3 Sales Challenges in Manufacturing
Manufacturers put most of their time and energy into getting their production operations in order, investing in robust software and equipment to streamline processes. But this same effort isn’t going into their sales strategies. Engrossed in developing and delivering products, many manufacturers lose sight of cultivating customer relationships. By neglecting to improve their sales methods, they’re putting their business at risk and failing to keep up with the competition.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software consists of the tools necessary to update manufacturing sales processes and tackle issues. A survey found that 43% of manufacturers generated ROI on their CRM implementations in just one month. CRM quickly adds value to organizations by equipping sales teams with comprehensive functions to overcome critical challenges. We’ll take you through a few of the sales challenges that CRM software enables manufacturers to combat.
1. Increasing Competition
When buyers are on the hunt for something, they have a nearly unlimited pool of options. Manufacturers are competing on an international scale. Your customers have access to low-priced products from halfway across the globe. Grabbing the buyer’s attention is going to take more than cold calls and paper catalogs. Consumers are only satisfied with the best service. This puts tremendous pressure on sales reps to deliver fast, personalized customer experiences that put them above the competition.
CRM software provides a complete picture of your leads and customers in a single solution. This allows sales teams to maintain consistency across multiple channels. Nuanced reports and workflow automation enable personalized journeys. Integrating your CRM with your ERP solution deepens customer insights. Sales reps have instant access to order history, which can serve as valuable information to capitalize on upsell and cross-sell opportunities. Additionally, accurate demand forecasts created in your CRM system can sync directly into your ERP system to help production teams meet customer demands. CRM gives manufacturing sales teams the agility to win new customers.
2. Complex Sales Cycles
In manufacturing, sales cycles can take months—even years—of trying to convince multiple stakeholders to close the deal. The sales journey doesn’t end after the initial purchase, as you continue touching base with customers to provide maintenance, updates and other services. You can’t afford to upset your customers by losing track of them or failing to reach out.
Even the most convoluted sales process can be streamlined by a CRM solution. The software coalesces a large array of data into a single system, including SKUs, transit routes, service plans and contact information. With the ability to locate critical data at a moment’s notice, you can easily respond to customer requests and accelerate the sales cycle. Sales reps can see where each buyer stands at any point in the customer journey. Sales force automation will also automate follow-ups, updating sales opportunities and other processes, so you aren’t wasting time on manual tasks. Full transparency and automation throughout the customer lifecycle simplify sales operations.
3. Sales Team Frustration
Motivation is a concern across most sales teams, but this issue is more pronounced in manufacturing. Keeping tabs on customers across long, complex lifecycles takes its toll. The last thing a sales rep wants is to lose out on a big deal in the last minute after months of outreach and presentations. Making matters worse, several manufacturing sales teams rely on manual, outdated processes. Entering data across multiple spreadsheets and platforms makes information nearly impossible to find and inhibits your team from gaining a complete view of customers and sales strategies.
CRM software alleviates stress, so your sales team doesn’t lose its drive. CRM vendors such as Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics 365 make their solutions user-friendly, helping sales reps get accustomed to the system on day one. Instead of manually entering data across platforms, users can instantly access a single hub of customer data. By providing immediate data accessibility and process automation, CRM increases efficiency and promotes effective lead tracking.
Furthermore, today’s modern CRM solutions leverage AI and predictive analytics to help sales reps prioritize their time. Both Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Salesforce include lead scoring tools which analyze historical data and use machine learning to provide insights into opportunities. These accurate tools allow sales teams to create a data-driven approach to pursuing leads and moving the sales cycle forward. CRM takes away common sources of frustration to motivate your sales department.
Too many sales challenges in manufacturing are getting ignored, putting businesses at risk of losing customers and falling behind the competition. With customer demands, global competition and supply chain complexity increasing every day, CRM is more important than ever. Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Salesforce have the leading CRM solutions on the market. Implementing one of these solutions can help you see enormous ROI and combat your greatest sales challenges.
At Datix, we’ll work with you to select the right CRM system for your enterprise. A certified partner of both vendors, our consultants have provided CRM solutions to manufacturers and distributors for over 20 years. We know how to align your CRM to your specific business needs. Additionally, with our Unity integration solution, we can seamlessly connect your CRM with Epicor ERP to promote deeper insights and enhance enterprise efficiency.
Stop ignoring your sales performance. Learn how CRM can elevate your manufacturing business by contacting Datix today!