Jennifer Karpus-Romain

How to follow industry trends with CRMs

Blog Post created by Jennifer Karpus-Romain on Jun 16, 2017

Customer relationship management (CRM) software can assist your company in everything from storing client data to getting the most from your sales meetings. But it’s offerings extend far beyond front-office applications and sales force automation.

Dig deep into your market with your CRM by applying the data you collect toward better understanding industry trends, seasonal shifts, emerging technologies and more.

Use customized software

One of the greatest aspects of utilizing a CRM is that it is not one-size-fits-all software. It can evolve with you and store valuable information, while helping you best manage leads and prospects.

Manufacturing firms have many moving parts and CRMs give you a bird’s-eye view of your industry. While customer data is crucial, having material stored about suppliers, vendors, affiliates, partners, etc. expands your knowledge base.  

Whether you want to check in with suppliers in one facet of the market or tap into vendor resources, your CRM gives you information at the click of a button. Your business isn’t cookie cutter and your software doesn’t need to be either.

Ironically, some manufacturing firms have had bad experiences with CRM because they fail to use customization. They instead invest only in the default version of the software. They see the feature list of the CRM that includes a range of modules available and insist on activating every bell and whistle.

Instead of a smooth, simple system for managing opportunities, the CRM becomes a tedious, productivity leaching pain. Just like on the factory floor, the best solution is usually the most efficient one.

Even companies with unique structures and pipelines can benefit from CRM. As an adaptable set of modular tools, CRM can be adapted to any manufacturing process, industry, sales cycle, or other factors. It’s simply a matter of embracing the flexibility and customization options of the CRM software.

Listen to customers

This is simple. Pay attention to your clients are telling you about their business. Plug in this intelligence into your CRM and then look at similarities and differences across the board. Maybe you have three customers that are considering entering a new emerging market. Or are struggling to sell one type of solution.

If you only had customer information in the individual minds of your sales team, you don’t see trends. You directly serve your client, but you are missing the big picture.

With predictive analytics capability, your CRM can forecast sales more accurately and better understand seasonal effects on your business. For instance, get the most from your sales and marketing teams by understanding when they are busy with customers and when they have more lag time for creative efforts.

It does not matter what industry you are in or the customers you serve, sales data should always be at the forefront in forecasting, strategic analysis, and planning. Your CRM can provide forward-looking reports that can breakdown financial trends, such as production capacity, production rungs, and raw material purchases.

CRM data can help to improve cash flow, predict sales lulls or spikes in demand, and reduce transportation and inventory expenses. Using CRM-derived data, your analysts can even craft strategies for reducing churn or increasing overall profitability.

Grasping what your customers’ needs are, their foothold in the marketplace and where you fit in, allows you to best serve your clients. It will grow your relationship with them, which not provides an increase in overall sales, but can optimize other aspects of your business as well.

Stay ahead of the curve by applying a CRM software to your business. Download ourManufacturing & CRM eBook to learn how to effectively manage your customer relationships to
increase sales, boost engagement and manage growth.