Is the Fourth Industrial Revolution imposing challenges to Manufacturers?
Since the time Salesforce started life in 1999, it served customers from multiple industries, and one of its early adopters is the manufacturing industry.
Manufacturing has come a long way; we are now in the Fourth Industrial Revolution – a time of incredible innovation and technology. After the steam in the 1700s, electricity in the 1800s, computing power in the 1900s, we now have artificial intelligence.
Manufacturing companies have been receptive to adopting IoT technology to help manufacturers streamline their operations. And as a result of using multiple applications, manufacturers are drowning in data.
They are unable to identify useful information from huge chunks of data coming from sensors placed on heavy equipment and machinery. IoT mass has made it difficult for manufacturers to analyze the data required for their day-to-day business. Apart from the IoT issue, manufacturing businesses also face the siloed ERP systems where data gets trapped in isolation.
How can CRM help Manufacturing Industry?
Manufacturing companies are very different from other industries. And in these changing times, manufacturing companies are aiming to become more customer-centric and what’s a better solution than CRM?
CRM for Manufacturing helps businesses to improve their sales pipeline, customer service, product quality, warehouse management, and return on investment.
But, which CRM is right for manufacturing businesses?
Why Salesforce fits the best among all
Inadequate CRM systems or software solutions that aren’t designed to your manufacturing needs can be a time drain, and instead of enabling and accelerating the sales process, it’s taking away valuable time from your sales force.
A manufacturer or dealer/distributor needs something that is beyond big-box solutions which appeal to any and every industry vertical. Salesforce for Manufacturing doesn’t only mean sales; manufacturers today use the power of Salesforce to get more things done – run their business more efficiently, and get more employee productivity. In this blog, we will discuss why Salesforce is the most suitable CRM for manufacturers.
- Modernized software
Traditional manufacturers have depended on a vast number of home-grown applications and platforms that couldn’t anticipate today’s manufacturing pressures, like multi or omnichannel service delivery, geographically distributed workforce, mobile carrying employees.
Salesforce includes the entire set of capabilities that fit today’s current manufacturing business needs. Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, development power of Force.com, mobile skills of Salesforce1, manufacturing-oriented 3rd party applications on AppExchange, and integration capabilities with Mulesoft.
- Customer-centric approach
Having great products is not just enough, listening to customers and creating enjoyable experiences is the need of the hour. Eight out of 10 customers say that the experience a company provides is as crucial as the product or service. Fourth Industrial technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things enable businesses to create exceptional customer experiences.
Salesforce helps businesses of all sizes adopt a customer-centric approach. Salesforce puts customers at the center of every business, from sales to marketing to service. Salesforce helps the manufacturer to pay close attention to their customers, build one-on-one personal experience, and suggest recommendations based on customer journeys. This personalized and relevant engagement is starting to play a crucial differentiator for manufacturers.
- Powerful Integrations
As mentioned earlier, Manufacturing businesses use multiple applications for many purposes. This causes the data to get scattered into disparate systems. Integrating CRM helps you benefit from your software investments to create a single, scalable, cost-saving powerhouse. Manufacturing businesses need a powerful CRM that can integrate with almost anything – ERP, marketing automation, field service application, phone systems, social media, or even legacy databases.
With MuleSoft’s acquisition in 2018, Salesforce gives manufacturers profound capabilities to connect to enterprise applications in the cloud or on-premises. You can leverage the power of APIs to easily connect to top CRM, ERP, and legacy systems. Manufacturers can integrate Salesforce with Marketo, ServiceNow, SAP ERP, Financial operations, and others to deliver a connected experience.
- Intelligent Supply Chain
Inventory issues are the most common challenges faced by the manufacturing industry. Manufacturers’ wrong retail inventory management strategy can increase carrying costs. These inventory issues maybe because of the poor visibility into data such as fast-moving vs. slow-moving product, revenue loss due to reduced labor productivity, long travel times, etc.
Salesforce is easy to configure and create field service locations for places where the inventory is stored, such as warehouses, customer sites, or work vehicles, so you can keep track of all your stock and avoid stock out situations. For the team to manage inventory, you can customize page layouts and assign user permissions. Salesforce supports manufacturers with detailed and useful insights about operations, inventory management, order processing, warehousing and distribution chains.
- Improve Field service operations
Field service management is a stiff challenge in manufacturing businesses that involves multiple levels of coordination. In today’s digital age, manufacturers need effective strategies to meet customer expectations, balance the workforce, and stay profitable. Field engineers face the challenges of schedule adherence, first-time fix rates, safety and liability, communication with customers, and performance management.
Salesforce for Manufacturing resolves product issues quickly with optimized job scheduling and enhanced field technician productivity. It allows manufacturers to provide proactive support with triggered alerts based on device data. A single click gives the field service agents a 360-degree view of the customer as well as instant access to real-time product information like warranty, price, and more.
- Indirect Channel Management
Manufacturing businesses primarily depend on distribution partners to get their product to market. Partners play a vital role in handling the logistics and marketing requirements. Hence, it’s crucial for the manufacturers to carefully manage their relationship with all their partners to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Salesforce CRM helps improve communication between companies and their channel partners. The platform allows manufacturers to collaborate, communicate, educate, support, and reward their partners. Salesforce enables manufacturers to simplify and quicken the partner onboarding process to sell faster. It also allows manufacturing businesses to give support and guidance to their partners for better performance.
- Complete data visibility
A manufacturing business generates a lot of data – from inventory management to sales to maintaining relationships with customers and partners. The problem is that these companies use multiple applications for each specific process, and hence the data remains decentralized and difficult to use. Sadly, only 42% of companies say they can convert their data into insights that let them act quickly on customers’ needs and interests.
Salesforce puts the data in the context of the customer which is a total game changer for the manufacturing businesses. It allows manufacturers to cut through the clutter and extract the insights that matter most to run the business. Salesforce helps in forecasting sales demand based on real numbers instead of intuition. This way manufacturers will be able to order the right amount of raw materials which result in fewer back orders and less waste. Salesforce lets manufacturers get complete visibility into a particular customer, partner or dealer – no matter where the data lives.
- User experience
Manufacturing businesses are fast-paced operations where efficiency means everything and technology should make their life easy and not burden with complexities and rules. The most important consideration that goes into opting for a new CRM system is user-friendliness. As a matter of fact, 55% of sales professionals feel that ease-of-use is an essential feature of CRM. Having to work with a complex and confusing CRM system steals valuable employee time and frustrates them not to use the application at all.
Salesforce CRM makes it easy to access the right information, i.e., insights about customer interaction, product information, partner/dealer communication or even supply chain information. Salesforce gives a good look at accurate sales projections, provides real-time demand forecasting data, and easy to view dashboards and workflows to get a complete view of the customers. Easy-to-create custom quotes and share with the distributors.
- Most Customizable
As a manufacturer, you have a lot on your table – relationships to nurture, manage product pricing, manage the supply chain, meet customer requirements and a lot more. If your company can’t customize your CRM to sync with your processes and workflow, you will not be able to increase productivity and efficiency. What good is the information if you can’t understand how to use it or if your CRM isn’t connected to essential operational systems?
One of the best qualities of Salesforce is its ability to be customized. Salesforce customization allows you to track data for your business that just doesn’t seem to fit naturally into your system. If you could identify the steps that can be easily automated to enhance your manufacturing business and streamline workflow, it can be done with Salesforce. Customizable Salesforce CRM is a huge time saver to the manufacturers as it allows them to be more productive.
Another important CRM feature that’s necessary for manufacturers is flexibility. The more flexible a CRM solution is, the better business will be able to create outstanding experiences with dealers, partners, and customers. What types of functionality should you include? How will you future-proof your CRM for the ever-changing manufacturing landscape? How much can you automate?
Salesforce CRM not only fits your existing architecture but also offers a full suite of options to support your future business needs. While other CRM solutions are less flexible, Salesforce streamlines even the most complex manufacturing business processes. You can leverage Salesforce’s adaptability to boost your current operations and amplify your customer relationships, consolidate and simplify back-end processes, collaborate the field sales and channel reps, and a lot more.
Salesforce is undoubtedly the best CRM software for the Manufacturing industry. And with the right implementation partners in place, like Solunus – who can add their industry-specific experience, your manufacturing business can gain stability in this competitive age.
Solunus, a North-American based company, prepares businesses for their next generation customers. Established in 2014, we simplify Salesforce for you to build more meaningful customer relationships. We partner for a win-win arrangement with clear ROI that the client realizes by the end of the engagement. Our 350+ years of industry exposure, project management expertise, and Salesforce experience underpin our position as a problem solver.
About the Author:
Lizia has over eight years of deep understanding of marketing in the software and technology space. She has professional writing experience – both in the start-up and SMB corporate context. Her specialities include content marketing, building, and establishing marketing and business development. Her work is widely published in industry blogs, as well as on the company publications.