It’s no secret that the manufacturing industry has suffered greatly from the aftermath of COVID-19. While some of the key challenges for manufacturers today certainly existed before 2020, the pandemic ended up exacerbating some of those global supply-chain issues, shining a light on operational vulnerabilities and ultimately serving as a catalyst for change.
Gartner states, “While technology has always played an integral role in customer service and support, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated existing trends in digital service migration and placed greater pressure on organizations to update outdated workforce management capabilities.”
As companies build up digital offerings and adapt human labor to new working conditions, forward-thinking companies emphasize building flexibility, resilience, and latency into their supply chain operations. Organizations are becoming future-ready by ensuring their company’s people, processes, data, and technology are aligned on all fronts to make sure they can cut reaction time in half come next disruptions.
Leading Industry experts are now seeing four key trends that are keeping manufacturers awake at night that must be addressed for organizations to successfully come to speed with new customer and market needs:
- Embracing digital transformation
- Creating sustainability and stability for their customer base
- Improving customer experience
- Ensuring supply chain resilience and robustness
Embracing Digital Transformation
If you look back over the last couple of years, the organizations that managed these challenges more seamlessly were the ones that had already embraced emerging technology-equipped Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) capabilities. In fact, companies that embrace digital technology innovation experience nearly 20% higher gross margins than the laggards.
Tools like Sugar Sell and SugarPredict, give leaders visibility into their sales data. They are used by enterprise-level organizations to provide visibility into their key business drivers and build stronger relationships with customers. Being able to use your CRM to navigate customer changes and intelligent sales forecasting technology for revenue and resource planning, is imperative to manage turbulent markets and make smart decisions informed by objective data and analytics.
The ability to analyze sales activities gives manufacturing leaders the ability to understand when and where to introduce additional processes, resources, tools, and strategies that will impact the entire organization. Companies should invest in long-term solutions to increase data quality, customer retention, and operational efficiency to operate as seamlessly as possible. This is essential as organizations reevaluate their forecasting and planning models as they start to create future sales plans to reflect modern customer needs.
Many B2B organizations are going through myriad changes due to the pandemic—including reorganizations and remote workforce enablement. This has led manufacturers to shift production and supply chain systems to be more sustainable and stable.
The COVID-19 crisis has altered how, when, and where we shop and buy. In response, many organizations are turning to their CRM systems to create more sustainable ways to interact with prospects and customers. Salespeople and organizations alike have proved resilient, found new ways to connect with buyers, and are continuing to adapt to achieve revenue goals. Volatile economic conditions are making anticipating customer needs more important than ever. Sales teams should use their CRM to gain an in-depth understanding of their customers and prospects—the more data you can compile about them, the better. This allows manufacturers to prioritize long-term customer relationships over short-term wins to create sustainable and stable revenue streams.
The relationship between manufacturers and customers has shifted. Intelligent forecasting allows companies to improve customer experience by uncovering crucial data insights to reveal the right combination of tactics and technology needed to satisfy modern customers. This empowers companies to deploy time, energy, and resources at the right time and in the right places.
The ideal CRM for manufacturing companies goes beyond basic customer interactions, enabling manufacturers to adapt to changing markets and mitigate market pressures. It includes all applications, tools, and integrations necessary for manufacturers to manage their customer touchpoints while providing real-time customer data so sales reps can gauge their pipeline and provide check-ins and additional resources to prospects at the appropriate times.
Customer experience (CX) and CRM are rooted in ensuring customers get the experience and relationship they deserve from your company. CRMs can help organizations to unify internal teams via improved data analysis and strategy, increased customer segmentation and personalization, and escalated relationship management across the customer lifecycle.
Supply Chain Resilience and Robustness
As the manufacturing industry continues to grow and adapt to new markets and customer needs, companies now realize that yesterday’s sales playbook no longer fits their needs. To make business operations more resilient, enterprises are investing in intelligent software and adopting an agile mindset to find logical and efficient ways to combine technology and human labor.
The past three years have exposed vulnerabilities in global supply chains. According to McKinsey & Company, supply-chain disruptions cost the average organization 45% of one year’s profits over the course of a decade, which means manufacturers need to get a firm grasp of their operations, and quick!
Agile manufacturers need to be able to look at their pipeline now and several quarters into the future to identify how to deploy time, energy, and resources in response to turbulent global conditions. Leaders need to dig into historical data and AI-rendered future projections to pinpoint the next steps so sales teams can crush (and exceed) their targets. A CRM tool that helps you manage can take sales performance from good to great to flawless.
When manufacturing organizations have real-time visibility into their sales plans and performance, they can keep a stable or growing revenue stream in a complex, uncertain, and fast-changing environment.
CRM is Your Golden Ticket to Navigating Volatile Markets
The pace of change in the manufacturing industry is as fast as ever, forcing manufacturers to ask some tough questions about their operational processes.
Access to reliable data gives organizations better accuracy in their planning processes. It sets the stage for sustainable revenue growth because companies can now lay a solid foundation for recovery with their plans and processes. Strategic investments in technology enable manufacturers to increase operational visibility, reduce costs, expedite production times, and deliver exceptional customer support.
By using a CRM platform, you can pivot and change strategy with minimal disruption and even capitalize on market opportunities. Instead of playing catch up when markets change (reactive), forward-thinking manufacturers can use intelligent software to do the manual work leaving leaders to refocus their energy on long-term performance and solutions (proactive).
Want to learn more ways a CRM solution can help you find new ways to connect with customers and adapt sales plans to new growth targets? Download our guide, “Fuel Growth for Sales.”