Rise and influence of CRM for manufacturers

Posted on 10 Jul 2015 by The Manufacturer

In an increasingly competitive industry, the pressure is on for manufacturers to gain new customers, retain existing ones and treat them all with the same high level of service, says James Nightingale – head of CRM at HSO.

James Nightingale – head of CRM at HSO
James Nightingale, head of CRM, HSO.

With the globalisation of supply chains and customer demand for low cost, it’s difficult to serve them all at the best possible price, but there’s a solution: Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software – designed to provide manufacturers with the flexibility needed to record and report on cross-business relationships and engagements.

The growth of CRM

In 2008, CRM spend was forecast to reach $18bn by 2016. Yet a recent report by Gartner shows growth has doubled and is now expected to reach more than $35bn , such is the increase in organisations who have realised a CRM solution is critical to their success.

So what’s driving this growth?

In a study by Benchmark, CRM was seen to improve customer retention by 27%, and increase revenue per sales person by 41%.

Current CRM systems can organise, automate and synchronise sales, marketing, customer service and technical support so they can work together to achieve coherent and dependable customer relationship management.

This is interesting in itself, but CRM has now gone online, with new cloud editions that allow for anywhere, anytime access for staff outside of the office walls and hours.

When you consider that this ‘new’ online cloud approach means CRM solutions can now be delivered in a matter of weeks rather than months or years, and within a significantly reduced budget, well, you can certainly see what the attraction is.

Do you fully understand the myriad of options?

If not, then you should attend Connect CRM on 15 September, 2015. This important event will bring together the leading vendors for a single day of in-depth research and validation enabling you to fast track your shortlisting process. This event unites the leading CRM vendors with in-depth case studies and peer-to-peer networking with individuals who are also procuring CRM systems.

The latest in CRM

The latest tools incorporated into CRM solutions, such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM, support more informed decision-making, providing real-time data analysis across all business teams. Some of the things you could/should expect:

  • Supply chain management through having intelligence on availability of materials and pricing
  • Equipment and asset maintenance to track and manage customer equipment, inventories and software licenses and subscriptions
  • Equipment and asset maintenance scheduling to allow service technicians to obtain all the information and automated prompts they need on assets and maintenance schedules
  • Essential sales and marketing support to manage complex relationships with both customers and suppliers

CRM, the manufacturers tool kit

CRM helps manufacturers to respond quickly to customer demands, while supporting them in lowering their operational costs by integrating with other vital systems within the business.

The potential of each relationship is enhanced through insights into what is going on with every engagement. Manufacturers can then target communications and promotions towards individual needs.

This personalised service forms part of a joined up customer service programme. Access to information across all teams within the organisation increases productivity and sales performance. Crucially, it enables a fast-moving manufacturer to deliver a personal experience with every interaction.

In a world where customer service is the driving force to increasing revenue, CRM systems give manufacturers the tools to generate loyalty and retain clients.

This means investing in the right CRM software has now become a top priority and Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides a route to achieving this.

One final consideration

Successful implementation is as much about choosing the right partner as it is about the solution itself.

You’ll find that manufacturing CRM specialists – such as Microsoft Gold partner HSO – have developed an implementation methodology designed to help you achieve some essential CRM goals that include: making the implementation and transition process simple, supporting smoother internal adoption, and helping support the return on investment (which is in their best interest as well!).

On reflection

For manufacturers, it’s now difficult to find an approach that will offer any real differentiation.

Price-cutting doesn’t provide a sustainable advantage, and even a high-quality product doesn’t always ensure customer loyalty.

Manufacturers now have to utilise every sales channel available and offer clients and suppliers a highly personalised service if they are to gain any kind of competitive edge.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM can help manufacturers deliver an individual experience with every business interaction, providing social insights, business intelligence and campaign management in the cloud, on-premise or with a hybrid combination.

It has effectively become a flexible system upon which to build a company-wide customer relationship programme.

In order to remain competitive in today’s marketplace, positive personal experiences and interactions count. Find a CRM solution and implementation partner that can help you achieve this.

The result? Engaged employees, happier customers, increased profitability.