Technology has become the great equalizer, putting tremendous control in the hands of consumers and business buyers alike. Thanks to digital disruptors such as Amazon and Netflix, buyers expect you to know their likes and dislikes, regardless of whether you’re selling technology, energy, or equipment. Seamless transactions across devices and 24/7 access are the new norms across industries, and recommendation engines lead even B2B buyers toward their next purchases.
It’s no longer enough to provide the best product or service. Many prospects won’t ever become customers if their experience turns them off. Instead, delivering a great first impression and repeating that performance with consistency and excellence is the key to forming a relationship and gaining customer loyalty.
Sameness Is the Enemy of Success
Setting your business apart from your competition begins with providing a customer experience that is consistently better and more memorable at every touchpoint. This is achieved by understanding customers’ needs as they research, evaluate, shop for, buy, and use your product or service.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) has emerged as the solution for this customer-first transformation. When it comes to traditional CRM systems, those who have benefitted most often haven’t used it to its full potential, with it being complicated and time-consuming to use. But modern CRM has come a long way from its more modest beginnings.
Modern best-of-breed CRM software facilitates capturing relevant insights about customers and using them to deliver high quality experiences. Modern CRM software can turn sales teams from reactive transaction agents to proactive relationship managers in the office, working from home, or on the go with easy-to-use mobile apps.
Why Should Manufacturers Consider a Best-of-Breed CRM?
For manufacturers with an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution already in place, using the ERP bolt-on CRM solution may be a simple choice. However, for manufacturing businesses with specific and complex needs, this can be a false economy due to the following drawbacks:
- Lack of flexibility and complexity manufacturers require: From engineering and make-to-order functionality to demand and scheduling function for your shop floor, many fall short of what is needed. Companies often need to invest in multiple add-ons to make their ERP CRM support all their critical manufacturing functions.
- Stagnation vs. innovation: ERP CRMs are often hosted in-house and require an ongoing program of costly customizations. Best-of-breed CRMs can be hosted on the Cloud (or on-premise), providing users with the advantages of constant upgrades and innovation.
- Manufacturing businesses need complex customer experience workflows: ERP CRMs often lack the complexity required to fully support the “product-as-a-service” model that many of today’s manufacturing companies rely on. A best-of-breed CRM can address the complex needs of modern manufacturers and enable them to deliver an outstanding customer experience.
- Industry-specific experience: Best-of-breed CRMs are often adapted for specific industries such as manufacturing, whereas ERP CRMs tend to use a “one size fits all” approach.
This blog post article was initially published on The Manufacturer.