3 ways digital transformation makes manufacturers customer-centric

by Tom Lovell

The industrial sector at large is worth almost a trillion dollars, according to McKinsey. And the manufacturing enterprise specifically is estimated to have a general revenue increase of three percent and a 15 percent reduction to overall sales costs in the coming years. In short, the opportunity in the manufacturing industry is large. 

And it’s no wonder the value of the industry is rising: CIOs prioritize growth and market share expansion above all else, according to Gartner. But it’s that second CIO priority that really enables this radical growth: digital transformation. The common problem manufacturers face when approaching digital transformation is going from a traditional product-focused strategy to a more customer-center one. For manufacturers, customers include both the external buyer and the internal employee, because with a fear of an aging workforce looming large, manufacturers need to appeal to a younger talent pool who—much like the buyers—are expecting streamlined, digital processes. 

Here are three major areas where a digital transformation initiative can implement those digital processes and turn manufacturing challenges into customer-focused moneymakers:


Marketing capabilities to expand whitespace opportunities

Salesforce is crucial for manufacturers looking to grow business and understand their customers better. Most manufacturers have a finite number of customers, so using marketing capabilities to expand opportunity with those customers is of the utmost importance. The marketing capabilities of Salesforce are second to none and allow manufacturers to become easier to do business with—vital for establishing a greater presence in the market and securing loyalty with current customers. The marketing functionality of Salesforce makes personalized customer journeys not only possible but seamless, allowing manufacturers to keep up with their customers through automation.


Streamlined and enhanced sales process

The sales process for manufacturers, whether in-house or through channel partners, is obviously the biggest area of concern when considering ways to grow market presence and revenue. Salesforce Quote-to-Cash is the ideal solution. By reimagining the quoting process, Quote-to-Cash tools like CPQ, Billing, and CLM streamline and enhance the manufacturers’ sales cycle. Benefits of Quote-to-Cash for the manufacturing industry include…

– Technical functionality to drive digital commerce throughout the organization

– Ability to make dealers and distributors look and feel like an extension of the organization

– 360-degree view of the customer as the product is received and in use

– Seamless base knowledge across customers and channel partners

– Ability to capture the fair share of parts revenue

And Quote-to-Cash coupled with additional Salesforce services—such as Field Service Lightning (FSL)—makes for even more streamlining of sales. FSL equals seamless field servicing and happier end customers. 

All in all, it makes for simpler sales—in other words, more sales. 


Tailored portfolio to cater to customer lifecycle

Finally, digital transformation, especially with Salesforce, lays a pivotal foundation for going beyond the product. Digital transformation paves the way for manufacturers to develop new business models based on the insights and data they’re collecting and create a highly tailored product and services portfolio. Together, this means you’ll be keeping the customer lifecycle more top of mind than ever and optimizing their experience for a higher probability of repeat customers. 


While manufacturers have a lot of challenges to address as they adapt for the future, between technical debt, data readiness, and organizational alignment, none of these obstacles are reasons to postpone a digital transformation journey. With the right software and partner, Salesforce and Simplus, these obstacles can be overcome and turn the organization into a customer-centric powerhouse.

This is just the beginning. Stay tuned for more insights into the manufacturing industry and the role of digital transformation. This series will cover the barriers, the solutions, and the future of digital transformation from the eyes of manufacturers. 


tom lovellTom is Industry Lead here at Simplus. For over 15 years, Tom has helped companies implement data and process-driven strategies to bridge the gap between business and IT. These strategies have improved patient outcomes, reduced financial risk, and improved operational efficiency in healthcare organizations while bringing to bear streamlined costs, reduced risk, and improved revenue at manufacturers. His passion is architecting and sharing practical solutions that deliver valuable results for customers.

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