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How manufacturers can use Salesforce to drive value in 2021

December 09, 2020By

As 2020 comes to a close, vaccination rollouts commence and we transition into a post-pandemic world, market pressures and demand are stabilizing and the operational new normal is well underway. As such, manufacturers are beginning to shift their focus forward to how they will drive innovation to sustain and accelerate their business growth in 2021 and beyond.

With this in mind, Traction on Demand hosted TimeToValue Conference, a virtual event with a series of innovative sessions and engaging roundtable discussions to help manufacturers achieve greater time-to-value on their technology investments. With over 60 sessions in two days, we can't possibly recap the whole thing, but we've summarized some of our key takeaways for manufacturers below.

Time To Value Conference for Manufacturers

60+ Salesforce and industry-specific sessions

Key Areas of innovation for manufacturers in 2021

The top innovation priorities for Manufacturers in 2021 based on recent research by Frost & Sullivan include:

  1. Customer Experience & Satisfaction
  2. Improving Operational Efficiencies
  3. Launching New Products & Services

So, how can Salesforce help Manufacturers achieve these priorities? Erik, Poole, Chief Technology Officer from New Pig provided the following perspective in terms of how Salesforce is fueling their own digital transformation during our TimeToValue Conference Manufacturing Keynote.

We have a lot of good people and processes within our organization, but we were really hand-cuffing them with our technology. With Salesforce, our goal was to bring all of the different parts of the business together to view and engage across the customer journey.Erik Poole, Chief Technology Officer, New Pig

By enabling team members across the sales/service value chain with rich customer data, manufacturers are able to engage and support customers both effectively and efficiently. Salesforce enables manufacturers to do this by:

  • Creating a single source of truth - Elimination of time spent in isolated, disconnected spreadsheets to create and manage forecasts and revenue realization.
  • Building seamless integrations - Integration of supporting processes such as sample management and contracted service to streamline execution and build an understanding of the impact on areas such as revenue and customer satisfaction.
  • Streamlining processes - Equip sales and service teams with streamlined and integrated processes to leverage centralized business functions, like pricing, that can help support customers and partners more efficiently.
Watch manufacturing keynote

Check out the Manufacturing keynote from our Time-to-Value event

Salesforce as platform for commercial management

With the introduction of Manufacturing Cloud, Salesforce has been aligning to manufacturers' need to shift the value of a CRM from being primarily a tool for Sales and/or Service, to a solution that drives value across the customer value chain. Through expanding to an overall Manufacturing “Account 360,” Manufacturing Cloud not only enables sales/service, but drives broader organizational functions that support overall Commercial Management.

Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud has been developed to serve as the foundation for key commercial management functions.

Manufacturers should look at Commercial Management as the foundation for their overall digital transformation journey. Key aspects of Commercial Management that lend itself to becoming the highest priority for manufacturers include:

  • Focusing on account management - To enable organizations to integrate stand-alone lead-to-revenue and aftermarket business processes, creating a holistic “Account 360” that crosses organizational boundaries.
  • Account forecasting and revenue realization - Collaborative and integrated account forecasting and revenue realization should become the engine that fuels operations as well as sales/service to become much more nimble in maximizing value.

Driving value through channel partners

Manufacturing is a business that often relies heavily on partners. From suppliers to distributors and service contractors, it’s important for partners to maximize the value of their partner value chain. Deploying a Partner Relationship Management (PRM) program is a key strategy for manufacturers to capitalize on these partnerships.

Salesforce provides a number of key components to drive enable and engage partners across the value chain:

  • Partner marketing management - Enabling partners to receive and register qualified leads through Salesforce Experience Cloud can drive increases to overall channel revenue and partner brand loyalty. Additional capabilities including partner marketing tools, fueled by Salesforce Marketing Cloud, can help partners to digitally engage their leads and customers, allowing manufacturers to increase their local market reach.
  • Opportunity and agreement management - Providing partners with the digital tools to create and manage opportunities, including building quotes and orders can streamline channel sales, resulting in overall lead conversion. Additionally, partner-specific forecasts as part of Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud can become continuously collaborative to drive overall revenue accuracy and individual partner performance.
  • Service collaboration - Enabling partners with both data and tools to manage warranty and service cases can drive down overall service costs while increasing customer satisfaction. By deploying tools such as Field Service Lightning and Asset 360 into their service channel partners, manufacturers can also increase their overall customer insight and open up service revenue channels.

Maximizing service value through Assets

Effectively managing customer asset data and enabling efficient work processes for field service technicians is critical for driving down service costs and maximizing customer satisfaction. Additionally, the provisioning of a “Digital Twin” for customer assets can further equip field technicians to meet these goals.

  • Comprehensive Asset data - Areas such as Sales can leverage asset information to identify possible cross- or up-sell opportunities into their existing customer base. Customer and field service can more quickly identify possible known problems and/or replacement parts based on having accurate asset specifications. Asset 360 by Salesforce and ServiceMax provides an end-to-end asset data solution to enable these areas of value.

    Learn more about Asset 360 for manufacturing here.
  • Digital Twin - By leveraging 3D visualization technology by ThreeKit to establish the foundation for a “Digital Twin,” equipment servicers can more readily identify problems for a remote asset. By linking in contextual data and processes such as knowledge articles and replacement parts catalogs, field technicians can increase their on-site efficiency. Lastly, 3D visual configuration can be leveraged to more accurately and efficiently facilitate updates to assets, resulting in higher returns on asset data overall.

Customer data design principles (ERP vs. CRM)

As the ERP is the backbone of manufacturing operations, it’s a key target for tightly integrating with the CRM system. Without a well-designed integration strategy, the CRM can quickly become a new data silo. Even when there’s an integration in place, a poor integration may lead to just as many problems as no integration at all.

When looking at integration between the ERP and CRM, manufacturers should consider the following:

  1. Who and how the data will be used from each system should drive data structure. ERP serves Supply Chain and needs to treat customers as transactions with fulfillment locations while CRM serves Sales and needs to treat customers as businesses and people.
  2. Bring in only what data is needed in CRM and structure it in a way to support the core system users (sales, service, etc).
  3. Leverage automation and technology to translate and/or abstract data structures and definitions that differ between ERP and CRM.
  4. Consider what data at the end of the sales cycle is needed to provide back to the ERP, and build a process to enable that translation at the right moment in time.

    Learn more about ERP vs CRM Considerations here.

Begin your digital transformation

Learn more about how manufacturers can use Salesforce to drive innovation to sustain and accelerate your business growth in 2021. Get in touch with a member of our Manufacturing team to kickstart your own digital transformation today.

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