How Manufacturers Can Gain a Competitive Edge Using AI Within a CRM System

Published February 8 2019 by Natasha Spurr
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AI is the buzzword of the moment in all industries and businesses.

Some 72 per cent of CEOs believe that AI will transform business, according to the annual PwC CEO survey, which was published at the World Economic Forum in Davos last month.

The manufacturing sector has for some time been concerned with Digital Transformation and Industry 4.0, both of which include AI. Many manufacturing businesses are already embedding IoT technology into production lines and components.

And globally, according to McKinsey, the manufacturing and supply chain sector could reap between $1.2 trillion and $2 trillion (£1.54 trillion) annual benefit from AI.1

Concern over understanding customers

But in the past few years, manufacturers have expressed that areas of greatest concern in their business revolve around understanding their customers and being able to overcome or anticipate problems such as inventory levels not matching requests and unpredictable customer demand.

This is where AI embedded into a CRM system can really help manufacturers to improve business and give them a competitive edge.

CRM software collates huge amounts of data and, according to McKinsey, analysing data leads to an 85 per cent growth in accuracy forecasting2.

But analysing and using this data is not always easy and can be time-consuming. Often, by the time the data is collated, manually analysed and reports are written, the information will already be out of date. Understanding and forecasting trends and customer demand needs to be done efficiently, effectively and accurately.

The AI built into a good CRM system, such as Microsoft Dynamics 365, enables manufacturers to identify and respond to current and emerging trends and, with the help of predictive analytics, address issues before they affect customers.

AI within a CRM system can help you to know your customers

You can find and respond to customer conversations that matter most by drilling down by topic, sentiment, language and geography. You can reduce waiting times, improve resolutions rates and increase customer satisfaction. You can understand which types of customers are demanding which products and perhaps also discover which other products might be suitable for them.

AI within a CRM system can help you to stay ahead

The intelligent business analytics within the CRM system can help you to quickly identify market and consumer trends, so you can tailor your business strategy to meet customer needs. Predictive analytics will help you to make sure that you stay ahead of the competition by giving you the knowledge of what customers will be looking for next.

AI within a CRM system can help you to know your employees

By monitoring and analysing employee success, you can use these insights to coach staff and give them the tools they need to perform to the best of their ability. You will be able to quickly evaluate and respond to key performance indicators via dashboards contained within the CRM system. You can identify opportunities for improvement by using performance insights.

Benefits of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for a UK manufacturer

Understanding your customers, your market and your employees, and being able to quickly analyse and make use of all the data contained within the CRM system will give you a competitive edge.

Victrex, a supplier of high-performance polymer solutions, has realised some very real benefits from the insights offered by the Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM solution.

Barry Andrews, the group commercial director, says: “We have now got a measurable method of being able to go back and quantify what customer satisfaction really looks like. Again, that has made us change some strategic decisions in terms of resourcing, in terms of focus, in terms of emphasis. So today, I think it is the tool to connect our investors, ultimately with the customer.”

Want to learn more about how Microsoft Dynamics 365 AI for Sales?


1., April 2018
2. Industry 4.0: How to Navigate Digitization of the Manufacturing Sector, McKinsey Digital, 2015

Natasha is an experienced CRM professional with a unique ability to work across both marketing and sales functions. As CRM Marketing Manager at Edgewater Fullscope, Natasha has helped the organization to achieve multiple global partner awards and leadership status across the UK and beyond.

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