As a customer, you probably feel like you click with some companies more than others. Perhaps it's the clever branding or awesome customer service that draws you in. Your connection with the company is also influenced by the structure of that company. For manufacturers, the distance between the product and the customer can be huge. The relationship is generally handled by the retailer, but manufacturers can get back in the game — and closer to their customer — with the right tools.

Our latest ebook, How Manufacturers Can Become Tech-Savvy to Win New Customers, expands on the 1-to-1 relationships companies like Uber and Netflix are forging with customers, based on the smart analysis of data. In the book we look at 3 ways tech will help manufacturers overcome the digital divide:

  • Collecting, analyzing, and taking action on customer data to provide ongoing service and support to the end customer

  • Giving sales teams the tools they need to engage in a more complex sales process that involves not just one-off sales of product but forging an ongoing customer relationship

  • Giving service teams the ability to proactively identify and address customer needs

But what does this look like?

Get to Know Your Manufacturer

Let's look at Mitsubishi Electric’s Cooling and Heating Division, which had trouble getting a full view of its customers' needs. Employees didn’t have a 360-degree view of customers and deals, which hurt pipeline visibility, made revenue unpredictable, and damaged the company’s reputation with customers who expect quick responses on things like product quotes.

But shifting to CRM decreased sales quote cycle times by more than 90%, dropped sales quote approval times from two days to two hours, and significantly improved communication among internal reps, distributors, and channel partners. The team now spends less time on busywork and more time creating exceptional customer experiences to drive customer loyalty.

In short, customers now think of the Cooling and Heating Division as an entity with which to have a relationship rather than a distant branch of a company from which they bought something once. We’ll see these kinds of 1-to-1 relationships between consumers and brands increase (and improve) as technology enables better tools to connect. It’ll become the norm. Even companies that once had little direct interaction with their customers will sustain more frequent and valuable communication. Consumers expect it. Manufacturers should, too.

So what’s holding them back?

The Legacy of Legacy Systems

Manufacturers often have complex legacy systems in place that don’t lend themselves to integrating easily. Data is distributed all over the company and sales reps, especially those in the field, have a hard time getting at it. That’s the other advantage of upgrading: reps, like consumers, do a lot of their personal and professional business on their mobile devices. For manufacturers to connect the two, they have to move their business to mobile. Sales reps have to have that information in hand to speed up and streamline communication between the various stakeholders.

Find out more about using tech to cultivate the customer experience, connecting the back office, and reaching your team wherever they are. In the meantime, here’s a checklist to make sure you’re covering your bases. Are you:

  • Adopting new technology across the organization?

  • Uniting sales and service teams?

  • Mobile-ready?

  • Leveraging data to personalize service?

Start finding the answers in our new ebook, How Manufacturers Can Become Tech-Savvy to Win New Customers.