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How to Drive Manufacturing With the Power of CRM

In this report, we will show how implementing a CRM solution enables manufacturers to meet managerial challenges, exceed overall sales goals, strengthen and grow customer relationships and build a stronger, more efficient company. Equally as important, we’ll look at new and innovative ways manufacturers are using their CRM systems.

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M A R K E T T R E N D S : C R M S Y S T E M S How to Drive Manufacturing With the Power of CRM PRESENTED BY: SPONSORED BY: ANUFACTURING AND M A R K E T T R E N D S : C R M S Y S T E M S 2 TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction ........................................................................................................... 3 Chapter 1: Integrating Marketing, Sales and Customer Service ............................4 Chapter 2: From Sales Quotes to Closing the Deals .............................................6 Chapter 3: Marketing Management .......................................................................9 Chapter 4: Enhancing Customer Relationships ....................................................11 Chapter 5: Welcome to the Cloud ........................................................................14 Chapter 6: On-the-Go, 24/7 and Offline Access ..................................................16 Chapter 7: Analytical Possibilities ........................................................................19 Conclusion ...........................................................................................................21 M A R K E T T R E N D S : C R M S Y S T E M S 3 While traditionally thought of as business solution used primarily for sales force automa- tion, today’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions have evolved and are increasingly being used by all departments, from marketing to field service technicians. To be sure, CRM involves tools, apps and platforms that, when combined and customized, provide manufacturers with access to up-to-the-minute customer and prospect data such as pipeline forecasting and sales history. But CRM has quietly evolved beyond that limited scope. Today’s CRM is a larger dynamic experience that includes customer care, customer service, knowledge management, field service management, marketing, social engagement and sales collaboration. While manufacturers have traditionally focused on gaining market share or overtaking competitors through operational efficien- cies, they now realize that cutting production costs alone won’t boost desired profitability. It takes savvy marketing, sales and service efforts, including engaging customers throughout the sales process and tracking the results at every step along the way. Customers today are far more knowledgeable than ever before. They now have access to numerous research and purchasing options and can tap into online peer reviews of products and services. Today’s customers expect a more personalized sales process and a higher level of service. Therefore, it is critical that manufacturers build and maintain deep relationships with their customers and personalize interactions. INTRODUCTION The complexities of building new relationships and growing existing customer relationships, however, can become a daunting task, especially in the tight-margin manufacturing sector. To stay competitive, business leaders are asking themselves: • Are my customer service representatives overwhelmed with additional work? • Are my sales representatives stretched too thin and inadvertently letting business fall through the cracks? Are they spending too much time focusing on administrative duties and not enough time selling? • Is there effective communications between different departments in my company and with vendors and customers? Is everyone on the same page? • Are my customers receiving a first-rate experience? Am I effectively building customer loyalty? Communication is Key M A R K E T T R E N D S : C R M S Y S T E M S 4 With the proper versatile and flexible CRM system, manufacturers can now control all points on the customer’s journey. From strategically executed and traceable marketing, to helping sales close the deal and automating field service, today’s CRM solutions have evolved beyond traditional applications. and Manufacturing Business Technology recently surveyed readers to understand their use of and experience with CRM systems. According to respondents of the survey, 41.1% are currently using a CRM system or are in the process of implementing a system. Within that percentage, more than 70% of the companies with a revenue greater than $1 billion utilize CRM, while 60% of companies with a revenue between $50 million and $1 billion are. This could indicate that small and mid- sized businesses may be underinvested in CRM systems and are risk of falling behind. But how many of those who have already deployed a CRM solution are using it to its fullest extent? In this report, we will show how implementing a CRM solution enables manufacturers to meet managerial challenges, exceed overall sales goals, strengthen and grow customer relationships and build a stronger, more efficient company. Equally as import- ant, we’ll look at new and innovative ways manufacturers are using their CRM systems. It may be surprising, but as sophisticated and savvy as large manufacturers and heavy equipment makers are today in planning their financial and business goals, many are still leaving a significant amount of money on the table — and they don’t even realize it. They may know where to look for the low-hanging fruit. They just don’t know when to look and that’s costing them big money and big customers. And if they don’t act within the next 3 to 5 years, it could also cost them their companies. In a recent survey of large manufacturers by and Manufacturing Business Technology, a third of respondents said their CRM systems are 6 to 10 years old and more than three-quarters of all respondents actually are operating on multiple platforms to handle sales, marketing and customer service efforts. By failing to integrate their CRM systems for efficiency, companies may experience the headaches that come with a lack of coordination among departments. Those are exacerbated by the need for redun- dant manual data entry and, which can sometimes result in significant data quality issues. Lifecycle Tracking The latest CRM systems, which bring customer engagement onto a single platform for sales, marketing and service, permit manufacturers to implement lifecycle tracking of even the most complicated products that they sell. Chapter 1: INTEGRATING MARKETING, SALES AND CUSTOMER SERVICE M A R K E T T R E N D S : C R M S Y S T E M S 5 In years past, manufacturers focused mainly on original sales of that equipment, but monitoring the eventual wear and tear on the equipment was somewhat sporadic. Company sales reps might hear about technical issues during a periodic visit to the customer. The marketing department might send out satisfaction questionnaires at pre-planned intervals. Customer service personnel might re- spond to an incoming complaint from a customer about a problem or a call for routine maintenance. “Now, with tools available through IoT, data be- comes instantaneously accessible and usable in an analytical sense for new product development, effi- ciency improvement, equipment failures, upgrades, repairs and even marketing efforts monitoring heavy machinery wear,” according to Mike Shields, Chief Executive Officer of eLogic, a consulting firm serving the industrial machinery, medical device, process and high tech industries. “You can literally go back to the customer and offer an upgrade be- fore it reaches the point of inefficiency, or worse yet, damage to the equipment. “We’ve seen these programs working already,” he added. “They literally improve aftermarket performance by listening, producing the data, reading it for what it means and coming back through the dealer to the owner to offer a lifecycle service or upgrade.” Ongoing Aftermarket Revenue That level of customer engagement not only saves the customer money before a major repair is necessary, but also provides the manufacturer access to an ongoing aftermarket revenue stream — low-hanging fruit that previously was not easily obtainable. The more a manufacturer knows about the location, performance and age of each piece of equipment sold, the easier it is to ap- ply predictive maintenance follow-through, which ultimately reduces customer churn. As one manufacturing industry expert put it, How Long Ago was Your CRM System Implemented? Less than 1 year ago 1 year ago 2-3 years ago 4-5 years ago 6-7 years 8-10 years ago We are currently in the process of an implementation 8-10 years ago 23% 2-3 years ago 22% 4-5 years ago 18% We are currently in the process of an implementation 15% 1 year ago 9% 6-7 years ago 10% Less than 1 year ago 4% Source: Customer Relationship Management Systems (CRM) for Manufacturers Research Study,, March 2016. M A R K E T T R E N D S : C R M S Y S T E M S 6 once a customer who needs imme- diate assistance and service turns elsewhere for a solution, there’s a good chance that customer isn’t coming back home. He or she is lost for good. In essence, today’s CRM systems allow manufacturers to profile customers more effectively and ultimately drive additional revenue from their existing customer base. By tying sales, marketing and cus- tomer service onto one integrated solution with an existing ERP sys- tem, the CRM system delivers that full 360-degree view of customers. As mentioned in the introduction, manufacturing customers today are savvier than ever before. They have access to multiple search methods to scope out, evaluate and select products, along with many channels through which to make a purchase. For this reason, manufacturers must forge deep, ongoing, personalized and lasting relationships. The proper CRM platform can give sales teams immediate access to the tools and information to manage sales efforts, keep prospective customers engaged and close deals before prospects start searching elsewhere. “Even the customers’ customers are expecting a much more balanced experience across their different channels, so whether they’re talking to someone on the phone, called the tech support center or have gone to a website, there’s an expectation for a consistent experience,” David Kohar, managing director of Edgewater Fullscope, said. Chapter 2: FROM SALES QUOTES TO CLOSING THE DEALS 0.0% 5.0% 10.0% 15.0% 20.0% 25.0% 30.0% 35.0% 40.0% 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 How many different systems do you currently use to interact with customers? Five or more 12% Source: Customer Relationship Management Systems (CRM) for Manufacturers Research Study,, March 2016. Three 27% Two 31% One 20% Four 11% M A R K E T T R E N D S : C R M S Y S T E M S 7 Respondents to the survey ranked having a single solution for market- ing, sales and service roles (67.3%) as the number one key capability of a CRM system. Integrating a robust CRM with an existing ERP system can deliver the 360-degree view that today’s savvy manufacturing companies demand. Set up properly, the integrated system will gather and instantly update data from throughout the supply-demand pipeline, assess the latest products and services most sought after by customers and help manufacturers respond to develop- ing trends. Accurate Forecasting The impact of integration is ex- tensive. Management has the information to be more accurate in its forecasting, and sales staff are better prepared than ever to deliver exactly what the customer needs exactly when it’s needed. One national metals service center and distributor, O’Neal Steel of Birmingham, Ala., reported a 15% jump in sales calls and 6% increase in revenue in the first year following implementation of a new, comprehensive CRM solution to improve the flow of custom- er information between field reps and internal sales staff. (Source: Edgewater Fullscope website.) Which of the following do you view as key capabilities of a CRM system? 19% 23% 32% 42% 44% 55% 67%Single solution for marketing, sales and service roles Ability to ‘Configure, Price, Quote’ complex products and services Support for mobile devices (phones, tablets, laptops and ruggedized devices) Ability to access customer data offline (disconnected from the network) Available to run in my own datacenter Available as Software as a Service Integration with Internet of Things Source: Customer Relationship Management Systems (CRM) for Manufacturers Research Study,, March 2016. M A R K E T T R E N D S : C R M S Y S T E M S 8 Prior to that, customer information was stored in a variety of email systems and spreadsheets across nearly two dozen offices. Without a central system, sales quotes, reports, customer records and service efforts were inconsistent, often resulting in lost sales and unhappy customers. The old way of doing things was grossly inefficient. After field reps had targeted new prospects and forwarded paper reports back to home base, it was until a week later that internal staff and management spent up to 20% of their time chasing down additional information, answering customers’ requests and handling actual sales transactions. When the new CRM system was initially implemented, it connected the internal and external sales teams to a constant and timely flow of information. In addition to the sales and revenue gains cited above, the distributor cut customer response times by up to 5 days, while administrative duties were slashed by 6 hours per inside sales rep per week. Market share increased overall by 2% in the first year. Configure Price Quote In addition to providing a markedly faster flow of information and gathering of critical statistical data, another key sales tool becoming more prevalent among manufacturers is the integration of Configure Price Quote, or CPQ technology. Such a solution requires a skilled CRM implementer, with specific manufacturing experience, to ensure the CRM-CPQ integration is properly executed. Lack of a skilled and knowledgeable partner is one reason companies are missing this opportunity. When done right, however, CPQ shortens the sales cycle by allowing sales people to configure products, quickly determine price and receive a quote. In the highly complex manufacturing environment where any number of constantly changing variables can have an effect on price, CPQ software eliminates the confusion, accurately defines price with the click of a button and can be accessed remotely at any time. This allows sales to provide prospects with pricing information on the spot. The ability to use CPQ for complex products and services was identified by 54.5% of survey respondents as one of the key capabilities of CRM systems. While there’s a lot of interest in CPQ today, it’s by no means a new concept. According to Kohar, it continues to mature. “In reality, every manufacturer at some level is doing some price configuration, selling off the price list,” Kohar said. “The question is where are they doing that body of work? Often times they have been doing it outside the CRM.” When integrated with the CRM, CPQ is available to partners and customers through a manufacturer’s portal. Integration also tends to cut down on the problems previously encountered in misquoting certain product sets. M A R K E T T R E N D S : C R M S Y S T E M S 9 Marketing in today’s manufacturing world is a whole new ballgame. Today’s knowledgeable customer base is said to be more than half way through the buying cycle before they even make contact with manufacturers or suppliers. Where marketing may have traditionally been thought of as an art, it is now moving towards a much more quantifiable — and critical — function. That means that customer engagement doesn’t stop at the point of sale or occasional communication with the customer service department. Through an integrated CRM system, the marketing department not only has access to individual customer data, but also can take advantage of new industry trends as they develop. Since the 1990s, industrial manufacturing has evolved from sales- and distribution-focused to an industry driven by customers. Whereas products used to sit in inventory, sometimes for years, waiting to be distributed when ordered, today product shelf life has become far more limited as engineering improvements and new, more efficient designs are rapidly introduced to market. Analyzing Patterns It’s more critical than ever that manufacturers stay in close touch with customers and markets to remain well ahead of technical improvements, emerging markets and shifts in ordering patterns. When asked to identify the key functions of their company’s CRM systems today, survey respondents ranked sales planning (63.2%), opportunity management (56.2%), content management (51.7%) and knowledge management (43.3%) very high on the list. “CRM systems can be very useful when it comes to forecasting, especially when customer data and purchasing patterns can be analyzed in such a way as to give a firm’s manufacturing operations more lead time before large and complex orders,” according to market research associates Luke Wallace, a CRM specialist, and Forrest Burnson, an ERP specialist, at consulting firm Software Advice. Chapter 3: MARKETING MANAGEMENT “CPQ has always been the type of solution that many companies, large and small, could benefit from,” strategist Steve Chipman, partner at CRM Switch, wrote in a blog last October. “However, until just a few years ago, CPQ was only available as a very expen- sive standalone solution that was generally only affordable for enterprises...One of the biggest accelerants for CPQ adoption has been the fact that CPQ no longer needs to be a standalone system. It can run natively within a cloud CRM system and benefit from the continual improvement afforded by that environment.” M A R K E T T R E N D S : C R M S Y S T E M S 10 “(Manufacturers) want to be able to analyze their cus- tomer data to figure out which customers are buying what,” Wallace and Burnson jointly responded via email. “If they can segment out that data — like identifying a size and type of business that is most likely to purchase a particular product or service — it can inform their mar- keting efforts, as well as their overall business plan. “If it can sync with any sort of business intelligence tools to provide predictive analytics to determine what customers’ future purchases will be, then all the bet- ter,” they wrote. “They essentially want data that can help them better understand their customers and what is driving their purchasing decisions.” That kind of data management, dissecting and understanding helps savvy marketers plan, execute and measure campaigns across channels, from start to finish, engaging prospects and customers individually and building a robust sales pipeline. It also provides a range of metrics for the team to track the effectiveness of marketing programs and quickly de- termine the success of campaigns, allowing marketers to expand programs or, if necessary, switch gears early on. Tailoring Messages Marketing through an integrated CRM system enables the manufacturer to control circulation of the outgoing content. For example, it allows them to tailor messages and funnel them sepa- rately to end customers, distributors, vendors, partners and others. In addition, based on the analytics that convey each individual persons’ particular area of interest, manufacturers can control marketing programs for those different business segments. Some may receive white papers on relevant topics, while others can be invited to participate in webinars or be targeted for certain email efforts. Source: Customer Relationship Management Systems (CRM) for Manufacturers Research Study,, March 2016. 0.0% 10.0% 20.0% 30.0% 40.0% 50.0% 60.0% 70.0% Sales planning and management Opportunity Management Content management (sales collateral, prices, lists, etc.) Order processing Knowledge management Lead generation Integration with Internet of Things What key functions does your company use in the CRM system? Sa les pl an nin g an d m an ag em en t Op po rtu nit y ma na ge me nt Co nte nt ma na ge me n (sa les co lla te ral , p ric es , lis ts, et c.) O rd er pr oc es sin g Kn ow led ge ma na ge me nt Le ad ge ne rat ion Int eg rat ion w ith Int er ne t o f T hin gs 56% 52% 48% 43% 38% 19% 63% M A R K E T T R E N D S : C R M S Y S T E M S 11 All of that activity, meanwhile, can be carefully monitored and dissected in the CRM for results. If an email blast is sent out, the internal departments can quickly determine which emails were opened, which recipients clicked through to specific areas of interest, whether they were successfully prompted to visit a certain web page and, if they did visit a manufacturer’s web page, if something was downloaded. In the integrated CRM, as the marketing department assesses the success of the outgoing efforts, the sales staff can use the information gathered to have conversations with prospects about those specific areas that piqued their interest. “If I’m a manufacturer and I can’t see through to end-use customer behavior, I have a much harder time with my new product development, my marketing campaign and my lead generation,” eLogic’s Shields said. “Conversely, if I’m a channel partner, rep or distributor sitting out here without access to those holistic, more market-based customer trends from the manufacturer relevant to me, I’m not able to optimize my marketing either.” When it comes to customer service, customers today expect quality, personalized service, on their terms, across any channel from the web to their smartphones. They want 24/7 access and they want information immediately. The old ways of doing things no longer apply in the modern manufacturing world. Even at very large manufacturers, customer service has historically been regarded as a standalone unit put in place to provide a variety of support services. In the past, departments sometimes fielded inquiries from customers during business hours and worked to resolve developing issues concerning malfunctioning equipment or redirected calls to the proper business units. In other cases, the department entered and processed orders that were secured by field sales staff and forwarded them manually to customer service. Some systems, still in use today, were put in place 15, 20 or even 30 years ago and contain lots of legacy data, according to Dylan Persaud, managing director at Eval-Source, a consulting firm specializing in software evaluation and advisory services. “The old systems contain legacy data and contact information like name, company, email address, phone, fax and mobile numbers — just a database of customer information,” Persaud said. “Not much has changed for those companies in terms of CRM evolu- tion. If the customer contact moves to a different company or changes a cell phone number, the manufacturer goes in and edits the information. It is in place to handle the customer relationship side of fulfilling the product once it has been paid for.” Chapter 4: ENHANCING CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS M A R K E T T R E N D S : C R M S Y S T E M S 12 Tailoring Messages In recent years, as the manufacturing landscape evolved, many companies attempted to adjust by modifying their existing outdated service modules, created something from scratch to track increasingly complex information, or began hacking up elements of their ERP system in an attempt to get the job done. Whether key customers were lost or market share suddenly declined, manufacturers using older CRM tools are increasingly finding that simple upgrades can no longer handle the customers’ complex requirements. And a growing number are turning to the easy, always-available access offered by the latest CRM systems. “To manage and resolve issues, they want one spot to capture all of the data and place it into a central repository so they can run the metrics,” said Matt Baker, practice director at Sonoma Partners. “They want to quickly determine if there was a problem with shipping, for instance. Did something go wrong with the process?” The customers, in turn, need to be given the option to find a solution through self-serve information on a website or private portal or receive assistance from a knowledgeable agent who has all of the relevant information at hand. To do so, the proper CRM seam- lessly collects, catalogs and delivers the necessary product, service, customer and company data sourced from the field, multiple manufacturing locations and internal departments, providing immediate results for quick issue resolution. Such flexibility further engages the customer and builds loyalty, allowing manufacturers access to historical, brand and real-time up-to-date information. Getting Beyond Upgrade Stage “When it comes to customer service, it’s a matter of providing each company with an individual customer experience,” Baker ex- plained, adding that the “individual” perspective means having all the information about the customer’s company readily available. “Information about their warranty, SLAs, frequent questions that come up, financial order history, all the way to the specific person calling in. You can have the phone systems integrated into CRM so when the person calls, information pops up automatically.” Such service adds that touch of personalization for managing the account, something many manufacturers with outdated customer service methods still don’t have. “We still see green-screen systems out there,” Baker said. “Every time someone calls, they have to ask for all of the customer information again and it gets everyone kind of frustrated.” It’s also important to note that since the manufacturing sector often deals with complexities and customer needs far different from those in retail and other businesses, a good CRM system should proactively track demand levels, inventory availability, shipping schedules and use analytics to help uncover developing market trends well before they actually occur. M A R K E T T R E N D S : C R M S Y S T E M S 13 That can only happen with a well-integrated, well-coordinated CRM that shares data across the organization, with a primary mission of keeping the customer well informed, well served and engaged. By far, the survey respondents said the key CRM function that had the most impact on their companies to date was customer service (52.2%). As manufacturers themselves become more sophisticated in their approach, they’re adding more educational communications and making the overall marketing experience more relevant to each individual customer. Companies are increasingly trying to grab attention to talk about new offerings or products, reaching outside prospects. These efforts might include the use of e-mail blasts, webinars and white papers. “Our customers’ customers are expecting a much more balanced experience across their different channels so, whether they’re talking to someone on the phone, in person, called the tech support center or they went to the website, there’s an expectation around a consistent experience and one continuing to improve in terms of speed,” Fullscope’s Kohar said. 0.0% 10.0% 20.0% 30.0% 40.0% 50.0% 60.0% 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Which key functions have made the most impact for your company? Customer Service 52% Contact Management 50% Sales Analytics/ Forecasting 36% Content Management (sales collateral, prices, lists, etc.) 31% Opportunity Management 29% Inside Sales Use 25% Source: Customer Relationship Management Systems (CRM) for Manufacturers Research Study,, March 2016. M A R K E T T R E N D S : C R M S Y S T E M S 14 A decade or two ago, manufacturers of heavy equipment and other major industrial machinery had to physically visit customers to gather sufficient data to plan programs for predictive maintenance. After gathering and sifting through all of that data, equipment makers faced the arduous task of organizing it into usable information for after-market programs, cross selling, maintenance and a host of other follow-up efforts. Today, not only do manufacturers have all that legacy data that was gathered in years past, but thanks to CRM, tools available in the Cloud and through IoT, there’s less need for those costly and time consuming trips. “Cloud-based CRM systems generally offer more features like customer service, help desk, sales, marketing and social CRM capabilities than they used to,” according to the specialists at Software Advice. “These systems also offer a lower initial cost, easier integration with mobile devices and interoperability with existing legacy systems. Also, many of today’s CRM vendors offer advanced analytics functionality. We’ve come a long way from the ‘CRM rolodex’ of the 1980s.” Continuous Flow of Data Updated information on customers’ products flows continuously from the field into manufacturing CRM systems and databases. Among other things, IoT and other feedback mechanisms offer technology that is key to managing the lifecycle services that generate significant revenue from the existing customer base, eLogic’s Michael Shields indicated. By using cloud-based IoT systems, manufacturers can also keep in sync with the latest emerging technologies, thus prompting innovation. “CRM platforms are going into the cloud now,” Sonoma Partners’ Baker said. “We definitely see it accelerating quite a bit over the next three to five to seven years. You’re going to start to see things getting more tied into a CRM platform, whether it’s equipment or product that they put out.” As an example, Baker cited a typical medical device manufacturer that sells a product projected to last between five and seven years. “If you are at that four or five year point you can hook into that device and, if it’s starting to age out, there’s an opportunity within CRM to have someone follow up and discuss the next steps.” At present, many manufacturers are still trying to figure out how to use and benefit from IoT. Many are talking about it with consultants and know they should take advantage of it, but they just don’t know how to go about it yet. Chapter 5: WELCOME TO THE CLOUD M A R K E T T R E N D S : C R M S Y S T E M S 15 That should change rapidly in the next few years as software providers continue to push the envelope when it comes to IoT, even planning for technologies that might follow, so cloud users can readily accept any new technologies as soon as they becomes available. Right now, large manufacturers with a revenue greater than $1 billion are twice as likely to view IoT integration as a key CRM capability (30% for companies with revenue >$1B vs. 16% for companies with revenue <$1B). In addition, many large manufacturers with relatively small IT shops find the cloud an attractive alternative so they don’t have to manage a growing assortment of hardware, software and servers as more complex real-time data flows into their systems. A Secure Hub “Manufacturers are developing more solutions by being in the cloud, giving them one central point — a hub, so to speak — where everything comes into and taking advantage of the (CRM and ERP) provider’s ability to integrate through the cloud,” Baker said. As for security concerns, Baker said that three or four years ago there were concerns about information being extracted from company data centers and going into the cloud environment. But those concerns have been fading as more companies, and people in general, become increasingly accepting of cloud placement and CRM/ERP providers implement tight security measures. Shields of eLogic added a bit of urgency to the adoption of cloud-based data sharing programs in manufacturing, saying that in three to five years even a customer base that is solid today could dwindle without such mechanisms. “If you miss this chance, you won’t be able to change your selling practices in time to be relevant again,” Shields said. Please rank the order of importance to your company when addressing the following common issues faced by manufacturers. 1. Innovate products more quickly 2. Have a better understanding of how our customers use our product/service 3. Do a better job categorizing types of customers and responding more quickly to their needs 4. Provide better products and service to our customers Source: Customer Relationship Management Systems (CRM) for Manufacturers Research Study,, March 2016. M A R K E T T R E N D S : C R M S Y S T E M S 16 The world in general has become much more mobile and manufacturers, traditionally slow adopters to new technologies, want to take advantage now. According to the survey, 43.6% of respondents viewed mobile access as key to CRM system capabilities, with 41.6% identifying offline access to data as a critical need (See chart, Chapter 2). In addition, social media integration (30.6%) is the No. 1 desired function survey respondents would like to see added to their systems. That is followed by mobile device availability (24.4%) and sales analytics/forecasting (19.4%). On sales calls to customers, potential customers, distributors and others in the field, reps want all of the information they may need right at their fingertips, immediately accessible from their smartphones, tablets or laptops. That’s a far cry from years past when they had to log into multiple systems to locate all of the pertinent material, often a time-consuming and painstaking process. The type of instant on-the-go information now available through the CRM might include important facts about the current opportunity, what the particular customer ordered in the past, what’s on back order, usage and maintenance information, any issues coming up and whether any money is owed on an outstanding invoice. Functionality on the Road In today’s highly mobile world, access to information is not only available, but expected. Mobile access has become a high priority in the field, with many consulting partners integrating seamless functionality into CRMs, usually supporting a range of top mobile devices used in the industrial sector and dashboards tailored for ease of use in remote locations. Offline access also is a critical component for many manufacturing representatives operating in the field. “Almost always there’s a need for offline data and information, whether in some obscure part of the country with no cell access or in a hospital setting,” Kohar of Fullscope said. A prime example of the latter would be when a sales rep for a large medical device maker pays a visit to a doctor’s office or hospital where online access may be prohibited or otherwise unavailable within the structure. In such cases, offline access allows the rep to download copies of all the data needed, perhaps cue up a specific case file or document, find a doctor and have all the information available on the spot for the visit. Chapter 6: ON-THE-GO, 24/7 AND OFFLINE ACCESS M A R K E T T R E N D S : C R M S Y S T E M S 17 What functions would you want to add to your CRM system that it doesn’t currently have? On the customer side, regardless of the form factor or connection used, in the B2C world they have long relied on instant access to the information they need. The B2B sector is starting to behave similarly, which potentially threatens manufacturers who are not paying attention, experts say. Such manufacturers don’t see the behavior of customers bookmarking them, coming back or looking for a different company out of frustration. B2B customers want to easily find product and service information 24/7, configure it, get a quote and possibly order it. In the manufacturing environment, CRM can help both the customer and the field sales rep by coupling commerce tools within the enterprise master data and transaction sets to quickly factor into a price quote any relevant contract pricing, purchase history, inventory levels, freight and tax considerations required. Automated Field Service When considering on-the-go mobile access within their CRM systems, manufacturers often think first of the numerous benefits for their sales teams in the field as they explore new business opportunities with existing clients and hunt for new customers. But there’s an additional significant area that shouldn’t be overlooked when considering incorporating a CRM system — an automated Field Service Management (FSM) component that can quickly and effectively manage widespread resources simultaneously. A comprehensive FSM enables manufacturers to coordinate all service personnel and assets in the field (e.g., spare parts and tools), immediate- ly locate vehicles, ensure driver safety, manage technician activity and schedule and dispatch employees for service calls, installations, preventa- tive maintenance and equipment repairs. “Traditionally, your typical CRM systems have sales and customer service functionality — which is essentially call center functionality,” Source: Customer Relationship Management Systems (CRM) for Manufacturers Research Study,, March 2016. • Social Media Integration • Mobile Device Availability • Sales Analytics/Forecasting • Integration with Sales Methodology • Sales Collaboration (organizing webinars, marketing campaigns, etc.) • Territory Management M A R K E T T R E N D S : C R M S Y S T E M S 18 Will Moseley, senior vice president of business development of CRM at mcaConnect. “For a lot of businesses, that’s how customer service gets done. But a lot of businesses require more involved, in-person interaction with somebody in the field or at a customer site to solve problems. That requires additional functionality that’s more complex than what you get with your traditional call cen- ter. Field service management really takes that historical customer service functionality and enhances it to the point where it really works for that agent in the field.” Automated routing maximizes the use of resources and factors in route conditions, field agent location, skills, expertise, situational severity and customer preferences. In some packages, complex algorithms are used to adjust when schedules change to ensure that the correct people, equipment and resources are assigned. Depending upon the nature of the industry and its field requirements, vehicle location and diagnostics, hours of service and driver logs can be automated via FSM and connected with CRM information about customer equipment history, service, warranty and preventive maintenance schedules, along with the key customer contacts and site access. “When it comes down to it, the two primary forces behind field service capabilities are driving profitability and meeting the custom- ers’ expectations about quality of service,” Moseley added. “Service quality is becoming extremely competitive today. Consumers are expecting that if they told somebody their problem on the phone, the person in the field knows that conversation. Without tech- nology that doesn’t happen. As that becomes more important to the success of businesses, field service management is becoming a critical aspect to maintain differentiation from the competition, as well as high levels of profitability for a manufacturer.” While it is possible to implement FSM software outside of CRM, ERP and asset management packages, that approach misses an opportunity. When FSM is embedded within a CRM system, it allows manufacturers to integrate the program with inventory, billing, accounting and other back-office systems. Such use of the latest mobile applications improves field communications, streamlines processes, increases productivity, expands customer service options, promotes brand and boosts long-term loyalty. “Where I see the market heading now is around proactive maintenance and not waiting for something to break,” Moseley said. “Getting a better perspective of when problems are likely to occur before they occur. That’s where we start talking about using the Internet of Things and devices that will trigger alerts and can create work tickets automatically. As IoT becomes more prevalent in manufacturing devices, companies can use those sensors to capture information about the operating characteristics of a device or piece of equipment to become more proactive in maintaining high levels of service for their customers.” The global FSM market is expected to grow to $3.52 billion by 2019, up from $1.58 billion in 2014, according to research firm MarketsandMarkets. In terms of size, North America is expected to be the largest market, while Europe and Asia-Pacific also will experience an increase in traction during the period. Advisory firm Gartner, Inc. has estimated that, in enterprise markets, penetra- tion for field service applications has already reached 25% of the addressable market. M A R K E T T R E N D S : C R M S Y S T E M S 19 Thinking about implementing or upgrading your CRM, but still not sure where to begin? Companies should start by asking them- selves if the new system will involve only internal departments such as sales, marketing and customer service, or if it will extend to their suppliers, distributors, customers and even customers’ customers? Additionally, how will the new CRM work with an existing ERP system that has been performing well? The simple answer is that, with limits, the CRM system can be as simple or complex as needed. When it comes to manufacturers involving their partners and distributors within the system, it depends on how comfortable they are giving access to outside parties and the capabilities of the CRM system that the manufacturer selects. At the very least, to hand the sales staff up-to-date information — all the way down through customers and customers’ customers to the end users — manufacturers need input from their partners along the supply chain. Depending on the relationship between the manufacturer and the distribution partners, the manufacturer can obtain key analytics on the end user market to monitor supply and demand issues, spot developing trends and identify new opportunities. “Most manufacturers have some sort of mechanism in place to allow their distributors to get in there,” Baker of Sonoma Partners said. “We see a lot of portal work where distributors can log all their information into the CRM. We’ve seen others where they’re passing files back and forth, and everything is being consumed by the CRM.” Chapter 7: ANALYTICAL POSSIBILITIES If you were to implement a CRM system, what are the top 5 system functionalities your company would most want? 1. Contact Management 2. Files Sync & Share 3. Email Client Integration 4. Reports & Dashboards 5. Workflow & Approvals Source: Customer Relationship Management Systems (CRM) for Manufacturers Research Study,, March 2016. M A R K E T T R E N D S : C R M S Y S T E M S 20 Baker added that in very rare cases, depending on the type of relationship, some distributors are even given a certain level of access (beyond simple portal entry) into the manufacturer’s CRM. Where regulatory laws apply, the CRM systems offer tight security to limit access. For example, in medical where Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) laws apply, Distributor A and Distributor B would only be able to access their specifically authorized information. Additionally, any access can be tracked to ensure data privacy rights. Clear ERP and CRM Strategy In most cases, according to experts, manufacturers need to develop a clear ERP and CRM strategy going into the project to ensure they obtain and access the most comprehensive data available. ERP systems tend to be the backbone of manufacturing operations, containing all of the sales, inventory, financial and other busi- ness data, so integrating the CRM with the ERP platform is critical to understand what can be offered and delivered to customers. The key data in ERP must be pulled into the CRM system to have the 360-degree view needed to service customer needs. “If you’re meeting with a client about a hot new product and you’re not sure what’s going on from the inventory perspective, when you can deliver the product, you will have some uncomfortable conversations with them later on when you’re trying to reconcile that information,” Baker said. Deep Drill-Downs In all cases, manufacturers want to apply better business intelligence to their company. They want to be able to analyze their customer data to figure out which customers are buying what and even employ predictive analytics to predict future outcomes and trends. With an Excel component, companies allow the data to be accessed and analyzed by most users. Deep drill-downs of infor- mation give sales reps the tools to analyze open accounts and locate new opportunities in the pipeline. “If they can segment out that data — like identifying a size and type of business that is most likely to purchase a particular product or service — it can inform their marketing efforts, as well as their overall business plan,” according to the Software Advice consultants. “If it [CRM system] can sync with any sort of business intelligence tools to provide predictive analytics to determine what custom- ers’ future purchases will be, then all the better,” the Software Advice consultants noted. “They essentially want data that can help them better understand their customers and what is driving their purchasing decisions.” Likewise, management gets access to the information needed to aid the sales reps, analyze marketing, monitor customer service effectiveness and identify business problems and exceptions. M A R K E T T R E N D S : C R M S Y S T E M S 21 The decision whether to upgrade an existing CRM or install a completely new system depends on a number of factors, including technology, cost and return on investment. In some cases, manufacturers attempting to take advantage of the latest sales, marketing and customer service techniques find that they can’t get their legacy systems to work effectively and updates might be a costlier option than starting from scratch. Beyond that, there’s often a “fear factor” that comes into play over whether or not a legacy system will still be supported or the original company that sold or installed it could go out of business. Next Generation Workforce But, perhaps one of the biggest concerns cited by manufacturers and customers, according to experts, involves the challenge of attracting new, younger talent when using outdated technology. The older sales reps, for example, still do a fair amount of managing accounts by physically writing down information and keeping mental notes in their heads. That presents a potential dilemma when the older staff moves on or retires. Meanwhile, the up-and-coming talent, comfortable with smartphones, tablets and other devices and digital services, expects to join an environment that has the latest technology, so it becomes a recruiting problem. In those cases, some companies make the switch to a CRM system to attract talent and to preserve some of the legacy informa- tion before it walks out the door to retirement. The fundamental point for companies switching to a CRM system isn’t about solving talent issues, but modernizing systems to feel more like the tools employees are used to using outside of work. Additionally, while social CRM is extensively used in retail and professional service environments, it is still rarely used in the manufacturing community, but experts say the growing use of social media by individuals, especially by younger workers, will spark change in B2B over the next few years. Social CRM is currently the No. 1 desired feature for survey respondents and involves communication via apps like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Companies are leveraging these platforms to listen to their customers, and potential new customers, to address issues and offer a better customer service experience. Conclusion: COST, ROI AND HOW TO SELECT A CRM M A R K E T T R E N D S : C R M S Y S T E M S 22 Finding the Right Mix When deciding to upgrade or select a new CRM system, consultants advise companies to focus on the key anticipated business outcomes and not on the technology itself. For example, an insightful manufacturer might approach it this way, according to Fullscope’s Kohar and echoed by other consultants: “I need to get my arms around better, more accurate forecasts, do a better job of selling to my existing customers and streamline the process of getting our leads qualified.” The approach identifies the critical mission and doesn’t get hung up on how many CRM features can be rolled into the system. Similarly, Matt Baker of Sonoma Partners advises manufactur- ers implementing or upgrading a CRM system to first spend a lot of time meeting with their teams to understand exactly what they do from a business perspective, the processes involved, how they service customers and the nature of their marketing techniques before the project heads into the design phase. “Once it’s into design we like to do the crawl, walk, run, fly perspective,” Baker said. “Let’s get something into your user’s hands so they’re using the system, getting their feedback and we’ll build off of that.” He added that phasing some elements in over time helps drive adoption, gives users a say in the process and allows changes to be made based on their feedback after using it out in the field. Are you satisfied with your CRM system? With 11% of respondents unsatisfied with their CRM systems, and an additional 35% neutral toward theirs, survey comments indicate that the age of the system, underutilization of all the features and functionality available or a combination of both is playing into those numbers. Very Unsatisfied 3% Source: Customer Relationship Management Systems (CRM) for Manufacturers Research Study,, March 2016. Neutral 35% Somewhat Satisfied 32% Very Satisfied 22% 8% Somewhat Unsatisfied 0.0% 10.0% 20.0% 30.0% 40.0% M A R K E T T R E N D S : C R M S Y S T E M S 23 About the Author: Mike Botta is a contributing editor for the Advantage Business Media Manufacturing Group, including, Manufacturing Business Technology, IMPO (Industrial Maintenance & Plant Operation), and Industrial Distribution. For more than 25 years he has reported on issues and trends affecting manufacturers, having held senior editorial positions with Fairchild Publications, Chilton Publishing, Reed Business Information, and Thomas Publishing. About Manufacturing Business Technology: For nearly 30 years, Manufacturing Business Technology has been a prime information source for decision-makers in operations, information technology, automation, and the supply chain. This group of professionals is responsible for the purchase of soft- ware, IT infrastructure, automation platforms, mobile technology, and other high-tech equipment for manufacturing enterprises. About has served as a leading resource for manufacturers for the past 30 years, and its longstanding readership in the manufacturing marketplace makes it a respected source on the latest technologies. is a prime information source for decision-makers in operations, information technology, automation, and the supply chain. ©Copyright 2016, Advantage Business Media, with distribution rights granted to Microsoft. Generally speaking, consultants caution against adding unneeded bells and whistles so that the installed system is right-sized to the manufacturer, its mission and its needs. Depending on its complexity, consultants say implementation could take anywhere from three to seven months, with return on investment projected within six to 12 months for a new system or from 12 to 24 months to add functionality to an existing or legacy system. For manufacturers ready to get the most out of a CRM system, a great first step is finding a consultant that can guide the company to the next level. If they’re unsure where to begin, they can always ask colleagues and businesses who’ve been through the process who they’d recommend or go online to read reviews and comparison research consultants.