If you think customer service is something handled by just one department in your manufacturing business, it’s time to reframe your thinking. Customer service has expanded its scope to be in every part of the business, from sales to the manufacturing floor. You’re profitable when your goods meet your customers’ demands. Thus, it is especially important to deeply understand your customers.
This understanding is facilitated via your customer relationship management (CRM) software. CRM allows you to build customer relationships that lead to sales and loyalty and involves all interactions with you customers, from communications to sales, marketing to customer service. It’s important that manufacturers not overlook including a CRM in their processes.
How Different is CRM in Manufacturing?
One thing that often stops manufacturers from adopting CRM systems is the perception that manufacturing CRM differs significantly from other industries. They’re correct: CRM in manufacturing is different. But just because something is different in this industry doesn’t mean it isn’t as well thought out or useful.
Manufacturers who are ready to add CRM in their business operations should start with these basic questions:
Who are our customers? Identify and define your business’ customers. More importantly, think through and identify the motivating factors that lead them to make a purchasing decision. In other words: What makes them buy?
How do they buy? What is their preferred method to purchase your goods? They may like to order from a personal representative, purchase over the phone, or use an ecommerce system. With CRM in manufacturing, it’s also important to note procurement processes, which may differ among your customers.
How do they learn about new products? It can be challenging for manufacturing marketing and sales departments to target their marketing efforts to productive channels. How customers learn about new products gives you insight into where to market to them based on deep understanding of where and how they obtain their information.
How your customers learn about new products might not be a stat you can easily quantify, but it’s probably the most important one of all to determine how you can build customer loyalty or become an indispensable partner to your customer’s business. What do they need from your business the most—accurate orders, just in time delivery, custom manufacturing, overnight delivery? The more you can make yourself indispensable to your customers, the more business you will get.
ERP + CRM = The Right Combination
The combination of customer data and operational data can make a big impact on your business. Thus, adding a CRM system to your current ERP makes perfect sense. The combination of CRM and ERP data can boost customer satisfaction and service, leading to the all-important customer retention and repeat sales.
A CRM helps all departments work from the same set of information. Manage billing, create forecasts, and enable your production team to build more accurate schedules.
Other benefits of CRM include:
- Choice of on-premises or cloud hosted deployment or a hybrid
- Group security and security by user role
- Responsive HTML to adjust to your device
- Microsoft SQL and standard APIs
- Flexibility to scale to new business or business opportunities
Connect CRM and ERP With ASI
CRM in manufacturing is indeed different from other industries but, with the right CRM, you can make a difference in your sales efforts. If you give sales and marketing the same attention you probably give to your manufacturing processes, you can be more profitable. A CRM system can be the difference that improves profits.
Key to getting the right CRM in place is connecting to the right partner. With Accounting Systems, Inc., you have instant access to experts in both ERP and CRM, and the full integration of the two. With our proven business strategies, products, and partnerships, ASI will accelerate your business growth so you can focus on success. Find out how the right software can change your manufacturing business for the better. Schedule your FREE consultation now.