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Is Salesforce a Good CRM for Manufacturing?

Does Salesforce make for a good manufacturing CRM? Follow along for the pros & cons of using Salesforce as a manufacturing brand.

Do you work in manufacturing and wonder if there’s a better way to organize your customer data? In today’s fast-paced world, knowing your customer inside and out is key in any organization, including in the manufacturing industry.

Manufacturing in general can have a complex sales setup. Many manufacturers operate via multiple sales channels like B2B, B2C, through resellers or distributors, online, or in person. Salesforce has tools to manage your post-sales activities, such as physical goods servicing and after-sales customer service. Adopting a tool like Salesforce can reduce the time you spend on manual work — and give you more time to grow your customer base.

Because Salesforce is such a versatile solution, it’s among the best CRMs for a manufacturing business. That includes factories producing fast-moving consumer goods in the B2B space, companies that offer individual made-to-order products directly to end customers (such as luxury car manufacturers) and everyone in between.

Let’s take a look at Salesforce as a manufacturing CRM.

What are the Benefits of Salesforce for Manufacturers?

As the world’s #1 CRM solution, Salesforce has transformed the way hundreds of thousands of businesses operate. It can have a big impact on organizations of any size and in any industry. The beauty of Salesforce is that it comes out of the box with the basic foundations to manage your customer relationships, whatever industry you’re in, yet it has the flexibility to configure or customize the system to fit your exact needs.

1. Salesforce AppExchange Marketplace

One huge benefit of choosing Salesforce as a CRM for production is the Salesforce AppExchange. The AppExchange is a marketplace with thousands of “ready to install” industrial Salesforce applications that work natively or alongside Salesforce CRM.

Simply search “manufacturing” on the AppExchange and you’ll find numerous tools, components, content, and consultants specific to the manufacturing space.

For instance, there’s AgileCloud, a consultancy that specializes in implementing Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud. And if you are looking for a Configure Price Quote tool to help you Sales teams create complex quotes faster, you can find numerous vendors for just that, such as FPX Intelliquip or Tacton.

2. Accessible From Anywhere

Salesforce is 100% cloud-based, so you can access it from anywhere in the world, provided you have an internet connection. The Salesforce manufacturing CRM platform offers secure access for organizations through letting them force user logins via a Single Sign-On tool. It also supports multi-factor authentication as standard. Salesforce is optimized for mobile too, so users can still use it when they’re on the go.

3. All-In-One Solution

Salesforce delivers tools for every area of your business. You can manage your sales process internally using Sales Cloud, or collaborate efficiently with your partners through a Partner Community. The platform can help you sell directly to your customer base using its eCommerce tool and then offer service with Salesforce Service Cloud and Field Service Lightning. We’ll dive deeper into these tools later on.

Salesforce also has a huge base of professional resources, so ongoing management of the tool is easy. Depending on the demands of your business, you may not need to maintain a full-time team of employees to manage Salesforce. The tool also supplies extensive training resources, so existing team members can learn to use it for free. There are even partners who specialize in setting up and maintaining Salesforce for manufacturing companies!

How Does Salesforce Compare to Other Manufacturing CRMs?

It will come as no surprise that Salesforce was not developed specifically with manufacturing companies in mind. As the world’s #1 CRM solution, it was developed to be as open as possible to appeal to the widest range of customers, enabling more room for configurations and customizations.

This is actually what makes Salesforce a powerful and versatile tool. While there are common business practices for all company types, no two operate exactly alike — and Salesforce allows for that uniqueness.

Where Salesforce Shines for Manufacturing

Specialized tools can also be less customizable, with fewer or more expensive resources to update and maintain the tool. With a smaller user base, those tools see less use and less continuous improvement. That means they can be less robust and more prone to error.

With the Salesforce AppExchange, it’s easy to find specialized tools that cater to manufacturing companies, but without the rigidity that can come with choosing a dedicated manufacturing CRM.

What is Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud?

In addition to the benefits above, Salesforce has developed Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud — a revolutionary tool that offers pre-defined solutions for manufacturing along with out-of-the-box functionality. The manufacturing cloud in Salesforce delivers manufacturing-specific forecasting, account planning, and sales agreements, plus collaboration tools like Rebate Management.

What are the Best Salesforce Tools for Manufacturers?

We’ve already discussed a long list of benefits for manufacturers who use Salesforce as their CRM. Below we’ll dive deeper into some specific tools for the Salesforce CRM for factories, and how they can have a positive impact on your business.

Sales Cloud

Salesforce Sales Cloud is a tool that sales professionals use to organize and improve their sales lifecycle. Many times, before a company starts using Salesforce, one of the biggest complaints is the lack of visibility into what salespeople are doing.

Sales leaders can’t accurately forecast because there’s no single source of truth for sales data. As a result, individual sales representatives tend to create their own ways of working, rather than following a global standard.

Sales Cloud Automation

Sales Cloud on Salesforce solves the standardized work issue. It creates visibility into the opportunity pipeline and lets users create their own reports and dashboards. As a manufacturing CRM, it can even automate tasks that sales reps had to do manually in the past, such as sending a follow-up email after a phone call with a customer or prospect.

You can use Sales Cloud in conjunction with other tools, such as Configure Price Quote (CPQ) or CPQ and Billing (These tools let a manufacturing business offer a comprehensive and accurate quotation to customers). So, not only can you get pipeline information in Salesforce, but you can be confident the information is accurate as it’s backed up by a detailed quote, all put together on the Salesforce platform.

With the Accounting Seed Salesforce connection, all sales transactions can be automatically pulled into the general ledger via integrated accounting software.

Partner Community and Ecommerce

Manufacturing companies frequently partner with distributors. Salesforce for distributors lets you create a community where partners and distributors can update their own sales information, just like with an in-house sales representative. This leads to an improvement in sales forecasting, understanding production needs, and an overall better overview of the business. That’s critical when physical goods are involved.

In 2020, e-retail sales passed the 4 trillion US dollar mark and they only continue to grow. In this day and age, manufacturers need to embrace the e-commerce space as much as possible, even if the entire transaction experience can’t be completed fully online.

Salsforce’s eCommerce solution lets you as a manufacturer connect directly with your customer base and access valuable transaction information within your manufacturing CRM. You can visualize this information in Reports & Dashboards to further understand your customer’s journey.

Service Cloud and Field Service Lightning

Harvard Business Review estimates that acquiring a new customer is 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. So it comes as no surprise that Salesforce has a tool to manage ongoing customer service and field service for manufacturing customers and partners.

Using Salesforce Service Cloud, you can easily track customer support cases and customer entitlements (such as warranty or service plan information). You can also improve your customer experience by offering self-service options, automated updates on case progression, and much more.

Manufacturers who offer customer service for their physical products can also take advantage of Field Service tools within Salesforce. Field service tools include appointment optimization powered by Einstein, smart scheduling based on physical location, and virtual support offerings. Since all your customer data already exists in Salesforce, the customer support experience can be seamless from your customer’s point of view.

Marketing Cloud

Marketing Cloud offers manufacturers the opportunity to leverage all their manufacturing CRM data to make informed decisions about how to go to market with specific products. It’s easy to create campaigns in Salesforce, and with your CRM data in the loop, you can build targeted campaigns for the right prospects and customers.

With Accounting Seed automatically pulling financial data from Salesforce, customized financial dashboards can be automatically set up to reflect the latest sales numbers, budgeting expenses, and more for making informed decisions about how money is being spent / funneling into your business.

How Can Accounting Seed Help Manufacturers?

Accounting Seed is a fully native Salesforce solution available on the Salesforce AppExchange that improves the way businesses in any industry manage their accounting and back-office processes. Since it’s a native application to Salesforce, your back office processes can run as smoothly as your front office ones. There is no need to integrate after the fact or manually transfer data from one system to another.

Schedule a demo with Accounting Seed today to see how you can transform your back office operations today!

For more resourceful accounting and Salesforce information for improving your business, read on:

A native Salesforce accounting app, Accounting Seed, provides a full 360-degree view of your business’ performance to help you and your team make the best decisions possible. Not on Salesforce? Our software can be customized to work with any system you have through a reliable connection.

See Accounting Seed in action

Get a close-up view of how accounting on Salesforce can eliminate the need for costly integrations—and silos of mismatched information—by sharing the same database as your CRM.

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