Since we have numerous clients in the Manufacturing industry in our portfolio, we pride ourselves on meeting even the most exigent standards and needs that companies in this vertical might have. As a learning lesson of our ample collaboration with such enterprises, we have insights into the niche that might help companies in such verticals better implement CRM tools, which is why we put together this CRM playbook. Here’s what we found in our history of collaborating with manufacturing companies:
- Most manufacturing enterprises struggle with current systems and processes that may help them create sales efficiency and enhance the customer experience.
- Most companies struggle with fragmented, siloed information regarding customers, global sales, and service teams.
- Most companies struggle with the lack of real-time customer data that can be leveraged by sales teams and decision-makers within enterprises.
Although these challenges are not exclusive to enterprises in the manufacturing sector, they are more acute due to the level of competitiveness and complexity of the sales cycles. In this context, manufacturing enterprises struggle to retain and gain new customers and provide enhanced customer experience without massively compromising budgets and resources. Besides, they must also secure good relationships and collaboration with suppliers.
When thinking about what challenges you should aim to overcome with a CRM tool, most companies in the manufacturing sector named the following:
1. Manage Dealer Network
Most manufacturing enterprises sell and service their products through a network of dealers, usually spread globally, that retail in local markets. This dynamic significantly reduces operational costs linked to market penetration and local transactions. They also offer predictability, consistency, and control. A CRM tool is mandatory in such dynamics, as it facilitates and streamlines dealer management. Such tools consolidate data regarding dealers, territory, market, and fulfillment in a user-friendly, easy-to-use interface for dealers and manufacturers.
This dynamic, above all, can be translated into a partnership between two (or more) enterprises. How valuable this partnership is closely related to how well-aligned the enterprises are, the level of commitment, the incentives, the level of awareness, and the performance of both parties. Most often than not, the manufacturing enterprise is responsible for setting the tone of the relationship and providing the infrastructure and tools to enable dealer success.
2. Simplify Supply Chain Management
Manufacturing companies usually have complex customer supply chains, from demand generators to material specifiers, fabricators, and distributors. CRM tools can help these enterprises better organize complex supply chains in such cases. It also reduces manual steps that all parties need to be fully aware of the status of each order, project, or collaboration. Besides, CRM tools also provide real-time integrations with different software that may be used by different entities along the supply chain or even departments within companies (think finance, email client, and so forth). Such tools allow manufacturers to ensure important details are missed from sight or neglected along the complex supply chain.
3. Integrate Demand Forecasting
CRM tools can be used to implement coherent, simple, yet effective demand forecasting methodologies. This may be one of the most complex processes that manufacturing companies struggle with. The process involves the collective efforts of the marketing, sales, and service lines of the business to create an accurate forecast that best represents the demand in the market. By accounting for the insights of all these lines and generating accurate predictions, companies are more likely to produce the right amount of items for a given period.
4. Identify and Close Gaps in Sales Coverage
Every territory is different, so using CRM to give territory managers a macro view of their business helps drive informed decision-making and prioritization. Most manufacturers sell several product lines, and the performance of a product line in a territory is a top concern for the business. It must be simple to collect data to give management a better picture of where they should spend their time to maximize the performance of their territory.
For the manufacturing sector, the pace of change is accelerating faster than ever before, which means becoming more agile is a challenging task. But, being able to predict demand and pivot operations accordingly is no longer a nice-to-have option for companies; it’s now an essential function built into all go-to-market plans. Having a CRM system that works with you, not against you, is now crucial for companies looking to sustain growth.
For more detailed tips about CRM for manufacturing, please download our CRM for Manufacturing Playbook.