Manufacturing, like every other industry, has unparalleled opportunities for growth in delivering greater customer value, streamlining operations and adapting to real-time customer conversations in today’s digital economy. Here are the top four that manufacturing firms can take advantage of with the right technology.
1. The IoT
Everything is connected today, from your smartwatch to your tv to your home security service – it’s called the Internet of Things (IoT). The same holds true for manufacturers doing business in today’s connected world. Robotics, automation, cloud computing, machine learning, artificial intelligence, customer communications – they all represent a necessary function on the continuum of attracting, servicing and delivering on production orders. Even more, each step yields ‘big data’ that can be referenced and analyzed in numerous ways to improve your business. The opportunity lies in leveraging, pacing and, ideally, preparing for the future through agile technology that meets business needs and demands.
2. Competitive Value
Competitive enterprises seek “inspiration” for their products, business models and processes from other companies in industry. When they replicate something similar to an existing product, business model or process without knowing the customer intimately, this can be confusing for customers who are seeking solutions. The new offering may miss an important nuance but market it well, which does not serve the customer and clouds the authentic need. True differentiation is in the details. The way to stand out is to demonstrate deep understanding of customer needs and wants, then to market quickly, effectively and with relevance to the right customers.
Customer experience is the only sustainable advantage in business today; that is, when your offerings demonstrate continuing innovation, your production is efficient, your products are delivered with quality and expertise, your process and service are seamless to your customer, your employee retention is high, etc., you demonstrate your value and sustain competitive advantage in your market. One way to achieve that is through utilizing the right technology to support every aspect of your business – including your customer relationships – and, as a natural result, build trust over time.
3. Personalized B2B Marketing
Business, even B2B enterprise business, is based on human relationships. Those relationships are cultivated with practical, relevant and targeted content that addresses the needs and questions of your target client audience. That content uses website search engine optimization (SEO) to attract the attention of prospective clients; this is called inbound marketing.
Once your prospective client learns of your content, you can cultivate a relationship to become a sales-qualified lead by sharing information that matters (i.e., blogs, infographics, ebooks, case studies, white papers and more). Over time, your prospective client becomes more engaged, learns to trust your brand and, ideally, requests a consultation or demonstration to learn more about your solutions.
The key is to go beyond mass marketing and big box messaging. Instead, your goal is to personalize the information your prospective client sees based on their interests and behaviors. Fortunately, intelligent software can help deliver what that person most likely wants to see based on pre-set indicators and automated selling software.
Interestingly, digital transformation is a buzzword that most industries are using to describe an organizational upgrade process that goes far beyond digital technology. Digital transformation has come to mean the mindset and operational progression of making your customer the focal point of your business through upgrading systems, streamlining processes and supporting employees to be customer-centric. And yet, technology is the core that ties all these elements together.
Just like with any manufacturing process, the right tool gets the job done well. In today’s digital environment, the right software is the right tool to support your manufacturing business. You need such functionalities as the ability to:
- configure product pricing with bundles, options, accessories, and sub-assemblies
- manage pricing hierarchies and tiers across partners and regions
- oversee complex quotes and estimates, including scenarios that involve existing assets and pricing
- ensure pricing accuracy to minimize revenue shrinkage and legal risks
- access complete, current client information (regardless of location)
- share and update contacts and opportunities real-time
- drive upsell/cross-sell opportunities based on customer buying history and trends
- generate automated sales activities and forecasts
- predict sales performance for representatives based on history
- create sales approval processes to ensure criteria are met prior to customer sign-off
- monitor and optimize production
- track maintenance needs
- ensure customer service is efficient in addressing needs
- examine customer account activity to proactively address potential issues
- deliver personalized customer buying journeys based on data
- get maximum return on investment (ROI) on marketing campaigns
- offer self-service options to customers to solve their problems
- give feedback to customer service to refine service protocols
- use keywords in customer support cases to escalate and resolve efficiently
- use self-service portals to manage distributors and resellers
- reference data through integrated dashboards and results
Is there a power software tool that can help with all this? Yes – Salesforce CRM. Is there a powerhouse team who can help you put it in play? Yes – XTIVIA’s in-house experts who have extensive experience with implementing Salesforce CRM to meet unique business and IT needs within modern enterprises.
To speak with a trusted XTIVIA representative about how Salesforce can support your manufacturing business’ needs and goals, please fill out the form below and we’ll be in touch in the next 48 hours.
(That said, you may hear from our automated sales system as well!)