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PCB-Dec2016

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14 The PCB Magazine • December 2016 We also asked respondents' titles; more than 60% were in upper management positions rang- ing from owner/founder to general and busi- ness managers. Another 20%+ were in a sales function with the remainder in design, engi- neering and similar capacities, which indicated that responses were indeed from our intended audience. The following is a summary of our findings. 1. What's your preference—direct sales people or sales representatives? Essentially two-thirds of the respondents preferred direct sales, while one-third preferred sales reps. A variety of reasons were named, in- cluding: • You own them and can therefore direct them • They are better motivated because they sell technology… • You can control their behavior tied to corporate goals For the most part, our responders preferred direct salespeople but found them very expen- sive as opposed to reps. 2. What are the greatest challenges in working with reps? Results indicated that people felt it was difficult to keep reps focused and working on the product. Also mentioned was making sure reps were properly trained and educated, to ensure complete product knowledge. Other is- sues mentioned were territory conflicts and dis- tance, forecasting, and loyalty; some of you felt that reps' and company interests were not al- ways fully aligned. 3. What are the greatest challenges in working with direct salespeople? Some respondents stated no major draw- backs, while many cited the expense of direct salespeople. Motivating direct salespeople to get new business was considered a serious chal- lenge as was lack of technical knowledge. Get- ting them out of the office was cited as one of the biggest challenges. And there was concern about getting them to sell what you build rather than what you don't build. 4. What is the overall greatest challenge in your sales process? Representative responses include: • Getting new accounts • Price • Selling against offshore • Developing a plan and working that plan for results • Forecasting and budgeting • The entire lead generation process and making the sales people stick to it Sadly, albeit truthfully, one person said, "The PCB industry has left the country." 5. How long does it take for you to convert a prospect to a customer? The conversion-time breakdown can be seen in Figure 3. Generally, the respondents an- swered around three months to a year to convert a prospect to a customer. Others, meanwhile, said it depends on the scope and complexity of the project, and the qualification process by the customer. Figure 2: Location of respondents to the sales and marketing survey. MUCH ADO ABOUT SALES AND MARKETING

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