“I exercise. I go to the gym. But it doesn’t seem to do anything for me.”

How many people say this? How many people tell themselves they’re going to the gym and exercising when really they’re just sitting on benches thinking about doing exercise, then going home to look in the mirror and wondering why they’re not seeing the change they hope for?

In much the same way many manufacturers say they have a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform – they believe they have CRM functionality covered – when in fact they only have a bolt-on to their ERP, which isn’t delivering the same value.

crm erp exercise blog

Most ERP platforms are developed with production in mind. They’re not set up to serve the sales and marketing function. The bolt-ons they call CRM typically offer a basic database function, where you can log contact information about customers. These have a use, but in reality are little more than a digital Rolodex. They’re no more a CRM than sitting on a weights machine watching Sky News is a workout.

A full CRM platform offers far richer functionality and delivers far more value. It allows you to manage opportunities within the system, so you and your team are always taking the right actions at the right moment, using the most up to date information. It allows you to capture data from web forms and customer surveys. You can do A/B testing on outbound campaigns. You can score and nurture leads. And unlike most ERP systems, your CRM platform will be cloud-based so you can access it any time anywhere.

The manufacturers who move from what they thought was a CRM platform to one that offers all this functionality report a transformation in their ability to access information and insights about their business and a dramatic improvement in their ability to manage relationships with customers. Those customers enjoy a far more positive experience, the sales and marketing teams are more connected and sophisticated in their approach to new and existing accounts, and the whole organization becomes more efficient and profitable.

That’s why CRM for manufacturing is a bit like getting a proper training program for the gym. Suddenly you’ll see the benefits of your investment.

Some manufacturers worry that this will be more expensive. However, a more relevant calculation to consider is return on investment. Manufacturers tell us that they switch to Workbooks CRM in order to unlock data which is usually held in ERP and drive efficiencies across the business – whether that’s a 20% uplift in sales to existing customers with improved after-market services, or scaling the business to build relationships with new customers and enable more transactions.

If you want to become a customer centric or experience driven organization rather than a product centric organization you need to equip your organization with the tools that are going to enable that part of the business. Indeed, as more manufacturers take a digital approach to managing the entire customer lifecycle, those who don’t make the transition will be left behind. They will lose market share to competitors who are taking advantage of best of breed CRM to enhance their sales and marketing, to improve the customer experience and to reinvest profits in better products, services and team skills.

It’s no longer enough to be sitting still telling yourself you’ve got it covered. An ever changing market requires systems which are easy to use and help your teams to perform well. For manufacturers today, CRM is no longer an optional extra. To find out more, our white paper, “CRM for the new manufacturer – building resilience and driving revenue growth”, looks at this in more detail, revealing how manufacturers can use CRM to get their businesses fit for whatever challenges lie ahead.