Developing a new sales pipeline: Tips to help improve your strategy during a pandemic

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Selling has been around since the beginning of time. From cavemen bartering their hunted food to pioneers trading farmed goods, sales is one of the oldest professions known to man. Today, we see the modern-day salesman — you meet virtually on LinkedIn or on a Zoom call — who might have a different approach than the sales people hundreds of years ago, but it still remains one of the most critical positions at your company — especially during this pandemic. They keep the cash flow coming in and new business in the pipeline — which is a lot of pressure to put on one department of a company. Do you find that your sales people are stressed out right now? We don’t doubt it.

We all are very familiar now with the fact that COVID-19 has put serious strain on how manufacturers and other industries are selling their products. This holds especially true for the machine tool industry that was relying on many of the 2020 tradeshows, where companies would have exhibited their latest and greatest. IMTS, South By Southwest, and Inspired Home Show 2020 are among hundreds of others that have cancelled their face-to-face events due to pandemic travel and social distancing restrictions. Sure, they might have discussed supplementing with a virtual event, but from what we hear directly from our members, they cannot replace that trusted, in-person handshake.

What is the cost of all this? To start, billions of dollars for the exhibitors, the hosting associations, the cities that are missing out on all the tourist spending, local convention staff, and so much more.

Sales people are not just keeping their products moving, but the work they do at events, on the road, and online truly helps local communities to stay thriving. So, with all that bad news to chew on, AGMA would like to offer some solutions to these pressing issues:

Plan and pivot: Many sales people have been doing business a certain way for their whole career. Now is the time to try something new. Talk to your sales team, brainstorm with your employees and marketing department about what they already know and don’t know, and get a baseline for how you plan to change strategies. Take a moment and come up with a sustainable solution for not only this year, but 2021 as well. It is never too early to start thinking about what will be open next year. And, always include other departments in the efforts to shake it up!

Get online: If you are not already on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, or other social media platforms, you need to be. Real sales leads and business connections are happening every second of the day online, and your company needs to be in the mix. Going online allows great ways to share photos and videos of your products with potential customers. Make sure to tag your trade association so they can share what you are doing.

Attend online socials: AGMA has been hosting monthly virtual socials that connect our members to talk about what is affecting them. More often than not, this type of forum is a great way to benchmark with others, get some useful insights, and share the challenges you are facing with industry peers. Don’t be afraid to sign up and listen; you need to know you are not alone.

Advertise and sponsor: With all of the face-to-face events moving to online platforms, it is important to get your logo and brand out there while you have the opportunity. Many associations and companies are hosting webinars that are sharing really important information that hundreds in your customer base are attending. Becoming a sponsor or taking out an ad in the industry publication is a very simple and affordable way to get your brand in front of thousands of potential customers. It lets people know you are still working, relevant, and very much open for business during a time when everything is so uncertain.

Team up with your association: AGMA cannot say this enough, but we are here for YOU!We are in the middle of making sure that next year’s Motion + Power Technology Expo is going to be a safe, successful, and robust opportunity for you and your sales team to get the quality leads the show is known for. We also have AGMA Media, where our magazines offer a variety of options for every budget to raise brand awareness. And, lastly, we offer you connections to the experts throughout the world that help develop standards, educate us on gear technology, and inform us of the latest trade and tariffs facing our supply chains.

So, sales people, you are not alone. The pressure is on for you to bring in the money, and we know that is not easy. We understand the need for unconventional tactics to push forward, and AGMA is here to give you options. Please visit our websites to see what kind of services we can provide to help connect you to your customer:

Upcoming Webinars

September 2, 2020 | 1–2 p.m. EDT | Free
Huawei or the Highway: How New U.S. National Security Laws Aimed at China will Impact Emerging Technologies and IoT Initiatives in the Bearing and Gear Industries.

Behind the headlines about a Chinese company, Huawei’s alleged violations of U.S. export control and sanctions laws are a range of U.S. government initiatives designed to address concerns over Chinese technological and market dominance of emerging technologies like 5G and “Internet of Things” (IoT). The Trump administration has been taking a whole of government approach to these issues, engaging in new rulemaking and working closely with Congress and independent agencies such as the Federal Communications Commission to craft a set of rules that will shape the direction of investment in these technologies for years to come. This webinar will explore these issues and highlight the many pitfalls and opportunities for bearing and gear companies that rely on these technologies or plan to make them part of new projects and products.

October 7, 2020 | 1–2 p.m. | Free
Options and Approaches to Addressing the Continuing Problem of Counterfeit Imports:  U.S. Government Initiatives and Next Steps for Industry to Consider

Imports of counterfeit bearing and gear products continue to present challenges for our industries, raising real safety risks, undercutting consumer confidence, and harming the bottom line. This webinar will examine a range of new initiatives designed to stem the flow of counterfeit products into this country and provide practical advice on how to fight back and enlist U.S. government resources in that fight.

November 4, 2020 | 1–2 p.m. | Free
Decision 2020: Inside the Trade Policy Platforms of the Presidential Candidates and Prospects for U.S. Trade Policy in 2021

Trade policy has perhaps never been more prominently featured in the headlines and U.S. politics than it has over the past four
years. This webinar will go behind the headlines to examine where the presidential candidates and their parties stand on trade
issues and what changes and new initiatives will be coming after Election Day. 

NEW! Gear Education to Fit Your Needs! Virtual & Live Classes Available!

AGMA offers video training and an online workforce training series for members and non-members. These courses are a convenient way to keep your employees learning from the computer. Visit: www.agma.org/education/online/video-training/detailed-gear-design-beyond-simple-service-factors to see the course descriptions.

Ongoing Recorded Virtual Training

  • Detailed Gear Design – Beyond Simple Factors.
  • Gear Failure Analysis.
  • Gearbox CSI: Gears Only.
  • Online Workforce Training: Parallel Gear Inspection.
  • Online Workforce Training: Hobbing.
  • Online Workforce Training: Fundamentals of Gearing.

The AGMA Fall Technical Meeting is Going Virtual!

For 2020, AGMA has decided to make the FTM an online event so people all over the world can experience the quality presentations from the gearing experts without having to travel. FTM Virtual will be in October and will consist of 10 pre-recorded presentations and one live Q&A session with the speakers. More details will be coming out soon, so make sure to check in at www.agma.org/2020-fall-technical-meeting/

2020 FTM Virtual Meeting

  • October 5-19, 2020: On Demand Content Available
  • October 20, 2020: Live Q&A Sessions & Virtual Networking

For 2020, and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, AGMA is hosting the Fall Technical Meeting online. The technical experts have chosen 10 incredible papers that will be presented by the researchers in a pre-recorded video to share with attendees. Those who sign up will have two weeks to watch these presentations and prepare questions for the presenters. On October 20, you will get to see and hear these presenters live to ask your questions and to network with other attendees!

We understand that a virtual event is never the same as getting that in-person experience, but AGMA and the technical community deserve to continue this decades-old staple in the gear industry so the latest research can be shared with engineers all over the world. Innovation does not stop because of a pandemic, so neither will we. Sign up today: www.agma.org/2020-fall-technical-meeting

Calendar of Events

August 18 — Plastics Committee Meeting — WebEx

August 18–19 — AGMA Board of Directors Meeting — Alexandria, Virginia

August 20–21 — TDEC Meeting — Alexandria, Virginia

August 25 — Gear Accuracy Committee — WebEx

August 26 — Lubrication Committee Meeting — WebEx

August 27 — Bevel Gearing Committee Meeting — WebEx

September 8 — Metallurgy and Materials Committee Meeting — WebEx

September 10 — Nomenclature Committee Meeting — WebEx

September 15 — Powder Metallurgy Committee Meeting — WebEx

September 22 — Metallurgy and Materials Committee Meeting — WebEx

September 24 — Bevel Gearing Committee Meeting — WebEx

September 25 — 3D Printing Committee Meeting — WebEx

September 29 — Wormgearing Committee Meeting — WebEx

October 6 — Nomenclature Committee Meeting — WebEx

October 8 — Gear Accuracy Committee — WebEx

October 16 — Electric Drive Committee Meeting — WebEx

October 20 — Fall Technical Meeting Live Q&A Session — Virtual Platform