How CRM Helps Manufacturing Businesses Accelerate Their Marketing and Sales
As a manufacturer, it can be tempting to ignore your need for customer relationship management software (CRM). After all, your focus is mostly on your supply chain, production, and distribution. However, leaving your customers as figures on a spreadsheet can close many marketing and sales opportunities to you.
So how can CRM systems help manufacturers boost their sales and marketing? A strong CRM system primarily assists manufacturers by fostering a better understanding of who their customers are. With CRM functions, a manufacturing company can efficiently track sales pipelines, implement marketing campaigns, and perform more activities that improve their customer engagement.
Why You Need CRM For Sales and Marketing
Customer relationship management software are tools that enable you to manage and improve your relationships with prospects and customers alike. CRM technology is built to give businesses a database about their customers and how these customers interact with the enterprise at every touchpoint. The two departments in every company that benefit the most from using CRM are sales and marketing.
CRM for Sales
As sales reps do their research and field work, they come back with plenty of data about customers and prospects. With CRM, they can spend more time building relationships and nurturing leads instead of manually typing or organizing information.
Aside from helping sales reps perform better, a centralized CRM also allows sales managers to track sales team performance and identify any bottlenecks that are clogging up company growth. Since everyone shares their information on one platform, performance hurdles become much clearer to upper management.
CRM for Marketing
Even better, the customer database on a centralized CRM won’t be limited for sales team use. They can share relevant, updated information with marketing so this team would know the customers to best prepare campaigns for. Maybe a prospect had a question and the sales rep typed this in the CRM. Instead of forgetting or misplacing a note, marketing would be able to see the query and maybe create content around that concern.
Marketing would have a better handle on what can capture potential customers and create more focused, targeted messages with CRM. Your marketing team would also see which campaigns were successful and can easily replicate what worked.
To sum it up, CRM can support your business in its marketing and sales efforts by cutting down the time you spend on manual data-entry and providing you valuable, fresh insights about your customers.
CRM vs ERP: What’s the Difference?
Businesses rely on two software solutions to automate their core business processes. CRM is one and enterprise resource planning (ERP) is another. Both are crucial data repositories that provide support for multiple departments. The best way to describe what makes them different is that CRM is for front-office management while ERP focuses on back-office tasks.
CRM mostly takes care of customers and tracks how they interact with the business. Initially, this software was conceptualized as sales force automation (SFA), with customer service and marketing thrown into the mix later on.
On the other hand, ERP combines financial and operational data onto a central database so businesses can make data-driven decisions quickly. Originally, ERP began as material requirements planning (MRP) which served as a system for manufacturers to monitor and manage all the resources they needed to operate the enterprise successfully.
At its core, ERP technology is all about managing finances, orders, inventory, and the supply chain. Some ERP software also touch a bit on production, procurement, distribution, and even HR or eCommerce.
In the manufacturing industry, ERP is an essential tool to have so it’s highly likely that you’re already using one. However, nearly all growing companies will eventually need to use both platforms to promote sustainable, scalable growth. After all, you can’t take on more customers without the right resources. You won’t be able to tap into all the rich data by relying on spreadsheets and sticky notes alone.
Whether or not you’re a small-midsize business or a thriving enterprise, it’s best to integrate CRM with your ERP rather than maintaining them separately.
Benefits of CRM for Manufacturers
Imagine how much more efficient your business would operate if you took on a CRM platform that can integrate with your ERP. The finance department can simply check the platform to calculate sales commissions so they can run the payroll without having to wait for other people to submit the documents. Your sales reps could easily access a customer’s order history and check their credit status as they try to upsell or cross-sell a product.
As a manufacturing company, you can take advantage of several benefits when you adopt a CRM tool. Even if you already have an ERP system, it isn’t enough for deep customer management. Here are some of the ways CRM can help manufacturers accelerate marketing and sales:
- Sales pipeline visibility
Your sales pipeline indicates where most of your sales deals stand. Without an effective tool in place, you won’t have many clear insights on whether your pipeline is performing well or not. Of course, you can track travelling leads using a spreadsheet but this requires too much manual work and doesn’t provide updated information. CRM technology will help you visualize data with pipeline tools, graphs, and summaries. As you look at the bigger picture, you can spot the opportunities or problems at every stage. You can even automate your pipeline to move leads through the stages once certain triggers are activated.
- Targeted marketing campaigns
A marketing campaign will only be effective if your message is specifically tailored to your target audience. With CRM, you will gain a comprehensive view of historical customer data across support, sales, and marketing. You would have a more granular picture of what type of customers you’re pursuing and craft a campaign that is more attuned to their needs. Instead of a bland campaign that reaches out to a generic audience, you would be able to customize campaigns for specific segments which yield a consistently high ROI.
- Demand and sales forecasting
Many manufacturing CRM systems are equipped with technology for data analysis and forecasting. Instead of guessing how many sales you would make, your platform can generate accurate sales forecasts by studying the buying-patterns and looking for long-term trends.
Other CRMs also have the capability to look at trends for demand, which is especially useful for fast-changing industries like retail and electronics since you cut the time you need for product development and gain a headstart on competitors. With these CRM features, you can more accurately anticipate what you will need and plan ahead.
- Product and customer service improvement
In the manufacturing industry, product quality is critical for building your brand. A CRM tool can draw customer feedback from multiple sources so you can gain an idea of how satisfied customers are with your product and reduce process errors. CRM software can also track the safe delivery of products and other after-sales services such as warranty, repair, and other others to keep your customers happy with your brand.
Choosing an Appropriate CRM System
Businesses in the manufacturing industry often have specific requirements for the CRM systems. Manufacturers want to use their CRM to connect departments and make data accessible across the organization. They want more transparency and clarity so they can manage their contacts, leads, and accounts.
Of course, a basic CRM tool would have core features like a contact database and a lead management capability. Some modern ones would emphasize on forecasting or mobile functionality. As a manufacturer, you should be on the lookout for a manufacturing CRM with the following key features:
- Business process management (BPM) is a feature which can help you build workflows for your operations and automate repetitive processes so you can perform more efficiently.
- Channel management capabilities will allow you to look at activity streams and loyalty programs so you can work on your relationships with distributors and partners.
- Configure-price-quote (CPQ) application is a must-have, especially if you sell customizable products because it combines your product catalog, inventory tracker, and quote management on one neat feature.
Improve Productivity With Commence CRM
Commence CRM has offered an efficient and easy-to-use solution that allows manufacturing companies to manage and maximize vital customer data for over twenty years. Our platform for small and midsize businesses can make it easier for you to manage your accounts, organize documents, and create smart marketing campaigns. Email us to try out Commence’s best-in-class manufacturing CRM tool today.