The Necessity of CRM Systems for Manufacturing Businesses


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Having a detailed overview of customer needs and requirements

The main idea of CRM solutions for manufacturing companies is the fact that they allow companies to have a detailed overview of their customers’ needs and requirements. At the same time CRM enables them to improve their relationships with customers which certainly turns out to be a benefit for both parties.  With CRM it will be easier for the organization to understand their customers and make smarter decisions, more quickly.

The manufacturing industry needs to concentrate on customer relationships. That may be the dealer network in many cases. On one hand CRM helps to increase the level of productivity. On the other hands it is the best way to improve different business processes. That is why CRM in the manufacturing industry is one of the most important tools nowadays. Every strategy is mainly aimed on increasing profits as well as giving sales a boost. Prospective customers (dealers) are farther down their buying process with access to Internet resources so the sales team has to be geared up and prepared. Additional today’s customers also call for more attention and higher qualify services. These facts should all be taken into consideration.

Non-CRM designed systems don’t cut it in today’s world

When asked to review prospective companies for Success with CRM Consulting solutions, we come across many types of software in manufacturing businesses mostly with core purpose of accounting or ERP. There are several alternative types of software to CRM. However there are lots of problems which occur very often while using it.  Whereas CRM is designed to be adaptable and to have a core purpose of getting, keeping and growing profitable customers.  A business-to-business company needs to track all the necessary information about sales, marketing and customer service for one system.  That same CRM system will also point into or show views of related customer information from the accounting or ERP system.

Many manufacturing companies are selling to some form of dealer or distributor networks and in essence the dealer is the first level customer.  As the dealer network grows so goes the manufacturing company. The manufacturing company must understand their dealer needs and business requirements.  Often this requires an effective Quote-to-order process that is tightly integrated with CRM sales opportunities. The most current quote updates the sales opportunity used for sales forecasting.

Accounting departments don’t want to have their system ‘polluted’ with lots of prospective account records and having to support a quoting process.  But the sales department must have an easy method to select the correct products from a product catalog with guided selling, create quotes on the fly and generate a proposal that is whisked off with an important quoting email.

Speed in business: CPQ: Configure-Price-Quoting and Guided selling is needed

Business has always been about speed and quickly delivering an important quote to your dealers/customers is a CRM system requirement. Unless you are manufacturing a rather simple product there is probably a need for intelligent quoting – a need to make it ‘idiot proof’ (as one GM told me).  Endeavor CPQ saves you time – time and again.  Eliminate inefficiencies in your sales process to reduce quote turnaround, speed up product deployment and close deals faster by bringing all of your departments, processes and data in line.

Guided selling helps to ensure accuracy around produce and pricing in the real time as selection are being made. Additionally alerts can be used to guide a sales person to a desired up-sell or cross sell product. New sales reps can get up to speed much faster with these capabilities from CRM. Guided selling shrinks the selling cycle, increases deal size and expand the reach of your sales network.

Better yet is that the person receiving the quote can ‘understand’ what is being quoted in their terms but is still linked to your product IDs.  Too many times we see a prospective client using a Quoting system that generates a technically correct quote but is not clear to the buyer. The use of integrated product images, supplementary product descriptions and linked support literature helps the quote get more easily and faster understood.


Speed comes from mobility

A manufacturing company typically will have inside sales support and field sales teams building relationships daily with prospective and current customers. Web access 24 x 7 x 365 is a must for mobility. Today the mobile sales reps can use cloud based CRM solutions while on the road with a smart phone or tablet. A cloud-based solution allows the manufacturing company to forget about the headaches of file management, data backup and software updates.

CRM mobility allows your sales team to get out from behind their desk and get in front of customers. Pop open the customer account, view the last meeting notes, check on resolution of any customer issues and get up to speed on what interests your customer with mobile CRM like Saleslogix.  Even work face-to-face with the buyer to clearly quote the products that fit their needs, save it and produce the quote right there on site. Achieve speed, accuracy and results in real time.

After the Sale – Customer Service and Sales analysis

The sales process does not stop when the quote is approved. Internally the related sales opportunity is converted into a sales order, a production order (without pricing) is sent to the manufacturing floor and accounting processes the order. In the CRM system the quoted line items of products and services is automatically recorded as products sold or assets purchased.

But when an issue rears up, the opportunity it holds, needs to be captured and resolved.  A CRM solution will provide an integrated system to link customer service and support issues to the customer account, to a product and to a time frame.  It will allow classification of the issues by various areas and categories. A CRM issue/ticket type system will allow the assignment of the resolution to a specific person or team within the manufacturing company.  Communications and resolution actions are tracked to the specific issue. A time line can be identified that helps to give a snapshot of the resolution process. Knowledge is captured and summarized to determine what works and what doesn’t.

Finally the sold product is created, delivered and invoiced. The specific details may include a VIN – vehicle identification number or product serial number.  There may be included material data safely sheets that are included with the product because of regulatory requirements. Sales analysis occurs to determine trends in the types or models of products sold, are there patterns on the geography of the sales destination, or is there related product sales that could come in the future.

Results and Expectations

If a manufacturing company implements a CRM system successfully, results will be seen in a short time.  Software is aimed at improving selling and marketing potential.  It also enables marketing and selling departments to make detailed reports taking into consideration customers’ behavior. It will help the customer service and support staffs to more easily help the customer immediately – thus improving the customers’ experience. CRM helps to concentrate on the needs of the company’s best customers (dealers). CRM will make it clear what they need. So it won’t be hard for the manufacturing company to suit all of their demands. Moveover it will increase the level of accuracy.  CRM is also able to make the use of web functionality more effectively.  And that is important in the ever changing world of modern technologies.  CRM does play an very important role in successful business.

Does your manufacturing business need a truly functional and adaptable CRM?   For a necessity and to discover ideas give us a call:   269-445-3001

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dick Wooden
CRM specialist to help you get the answers you need with sales, service, and marketing CRM software. I help mid-sized businesses select, implement and optimize CRM so that it works the way their business needs to work. My firm is focused on client success with remarkable customer experience, effective marketing and profitable sales using CRM strategy and tools.


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