5 Tips to Improve Your Aerospace and Defense Sales Operations

With the aerospace and defense industry booming with revenue ($697 billion, reported in 2020 according to PriceWaterhouseCoopers), it’s no surprise organizations are looking to capitalize on this market. While enterprise-level sales operations at Fortune 500 companies like Boeing use ForecastEra products to help land huge deals, there are plenty of enriching opportunities for smaller companies. […]

With the aerospace and defense industry booming with revenue ($697 billion, reported in 2020 according to PriceWaterhouseCoopers), it’s no surprise organizations are looking to capitalize on this market.

While enterprise-level sales operations at Fortune 500 companies like Boeing use ForecastEra products to help land huge deals, there are plenty of enriching opportunities for smaller companies. This lucrative market requires sales teams to bring their top game. Because the number of buyers is small, sales operations must be laser-focused on understanding all the players. 

Sales teams need to get buy-in from many stakeholders, some clearly defined on the company’s leadership page, but many are not. You need to have x-ray vision to see the hidden influencers. Additionally, big sales like planes and defense systems often require approval from people outside the company: government officials, legislators, or sometimes shareholders.

That’s why you need serious account planning skills (and software) to formulate a detailed map on how to locate all the decision-makers, budget owners, and hidden influencers, and then a guide to hit them in the right sequence. If your first approach doesn’t work, then you need a backup plan with its own backup plan. There are many ways to make this sale. How do you find the optimal path?

Here are five tips to help improve your aerospace and defense sales operations. 

Relationship Mapping Your Defense and Aerospace Market

The challenge is understanding the market and the organizations and contacts you are selling into. You need a systematic way to organize all this information.

ForecastEra’s Account Plan Navigator can help. 

With our relationship map, you can learn who the players are and how they relate to each other. So much more than an organization chart, the software gives a relationship score to everyone within the organization and tallies how many contacts your team has with each of them. 

The prospect gets a relationship score that helps you and your entire sales team see which prospects are primed to buy and which ones need more engagement. It allows everyone to see which sales approach is working across one organization, and where it can be applied elsewhere.

Use White Space Analysis to Reveal Pockets of Growth

To close aerospace and defense deals in a new territory, you need to sell where others aren’t selling. That’s where white space analysis comes in. Instead of finding the usual suspects, white space analysis helps you understand the hidden prospects in other regions, verticals, etc., that fit the same profile as your main prospects. 

Using a tool like ForecastEra’s Account Plan Navigator, you can use the built-in artificial intelligence (AI) to find geographic, vertical, and ancillary sales opportunities that you hadn’t seen before. As a result, we can show aerospace and defense sales teams how to use our products to grow revenue in this challenging but profitable center. 

It could be that you are offering the wrong products or services to the wrong people. Using Whitespace, you can maximize your selling power across the organization. Perhaps another product or service can be your foot in the door. 

By learning what has been sold to similar organizations, you apply collective intelligence to the problem of selling to this specific prospect. Your sales team can develop a strategy that matches each product with the proper personas and the best paths.

Form Strategic Partnerships

By partnering with a company that already meets certification criteria, you may be able to leapfrog over those hurdles yourself. 

Partnerships can be worth more than just a way to get your foot in the door. If your product or service can be seen as a valuable bundled accessory or support service, you become a formidable seller. By creating a partnership, you save your prospects time and money with a ready-made solution.

Other benefits of strategic partnerships include:

  • Technology transfer
  • R&D support
  • Having a local relationship in a region or country that requires one
  • Sharing marketing and sales knowledge and expenses
  • Creating a larger geographic or vertical market for both partners

A sales department armed with our sales intelligence tool is uniquely qualified to help the business development team find the right people to approach within potential partner organizations. 

A robust sales operations team should use tools like ForecastEra’s Account Plan Navigator to find potential partners and reach out to them as if they were valued prospects because, in fact, they are. 

Referrals

Partnerships are an excellent source for referrals and introductions. You don’t have to enter into a full partnership to get referrals. State, federal, and DoD contractors are part of the public record.

Once you find a connection in your network, you can ask for a friendly referral. Then, using tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator, Zoominfo, or ForecastEra’s Relationship Map, you can find connections to decision-makers, influencers, and budget controllers within your targeted prospect.

Let ForecastEra Help You Sell to Aerospace and Defense Markets 

Manufacturers like Boeing and Dell rely on ForecatEra’s software to take their account planning best practices to the next level. In addition, customers use our robust sales intelligence to sell faster and close more deals for larger amounts. 

ForecastEra’s AI can discover patterns across a wide variety of sales scenarios and map the best path for you to achieve a sale. It will reveal hidden influencers you may not have considered before, and will also help you with guided selling that can optimize each sales tactic you deploy.

Contact us to schedule a demo today.

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