Managing Customer Relationships in a D2C World

The New Customer Experience

The manufacturing industry sure has changed. And not just a little. The entire market has undergone a massive transformation in a very short span of time. Artificial intelligence, the internet of things, servitization, the rapid growth of e-commerce… these and other advancements have put your competition a mere click, swipe or voice command away. This means people’s overall experiences as customers – defined by ease, convenience and competitive pricing – are making it harder for manufacturers to please them.

Whether you call yourself a manufacturer or manufacturing brand, the implications are the same: Countless kinds of customer relationships are emerging, and you need to be ready to nurture them all.

Survive and Thrive or Be Left Behind

If you want to survive and thrive, simply producing a great product is no longer enough. And neither is focusing on relationships with dealers, distributors or retailers alone. Successful manufacturers recognize it’s time to get good at juggling relationships with a wide range of partners and end customers.

It’s a tough balancing act. Without the right tools and technology, your competitors WILL get ahead. While you’re far from alone — an estimated 70% of manufacturers are held back because of outdated business models and technology (1) – companies that aren’t successful in adopting and optimizing new technologies run the risk of being left behind.

Let the Right CRM In

That’s where CRM comes in. A strong customer relationship management system consolidates all critical customer information into one central, easy-to-use platform designed to foster strong relationships with dealers, channel partners, end customers and more.

However, it’s not enough to have a CRM. You need to find the right CRM for your manufacturing company’s unique needs.

While all manufacturers are contending with the challenges of a changing landscape, those with consumer product lines face some especially difficult decisions:

  • Should you start selling direct-to-consumers online?
  • If so, how will you handle relationships with retailers?
  • What will you do to avoid customer service nightmares and supply chain complications?

Customer Want Brand Interaction

And the list goes on… The good news is that, in the midst of all this change, consumers have come to know and love their brands. People want to interact with manufacturers far more than they do with retailers and distributors. An estimated 55% of consumers prefer to buy directly from brands rather than multi-brand retailers. When researching products, buyers trust manufacturers far more than they do news sites, industry articles and even subject matter experts. (2)

In other words: There’s a mountain of revenue potential available to manufacturing brands today. The more you can customize the experience for customers, the better positioned you’ll be to tap into it.

The Modern Manufacturer’s Guide to CRMs

To learn more about what manufacturers need to build successful relationships and lasting loyalty and how to vet features and functions when comparing CRM solutions, download our new white paper: The Modern Manufacturer’s Guide to CRMs.

(1) IDC and Industry Today, 2017 Predictions for Worldwide Manufacturing: https://industrytoday.com/article/2017-predictions-worldwide-manufacturing/
(2) Marketing Land, Survey: More consumers seeking to buy directly from brands vs. retailers: https://marketingland.com/survey-consumers-seeking-buy-directly-brands-vs-retailers-222955