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There are IT inefficiency risks that are consistent among the manufacturing industry. Businesses that leverage CRM software see their sales increase by 29%, sales productivity increase by 34%, and sales forecast accuracy increase by 42%. Let’s identify the problems, and then talk about a simple approach to significant process improvement using Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM.
Manufacturing, more than some other industries, greatly benefits from a full-service CRM solution such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement. This shouldn’t be surprising, yet it is a requirement that some manufacturers have ignored.
From not having a 360-degree view of customers to poor demand forecasting, and limited visibility into your sales pipeline and inefficient sales processes, these challenges can be met with a robust, integrated CRM solution.
Which of These Inefficiency Problems Does Your Manufacturing Business Face?
Problem 1: Excessive Internal Communications About Order and Invoice Information
Obtaining order and invoice information can be a nightmare for some sales teams in manufacturing. Sales reps will call or email someone in their department to obtain order and invoice information. In most cases, the required information is in an ERP or accounting system to which the sales team doesn’t have access. Phone calls are made, and emails are sent back and forth to get the information to the sales team, which would relay to the sales rep.
Problem 2: Double Entry of Sales Order Information
Your sales reps are responsible for getting orders and closing deals. Once an order is received, it’s not uncommon to see the sales rep hand off the order information to someone else within the sales department. This could be done by email, Word template, or hand-written paper document delivered to the back-office staff for manual input. When such information is manually being passed across people and departments, there is great risk of sales order information being lost, entered multiple times, entered erroneously, or siloed into systems or outdated spreadsheets.
Problem 3: Sales People Need to See Their Open Order Status
For your sales rep, any open order represents pending revenue. If an order remains open, the sales rep (and the customer) needs to know why. Sales representatives want to be able to see open order information in real time, either to manage customer expectations or to assist in resolving an order that hasn’t been fully processed or shipped. Since sales reps generally earn their commission on invoiced and delivered products, income from these open orders will not show up in their paychecks.
Solving Inefficiency Problems Through System Integration
One of the simplest ways to resolve these common inefficiency problems is through System Integration, the process of connecting your business systems so they can work together seamlessly. For sales people who don’t have access to your company’s ERP system, System Integration offers a host of benefits:
- System Integration pushes data from the ERP to the CRM system and vice versa.
- Sales people can initiate orders from the Dynamics 365 CRM system; they can populate products (which are also integrated with the ERP’s product catalog) as well as any other information needed about the order.
- When the order is ready, it is pushed to the ERP system where it is processed.
- As the order travels through its normal process, the order status managed in the ERP is passed back to the CRM system in real time for much needed visibility for the sales team.
The Advantages of Microsoft Dynamics 365
It is reported that for companies that use a CRM system, the average return on their technology investment is $8.71 for each dollar spent. Given how critical a CRM system is for manufacturers, Microsoft Dynamics 365 offers a bevy of benefits to sales teams. The out-of-the-box solution comes with a robust quote-to-order system so that sales reps can convert a quote to an order with a simple click. Another key advantage is that order and invoice data tables and fields already reside in the system and are ready to be received from the ERP via the integration.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM when fully integrated with your ERP provides improved ability to sort and filter through order and invoice information. Sales people can manage a “My Open Orders” list where orders fall off automatically as they are invoiced. Invoice information is also available for sales people for real-time visibility and for summing invoices on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis.
Achieve Efficiency Gains
In today’s customer-centric era, the importance of an integrated CRM solution has never been greater. A quality CRM solution not only allows manufacturers to facilitate basic sales tasks, but it also helps them overcome the many challenges they face. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement is a full service CRM solution that can add value to your distribution business by creating a leaner organization that will manage customer demand and meet it quickly and efficiently. If you’re looking to achieve efficiency gains, invest in Microsoft Dynamics 365 today!
As Senior CRM Consultant of Synoptek, Julie brings a solid business background in addition to 9 years of hands-on experience in D365 CRM. It’s with this broad understanding of business processes that aids in serving companies well and knowing how and why the D365 CRM provides positive change. As a Microsoft Dynamics Certified and ClickDimensions Certified professional, Julie provides leadership that helps the deployment team stay focused on quality and project priorities.