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Three Unexpected Ways CRM Can Improve Your Manufacturing and Distribution Business

September 27, 2022

For any business looking to invest in its future, a good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system is a must-have – for more reasons than you might think.

At its most basic, CRM enables companies to effectively keep track of contacts and accounts, allowing for more timely and impactful communication with both current and future clients. With the right system, a company can set up automated marketing emails to interested customers, track sales processes on potential leads, manage contacts, and much more. 

But today’s CRM software systems are endlessly flexible and customizable and can be useful in several ways you might not expect – particularly for companies in the manufacturing and distribution sphere. 

Business Intelligence

Many CRM systems leverage business intelligence tools to track information about your business at a deeper level, allowing you to make more informed decisions about where you invest your resources.

These tools can integrate with multiple business applications such as accounting software, inventory systems, Access databases, and a multitude of other platforms or legacy programs. These tools transform your data into visuals, calculate profit margins, allow for forecasting, and make your data actionable. Data is the world’s most valuable resource. If you are not leveraging your proprietary data, you could be leaving money on the table.

Process Automation

One of my favorite parts of my job is getting to peek behind the curtain and see how different businesses operate. Regardless of industry, company size, or longevity in the market, the one common denominator I have discovered is this: Efficiency is key.

Imagine your company has a strict checklist of tasks that need to be completed timely by several people in the office as part of a compliance obligation. In the past, that checklist lived in a notepad and was passed from office to office, vulnerable to rips, coffee stains, and accidental trashing. At best, maybe the checklist lived on an Excel spreadsheet, prone to non-standardized data entry practices, overridden formulas, and getting lost in your network drives.

A robust CRM platform will include tools that will allow for automation of previously manual tasks. Now, instead of the notepad, your compliance checklist lives in a digital workspace, with notifications set to alert you and your colleagues as soon as each step in the process is complete. The same system would provide dashboards for managers, extensive reporting capabilities, and the ability to collaborate as an organization which is crucial for manufacturing clients with interstate operations.

Particularly now, at a time when many manufacturing and distribution brands are facing staffing shortages and being challenged to do more with less, automating manual processes can prove invaluable for your company. 


No matter how complex your company, a strong CRM system can serve as the backbone of a thriving ecommerce business. Your CRM can serve as a data warehouse that stores everything from product attributes to price books, to customer preferences.

With a CRM well integrated into your ecommerce platform, you can also track which customers are visiting your site, what products they’re buying and how often, allowing you to tailor your web marketing presence accordingly. 

(And if you’re a B2B manufacturing brand not already in the ecommerce game, you definitely should be.)

With a mix of out-of-the-box functionality and customization tailored to your needs, a CRM system can be a cost-effective game changer for your business, replacing a whole host of out-of-date software and procedures. Our experts at MarksNelson will walk you through the entire process, from product selection and implementation to maintenance and beyond.