Manufacturers Need to Think Like Tech Companies
The days of manufacturing companies being complacent enough to stick to their one business model of making goods and selling those goods via a single channel B2B are numbered. On top of that, businesses need to think beyond products as their most valuable resource. Just like data is king in the tech industry, the same is also true with manufacturing. Data can be one of your key competitive advantages that can help you forecast and avoid disasters and instead pivot to a clear advantage over others.
Using Salesforce as your centralized cloud platform to capture all this valuable information and adding a D2C sales channel to Salesforce B2B, you’ll start to cultivate data trends that even a single retailer might not see across the industry. If you need a primer on the importance of adding D2C, see our previous post. Manufacturers need to get ahead of data trends instead of waiting for retailers to report back results, otherwise you can fall behind the pack.
Data is More Than Imaginary
Talking in platitudes about capturing data and using it to jump ahead of others is fine but what are some concrete examples of how updating your business model and using Salesforce can transform your profits? Companies like Amazon and Walmart did not just magically become the defacto leaders of online and brick and mortar retailing using luck. Both companies saw the advantages of capturing and owning their data because it feeds their decision making on how to adjust to buying trends. That same data can help manufacturing and consumer packaged good companies too.
Sure there are alternatives to capturing data but the goal here is to make sure your entire business model can easily capture, mine and apply this data across the organization, this is where Salesforce rises to the top.
Imagine a world where your sales team not only sells your products to retailers using Salesforce B2B but overall sales now have an omnichannel stream of revenue because you also offer your products directly to consumers with a D2C storefront built on top of Salesforce B2B. All order data is now feeding directly into Salesforce in a simplified data model. Now imagine that your sales and marketing teams notice a surging product in your D2C sales. Maybe this product is a new cereal that combines the magical flavors of chocolate and berries. You now have the insight that shows this magical cereal is offered in limited quantities to your retailers. You adjust manufacturing to make more magical cereal available to the masses.
Now imagine that your marketing department is alerted of the upcoming shipments so they can relay to retailers that this product is in demand and requires an endcap and coupon. Marketing uploads promotional materials straight into Salesforce B2B so all retailers can easily access and promote with the materials. Salesforce Pardot is then used to send an alert to retailers in advance so the rollout is smooth.
Now imagine a world where your service department is fielding inquiries using Salesforce Service Cloud. Customers are emailing a suggestion that while chocolate and berry is great, an even more magical combination of chocolate and peanut butter cereal would shatter the industry. Enough inquiries come into Salesforce that it’s starting to trend on a Salesforce reporting dashboard.
One last Mr. Rogers imagination exercise, I promise. Now imagine product development decides that chocolate and peanut butter is magical but they want to trial it. A perfect use case for a limited edition offering using D2C on Salesforce B2B. Finally you monitor the data trends in Salesforce and use that data to determine next steps. The whole point is no one can predict the future so enable your business to try pivots in a safe environment, then sense the outcome and respond accordingly.
Data is King but it Shouldn’t Take Elon Musk to Analyze it
The scenario above is totally attainable but your business teams need a centralized simple product to capture and understand that data, otherwise what is the point? As mentioned, you can certainly try and cobble together different products to capture this data but if your teams are jumping from system to system to get their job done then it’s game over. You shouldn’t need a separate data team trying to wire the internet together just to determine if a product is popular or not. Out of the box, using Salesforce your entire team can manage your B2B and D2C storefronts, capture all that data in Salesforce, market and service it. Salesforce reports, dashboards and alerts can be built to monitor your company. This is how tech companies think, a product is nothing without the data and this is how you need to think too.
If you want to chat about imaginations you might have and learn if Salesforce can get it done, contact us at [email protected]