20 min read
Jan 26, 2021
CRM

Best CRM Software for the Manufacturing Industry

Looking for a CRM system to build a positive customer experience at your manufacturing business? We’ve selected the best options for you.

A.S.
Ankita SinghContent Writer

As a manufacturer, your focus must be on manufacturing quality products. But that’s not enough to make your customers stick with you. You need to provide your customers or leads a positive customer experience each time they interact with your brand. For this reason, you need to focus on customer relationship management (CRM) to ensure a profitable business in the long run.

Offering competent customer service, communicating with customers through multiple channels, and nurturing new sales leads are all part of CRM that you need to focus on as a manufacturer.

But you can’t do all this manually. You need a set of tools. To help you pick one out of the many platforms available, we have compiled a list of the best CRM software for the manufacturing industry. 

Why do we call them “best”? All of these tools feature in GetApp’s Category Leaders reports (an annual ranking of top software tools) for customer service, marketing automation, and sales force automation. They have user ratings of at least 4.5 and the most number of reviews. Read the full selection methodology at the bottom of the article.

Best CRM software for the manufacturing industry
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Customer service tools - Offer positive customer experience to retain customers

Whether your customers are other businesses that use your products to manufacture products for end users or consumers who directly use your finished products, ensuring they are happy must be your top goal. You can achieve this by offering top-notch customer service. 

Good customer service directly impacts customer satisfaction and happiness. Happy and satisfied customers are likely to continue doing business with you and will continue sharing their positive experiences with others. On the flip side, if they have poor customer service experience, they can damage your brand’s reputation and make you lose your business.   

Considering how critical customer service is to your overall business health and sustenance, you can’t simply rely on traditional phone support. You need a customer service tool that helps take care of your target customers across channels such as chat, phone, email, and self-service portal. 

Let’s look at some common functions of customer service software:

  • The tool helps you create and manage a consolidated knowledge base of frequently asked questions that can be accessed via a self-service portal. 

  • Customer service software allows you to create tickets for customer queries and assign those to customer service reps for resolution.

  • You can interact with customers and address their queries via phone, live chat, and mobile apps. Store information about all the interactions in a centralized database.

  • The tool offers you reports on issue resolution, customer service calls, ticket response time, etc. You can use these insights to boost productivity and improve customer service performance.

To help you pick the right customer service tool, we’ve shortlisted the three best options (arranged alphabetically). 

1. Freshdesk

User rating: 4.5/5

Number of reviews: 2,222

Freshdesk is a cloud-based help desk system and customer service software. It supports customer service workflow automation, team collaboration, ticketing, reporting, and analytics.

Freshdesk’s multi-channel customer service features can help you set your manufacturing business apart from your competitors. You can cater to customers using non-traditional channels such as WhatsApp. 

All you need is a business WhatsApp number. Connect that number with your Freshdesk account, and your agents will be able to respond to customer queries or send important updates about material delivery and shipment from the Freshdesk platform itself. You can also service customers via phone, email, website live chat, and social media.

Ticket creation rules in Freshdesk

Ticket creation rules in Freshdesk (Source)

Pricing info: Freshdesk offers a free plan, called Sprout, that supports an unlimited number of agents. It offers email and social ticketing, ticket dispatch, knowledge base, and ticket trend reports. 

Its paid plan, called Blossom, starts at $13.66* per agent, per month (billed annually). In addition to the features available in the Sprout plan, it offers collision detection, help desk reports, service level agreement management, and automation of follow-ups and tasks.

Think Freshdesk is right for your business?

Click here to read user reviews.

*Converted from INR to USD using Google converter on Jan 13, 2021

2. LiveAgent

User rating: 4.7/5

Number of reviews: 976

LiveAgent is a cloud-based customer service solution offering multi-channel support, time tracking, knowledge base management, gamification, an IVR system, ticket and chat satisfaction surveys for customers, and more. 

LiveAgent offers advanced ticket management functionality that’s ideal to handle a disparate and growing customer base. It consolidates all the communication from your customers (irrespective of the channel, such as live chat, phone calls, Facebook messages, or Tweets) in the form of tickets. 

These tickets can be tagged with a unique reference number, status, and priority, so they’re easy to find and manage. Anyone from your customer service team can refer to a ticket at any time to get information about customers and their interaction with the brand.

A ticket in LiveAgent

A ticket in LiveAgent (Source)

Pricing info: LiveAgent’s free plan offers one agent seat, one live chat button, one email address, ticket history for up to seven days, contact forms, etc. Its paid plans start at $15* per agent, per month, and offer features such as knowledge base, contact forms, customer portal, and customer forum.

LiveAgent suits for your business?

Read user reviews here.

*Converted from INR to USD using Google converter on Jan. 13, 2021

3. Zoho Desk

User rating: 4.5/5

Number of reviews: 1,632

Zoho Desk is a cloud-based help desk solution that offers features such as ticket management, a self-service portal, multi-channel support, reporting, and analytics.

Zoho Desk offers an inbuilt artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot named Zia that can be integrated with your website and is also available on mobile apps. Customers can speak or chat with Zia and ask queries. 

Zia automatically answers questions based on the information present in the knowledge base on your website. You can also train Zia to help customers place and edit their orders.

Sentimental analysis by Zia in Zoho Desk

Sentiment analysis by Zia in Zoho Desk (Source)

Pricing info: Zoho Desk offers a free plan that supports three agents and offers features such as email ticketing, customer management, help center, knowledge base, and multi-language help desk. 

Its paid plans begin from $9.85* per agent, per month (billed annually) and include all the free features plus customer happiness ratings, embeddable self-service, and social and community channels.

Zoho Desk suits your business?

Read user reviews here.

*Converted from INR to USD using Google converter on Jan. 13, 2021

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Marketing automation tools - Send targeted communication to your customers

Customers are always looking for profitable deals. That means you can’t sit assured that they’ll stay with you forever. You need to find ways to continue nurturing them. 

The best way to do this is to engage your customers over multiple marketing channels and keep the conversation going. But if you try to do that manually, you’ll end up performing repetitive tasks that will leave you with very little time to focus on strategy and improvement. 

So, invest in marketing automation software that will take care of workflow automation and multi-channel marketing.

Let’s look at some common functions of marketing automation software:

  • The tool helps you capture, score, and segment leads based on attributes such as geographical location, preferences, and age group. You can send targeted communication to segmented leads to nurture them.

  • You can create campaigns across channels such as emails, SMSes, and social media and track their performances.

  • The tool allows you to test variations (A/B testing) for your marketing campaigns. You can use these insights to optimize your efforts. 

  • You can track website visitors in real time to know which page they’re viewing or which button they’re clicking. Based on your findings, you can send them SMSes and emails with relevant content.

1. ActiveCampaign

User rating: 4.6/5

Number of reviews: 1,021

ActiveCampaign is a cloud-based customer experience automation platform. Its features include A/B testing of emails, CRM and sales automation, SMS marketing, social media monitoring, and reaction automation.

ActiveCampaign comes in handy if you want to improve your marketing and automate actions based on insights about customer or contact behavior. With the event tracking function, you can track button clicks, email opens, video views, orders, logins, and in-app behaviors. 

All you have to do is add a small code to your website to track these events. Using the insights, you can segment contacts behaving similarly and create targeted content for emails, SMSes, and campaigns.

Account overview dashboard in ActiveCampaign

Account overview dashboard in ActiveCampaign (Source)

Pricing info: ActiveCampaign’s paid plan (called the Lite plan) starts from $9 per user, per month, billed annually. The features available in this plan include marketing automation, email marketing, unlimited emails, customer segmentation, site and event tracking, and campaign and automation reporting.

ActiveCampaign suits your business?

Read user reviews here.

2. Klaviyo

User rating: 4.7/5

Number of reviews: 191

Klaviyo is a cloud-based marketing solution that helps businesses nurture leads, segment customers, manage contact databases and email lists, collect customer contacts via web forms, etc. 

Klaviyo lets you send automated emails to your contacts, be it other manufacturers, wholesalers, suppliers, or end customers. You can send automated emails to welcome new contacts, to follow-up orders with product recommendations, or to prompt customers to complete their orders when they abandon their carts. Klaviyo’s smart sending feature ensures no one in your contact list gets repetitive emails. 

The tool lets you A/B test automated emails for different content, subject lines, and timing. You can get real-time reports on how different emails perform and improvise accordingly.

Email campaign overview in Klaviyo

Email campaign overview in Klaviyo (Source)

Pricing info: Klaviyo offers customized pricing based on the number of customers you want to send SMSes and emails to.

Think Klaviyo suits your business?

Read user reviews here.

3. Omnisend

User rating: 4.8/5

Number of reviews: 438

Omnisend is a cloud-based marketing automation platform that helps ecommerce businesses automate multi-channel campaigns, schedule emails, segment their customer base, run campaign analysis, track clicks, and more.

With Omnisend, you can run your entire manufacturing business online. You can send welcome emails to new leads and entice them to shop on your website. You can track viewers on your website and send emails to the ones who view products but leave your website without buying anything. You can also send pre-built emails and SMSes to shoppers who abandon carts. 

The tool lets you send automated emails and SMSes once orders are confirmed. You also get to keep your customers posted about shipping information. Not just that, when sending emails, you can hide blocks of content that are not relevant to customers. You can also include personalized recommendations of relevant products in the automated emails to boost sales.

Sales dashboard in Omnisend

Sales dashboard in Omnisend (Source)

Pricing info: Omnisend offers a free plan that includes 15,000 emails per month. Its paid plans start from $16 per month (billed monthly) and include features such as email automation, SMS campaign automation, and audience segmentation.

Think Omnisend suits your business?

Read user reviews here.

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Sales force automation - Shorten sales processes by streamlining them

If your sales executives spend all their time cold calling or in repetitive tasks such as contact data entry or emailing, they won’t have time to develop sales strategies or do actual sales. This will directly impact your business’s revenue.

In such scenarios, a sales force automation tool can help you automate and centralize sales processes. This will free up your sales force to focus more on selling. They won’t need to run between the front desk and back office to check on inventory status or product availability when closing deals or handling leads.

Such a tool can help streamline sales processes, reduce order fulfillment timelines, and allow faster deal closures. Your sales force can take care of existing leads, be prepared for future sales (via sales forecasting), and reach out to qualified leads.

Let’s look at some common functions of sales force automation tools:

  • You can track opportunities or leads in the pipeline and stay updated about relevant activities in real time.

  • The tool lets you manage and standardize sales quotes by automatically populating them with relevant customer data.

  • The tool offers a sales dashboard that presents sales data graphically and offers metrics about the number of deals closed, pending, or rotting. You can also get a sales forecast for future deals.

  • You can schedule meetings with customers and distribute sales appointments among your sales personnel to save time.

  • The tool offers consolidated customer contact details with information about past orders, website activity, interactions, etc. 

To help you pick the right sales force automation tool, we’ve shortlisted the three best options (arranged alphabetically).

1. Freshworks CRM

User rating: 4.6/5

Number of reviews: 483

Freshworks CRM is a cloud-based customer engagement platform that offers features such as lead scoring, 360-degree customer view, auto lead assignment, email scheduling, call center management, and customer segmentation.

Freshworks CRM helps you manage deals so you don’t miss out on any. You can assign an age to each deal and choose to be notified when a deal ages so it doesn’t lie unattended. 

You can also use the predictive contact scoring feature to prioritize contacts and focus on the high scoring ones to convert them into customers. The deal insights function helps you analyze engagement levels of leads to focus on the ones that are more likely to convert.

Deals page in Freshworks CRM

Deals page in Freshworks CRM (Source)

Pricing info: Freshworks CRM’s paid plans start from $28.69* per user, per month, billed annually, and include features such as contact management, deal management, live chat, web forms, predictive contact scoring, and visual sales pipeline.

Freshworks CRM suits your business?

Read user reviews here.

*Converted from INR to USD using Google converter on Jan. 13, 2021

2. monday.com

User rating: 4.6/5

Number of reviews: 2,210

monday.com is a cloud-based work operating system that helps users manage workflows and projects. It supports activity logging, due date tracking, project time tracking, visual progress display, automated workflows, and surveys.

You can use monday.com to manage contact information about manufacturers and distributors (even sync contact data from other tools). You can track all sales activities of your contacts on a dashboard using the web version of the tool. 

But if your sales agents are on the move, they can interact with customers, close deals, and take care of customer activities using mobile apps. To save time, you can automate workflows and get notified when a contact or lead moves up in the sales pipeline.

Sales pipeline in monday.com

Sales pipeline in monday.com (Source)

Pricing info: monday.com’s paid plans start from $8.20* per seat, per month, billed annually (suitable for teams of three and above). The starter paid plan includes unlimited boards, unlimited free viewers, dashboards, 200+ templates, etc.

monday.com suits your business?

Read user reviews here.

*Converted from INR to USD using Google converter on Jan. 13, 2021

3. Pipedrive

User rating: 4.5/5

Number of reviews: 2,258

Pipedrive is a CRM and sales pipeline management tool that supports customer database management, file management, goal setting, pipeline management, meeting management, sales forecasting, sales reporting, etc.

Pipedrive helps you capture leads from your website. Each time someone visits your website and chats with your chatbot or sales agent, the tool captures the lead’s information and stores it. 

You can then add custom labels to each lead to categorize them as hot or cold (hot leads have more potential of conversion). At a later time, you can follow up with the leads with a scheduled email or call.

Contact view in Pipedrive

Contact view in Pipedrive (Source)

Pricing info: Pipedrive’s paid plan, called the Essential plan, starts from $9.90 per user, per month, billed annually. The features available in the Essential plan include deal management, customer pipeline management, contact management, meeting scheduling, calendar view, and activity management.

Pipedrive suits your business?

Read user reviews here.

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What’s next?

To select the right product, you need to know if the features offered are what you need. You also need to be sure if the tool is user-friendly, otherwise you’ll end up spending a lot of money on training. Here are a few handy tips to choose right option:

Check out a demo: Demos can help you understand software features and gauge the user-friendliness of the tool. 

Consult with your team: Get your team to offer you feedback about the shortlisted tools. You can invest in one that’s most preferred by your team.

Try the tools for free: Many of the software tools mentioned in the list offer free trials or free plans. Before making an investment, consider the free trials or free plans to understand software features.

You can also check out other related software such as customer communications management software, customer engagement software, and customer experience software.

Methodology

To identify the products listed in this article, we used the GetApp 2020 Category Leaders for CRM report. For each category, we eliminated products that didn’t have the below-mentioned features:

For customer service: Ability to offer multi-channel customer support via live chat, phone, email, etc.

For marketing automation: Ability to automate marketing initiatives to nurture leads and manage customer relationships.

For sales force automation: Ability to automate sales processes and offer sales reports.

From this list, we selected three products in each category with the most number of reviews and at least 4.5 ratings as on Jan. 2, 2020.

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