Customer relationship management (CRM) software is a great way for manufacturers to host customer data in one place. However, its capabilities expand far beyond basic customer information. A properly implemented CRM system can, in fact, become an integral tool for your business.
The benefits of CRM are most obvious in a sales context. Manufacturing executives and managers who are used to working with the precision detail of ERP data, for instance, will often find typical sales performance reporting to be maddeningly vague. Without a system in place to collect and analyze sales data, managers are often forced to take the optimistic guesswork that comes from a sales meeting at face value. This puts everyone involved — from the sale team to the C-Suite planners — in the horrible position of making decisions and plans based on flawed or biased information.
Once a CRM system is introduced, those rough estimates and educated guesses are quickly replaced by real sales data and clear workflows. For the first time, decision makers have the tools they need to create testable strategies, craft long-term plans, and avoid the many mistakes that result from bad, misleading, or incomplete information. CRM software also increase productivity transforming time-consuming tasks into an automated process. Complex and inefficient processes can be streamlined, and the business intelligence generated becomes deeper, richer, creating dramatically improved results.
A properly implemented CRM can provide many different types of pipeline reports.
Here are just as few examples that can be used to drive a sales meeting:
CRMs are also extremely useful for KPIs, goals and forecasting. Measuring current team performance against the sales forecast should be a standard part of every sales meeting. Most Enterprise-grade CRMs even include forecasting modules, allowing projections to be weighted based on stage, probability, amount, best-likely and worst-case amounts.
These reports can even be combined, providing truly deep insights into performance. Overlaying a forecasting report with a rep’s self-assessed pipeline report, for instance, gives managers a tool for fact checking. Are those “stuck” deals really stalled, or are they being reported as being further along than they actually are?
Using CRM reports, you can more accurately project if a team will hit their quota. Even individual quotas can be monitored through the CRM. (Although personal quotas isn’t something a manager would generally bring up in a sales meeting.)
The same principle applies to goals. By using the CRM to track goals like conversions, the amount of opportunities at each stage in the pipeline, and deals closed per month, you have a clear snapshot of how well the team is performing.
Making these reports a part of team meetings can also encourage group discussion and collaboration for improving on those goals.
Stay ahead of the curve by applying a CRM software to your business. Access your CRM business intelligence. Download our Manufacturing & CRM eBook to learn how to effectively manage your customer relationships to increase sales, boost engagement and manage growth. Ready to get started today? Contact us or call us at 1-800-391-4055.