Manufacturers have reached a crossroads in business operations. The demands placed on companies to stay profitable in a competitive market require more efficiency, collaboration, flexibility, and a responsive sales process. Nurturing customer relationships depends on more than just product. Instead, it’s reinforced by a trustworthy relationship that creates a positive buying experience. Recently, Simplus customer Element Solutions Inc (ESI), a global diversified specialty chemicals company, shared with Salesforce and the manufacturing industry at large their roadmap to revenue with CRM and how they’ve been able to stay profitable and drive value in a global pandemic.
Today, we’d like to share those learnings, specifically around how an expanded CRM system provides organizations with the necessary foundation to stimulate interest in markets, enable sales with the visibility and context to convert that interest into wins, and grow valued customer relationships.
Driving harmonization to realize ROI on CRM
A key concept that ESI CSO, Blake Batley, focused on in the November 2020 webinar, “Roadmap to Revenue: A Blueprint for Success,” was the idea of harmonization—the harmonization of processes, performance metrics, and how managers globally were managing sales teams. Essentially Blake boiled the success of their roadmap to revenue down to this simple-in-theory yet pivotal concept and one which was executed through a three-pronged strategy to create, win, and grow.
After implementing Atlas, their Salesforce org, the leadership team agreed that to bring harmonization to life daily in this global system, they needed to collectively agree on three things: 1) to wake up and CREATE demand—stimulating interest in their markets, 2) compete for that interest, convert and WIN those deals (for ESI that meant focusing in on supply chains and materials with an end life to go-to-market with informed strategies and sales plays), and 3) defend and GROW customer relationships. Let’s dig into how you can apply ESI’s learnings and roadmap to revenue to your own environment for profitable growth, operational efficiency, and improved customer experience:
There is no one right answer or golden ticket to creating demand, but what ESI discovered after implementing Atlas and enabling their teams with extensive training and tools to leverage their Salesforce instance was that their sales teams were becoming more strategic. And, ESI wasn’t the only entity that noticed. Prospects and customers alike chimed in, “you’re not the sales team I remember from a couple of years ago… you’re more collaborative, you’re working like a global set of integrated businesses.” It was true, ESI, a global, once-disparate organization, had become a well-oiled machine working in harmony across business units and countries with the visibility into prospect and customer needs in one, easily accessed source of truth. As customers realized that ESI was working better and smarter, connecting solutions and technical benefits to their needs and the market, demand took off.
From a platform perspective, Atlas enabled ESI to have better insights into the demand they were or weren’t creating. Atlas (Salesforce), for example, provides a real-time pulse on the velocity of refresh rate, strength of new opportunities, and the value of deals (i.e., are we growing average deal value).
ESI again turned to the insights from Atlas to answer questions about winning and to strategize for conversion. Things like monitoring whether they were growing new business share and were they doing so at rates faster than the market and the GDP were outstanding indicators and insights for leadership into their GTM strategies’ success.
Sales and leadership alike had visibility into what was happening in the field, if and what deals were pushing or weren’t, and what was still in play—all extremely important as they navigated driving sales in a global pandemic. Blake iterated the importance of having the sales process, implementation, methodology, Atlas adoption, and rollouts that all happened pre-covid.
Are you growing your business? Are you increasing the lifetime value of your customer? You’re likely asking yourself questions like these and the ones ESI found themselves asking:
- When a new opportunity comes up with my customer, do we have early preference?
- Are we far along with our customers on innovation for products in the market?
Essentially, the goal should be making sure that any future opportunities aren’t competitive because you’ve delighted the customer. “The customer experience is the great equalizer,” explained Adam Alfano, adding that online discussions provide valuable insights on what’s working. “It’s the first line of sight and voice of what the field needs,” said Adam.
So what does that look like in terms of offerings? There’s no substitute for selling products in the traditional way. But, in addition to providing a reliable product, real company growth comes from offering subscriptions, services, software, and other fractional or usage-based products. And the decision to pivot your business sales and services model requires numerous changes, from product definition and selling/invoicing processes to customer purchasing channels, customer communities, and partner education—not to mention a complete IT implementation and CRM system to support it all.
Both Adam Alfano, Salesforce, Senior AVP Sales, Manufacturing, and Blake recognize the evolution toward “global service” and the need for customer management systems to handle the more complex functions that today’s market requires.
Options for growth within global service include possibilities of digitizing by offering more self-service tools (a worthwhile offering, as almost half (40 percent) of consumers prefer self-service tools to handle their own customer service issues over human contact) and remote service options to connect with a broader, potentially global, customer base. Salesforce is ready to answer the call. “Having these tools in place for better visibility and real-time access to information of what is happening in the field is essential,” said Blake.
As you can see, the demands of today’s customers require companies to develop processes that achieve one goal: to delight the customer. This is why many manufacturing leaders turn to Salesforce for tools to centralize their departments. Once those processes are aligned among teams and the ultimate goal, your company can leverage automated, streamlined processes to realize your own roadmap to revenue.
Interested in hearing how other process manufacturers are transforming? Register for our upcoming webinar. For details, click here.