The manufacturing industry has witnessed a dramatic transformation over the years. Previously, a manufacturing company responded to whatever a customer required. It has now evolved and become even more customer-centric by incorporating different manufacturing software solutions.
Instead of waiting for the customers to tell them what they need, companies are now forecasting what will be in demand in the coming months using different business software solutions. Interestingly enough, many small scale companies are also leveraging manufacturing software for small businesses such as CRM software. This will enable them to make use of techniques like lean production and automation to meet future demand.
What is a CRM?
A CRM tool lets you store customer and prospect contact information, identify sales opportunities, record service issues, and manage marketing campaigns, all in one central location — and make information about every customer interaction available to anyone at your company who might need it.
Why do manufacturing companies need a CRM?
For manufacturing companies, the biggest use for a CRM is managing customer data. A good CRM will provide a consistent way of identifying customers, tracking inquiry leads, and keeping important customer data at your fingertips.
Why is it so important?
A CRM can help streamline business processes and reduce waiting times. With all your customer information in one place, a manufacturing company can automate first-contact resolution by using features such as a customer service workflow, an auto-reply to incoming inquiries, instant messaging, and live chat.
With this information at hand, sales reps can use outbound marketing to more easily track their inbound inquiries, and customer service reps can respond to customer issues immediately, helping to reduce expensive customer wait time. It will also help manufacturing companies with cross-selling and upselling.
How can a CRM benefit a manufacturing company?
- Understanding Customers
By undelying your various customers, you can streamline your sales process, improve your customer service experience, and increase sales with personalized campaigns.
- Decreases the workload
Entering in customer data before can be extremely time-consuming, but with a CRM in place, you can drastically decrease the workload. You’ll be able to churn through new contacts more efficiently.
- Making more informed decisions
By identifying potential sales leads, identifying losses and closing sales faster, you can increase sales, reduce returns, and grow your customer base.
- Leveraging inbound marketing
Sales teams can identify prospective leads using inbound marketing by expanding their social media footprint and company newsletters.
- Inbound calls
When a customer calls to inquire about a product or service, the inbound call is tracked and added to the CRM. You can now follow up on the customer’s initial interest.
- Sales and marketing team alignment
By identifying potential leads, sales teams can identify previous accounts and help marketing teams communicate with these leads. This alignment can help you increase sales and decrease costly sales calls.
- Company branding
With all the pertinent information in one place, everyone, including marketing, sales, support, and customer service teams, can better manage relationships with customers.
- Website visits
When a customer visits your site, the number of visits is recorded and can be tracked in your CRM.
- Improved customer service
When your support team is alerted to a problem, they can more easily contact a customer.
- Improved sales
With all your sales data in one place, you can stay on top of your customer base and close more sales.
- Improved sales, service, and marketing alignment
Because information is readily available, you can follow up with winning sales leads faster, improve sales by capitalizing on inbound leads, and quickly respond to customer support inquiries. And since no one has to be on multiple systems, your marketing and customer support teams can align to better serve customers.
Features of a CRM for a manufacturing company?
Adaptive. The best CRM software can adapt to the size of your company. As you grow, your CRM can adapt to meet your changing needs. Consider a CRM that can be scaled across multiple devices so that your team can reach more customers, and create more campaigns with real-time information.
Strength in numbers. A CRM system should not be used by one or two team members. Instead, it should be a strength that’s leveraged by the entire business, so all of your team members can engage more easily.
Effectively help your business grow. In general, a good CRM will provide a way to manage customer data. For a manufacturing company, it’s important to identify prospective leads, expanding sales with inbound and outbound marketing strategies.
How to select the right CRM software for a manufacturing company?
- Client base:
Perhaps the most important issue to be discussed with any vendor is the exact client base they have and the specific companies satisfied by them. If the vendor demonstrates that several manufacturing companies are already using their services, it can definitely be ranked as a plus factor. Each company has its own requirements including size, turnover, quality, and several others. Moreover, vendors can be contacted to get some feedback to understand the overall satisfaction of their experience. Thinking of a long-term plan, vendors who have a background of conducting businesses with several manufacturing companies, including small-scale companies will be preferable.
- The industry limitations:
Every industry also has some limitations or some specific features. For example, warehousing and manufacturing businesses have different requirements as compared to an automotive industry. Though some of the needs may overlap, the requirements may vary depending on the product quality. So, while selecting a pŕYCMS, the client base of the manufacturing clients that are already in partnership with the vendor should be considered as well as their requirements.
- CRM specifics: What does the CRM software for manufacturing businesses have to offer?
Some of the following features should be considered before selecting the CRM for manufacturing businesses:
• Success factors
• Customer lifecycle
• Opportunity pipeline metrics
• Sales performance
• Customer relationship management
• Sales representative productivity
• Account executive productivity
• Account manager productivity
- Customization Features:
It is very important to know how the system works and what are its functionalities. Mainly, this is because the manufacturing companies require the installation of the system to be customized according to their specific needs. CRM system for manufacturing companies may be installed and customized for a small concentration or a large concentration. Each client may require different types of features, for instance, while one may require the ability to store and view document, product, and financial data, another client may require different features. It is wholly impossible to get a general description of a CRM system for manufacturing companies because every manufacturing company has its own needs. So, it is important to discuss the requirements of the clients first.
- Client engagement:
Devised with the aim of connecting team members and clients effectively, it is very important to understand if the CRM for manufacturing companies offers ease in engagement by the clients. It is a system that should be able to connect clients effectively. It should be able to generate information about the clients effectively. Whether the CRM is able to generate information about low-volume, medium- volume, and large-volume clients all will be determined with the ease of engagement of clients.
- Industry-specific functionality:
Manufacturing businesses have different requirements and features than any other business. So, it is the duty of a CRM system to offer the required features for the clients to be happy. Some of such requirements should include ease in integration with other systems and automation.
- Increase Productivity:
With a CRM software, the client should be able to increase productivity. The CRM helps streamline business operations by providing them with relevant and real-time information. A good portfolio of software is able to automate tasks, create reports and provide management with the level of access they need. There are examples of CRM systems for manufacturing companies that have both software and mobile solutions. It means the team members are able to work together effectively by using the latest technology.
It is very important that all the functionalities and features are up-to-date. It is also very important that the CRM for manufacturing business is functional at any scale. There are many examples of CRM solutions that are able to manage small, medium, and large companies well. Moreover, it should be able to perform well at all times especially in emergencies. It is important that the solution is able to handle all the available data. It will be the best option to consider a solution that is fully manageable including adding or deleting users if a need arises.
- Multiple Platforms:
How does the CRM software for a manufacturing company perform across multiple devices? One of the most significant concerns for many businesses is their CRM platform. Additional features should be available on mobile platforms so that even an employee typing an update can accept a customer call without having to log on to the system. It will not only save time but also share real-time information.
- Feature Relevance:
A manufacturing company who is looking to get their sales on track need to have features that are relevant to the requirements of such an enterprise. The software will act as an important cog that helps the business reach profitability. It is a system that should be able to provide useful information about customers and their activity, and also information about the current inventory as well as the second-hand market.
Questions to ask before getting a CRM for manufacturing companies:
- How long have you been in the market?
- Pay attention to the response time and the kind of services offered by the vendor.
- What kind of features or solutions have you offered to other manufacturing companies like ours?
- How well do you customize the software for us and on what basis?
- How do you work on our requirements and what all your team can do for our business?
- How will you engage with us?
- How can you step in to help us in our current state of work?
- How do you help us increase productivity?
- About how long will it take for you to provide us with the product or the solution?
- What is your ease of access?
- Can we call you if we have any questions or a problem and do you provide free support?
- What is the solution for hosting?
- Do you provide end-to-end service?
- Do you offer 24/7 service?
- How safe and secure is the solution?
- What is the chargeback period?
- How do you provide training?
- How do you help us get the most out of the software?
- What is your communication process?
CRM tools have become an essential component in the process of building relationships with customers. With the changing trends of an ultra-competitive business world, every enterprise is getting more and more involved in the relation-building process. CRM tools are designed to improve sales and run the day-to-day operations of the business.
The numbers of inquiries, leads, and customers can prove to be overwhelming to handle manually. Here is where a CRM tool can come in handy. The tools provide an automated system that helps to manage the processes, inquiries, contacts, activities, etc. They help in bringing all the members on the same page and allow easy coordination among them, thus reducing the complexity in the business.