3 Reasons Why Manufacturers Need Salesforce
After years of industry consolidation and economic downturns driving manufacturing overseas, the manufacturing industry is poised for growth in 2015. In fact, Industry Week posed six key predictions for 2015, all pointing toward growth after several years of contraction within manufacturing. Such predictions included reshoring, a greater use of big data, increased investments in technologies and capital equipment, and a manufacturing industry that will grow at a higher rate than GDP. Such trends bode well for an industry that has been hit hard over the last decade. Yet, while trends are positive for manufacturing moving forward, the intense pressure to reduce costs hasn’t lessened. Subsequently, manufacturers are looking for any area in which to improve efficiency and maximize ROI. Sometimes, those competitive advantages are found in unique places: an overlooked avenue of increased efficiency is that of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. Salesforce, the leading CRM platform on the market, offers the ability to use cloud technology to streamline manufacturers’ processes, integrate data and systems, boost sales performance, improve company-wide collaboration, and deliver superior customer service in order to increase a company’s efficiency, profitability, and bottom line. Whether you’re on the fence about Salesforce or not sure how to maximize its potential, here are three key ways Salesforce is essential for manufacturers.
Improve Sales Performance
Salesforce offers greater insight into customers by tracking customer history, detailing previous sales activities, and, when integrated with an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platform, provides greater visibility and transparency across departments. Additionally, Salesforce can increase sales order efficiency by decreasing the amount of time sales representatives spend on order input. And since Salesforce and Salesforce1 are cloud-based, tasks and cases are available from anywhere and allows teams to collaborate whether at their desks or on the go. Sometimes manufacturing companies struggle with standard quoting due to their complex pricing and products. When Salesforce is combined with a Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) application, particularly one that’s been built to handle the specific needs of manufacturers, quoting can support and enhance the sales process. Because Salesforce offers visibility into the sales pipeline, sales teams and managers can track leads, opportunities, and other key customer data in order to forecast more accurately. Such visibility allows for synergistic collaboration on up-sell and cross-sell opportunities, while the mobility of Salesforce provides accessibility from anywhere; all this ultimately increases profitability.
Deliver Superior Customer Service
In a consumer-focused, social-media-connected world, customer service not only engages the customer base and resolves concerns or issues, but is one of the best ways to improve product development and find more profitability. Increasingly, manufacturers are turning to Salesforce both to become more effective and efficient in marketing and selling to customers, but also in earning their loyalty. According to a Harvard Business Review report, many manufacturers recognize the value of downstream service activities, which now represent “10-30 times the annual dollar volume of the underlying product sales.” Salesforce offers manufacturers the platform through which to offer superior customer service with its Service Cloud, which aggregates information about the customer such as warranties, models ought, past interaction with the company, etc. Because of Salesforce’s mobility through Salesforce1, field service representatives can accept and resolve cases while connected on their mobile device out in the field, adding to the value which a manufacturer can offer its customer. Salesforce provides a cloud-based platform that integrates departments and systems—from ERP to social media to marketing to CRM—so employees, with visibility to all necessary, real-time data and information on each customer, can collaboratively solve or escalate any issues, giving the customer the best service which, in addition to being the right move, is also the profitable one.
For many manufacturing companies, the Intranet can be an inflexible, disorganized structure for important documents and files. Additionally, some documents and files are often valuable—even essential—to outside partners or distributors, so they need to be uploaded to an Extranet, as well. Not only does managing multiple systems mean uploading everything manually, it means tracking and security are constantly jeopardized. Salesforce1 Community Cloud offers something different: a system that is flexible enough to offer documents, files, and portals for internal and external users; an easy-to-use interface that can be customized with the company’s branding, look, and feel; a place where employees, distributors, and partners can contribute and collaborate; mobile functionality so that documents and key information are accessible anywhere, anytime, and from any device. In today’s world, products and pricing no longer provide the differentiation they used to; now, manufacturers stand out by meeting and engaging with customers where they are, and keeping customers happy. With the Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, and Community Cloud, Salesforce is the perfect CRM tool to help you stand out. Implementing Salesforce with Luxent makes all the difference. Our team is comprised of experts in manufacturing, which means that when we scope your project, we’re doing it with manufacturing needs in mind. We know the right questions to ask so that we can focus on the unique aspects of your business. Coupled with our Salesforce experience and seasoned, certified Salesforce consulting team, we’re able to scope accurately, estimate timelines more precisely, and deliver your Salesforce implementation more quickly.