It’s not news that data is the new frontier of powerful businesses, and the manufacturing industry is no exception to the phenomenon of big data. Manufacturers can strengthen key partner relationships and win more joint deals when data is used strategically and consistently. On the other hand, failing to effectively manage data—or gather it, to begin with—can be detrimental to profitable sales growth: a recent survey of over 500 manufacturing professionals estimates that at least 41 percent are delaying or missing new deal opportunities due to inaccurate and outdated documentation.
However, when data is accurate, reliable, and of value, manufacturers can thrive—especially with their partner relationships. Relevant and actionable data is the lifeblood of strong partnerships, and manufacturers have a wealth of available information to share once empowered with the roadmap and tools to do so. Let’s take a look at the basic steps to launch your partner data-sharing strategy, including building up a data collection, housing it on the right platform, and using customized reports.
Build up a valuable data collection
Data points are around every corner for manufacturers, from machine lag times and efficacy rates to customer sentiment metrics and likelihood of repeat business. The sheer size alone of potential data is part of why big data in the manufacturing industry alone is projected to reach a $9.11 billion valuation by 2026. The trick then becomes how to decide what data to collect. Haphazardly gathering everything possible without a strategy is not much better than not gathering data at all—you wind up with an information overload and nowhere to put it to use.
Thoughtfully building up a data collection, however, helps your organization set the foundation for a pristine data strategy. It’s important to identify what data points are of value to you and your partners and focus your data collection efforts on these areas first. What geographies, brands, services, or troubleshooting issues are the most critical to building your brand and maintaining customers? The answers to this question should be the heart and soul of your data collection.
Centralize that data on a collaborative platform
More important than merely having your data is giving it a home to let it shine. Your organization needs to make the investment in a secure, collaborative, and intelligent platform capable of housing everything in one place for shared analysis and decision making. Centralized data is the way forward for your partner relationships, and we recommend the Salesforce suite as a prime solution for housing your data. This expert suggestion is based on several key benefits Salesforce offers manufacturers and their data:
—A 360-degree view of customer touchpoints
—Historical data review with options to compare with benchmarks through the years
—24/7 access to critical data for global, dispersed teams
—Standardized reporting built-in to minimize inaccuracies and promote shared understanding
—Scalable view, with ongoing enhancements to allow you to grow seamlessly and expand when needed
Leverage customized dashboards and reports
Finally, the piece de resistance for your partner data-sharing strategy is all about presentation. Even with selective data collection, you’re likely going to find you have more data points than you know how to digest when viewed all at once. Creating specifically customized dashboards and reports to give your data different parameters depending on its audience means you’re making your data mean something to the average user and, thus, making it actionable.
Customizable dashboards in Salesforce allow manufacturers to focus on the initiatives that matter most to any given partner, whether that’s rebate programs or account-based discounting. You can make it clear what’s going well and what has room for improvement by filtering data to show only what’s relevant for the question under consideration. Better yet, these dashboards are dynamic, meaning they are living, breathing, changing reports that will update automatically—if you wish them to—and show the progress over time.
Data integration is a crucial part of your overarching digital strategy, and a great way to boost partner loyalty for more engaged selling. But getting this keystone piece of the puzzle right can’t be done alone. By working with certified consultants and experienced professionals close to the industry, you can make sure your journey is set up for success. Simplus has the resources to help—call today.