We talk almost non-stop about CRMs (Customer Relationship Management software) on this show. But we usually discuss them as if they’re a fact of life and you’ve already adopted one.

But what if your manufacturing company doesn’t use a CRM yet?


Have you ever had a “lost lead”?

Maybe this person who doesn’t want to be contacted for six months, and now it’s your job to remember that commitment. Or maybe their business card slipped to the bottom of a desk drawer and gathered dust for two years because nobody could find it.

That could be money down the drain, all due to human error. CRMs prevent that.

These programs are cheap, and they can keep all records of your clientele “in the cloud” (aka: on the internet) which you can access from anywhere.

CRMs can automate your marketing messages, like emails or social media posts. They can generate reports on website traffic, weekly conversions, or monthly sales.

And, quite prominently, CRMs can catch new salespeople up quickly on the history of any lead: showing them how often and how recently a potential buyer has been contacted.

What has this person already purchased or downloaded? Are there any pieces of content that might be relevant to them? It’s all recorded right there in black and white.

CRMs help you sell better, and sell faster. Period. Cue the mic drop.


At the end of 2018, we surveyed over 150 manufacturers about their sales and marketing tactics. Here were their top five CRM platforms:

  1. Salesforce
  2. Microsoft Dynamics
  3. Hubspot
  4. Zoho
  5. PipeDrive

We’d be shocked if you hadn’t heard of Salesforce. They’re the 13,000-pound bull elephant in the room. They’re huge, and they’re powerful. But…a large number of Salesforce implementations by manufacturers fail.

That’s not a reflection of Salesforce, by any means. It’s actually more a reflection of the new users. In fact, no one CRM is the best – the question is, which is the best CRM for your company where they are currently?

A lot of manufacturers try to buy a new CRM and take it from 0-100mph without knowing how to drive. You can spend a fortune in that process, only to crash and burn.

Many CRMs have so countless widgets and features to offer. However, you shouldn’t buy the whole kit and caboodle when you’re just starting out.

Don’t worry– you’ll get to all those extra features eventually. You may even be shocked at how quickly you get there. But there’s a more important priority to begin with.


Before you get marketing automation, you need to actually know what it is you’re automating. Before you dive into a CRM full-force, you should already have a map of your sales journey prepared.

A failed CRM implementation reflects (and is caused by) a lack of process.

Getting your sales team to buy into the new system is important, too. Salespeople might see the system as their manager’s way of peering over their shoulder– but that’s not what it’s used for.

Create a clear outline of your process before you transfer all of your data or tasks into a digital, cloud-based CRM.

Map out where leads come from; who addresses them; what they’re sent; and where they go next. Then you can consider CRMs.

But, once again, don’t start with the biggest and the baddest with all the bells and whistles.


If you’re brand new to CRMs, or if you’re about to implement a new one, don’t be afraid to make the change slowly.

Research the different CRMs and ask your peers about what they use.

Select a small sample group of salespeople – maybe your top reps, or just a young and hungry few who are wholly invested in this change. Use this team to beta test your new system.

If you do want to select a major program like Salesforce or Hubspot, have your “Advance Team” test out a smaller module or even a free account to begin with. Make sure they can crawl before your whole organization starts trying to run.

“You can get into a lot of these CRMS that are a lot cheaper… Is it as powerful, when you open all of it, as a Salesforce? No, it’s not. But you don’t need that kind of horsepower when you’re starting.”

If you’re a student driver, you shouldn’t spend your first day in a stick-shift Cadillac on the freeway.

Build slowly on the excitement of the new CRM’s analytics. Dabble in merge tags and utm codes. Try building out a few short drip campaigns. Learn how to automate calendar and mobile alerts.

Show your salespeople over time that this is a tool to help them manage sales; not get monitored by executives.

Once you have a marketing and sales process mapped out, only then you can build on it and use a CRM to accelerate everything; and not before.

If you don’t have a destination or a route, then no vehicle is going to help you.


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