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Must-Have Manufacturing CRM Features

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Charlie Spaneas


CRM Requirements  for Manufacturers: 

  • Build Customer Loyalty
  • Manage Customers, Prospects, and Supply Chain
    • Integration with Outlook
  • Manage the Sales Process
    • Powerful &  Accurate Forecasting Tools
    • Quoting Software for Manufacturing
  • Affordable ERP Integration
  • Marketing Automation
  • Customer Support
  • Dashboard and Reports
  • Flexibility for all Business Sizes


Build Customer Loyalty

Improved quality and far more granular forecasting are big reasons why manufacturers need a CRM. However, a powerful CRM is an unrivaled tool for earning and keeping a customer’s loyalty over the long term. CRM for manufacturers provides the kind of data critical to forging personalized and responsive customer relationships.

For example, the right CRM tracks everything from warranties to repair information to service issues and calls. By accessing and responding to this information, manufacturers can ensure that customers receive the kind of service and attention they deserve. Your CRM software can also be augmented with alerts and reports about the activities of top customers.

Access to this kind of customer information can also lower the expense of servicing customers. Your team has the right information and can trigger actions that address potential problems before they arise.

Manage Customers, Prospects, and Supply Chain

Data can only be powerful when it is easy to communicate and understand. This is especially true for manufacturers. Manufacturing companies also have a network of distributors, resellers, suppliers, and even customers who need visibility into data. Having real-time information about each company as well as how any of these companies relate to each other.

A powerful CRM system will provide visibility into critical areas like supply and demand. CRMs increase customer loyalty while identifying new trends and opportunities for partnerships and sales.

Integration with Outlook
Like a lot of industries, some manufacturing businesses have an aging workforce. This is particularly true when it comes to existing sales teams. It is critical that the salespeople will actually use your CRM System. The ability to integrate a CRM so that it syncs well with email systems like Outlook is part of that equation.

Most employees, especially older salesforces, tend to resist change. CRMs for manufacturers allow users to continue to create appointments and other activities in Outlook and update automatically into the CRM. This will elevate CRM usage and make it a recognized part of your business culture and way of doing business.

CRMs with a plugin for Outlook offer an alternate way to use the software. When reps are more comfortable using Outlook, they only have to click a button within their environment. It will speed up the learning curve and increase the use of the CRM.

Manage the Sales Process

The manufacturing industry has been the first to embrace high-tech tools like robots and Artificial Intelligence (AI). However, personal relationships remain the foundation of any company’s success. CRM for manufacturers makes it easier for account managers to cultivate personal relationships.

CRM systems provide the information to make the most of every engagement and track data for better account planning. Salespeople have real-time information for the customer while prospecting for new business. Every team has an updated overview of the entire sales cycle.

Powerful &  Accurate Forecasting Tools
A powerful manufacturing CRM acts like a crystal ball that predicts everything from product demand to future revenue and profits. For example, using a CRM means that a factory can have the right amount of products to meet customer demand. It must be faster than competitors and without having to contend with excess inventory.

A good manufacturing CRM allows for forecasting based on actual numbers instead of best guesses. Having that foundation in real numbers is important, and not just for inventory management. Managing sales pipelines is easier when there’s a bi-directional flow of information from operations and sales.

A sophisticated manufacturing CRM also serves as a single source of truth for a company. Production details can be gathered from disparate sources and analyzed. Any process errors that harm product quality can be pinpointed and addressed quickly. Read our article, “Manufacturing, Supply Chain and Sales Forecasting with a CRM.”

Quoting Software for Manufacturing
Manufacturers come in many flavors, with some producing chemicals and others making shoes or electronics. It’s vital that any manufacturing CRM have an effective quoting tool. Qutoing tools must be supported by multiple price books and product catalogs. It should also be able to mail out templates directly from the CRM.

Affordable ERP Integration

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions provide valuable financial and operations information. Unfortunately, ERP systems can be difficult to use and expensive to have every user accessing the system. When you integrate your ERP with your CRM, you purchase CRM licenses, and users view the information they need to see.

Most CRM solutions, like C2CRM, have open APIs that allow integrations to almost all ERP solutions. This should be a one-time fee and not a recurring fee based on the data transfer amount. During implementation, we consult with your team to understand the data you want to be moved and how often it’s upgraded. Read our article, “ERP & CRM – Benefits of Integration.”

Marketing Automation

Manufacturers need an easy way to market their products to current customers and prospects. Marketing campaigns should be ongoing and focus on the customer’s interest. Campaigns can include emails, following up on tasks, and notifying sales at the right time.

Key Marketing Features:

  • Customized Email Marketing (merge fields)
  • Drip Campaigns (email open & click tracking)
  • Lead Scoring (rules-based)
  • Form Builders (for emails or your website)
  • Mobile Business Card Scanner (with free mobile app)
  • Collateral (Document) Management


Customer Support

Manufacturing companies with great customer service are essential. Once the salesperson closes the deal, your team must continue supporting the customer long-term. Everyone must real-time information to deliver quickly when a customer has questions or issues. Questions could be delivery dates or general product-related information.

Key Customer Service Features:

  • CRM Ticketing
  • Knowledgebase
  • Project Management


Flexibility for all Business Sizes

Manufacturing companies cover many industries and are of many sizes, from small businesses to extremely large international companies. Regardless of the size of your business, you must find a CRM that grows with you as your business needs change.

Flexible CRM solutions should have a centralized database where all of the customer data is held. And then offer other features and modules per user. Not everyone in your company will need access to a complete CRM system. Users should have access to what they need while not paying extra for unused features.

Long-term Benefits of a CRM for Manufactures

Servicing customers at the lowest possible price is critical to establishing a long-term relationship. Any successful manufacturer knows that one-time sales are a rarity. That makes having the tools to handle multiple transactions over the course of years or decades even more important.

A manufacturing CRM is also an essential tool for winning more business. Information about a purchase history and behavior can be delivered to sales and marketing teams so they meet customers’ specific needs.

Done right, a CRM also improves internal cohesiveness. With a history of communication and customer transactions available for all to see, siloes of information are broken down.

This improves the customer experience by engaging with them consistently and with the same context and message. That’s important because even though much about manufacturing is changing, the need to delight customers will always remain constant.