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Produce your best work with CRM for manufacturing

Manufacture success by automating tasks, increasing supply chain efficiency, improving productivity and growing your businesses all with CRM for manufacturing.

Last updated January 17, 2023

Customer relationships can be a grind. With so many moving parts and so much data, manufacturing companies often have their work cut out. It’s no wonder the sector only has an average customer retention rate of 67 per cent, according to a CustomerGauge study.

But that’s where CRM software comes in. It helps businesses centralise data and break down data silos. This makes it much easier to keep track of customer relationships, so you can manufacture success for all customers – without cutting corners.

Let’s explore what CRM can do for you by looking at six key benefits of CRM for manufacturing.

Understand your customers

Working with spreadsheets or paper is prone to errors and can easily lead to embarrassing mistakes like agents calling the wrong number… Whoops. Fortunately, a CRM system brings all your customer data together in one place. This means everyone has access to the same, up-to-date information, so you can keep track of everything–from emails, calls, and chats to previous purchase orders and contact details. A 360 customer view like this helps you better understand customer needs and provide better support.

What’s more, it can provide valuable insight into what end-users really think about your products. Listening to this feedback is one of the best ways to ensure you’re meeting the market’s needs. Plus, it’s the perfect blueprint to improve product quality and consistency. And getting these right is a surefire way to more sales and customers.

Personalise your communication

When forging or nurturing any relationship, it’s vital to stay in touch. Automated emails and reminders in your CRM make this a breeze. But regular communication alone won’t cut the mustard–it needs to be personal. Fortunately, you can also use your CRM to segment your customers based on location, industry, interests, and more. This allows you to tailor your messages and campaigns to suit different customers.

A CRM solution can also enhance your quoting process by integrating real-time supply and engineering data. This helps sales teams create accurate quotes for specific customer needs based on the latest information about prices and product availability.

Build your loyalty

Customer service expectations are always high – and manufacturing is no exception. Nobody wants to be on hold for 15 minutes after asking a simple question. Crucially though, 58 per cent of customers will pay more for better customer service, as revealed by a Forbes survey. So getting your customer support right is an absolute must. Because great customer support means great customer relationships, happy customers, and repeat business.

A CRM solution organises customer data, making it easy for your support teams to respond to customer enquiries. Data on previous touchpoints provides insight into problems and ticketing systems ensure nothing slips through the cracks. Everything you need to provide a seamless experience.

Grow your sales

Attracting new customers is key for any business. But using resources effectively means prioritising your leads and targeting your marketing. CRM software allows you to qualify your leads and track responses to marketing campaigns. Plus, you can also use real-time sales reports and metrics to identify not only lead sources and lead quality but also bottlenecks and who your top-paying customers are. These valuable insights help you make better decisions to generate more sales.

But a CRM for manufacturing can do more, e.g. helping you visualise customer buying patterns. Analytics allow you to see when and how much each customer tends to order. And you can then use this data to sell the right products at the right times. Not to mention, finding the perfect opportunities for upselling and cross-selling.

Predict your future

Nobody knows exactly what the future holds, but your CRM can give you a good idea. It tracks and records every order with important details like quantity and price. This not only sheds light on your sales pipeline but also helps you plan, schedule, and allocate resources. These predictive powers let you streamline your sales process and react to changes in customer demand quickly.

CRM solutions can also generate accurate demand and sales forecasts by analysing buying patterns, peak times, long-term trends, and more. These projections help you plan future production, so you know what to make, and when. But it doesn’t stop there because having a detailed production plan means you can also budget more accurately and keep production costs in check–not to mention plan equipment upgrades and new hires.

Create your smart supply chain

Your company’s supply chain is vital. Managing it properly ensures your products get to your customers on time. But using a spreadsheet is time consuming, opaque, and difficult to scale. A CRM system, however, gives you end-to-end visibility. And automation helps you stay on top of every link in the chain, with notifications of changes and deadlines. This helps you see the big picture, allowing you to choose the best suppliers for your business, develop a supply chain strategy, predict trends, and ultimately meet customer needs.

Creating a smart supply chain is a great way to avoid tricky situations like having too much or too little stock. A CRM can combine sales forecasts, operations data, inventory information, and order details to help you better manage both your supply chain and production.

But enough theory. Let’s put these benefits into production by looking at a real-world example.

Polaris case study

Polaris manufactures off-road vehicles, snowmobiles, motorcycles, and more at its headquarters in Minnesota. The company is a leader in the powersports industry and boasts more than 60 years of experience.

But Polaris wanted to connect more with end consumers and make its vehicles more accessible. So the company launched Polaris Adventures, which provides ride-and-drive experiences across the U.S. This new subsidiary grew rapidly–as did the number of support enquiries. And it wasn’t long before Polaris Adventures was looking for a scalable solution that could grow with the company.

Polaris Adventures chose Zendesk for its scalability, ease of use, and customisation options. Zendesk’s support solution now allows the company to see the entire customer lifecycle, which has helped improve productivity dramatically, with the team posting impressive stats:

  • An average first-reply time of 30 minutes

  • 86 per cent of all enquiries are now one-touch tickets

  • An average resolution time of 10 hours

  • Each agent now handles 30 to 40 per cent more business

Agents now find it easier to collaborate and work together to solve tickets, even from different locations. What’s more, automated responses and centralised access to internal documentation mean the team can continue providing first-class support and keep customers smiling – both on and off their vehicles.

"Zendesk doesn’t over-complicate customer support for our customers, many of whom are non-technical. The solution ensures we are very responsive to requests that come in, and that seems to be what our customers resonate with most." - Gray Rentz, Senior Director at Polaris

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