The Issues Facing Your Manufacturing Company
Many manufacturers have traditionally relied on their ERP or MRP system as the main source of customer information. The sales and customer service teams have used contact managers, spreadsheets and email to manage customer communications and customer issues. Each salesperson may be generating their quotes individually, in a document editor. The quote document is then saved to a local drive or a network drive.
At many manufacturing companies, customer service issues are logged in a separate database that has no connection to the master customer list or the list of installed equipment. The customer service team is operating on its own island, completely separate from the sales team. Salespeople have limited to no visibility to their customers’ issues.
A key element of each customer profile is what equipment they have purchased and where each piece of equipment is located. Often, this information is “locked up” in an MRP system or the information is stored in spreadsheets, which are emailed from person to person.
The level of CRM functionality provided within ERP/MRP systems is often lacking compared to what is offered in standalone CRM systems.
CRM for New Customer Acquisition and Existing Customer Retention
CRM systems have default productivity tools for your sales and customer service teams. For example, CRM has the native ability to track detailed information about each customer asset. Sales quotes can be generated directly from a CRM system. Customer service staff can log and resolve customer issues, whether they come in as phone calls, emails or web form submissions. Issues can be related to specific assets.
Managing Distribution Channel Relationships
For many manufacturing companies, an important CRM benefit is easier management of relationships within distribution channels. Interactions can all be logged in a central location. Reports and/or alerts can be set up to make sure that the most important relationships are getting regular touches.
Selecting the Right CRM System
With a large number CRM systems on the market, it’s important to select a system based on both current and expected future requirements. A structured evaluation process will result in the greatest long term benefit to a CRM system.