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When it comes to aftermarket sales, the growth potential is incredible. It is estimated that American businesses and consumers spend around $1 trillion every year in this market, making the U.S. aftermarket bigger than all but the world’s eight largest economies.
However, the potential for tapping into this market is lost due to inefficiencies in sales and support procedures. Many companies operating in the aftermarket industry are working with outdated systems, relying on cumbersome processes to assist customers. Historically, this has meant that for a company to grow its aftermarket sales, it had to invest in a massive increase in headcount to keep up with customer demand, which ultimately cuts into profits.
Today, technology empowers these companies to streamline their aftermarket sales and support, allowing for growth without increasing spending. Let’s look at four key steps in streamlining your aftermarket sales and support.
You can’t fix what you don’t know is broken, and when it comes to many aftermarket sales and support procedures, there is a lot to learn about what is going wrong. The first step is to identify where your biggest gaps lie.
For example, when Fecon, a manufacturer of rugged machines and highly engineered tools, began to examine its aftermarket sales and support process, it realized it had a massive issue with its support documentation. Their approach involved working with a third-party vendor to manage the publishing process. As a result, it took months for a single new parts book to be created.
The result was that support documentation became outdated almost instantaneously. New machinery and equipment were being shipped with generic parts, books, and manuals, and dealers’ limited access to up-to-date product documentation resulted in long phone calls with Fecon customer service. As a result, identifying the correct parts for a customer’s machine was tedious and inaccurate.
Not only did Fecon realize there was a huge room for potential growth by fixing this issue, but they also saw that by implementing the right technology, they could improve dealer and customer communications. For example, they could provide these customers with timely service bulletins, warranty notifications, sales promotions, and more.
Take a step back and identify where your aftermarket sales and support are struggling the most. What key areas need improvement to create a more efficient process with better customer service?
Perhaps one of the largest contributors to inefficient aftermarket sales and support processes is the lack of accurate information. Inaccurate information will delay order processing and lead to extensive time spent on support calls. In addition, when teams work off of inaccurate data, shipments are also often incorrect, leading to further wasted spending on fixing these issues. Not only that, but without accurate, up-to-date information, your customers' equipment downtime is extended.
One of the best ways to increase the efficiency and efficacy of your sales and support teams is through a robust set of accurate technical documentation. By shifting your equipment information into a living library, you can make it easier to look up parts, part lists, equipment updates, and critical manufacturer details.
A living library is not only updated in real-time, ensuring increased accuracy, but it is also available around the clock. This means that customers can access information the second they need it without relying on long call wait times.
When you tie this living library of documentation into an online storefront, you’ll be ready for step three.
In our digital-first world, people expect to be able to search and identify the information they need. However, when it comes to aftermarket sales and support, if you implement a quality digital solution, you can shift a lot of the work that occupied your team’s time into a self-service format.
Let’s retake a look at Fecon. After implementing Documoto’s self-service solution, they could increase sales of replacement and maintenance parts by $2 million over a 5-year period without an increase in staffing. Not only that, but their online orders increased from 10% to 63% of all aftermarket transactions.
A self-service support portal allows your network of dealers and customers to access technical information, product updates, and pricing 24/7 without necessitating long wait times.
Using a digital self-service solution like Documoto isn’t about getting rid of sales and support staff. Instead, it is about freeing up these individuals to focus on the most valuable work possible.
For example, according to Fecon, they could shift over 60% of their orders to Documoto. The result is that they freed up their counter sales reps to focus their efforts on working with customers with unique needs.