Author: Souphien Akhrif, Managing Director, Cloudworks
Forces of Change
The manufacturing industry is in the midst of a huge change. There are 3 powerful forces that multiply opportunities as well as dangers.
- The ways companies make, design and sell products is under constant transformation and the pace and extent of change has never been greater than it is today
- Products are more complex than ever, as are the ways to configure and market them. There are ways to outsmart these challenges by connecting complex products and complicated front- and back-end processes in order to simplify the way your business runs and unlock productivity gains.
- Channel partners need more than a great product – they are eager to find new opportunities together, share information to close more deals and move more products. You will be rewarded if you satisfy these needs.
Speed – the Ultimate Game Changer
Speed has become the ultimate game changer and deal maker – The first to the deal has the advantage of shaping how the deal, bid, proposal or negotiations unfold. ABB, the manufacturing giant focused on lowering environmental impact through the use of electricity, robotics and production automation is a great example of putting the customer at the centre and embracing the requirements to success.
Before using Salesforce, the company lacked a single view of all its customer information. Disparate CRM systems from different vendors layered on top of ABB’s ERP systems and back office processes slowed the work of employees. Compounding the problem was rapidly growing data from customers and connected devices. Sales reps had an incomplete view of customer accounts and were missing key data. Sales Cloud Lightning has revolutionized the process – with all the information accessible in the right place and right now. Reps use Salesforce1 Mobile App to update records from anywhere in the field – saving time, speeding up deals and gaining insights into buying cycles. Sales and production can share real time leads and other valuable customers information. Collaboration breeds faster delivery of products & services to customers.
Integration of Systems Unlocks Sales Productivity
Synergy between front- and back-office apps is imperative. Every sales step – from inquiry to closing to sending out order needs to be fast and fluid. Let’s look at the example of GlobalFoundries, a circuit board manufacturer and operator of the largest silica foundry in the world with thousands of employees working across Singapore, Germany and the United States. Before Salesforce, it lacked the right combination of processes and technology to achieve business targets and deliver the product on time. The company had made a large investment on an on-premise CRM system which was barely being used. The integration with front- and back-end ERP was rough. Every sales order was customized from thousands of configurations and reps worked around and not within the software. When GlobalFoundries migrated its CRM system to Sales Cloud Lightning (which took less than 2 months), the company now had an efficient system to support its sales backed by a solid integration with its back-end Oracle ERP system.
Driven by more connected data, Sales Cloud Lightning automates much of the order process to speed manufacturing and distribution, while limiting errors. Customers can even control their own configurations directly, improving accuracy and accelerating timelines. With lead management, data cleansing, cross-company collaboration and automated contract management, sales leaders can manage processes easily.
Channel Partners – Key to Maximising Growth
Having one portal for all partners – distributors, resellers, contractors, wholesalers and retailers – reduces channel conflict and enhances visibility, collaborative selling and partner-deal registration. You can thus scale your business effectively.
With the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), Honeywell, the heating industry pioneer, was forced to change how it sold, serviced and made its products. Honeywell created a line of connected thermostats that lets customers manage and monitor their homes’ temperature and energy use from anywhere on their smartphones or tablets. The idea behind these IoT devices was to connect them to Honeywell’s vast networks of independent contractors to enable new business models, increase revenue growth and change the way customers buy.
Salesforce Partner Community and mobile app has enabled a swarm of opportunities for channel growth among independent service technicians. Every Honeywell connected thermostat can be connected back to a contractor with the ‘find a dealer’ button built into the app. Contractors can see real time data and a history of customer interactions with every device. Armed with information from the app, contractors can proactively schedule maintenance, load the right parts onto a truck, train customers on how to run their systems more efficiently and find ways to speed service and deepen relationships.
With Salesforce making the connections, these channel partners provide a new level of personalized service meeting customer needs that is unmatched in the industry.
Next Generation Customer Price Quote (CPQ) – Close More Business
Products today are only growing more complex. Manufacturers need a simple way to get around the complexity and get orders and configurations right the first time around. More spreadsheets, emails and long approval cycles is not the answer. It’s the right software solution again to the rescue!
Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating, which makes and sells residential and commercial heating and cooling equipment, had sales reps wasting time wading through hand-drawn faxes, emailed PDFs, Excel spreadsheets and paperwork instead of chasing deals. The results were costly – inventory gaps, unpredictable revenues, and loss of business opportunities due to lengthy sales cycles and quoting times.
A combination of Sales Cloud Lightning, Partner Community and Salesforce CPQ modernized the sales process by making everything available online and available to use for distributors as well as for the internal sales team. They were able to respond to projects faster and win more. Using Salesforce Mitsubishi Electric’s sales teams can now see leads in the pipeline, work together to convert them into opportunities, and generate accurate, up-to-the-minute quotes within a single system. Salesforce has given the company a toolkit to improve profit and loss management and inventory planning while freeing reps from the inefficiencies of quoting on paper with file attachments.
In conclusion, successful manufacturers today are the ones thriving by going to market faster, supercharging team productivity, redefining successful channel partnerships and delivering the correct products on time, every time. And all this is enabled by implementing a customer-first CRM solution like Salesforce.
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