In our previous Blog, we highlighted various problems that manufacturers face with respect to effectively handling their Sales Management. We delved into various factors and existing disparate systems that they use to manage their sales operations that severely affect their efficiency.

Click this Infographic to read the previous blog in brief.

So how do they streamline and automate their sales processes?

With an ERP!

How can Sales be optimized with an ERP?

  1. Quick Quotation and Cost Estimate Generation
  2. Automated Sales Order Processing
  3. E-commerce Integration
  4. Using CRM Functionality
  5. Using Advanced Data Analytics

Quick Quotation and Cost Estimate Generation

An ERP eliminates pencil & paper/spreadsheets approach, over-dependence on personnel skilled in estimation & quoting etc. It gives you real-time visibility to Bill of Materials (BOM) at multiple levels, prices of different vendors and cost of materials, current inventory levels etc. enabling you to arrive at the cost you would incur for each order and associated profit margins. Also, flexibility in the system means constant change in customer preferences/requirements (even in design stage) can be incorporated and desired results can be obtained swiftly.   

Automated Sales Order Processing

The growth of a manufacturing enterprise depends on how fast they convert leads to sales orders and deliver the final product to customers. To do this, they need to automate the entire sales process with the help of an ERP.

Once the quotation is approved by the customer, the ERP generates a sales order. At the same time, it initiates procurement of raw material from inventory stock, allocates machines and manpower depending on the order size. A Work Order is generated and dispatched to the shop floor. At each production stage, the work order is updated with information such as materials consumed, scrap generated, machine and manpower time etc. Once the product is manufactured, it is packed along with shipping labels and barcode for quick tracking and identification. Automated invoice is generated and sent to the customer at the time of dispatch. The shipment is tracked till it reaches the customer.

The automated sales and manufacturing workflows ensure that every department is updated with real-time information for efficient work scheduling and resource allocation.

E-commerce Integration

Selling online is the new way for everyone including manufacturers. An e-commerce portal greatly enhances the order and sales efficiency of a manufacturer. Today’s ERP can be integrated with a host of third party applications that includes off the shelf e-commerce platforms, thereby automating order management process and integrating with sales management.

In an e-commerce marketplace, the chances of human errors are minimal as customers enter the order details themselves. Moreover, the store is open 24/7 to customers thereby increasing their convenience of looking at your products online and place an order instantly anytime and from anywhere.  Manufacturers can realize higher online sales, increased customer reach, speedy recall and customer refund, improved customer trust and profitability.

To read more about e-commerce integration with ERP, read our blog,

Why e-commerce adoption is critical for Manufacturers?

Using ERP’s CRM Functionality

A CRM greatly enhances the efficiency of the sales team. It becomes a centralized database for all prospect and customer information thereby making it easier for the sales team to retrieve vital information whenever required. Also, they can run lead generation campaigns, collect leads, extract high quality leads from the lot and convert them into sales orders. Also, sales personnel can conduct in depth analysis to figure out what marketing strategy, source medium worked in what areas (location, industry segment, demographics), so that they can be replicated further to get more leads. For each customer, you can arrive at buying patterns, peak order times, down times and leverage the same to proactively get in touch with them and procure repeat orders.

A CRM opens up information avenues such as total number of leads, HQLs or potential sales orders, repeat orders etc. Using this, production planners can devise their plan well in advance and ensure sufficient raw materials, machines and manpower are available.

For more, read one our earlier blogs,

How can Manufacturers Realize the Complete Potential of CRM with an ERP?

Using Advanced Data Analytics

ERP stores all incoming data to a centralized location and this enables the advanced data analytics and reporting module to retrieve that data and present it in various forms. Manufacturers can utilize this to analyze sales trends, lead sources, time taken for order processing, quotation preparation time, etc. to arrive at useful information that can be used to improve workflows. They can also utilize production and manpower data to arrive at life-cycle of various product streams manufactured previously. Analyzing these parameters along with current market demand will help them to accurately forecast sales numbers.  

Efficient Supply Chain Management

An ERP provides complete visibility of suppliers, trading partners along with the complete historical performance such as time to supply, product quality, credit history, pending orders etc. It enables manufacturers to automate purchase management through just-in-time purchase, RFQ generation and by providing complete demand, inventory visibility to suppliers. Supply chain visibility is improved with advanced product traceability right from its procurement till it goes into the final product. All this indirectly enhances the sales numbers as manufacturing and delivery are on time and  customers are satisfied.

Conclusion

An ERP automates and enhances order and sales management for a manufacturer to a great extent. It drastically reduces the quote-to-order-to-cash lifecycle and increases cash flow, bottomline and profitability for the enterprise. It eliminates unwanted workflows and processes and streamlines the entire sales machinery. Manufacturers know exactly, where to look for more lead and potential sales.  

If you are a manufacturer looking to optimize your Sales funnel, consider an ERP.

Refer to the Infographic.