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CRM for manufacturing: which one should you choose?

CRM platforms have taken most companies by storm, but as a manufacturer, perhaps you don't see the value of it in your business. Maybe a lot of your revenue is from repeat customers? That’s amazing if it is, but what about new customers?

If you want to manage your customer relationships better, it might be time to join the digital revolution and introduce a Customer Relationship Management system (CRM). The trouble is, there are so many CRM packages on the market at the minute and it can seem impossible to decide which is the best. That’s why we’ve done our research to clear up any confusion. 

In this post, we’ll cover what a CRM platform is and why you might need it and we’ll also have a look over our recommended CRM systems. 

We’ll cover:


What is a CRM and why do I need it?

With 81 percent saying they’re ready to invest in new digital technologies to boost productivity, there’s never been a better time to digitise your manufacturing systems. Using a CRM system allows you to organise your customer relationships and streamline all the communication processes. A CRM system can improve customer service, responsiveness, increase sales and increase profitability. 

In your manufacturing business, your customers are the driving force and they’re the ones who lead the way. Without them, you don’t have much. So, improving your operations and customer service will naturally please your customers too and a CRM system can provide just that. 

The repository of customer details, conversations and pain points - where do you store all of that information now? If you’re storing it in your own memory then it’s a recipe for disaster. 

You need somewhere you can organise the information accordingly and use it for future reference - to help develop all areas of your business. Whether that’s your marketing or your sales communications.

Having a CRM system allows all members of the team to understand every process and pick up where someone else left off. You don’t need any more confusion or crossovers. Sales agents can leverage this organised information to understand customers better, identify opportunities and close sales more quickly. A CRM system is a winning formula that’s for sure!


The top 3 CRM systems

CRM technology, by the end of 2021, will be the single largest revenue area of investment businesses will make to future proof their business. If you’re in the manufacturing industry for the long haul, it’s time to look at a strategy for the future. For forward-thinking companies, a CRM framework is vital.

Here’s a short overview of the top three CRM systems in the market right now. Reassured, there’s many options available on the market and no matter your requirements, it’s guaranteed you’ll find the right system for your business - FACT.



It’s the whole solution for CRM and it’s a perfect entry point for businesses who are new to the world of CRM solutions. From inbound marketing to sales and customer service features. According to HubSpot, their systems help your business grow without compromise. Because if it’s “good for the business” it should also mean it’s “good for the customer.”

Best suited to: manufacturers who want to scale their business and develop robust marketing and sales processes. 


HubSpot for manufacturing

Image Credit: HubSpot

Things you should know

Price: HubSpot is ideal for businesses looking to trial CRM for the first time. You can get started for free and upgrade as you go - adding extras where you need it. Whether that’s the Sales Hub or the Marketing Suite. 

User-friendly: if you’re looking for something that’s easy to navigate and get to grips with, HubSpot can provide you with everything you need at the end of your fingertips. It’s easy to navigate and if you’re unsure of how to use it, you can take free training in the HubSpot Academy.

Features: if you’re wanting to choose the free alternative, you’re in luck. The free version offers, reporting dashboard, company insights, deal tracking and pipeline management. Best of all, enjoy unlimited users, data, and up to a million contacts with no time limit or expiration date!



It’s a cloud-based software company that brings customers and companies together. It's one integrated CRM platform that gives all your departments a single, shared view of every single customer. Whether that’s the marketing team, the sales team or the commerce team. Everyone is a few clicks away from seeing an overview of customer interactions. 

Best suited to: Salesforce is typically associated with large businesses and enterprises because it comprises many parts. So if you’re looking for a CRM upgrade or you’re a large scale business, this is for you. However, Salesforce's small business edition lets you take advantage of the product's robust set of CRM tools and resources at an SMB-friendly price.


salesforce for manufacturing

Image Credit: Salesforce

Things you should know

Trailblazer community: if you’re looking at running the CRM system yourself, then the Trailblazer community at Salesforce will provide you with all the guidance you need. It’s an invaluable online resource. It’s a help forum packed full of knowledge articles, best practices for implementation, interactive groups and Q&Q’s.

Project management: looking for something to help you project manage and assign customer conversations to certain departments? Salesforce is a great option.! Or if you already have a project management system, it’s super easy to integrate them together. There are more than 100 different project management tools (paid and free) that pair with Salesforce.

Customised dashboards: will several members of your team need access to this information? If so, customisable dashboards are a bonus. Dashboards give employees with varied roles to see only what's important to them. Whether that’s reporting widgets or real-time summaries of sale numbers and customer data.



Insightly is an extremely versatile CRM that offers highly customisable dashboards and feeds to keep track of sales in progress. More than 1.5 million users use it worldwide too! If your sales team needs to travel on the go or work at different sites, Insightly also offers a mobile CRM app. It's great for card scanning and audio notes to enable quick and easy updates while sales teams are travelling around. 

Best suited to: mid-sized companies that are looking to develop and grow their processes. As they focus on company growth, they’ll need to start implementing better practices and CRM is one of them.


Insightly for manufacturing

Image Credit: Insightly

Things you should know

Sales funnel: if you're wanting to track all the statuses of your deals, then Insightly can provide in-depth insights into all of your deals - hence the name.  It’s simple to move deals through the pipeline by clicking and dragging too. You can also set up workflow automation that is in line with the sales funnel. Automation templates allow you to, for example, send an email when a contact moves into a specific stage of the funnel. 

Comprehensive interface: the Insightly platform offers a huge variety of tools. With the potential to use advanced workflow automation and dashboard customisation. Although this software can be complex, with practice it becomes much easier to use. Especially with the iOS and Android app - every member of the team can have access to the reports and modify task checklists on the go.

Lead management: this software separates leads and contacts. Outlining which prospective clients have already been contacted and the ones who haven't. You can use custom fields to add information about leads - emails, phone calls, notes. All process data is automatically tagged to a contact record for future reference - allowing anyone to pick up the conversation where it left off.

CRM platforms without a doubt, are a worthy investment. No matter what size manufacturing business you have, it will help you streamline your processes and use data to your advantage. Whether that’s generating reports and sales or using it for user-generated content. It can help the whole business develop their understanding of their prospects.

With a lot of CRM systems, they offer a free subscription - take advantage of this and give it a go. See what works for your business and go from there. It’ll be worth it! 


Red-Fern can help introduce the right CRM system for your manufacturing business

We know it can be daunting investing in new software, especially if you’re not used to it before and you’re starting out. But with our expert team on hand, we’ll be able to provide clarity on questions you have and we’ll be able to guide you in the right direction for your business needs. 

At Red-Fern, we’re actively looking for businesses who want to build long-term digital partnerships so get in touch today and we’ll hit the ground running. Alternatively, if you want to learn more about the opportunities in the manufacturing sector and view our previous successful manufacturing-based projects - look no further.

Check out our NEW manufacturing microsite and see how you can achieve your business objectives and develop your services. 

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