My firm, First Direction Corporation, has been selling and consulting on the use of CRM software for over 25 years. We have seen it all – the pros & cons, the pitfalls, the best practices and CRM competitors come & go. Working in various industries over the years I have observed some industry patterns.
CRM software is now the biggest software market in the world and the growth isn’t slowing down. Companies want access to customer data in real-time, with mobile and cloud solutions leading the way. CRM shoppers expect CRM to deliver across their business in a wide variety of ways.
For a number of reasons, CRM applications have been a better fit in some industries. The adoption of CRM does vary some by industry. You can see the top industry adopters in this chart based on data collected by the research firm Capterra.
From my personal experience over nearly 3 decades of implementing, consulting and training firms on CRM I’ve made some observations that I’d like to share to help firms shift some of their thinking in constructive ways. For this article, I am going to focus on manufacturers, even though the points I will make apply to other industries.
1. Collaboration – Salespeople who have been selling for a manufacturer for a long time, especially for the same firm, tend to become a bit protective of their freedom and independence. It’s somewhat understandable. But when that attitude becomes overly aggressive it is neither beneficial or acceptable. In fact, it can be detrimental. Developing strong CRM usage and best practices helps an organization to share information and collaborate more effectively. Zoho CRM has built its entire platform and its application bundles, Zoho CRM, Zoho CRM Plus and Zone One, to enable all departments and individuals in a manufacturing firm to work together more effectively.
2. Become a Zoho CRM Power User – Managers often refer to one who has been selling their products for a very long time as “old school.” While those salespeople have knowledge and experience which makes them valuable to their firm, they can eventually grow to be a bit jaded (tired, bored or lacking enthusiasm). Zoho CRM functionality and Zoho’s features can breath new life into your sales team by helping them to generate more sales revenue. This will lead to more sales for any salesperson who is willing to devote to learning and applying Zoho CRM . Most folks don’t like change, but ALL salespeople like higher commissions.
3. Better Decision-Making – Salespeople have a natural resistence to “big brother” looking over their shoulder and micromanaging the way they sell. However, analyzing sales activity, marketing and contacts in your Zoho CRM database can lead to better decisions – everybody wins. Better marketing and investments in business development need to be based on sound information. Through their entries in Zoho CRM, salespeople are contributing to both the success of the firm as well as their own. Zoho’s analytical features aren’t only for management. Zoho dashboards and other tools are terrific for salespeople as well.
4. Competitive Advantage – There are many competitive aspects that are very difficult for manufacturers to change. For example, manufacturers have a hard-time changing their product line, geographic market, product pricing, branding and other key competitive factors. Yet, improving the sales and marketing processes through greater and better use of Zoho CRM is very doable. Zoho CRM can be used to gain a competitive advantage through better lead handling, more responsive follow-up, better communications, building stronger relationships with better customer service, and many other ways.
5. Integration and Mobility – Salespeople need information just like management does. Salespeople need access to data on sales, customer service issues, billing, and account matters, etc. Zoho CRM is designed to be integrated across a business’s other applications. Most of the popular software products have already built an integration to Zoho. All of Zoho’s applications are mobile ready.
Zoho CRM is a salesperson’s dream. Whether that salesperson sells manufactured products or services. It is no wonder PC Magazine chose Zoho as it’s 2019 Business Choice Award.
Zoho has over 40 applications — Zoho is the “Operating System for Business.” First Direct Corporation’s Zoho experts offer Zoho consulting services to help you evaluate, implement and deploy Zoho. Zoho offers exceptional functionality at an unbeatable price.
Are you a manufacturer that wants to leverage Zoho CRM and related applications to achieve greater success? Would you like to speak to us about your situation with CRM? I want to listen – please contact me.