In this article, you will be getting an insight on the importance of CRM in manufacturing companies. Manufacturing has transformed to a customer centric domain and products are changing their attributes as an outcome of innovation at a highest degree.
The automated manufacturing machinery helps with ease to change the product form and composition. The concept of “manufacturing today” and selling the same for the next 2 years is over. Even though the manufacturing schedule exists for the whole year, it is flexible enough to ensure changes in the last minute. It is important to get an insight about the sales pipeline and the forecast of sales in order to plan the next strategy.
Major issues of concern in the traditional model are:
- The price list needs to be changed periodically as per the changes in the price of the raw material. The head office must continuously update the price list to the Sales Department, to enable them to pass on the price change to the end customers.
- When quotes are given by the sales personnel, it is at their discretion to mark a copy head office or not. Only few sales personnel follow this while share selective information alone.
- The daily Report and the weekly report need to be forwarded and checked as a must. If for some reason one report is missed, then the link is broken. The next report would start as a new one and historical data and comparison would become a challenge.
- If a sales executive or manager leaves the organization, the information managed in silos might be lost or taken away. The process of transferring of knowledge becomes a challenge in these scenarios.
- Sales personnel may project the prospect and the value of the order but probably would not be able to give accurate and detailed information on the product in daily or weekly reports.
- Revisiting and reclaiming lost order for a particular product is not allowed.
The issues enumerated above do not appeal to the management when the sales are good. But when the sales are going down or when the management proactively wants to ensure they maintain leadership in their domain, these issues become bottlenecks, which would then need to be addressed on priority.
Role of CRM in manufacturing companies
- CRM must be used to address bottlenecks and make Customer Relationship Management valuable involving components of Salesforce, marketing automation and customer support automation. The most critical one and need of the hour is the Sales Force Automation.
- CRM products in traditional practice can update their comprehensive product catalogue in the system. Typically the head office or the product team can put it up and maintain it.
- As and when a new product is launched or price of product changes, the product catalogue is updated. All sales personnel are trained on the CRM application; which is typically a web application.
- The sales personnel enter the new product or the data into the system and create a quote. Products and quantity a prospect is interested in can be added as and when interest is shown by the prospect. As per progress, alterations can be incorporated easily as all data already exists.
- The CRM system supports the sharing of pre formatted quotes to the customer either by an email template designed in the CRM or by generating a PDF quote which can be mailed to the prospective client.
- An automatic consolidation of all quotes created by sales personnel from across the regions is available in the CRM. More than anything else, the management gets to know details of the products which have been quoted to each prospect / customer.
- Manufacturing division can take decisions to clear their inventories from different regions. At the same time analytics of which products are moving in which regions can all be looked into and future plans be drawn accordingly.
- This process allows for a uniform quote to be given by the sales personnel across the organization and also makes it available to the managers and more importantly, to the head office.
- An automatic forecast will be readily available for the sales manager and a product specific forecast is also readily available for the manufacturing head. Going forward, the company can update accurate forecasts by conducting relevant strategies and adopting a CRM tool to train the sales personnel better.
- If the sales representative is losing some orders, Opensource CRM software helps the product team to conduct analysis and identify if there is any pattern of problem. The training needs can be identified using the pattern and the sales representative can be trained on his gray area. Loss of sales can be due to changes done in competitor offerings and the CRM software will help to create new variants to grab the market after doing a field based research update.
- On the other side, if the customer is facing challenges with their product or delivery or any other issue, he can complain to the sales person or support member. Tracking of complaints is done by assigning ticket ids or case ids and doing follow-ups on the same.
- Complaints can be analysed to deduce the problems, which can then be rectified accordingly. While future complaints will be avoided, this will help to go a long way and at the same time enhance the goodwill of the company.
- CRM can add significant value by helping companies to manage their customers, contacts, leads, opportunities, quotes and development, amongst other activities.
How to streamline the business process using CRM software in manufacturing industry?
Customer Service and Support: Manufacturing industry has a long term bond with customers as their revenue is not made during one time sales but during the relationship that is made over the years. It takes a lot of time and effort to build a good customer base and satisfying old customers is priority for manufacturers. CRM integrations with business processes helps in better management customer queries and offers support at various levels to increase the profitability of the customer. This helps in smooth functioning of the customer servicing team.
Nurture Prospective Customers: With CRM for manufacturing industry, one can keep track of clients who can be prospective customers but aren’t ready to associate with the manufacturing industry yet.
Enhance Sales: With data on history of customers, both existing and prospective, a business is empowered to go after the right customers that matter. CRM for manufacturing industry plays a key role in this through tools like automated messages, module to manage leads through sales cycle, channel partner relationship, etc.
Zone management: Through CRM for manufacturing industry, one can identify and designate zones based on the location, demand. There may be a certain product which will be season specific or area specific. With the CRM for the manufacturing industry in place, these can be manufactured on demand and delivered to the customer.
Solutions for manufacturing
Simplify your sales order process by easily set-up workflows to meet your specific manufacturing business needs, and put safeguards in place so nothing slips through the cracks. Integrate your customers and suppliers into these workflow processes to increase efficiency and create barriers to competition and increased value.
It is very important to enable an efficient manufacturing operation flow and automation of
Manufacturing processes are simple and practical using the CRM. The manufacturing CRM helps in collaboration of plan and optimizes all the components of the supply chain. Most of the manufacturing companies provide a product price list to their sales team and also provide a word document template to help to quote. Only a few companies permit their sales representatives to mail the pricing quote to the customers directly. The sales team prepares a periodic daily report, a weekly report which is forwarded to the head office for necessary action.