In an age driven by digital transformation, the manufacturing industry is embracing new tools and platforms that significantly influence the way businesses operate and interact with customers. According to research, over 60% of manufacturing companies have adopted specific technology as a means of digital transformation in recent years.1 One such transformative tool is Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.
This comprehensive guide explores the benefits of implementing CRM software for manufacturing and the key features to look for in a CRM. As we delve into the benefits, we’ll illuminate how CRM software is not just a tool for digitalization, but a strategic asset that can facilitate a customer-centric approach in an industry traditionally focused on product-centricity.
> 6 benefits of using CRM for manufacturing
Figure 1. Benefits of using a CRM system for manufacturing businesses
1- AI-powered analytics and reporting
Manufacturing is an industry that generates a vast amount of data. Utilizing this data effectively can provide businesses with invaluable insights. AI-powered analytics and reporting in CRM software can transform this raw data into actionable intelligence. For instance, a research shows that a luxury car manufacturer reduced asset downtime by 25% by allowing data analytics.2
2- Simplified order management
Figure 2. Percentage of manufacturers having disruptions in supply chain operations in 2022
A robust CRM platform can handle complex order management processes, ensuring that every stage of the order lifecycle is tracked and executed efficiently. According to Deloitte, more than 70% of manufacturing executives pinpoint supply chain operations and shortage of critical materials as significant challenges.3 CRM software’s automation capabilities can mitigate these risks, providing a streamlined process that minimizes delays and errors.
3- Enhanced data compliance
Figure 3. Top priority of manufacturing executives in 2022.
Despite the vast majority (78%) of manufacturing executives planning to foster digital transformation in their organizations, a significant concern is data compliance.4 75% of the same executives have a “secure-first” strategy, ensuring that any digitalization steps do not threaten data compliance.5 CRM systems are designed with robust security measures to protect sensitive customer and business information, addressing this concern while facilitating digital transformation.
4- 360-degree customer view
Modern manufacturing requires a comprehensive understanding of the customer’s needs and preferences. CRM platforms replace outdated paper-based systems, allowing companies to monitor customers’ behavior and preferences and schedule calls or engagements effortlessly. For instance, real-time monitoring enabled an automotive company to reduce its die manufacturing time by approximately ~50%.6 This 360-degree customer view aids in delivering personalized experiences and nurturing long-term customer relationships.
5- Improved customer engagement
Research has shown that the top priority for ~80% of companies in the manufacturing industry is new customer acquisition.7 CRM software facilitates this process by helping companies improve their customer engagement strategies. By keeping track of customer interactions, preferences, and needs, CRM software allows manufacturers to customize their marketing efforts, ultimately leading to higher customer satisfaction and retention rates.
If you want to learn more about CRM software, check out our benchmarking on CRM tools, together with a comprehensive CRM vendor selection guide.
6- Efficient operations with third-party integrations
CRM software can be integrated with various third-party applications, contributing to more efficient and streamlined operations. By incorporating other software and systems—such as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), SCM (Supply Chain Management), or marketing automation tools—manufacturers can achieve seamless data flow across different departments, enhancing collaboration and operational efficiency.
> Essential features of manufacturing Customer Relationship Management software
1- Lead tracking
It helps manufacturers to identify where the lead is in the buying process, what products they are interested in, and when they might be ready to buy. This allows sales teams to prioritize their efforts, thus increasing efficiency and conversion rates.
2- Low-code no-code development
Manufacturers often have specific and unique processes that need to be captured in their CRM. A low-code or no-code development platform allows customization to these unique needs without requiring extensive software development skills.
3- Workflow automation
By automating common tasks like order processing, follow-ups, and notifications, manufacturing companies can streamline processes and increase efficiency, allowing employees to focus on more complex tasks.
4- Sales forecasting
Without the efficiency of automation, navigating sales processes can become a daunting task for manufacturers. However, by integrating accurate forecasting systems, they can effectively schedule production cycles, manage inventory levels, and allocate staffing resources.
5- Supply chain tracking
It gives real-time insights into inventory levels, shipment statuses, and supplier performance. Integrating this information within the CRM helps make informed decisions, minimizes delays, and improves customer satisfaction.
6- Customer privacy management
In manufacturing business, employees deal with sensitive customer data, and proper privacy management ensures compliance with regulations like GDPR, HIPAA, etc. This not only minimizes legal risks but also builds trust with customers.
7- Third-party integrations
Manufacturers often use various systems for different parts of their business, like ERP, supply chain management, and e-commerce platforms. Integrations allow for seamless data exchange between these systems and the CRM, ensuring that information is consistent and readily available across the organization.
For those interested, here is our data-driven list of CRM software.
If you need help in your vendor selection process, we can help: