitors.
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