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The Top 5 Trends in CRM for Manufacturing in 2020

Posted by Sabine Kempe on Feb 4, 2020 1:17:34 PM
Sabine Kempe
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Manufacturing is an industry that sees constant changes. CRM is evolving rapidly, too. In 2020 CIOs fostering their digitalization strategy are especially focusing on solutions that prove to add measurable value and provide not only an industry fit, but are future-proof players in the market.

So what are the most significant trends in CRM for manufacturing industries in 2020?

1. Holistic view on Partner and Direct Sales Business

Having a holistic view on both, direct and channel business is the key to get accurate business forecasts and understand early demand signals. For the partner business it is essential to set the right incentive structure to enable pipeline transparency. How do you achieve that? A simplified and fast quotation process using Configure-Price-Quote software, deeply integrated within an overall CRM process is helping both, direct sales and partners to improve efficiency and grow top line revenue.

Empower Sales Managers to identify deals at risk and coach their teams on the next steps to increase close rates and speed up cycles. Pull quote forecasts by quantity to help improve production capacity utilization and hence keep the costs low to improve margins or simply beat one more competitor.

With these growth opportunities at hand partners have the right incentive to share their pipeline digitally, the same holds true for direct sales.


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2. True End-to-End Mass Customisation

The Industry 4.0 term ‘Lot size of one’ is everything but new in B2B manufacturing, especially for Manufacturing-as-a-Service businesses. However, streamlining and simplifying Configure-to-Order (CTO) and Engineering-to-Order (ETO) business processes remains a hot topic in 2020. Business and IT are constantly challenged to improve efficiencies, zero out errors and especially to grow new sales and customer engagement channels.

Offering mass customized manufacturing solutions promises the advantages of working with smaller lot sizes, such as reducing inventory and working capital, warehouse space, personnel and consequently costs. Meanwhile meeting the customer demands swiftly and individually helps you to diversify your product range, attract new customers and entice those fully satisfied to come back for more. The business case is too convincing to NOT connect your manufacturing CRM to the shop floor and enable a true end-to-end mass customization.

3. 360 Degree Account Insights - the Mashed-Up Enterprise

Data is the new gold. In manufacturing companies customer data is spread everywhere - from CRM to ERP, to support and quality control systems. To drive deep customer engagements and top-line revenue a 360 degree customer overview becomes essential during this new decade. All relevant data needs to be mashed up and available at your fingertips to make sure your sales teams can build the right sales tactics for every engagement.

Dashboards with always up-to-date information about your customer engagements will help you to uncover risks before turning into hard-to-fix problems that potentially erode your margins or damage the customer relationship. Your competition is just waiting for that to happen.

4. Leverage Your Aftermarket Opportunities

How well do your aftermarket operations perform? Providing customers with the right services, spare parts and consumables at the right time and for the right price is not an easy task. This is the moment when your customer is most vulnerable and therewith your customer relationship. Offering self-service options and streamline all after-sales processes not only improves customer satisfaction, but significantly boosts your share-of-wallet and the customer lifetime value.

With an e-commerce style portal you can offer your customers to find the matching spare parts and consumables to their existing solutions. Built-in configuration, always-up-to-date prices and account discounts plus integrated up- and cross-selling will help you to sell more, with less sales effort whilst making your customers happy. A classic win-win situation manufacturers in 2020 cannot afford to miss out on.

5. The Holy Grail of Sales Efficiency

“It is much more rewarding to do more with less”, said not only Stanford computer scientist Donald Knuth, but every CEO under the sun. If you want to grow your sales whilst lowering your costs, that requires the right strategy and the right tools. In Manufacturing sales, the quotation process often presents a huge potential to improve efficiency. Offering manufacturing products and solutions is a process rich in complexity, be it due to their variability, difficult costing or pricing structures, collaboration requirements or generally their ETO or CTO nature.

Sales reps are expected to quickly churn out quotes right in front of the customer, regardless the difficulties mentioned above. Imagine to auto-populate your systems with contacts, emails and meetings at a few clicks and receive an accurate forecast based on insights derived from proposals seen or accepted by customers. Automating sales through a solution that unifies CRM and CPQ functionalities and provides all relevant information to your sales force whilst guiding them through the process is the key to true sales efficiency. Manufacturing CRMs of the century will provide Sales Optimization to remove frictions and help sales representatives to move the focus to where it should be - on the customer problem and the entire customer journey.

Conclusion:

The overall scheme of Manufacturing CRM is changing from solving single problems directly connected to customer interactions to an overarching data-driven focus on the customer journey. CRMs in 2020 are expected to not only boost direct sales but also support partner and channels sales in reaching their goals and achieving competitive advantages. In 2020 the market is moving towards a notion of convergence where you need one unified platform to optimize the end-to-end customer experience. This platform housing data, applications and processes, becomes the glue to bring together otherwise siloed processes that span across CRM, CPQ, Aftermarket-Sales and Service (IoT) processes.

 

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Sabine Kempe

Written by Sabine Kempe

Sabine is responsible for In Mind Cloud´s marketing. A cloud solution enthusiast at heart, she is dedicated to finding answers to customers' questions before they have even been asked.

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