Top 5 CRM must haves for manufacturers

Hayden Richards explains why your business CRM should go hand-in-hand with your social strategies.

Hayden Richards, digital native & growth hacker, The Manufacturer
Hayden Richards, digital native & growth hacker, The Manufacturer

Many manufacturers utilise CRM systems in a bespoke manner that support their business. The common objective or requirement is always a clear and concise view of the sales cycle. In today’s digital world, it is important to be present in various sales channels that your customers operate in, as well as, be prepared to do business with them on their terms.

We know that social media provides businesses with a high level of access to both customers and competitors. Have you considered integration? Everyone would agree that CRM tools are critical to customer service and the sales department, but there is also the need to integrate with the many opportunities that social media presents.

The social aspect of CRM software and integration with social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter can put your manufacturing business ahead of the curve. There has never been a better time for your sales people to connect easily with prospects and build stronger customer relationships via social selling. Yes, social selling is actually a thing. If you are wondering how to start researching this new trend, have a look at G2 Crowd’s Spring 2015 report for CRM software. The report was based on data from more than 2,500 reviews. It is no surprise that many top scores were all from socially enabled platforms.

Factoring all of this in, I can see many purchasing decisions boiling down to essential must-haves. It would be wise to ensure the focus is on the relationship with the customer. To put it another way, if you can’t anticipate your customer’s next move, you may have made an unwise investment.

Here are my Top 5 CRM must haves for manufacturers:

  1. Mobility: this is the future and you need to be flexible to allow remote staff to access data on various handheld devices. Security will always remain a major concern here but manufacturers must have mobile strategy and ensure it is continually integrated and optimised.
  2. Customisation: the most successful CRM solutions are rarely unmodified. If your purchase does not allow for flexibility for future upgrades and integration with new technologies you may find yourself in the buying cycle a few months down the line.
  3. Marketing automation: this includes lead generation and campaign tracking working in harmony while ensuring that sales and marketing are closely interlinked in their activities.
  4. Analytics: this is a must have for the C-Suite. After all it is not enough to ensure data is collected; executives must also understand what it signifies before acting on it. Take advantage of the low cost barrier to predictive analytics.
  5. Scalability: A small manufacturer won’t need a bloated CRM system that’s appropriate for a huge enterprise. Scalability also involves catering for adding future application modules, supporting real-time databases, remote, wireless disconnected users and various interaction channels.

Are you looking to boost your CRM potential? Check this out.