It’s a transformational time for the chemical manufacturing industry. With revenue reaching almost $800 billion in the U.S. and employing almost 600,000 workers, now is the right time for a process manufacturing CRM implementation to connect organizations with customers better and heighten the customer experience.
Experts estimate that a properly implemented CRM solution can result in an ROI of $2.50 to $5.60 for every dollar invested. So it’s little surprise that CRM software is now the biggest software market globally, with revenue projections hovering around $80 billion by 2025. But not all CRM systems are alike. That is why implementation can make a profound difference in CRM success.
Studies show that around 38 percent of workers participating in a CRM project identified slow user adoption, little attention to change management and training, and a lack of strategies to align organizational culture with new ways of working as some of the most common challenges they faced. Knowing these challenges helps direct OCM to targeted solutions within the industry.
Now, as more chemical manufacturing companies transition from a compound focus, today’s Organizational Change Management (OCM) strategies offer unprecedented customer-focused capabilities to streamline operations and provide a seamless customer experience. “A good OCM partner will make learning your company culture, aligning with your stakeholders, and defining a strategy for success all a priority. But most of all, OCM will put the people at the forefront,” said Stacey Chery, Principal Manager of Organizational Change Management at Simplus.
What steps strengthen the chemistry between an OCM partner and a chemical manufacturer?
We believe there are three ways to build a beneficial relationship: establish trust based on OCM expertise, focus on an internal customer-centric model, and transform existing workarounds with innovative solutions that streamline the process with exciting results.
Let’s discuss each point.
Establish trust based on OCM expertise
As with most manufacturers, the work environment has its own language, formulas, and culture. To see the value of OCM, customers need to hear it. An OCM partner needs to be clear on the planned strategy so the client understands and anticipates the steps needed for change management.
Use their language to illustrate those changes. Traditional methods may be figured into operations, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best strategy. For example, when we worked with Lucite International on their OCM process, the change management team emphasized the ROI of the improved processes, but we described it in ways indicative of the work environment, process, and industry. If they can visualize OCM within their niche and culture, the integration will be easier.
Most customers have explored CRM systems. Unfortunately, some experiences with certain products—even earlier versions of Salesforce—had disappointing results. In most cases, it’s not the product but the approach.
The most effective approach to better process manufacturing CRM implementation is to think about how complex a client’s business can be and how we can show our understanding to gain credibility and reduce resistance as we move toward an optimized solution for the client. That considers things such as complex formulas (understanding how certain compounds and monomers are processed), sophisticated pricing structures (which may vary by product, region, order date, etc.), and customer distribution channels for finished products.
For example, after experiencing low adoption following the first implementation, a customer asked us to identify the reasons behind the company’s reluctance to use the new system. There are a few key factors involved when there’s low adoption: poor communication around the capabilities and benefits to the end users, key stakeholders who are still blindly attached to old systems and applications because they are familiar and a source of comfort during business transformations, senior leadership thinking that users will automatically use the system “just because.” End user adoption increases significantly when you can provide a solid case for change that is tuned in to everyone’s favorite radio station – WIIFM (what’s in it for me).
At Simplus, we take this as an opportunity to talk about expectations, what was missing from their earlier experience, and focus on new innovations and customized features that will provide better results. We see the value of the future state and identify ways to improve their system. In this case, our OCM strategy focused on applying the innovation directly to workflow.
With thoughtful communication, OCM partners will build a trusting relationship with clients as they explore the “human side” of OCM and its impact on the internal customer.
Focus on the “people side” of change
Studies show that 70 percent of organizational change management projects fail. What lies at the root of many of those doomed projects? In many cases, stakeholders focus more on the technology than on the impact it will have on culture change, aka, “the way we do things around here to get things done.”
Implementing a new system isn’t limited to streamlining order management functions or invoicing. It’s literally changing the way employees do their job. With collaboration between every line of business being a major part of CRM success, developing ways to digitize essential tasks among departments sets the stage for better success in product marketing, field sales, operations, IT, and finance. While this may seem easy on paper, the collaboration that comes with automating processes isn’t first nature or even second nature for many chemical manufacturers. The propensity to change is a delicate balance between people and technology – it’s not one first then the other – they both must progress in tandem.
Our job is to make sure we understand how these changes will impact teams. The goal of OCM is to improve the customer experience, but that also includes the internal customer. How are different departments impacted by these changes? How were they functioning before? By evaluating their system, an OCM partner will bring to light each department’s functions and how the change will impact them.
Keep in mind that a new CRM system can transform team members’ roles and responsibilities, particularly your customer service and sales and services teams. While your process manufacturing CRM implementation occurs, it’s worth discussing ways automation will enable departments to change their focus to other functions.
“Including a Change Management partner from day one ensures that people-centered solutions—not just technology solutions—are front and center in every decision,” said Stacey. In process manufacturing specifically, we see CRM, for example, enable the mobile experience for Field Sales. Sales reps will find they have limitless access to account and contact data on-the-go – are their customers happy? Have they paid on time? All pertinent questions that they need answers to in real-time.
Recognize existing innovative workarounds
What a company lacks in innovation, they often make up for in improvised processes designed to react to how other departments function. Chemical manufacturers are problem-solvers. And those strengths reflect in their propensity to solve problems with often complex solutions. We’ve worked with many people who have come up with incredible workarounds to maintain processes. The best approach is to take those workarounds that are a part of their system and introduce technology that eliminates functional silos by simplifying the process and improving the customer experience.
It’s true, particularly in the manufacturing industry, that operations teams aren’t always aligned with the sales team. Often pieces of the buyer’s journey are siloed among different spreadsheets and ERP systems in different departments. But after meeting with an OCM partner, it doesn’t take long for a client to recognize the roadblocks they’ve created for themselves with order management, inventory tracking, service agreements, invoicing, or other customer-centric processes.
Perhaps coworkers have voiced concern over redundant tasks or seemed frustrated with interdepartmental “log jams” when getting information. In response to that, we regularly research what tools or processes they’ve implemented to remedy those roadblocks. Would they be receptive to a more permanent solution, even if it meant scraping their favorite software programs, for example, and adopting a new system?
To illustrate the advantages of a process manufacturing CRM implementation that includes Salesforce’s Manufacturing Cloud, our change management team likes to promote features like Chatter, account management, and territory management that offer better visibility and much needed collaborative options that help transition from archaic tribal knowledge strategies to better customer interactions while enabling the sales team to generate more robust sales forecasts. We also like to focus on the Quick Wins, which ensures a client is optimizing and maximizing their Salesforce instance with transformational and positive results.
The chemical manufacturing industry is on the threshold of transformational opportunities. By partnering with an OCM expert who takes the time to understand how a company operates, companies gain a trustworthy partner who can identify needed processes and implement changes that empower your team today while preparing your organization for dramatic growth tomorrow.