Unlocking HubSpot for Manufacturing

The fourth industrial revolution is here. Discover how manufacturers around the world are using HubSpot to successfully unlock its benefits and digitally transform their operations.

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1. Manufacturing Industry 4.0

Unlocking the fourth industrial revolution

In 1765, a man named James Watt invented something that would change the world. Named after its creator, the Watt engine used steam alternating on both sides of the piston so that it would run more smoothly than its atmospheric predecessors. This is all to say that the Watt engine improved performance for factories everywhere, doubling efficiencies, tripling output, and enabling them to ramp up production at a crucial turning point in human history. 

The manufacturing industry has come a long way since then, but the impact Watt’s invention had on the world is as relevant as ever. His engine wasn’t the first to run on steam, but his refinement to steam engine technology made it viable for the first time, decoupling factories and mills from their reliance on water wheels, horses, or wind in favour of coal and wood. 

As modern manufacturers navigate the fourth industrial revolution, digital technology is having a similar impact, completely transforming the way the sector operates today.

 

Digital transformation in manufacturing  

Known also as Industry 4.0, the fourth industrial revolution refers to the integration of advanced technologies and digitalisation into the manufacturing sector. It’s a concept driving the use of automation, artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and the Internet of Things (IoT) to optimise production processes and create smart factories. Much like Watt’s engine, this revolution is transforming the way the industry operates, in this case making it more efficient, sustainable, and flexible. With Industry 4.0, machines are capable of communicating with each other and making intelligent decisions, boosting productivity and reducing costs.

But as any manufacturer will tell you, innovation doesn’t happen overnight. While the transformation from Newcomen engines to Watt engines was a significant turning point for manufacturers, almost 260 years ago, it wasn’t without its challenges, requiring much of the sector to reconfigure its production processes to accommodate the new technology. What are the barriers standing between the manufacturing sector and innovation today?

2. The challenges with digital transformation in manufacturing

As manufacturers embrace the digital age, they face several challenges that they must overcome to unlock the operational benefits associated with this kind of transformation.

One of the biggest barriers is integrating new technologies into existing systems and processes. Just as the factories in Watt’s time weren’t equipped to adopt his revised steam engines, manufacturers today often have legacy systems that aren’t designed to work with modern digital tools, making it difficult and costly to implement new solutions seamlessly.

Making effective use of these new technologies also necessitates a skilled workforce with the training required to understand and utilise them. Training employees and equipping them with the necessary skills can itself be a time-consuming and expensive process. 

Cybersecurity is also a major concern, one which Watt never had to grapple with. As the increased connectivity of digital systems opens up new vulnerabilities to cyber threats, manufacturers must invest in robust systems to protect their data and intellectual property.

In each of these instances, the choice of software in question will greatly impact the speed, the cost, and the level of success with which a manufacturer can adapt their operations. How is HubSpot set up to minimise these challenges, and what benefits can manufacturers unlock through the selection of HubSpot as their digital transformation platform?

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3. The benefits of using HubSpot in manufacturing

Today, many manufacturers are using HubSpot as their CRM platform to stay agile, keep competitive, and meet the demands of a digital-savvy customer base. 

Known for its comprehensive suite of customer-facing business tools and robust CRM, HubSpot is empowering manufacturers to streamline their processes, enhance their customer experiences, and drive growth. What exactly do these benefits look like?

 

Streamlining manufacturing sales and marketing efforts

With its powerful sales and marketing tools, HubSpot allows manufacturers to streamline their processes and improve overall efficiency. 

One of the main benefits of using HubSpot is its ability to integrate various sales and marketing activities into one centralised platform. As manufacturing advancements race by, staying organised and efficient is crucial for success. With HubSpot’s ability to integrate various sales and marketing activities into one centralised platform, users can easily track and manage leads, ensuring that no potential customer slips through the cracks. This helps manufacturers identify opportunities for growth and make informed business decisions.

Its personalised marketing capabilities are second to none, enabling manufacturers on the platform to deliver targeted email campaigns that address the specific needs and challenges experienced by their different audience segments.

And at a time when every cost must be measured and counted for manufacturers to remain profitable, the tracked marketing ROI made possible through HubSpot clearly highlights where the biggest returns can be unlocked across sales and marketing, product and service.

 

Enhancing customer service and support

For an industry that revolves around the manufacturing of parts and products, it’s unsurprising that the measures by which much of it tracks performance are the quality and the quantity of its output. But in the Age of the Customer, the ability to maintain a centralised customer database, automate support ticket management, and take a proactive approach to their customer communications using HubSpot is helping manufacturers put service first.

By having a centralised customer database, manufacturers can easily access and analyse customer information, allowing them to understand their customers' preferences, needs, and buying patterns. These valuable insights enable them to tailor their products and services to better meet customer expectations, leading to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty. 

The automated support ticket management system streamlines the customer support process, ensuring that issues are addressed promptly and efficiently. This not only saves manufacturers time and resources but also enhances the overall customer experience.

A proactive approach to customer communications allows manufacturers to engage with their customers in a timely and personalised manner. By sending targeted communications, such as product updates, promotions, and customer surveys, manufacturers can maintain a strong relationship with their customers and foster long-term loyalty well into the future.

4. HubSpot and the future of manufacturing

It’s not just improved customer relationships by which HubSpot is helping manufacturers to future-proof their operations. By providing manufacturers with the tools they need to work faster, smarter, and with better visibility across the supply chain, HubSpot is reshaping the manufacturing landscape of tomorrow. Its advanced analytics, automation, and personalised marketing features will only become more sophisticated and impactful as HubSpot leans into emerging AI technology, giving manufacturers even greater insights into their processes. 

To innovate and stay competitive, manufacturers in the 1700s had to retool their factories in line with Watt’s new engine. What do you need to consider to implement HubSpot across your operations to unlock these benefits and transform your manufacturing processes?

5. Implementing HubSpot in the manufacturing workflow

Retooling your operations with HubSpot

With a vast network of integrations, HubSpot can bring efficiency and automation to every step of the manufacturing workflow. From streamlining lead generation and customer relationship management to tracking and analysing data, it ensures that manufacturers like you have a comprehensive understanding of their customers and operations. 

By integrating HubSpot into the manufacturing process, companies can improve communication, increase productivity, and ultimately drive growth. Here are two ways how:

 

HubSpot integration with ERP systems

Integrating HubSpot with an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system can be a game-changer. ERP systems serve as a central database for all business operations, including inventory management, financials, and supply chain management. 

One major advantage is the ability to automate data entry and eliminate manual tasks, saving manufacturers valuable time and resources. These integrations enable: 

  • the syncing of customer and order data
  • the automation of inventory management
  • real-time reporting

It’s worth noting that many ERP systems have their own cobbled-on marketing solutions, but those can't be compared to a solution like HubSpot that started as one. Although the HubSpot platform has evolved since then, marketing is right there at its core, sitting alongside its sales, service, and customer focus. It’s a purpose-built marketing solution, as opposed to an ERP solution with marketing capabilities tagged on, and that counts for a lot when you’re considering which solutions to invest in and how to integrate them.

 

Using HubSpot for forecasting

There are lots of ways HubSpot can assist manufacturers in this vital task, providing them with the insights they need to manage production lines and keep output levels accurate.

The valuable data stored in HubSpot CRM, such as purchase history, interactions, and preferences, can make it much easier for manufacturers to identify trends and patterns in customer demand. Integrated with inventory management systems or the aforementioned ERP software opens up the possibility of synchronising customer data with inventory levels, enabling manufacturers to correlate customer demand with inventory availability in real-time.

Two of HubSpot’s strongest forecasting features are its sales tracking and pipeline activity. Set up correctly, these can grant visibility over deals in progress as well as forecasted revenue. By monitoring sales activity and pipeline trends, users can anticipate future demand and adjust inventory levels accordingly. The more customer data you have, and the more you leverage HubSpot’s predictive analytics, the better this reporting will be.

HubSpot can also be integrated with a range of specialised demand planning tools and software that utilises more advanced algorithms and forecasting techniques. These tools can provide manufacturers with more accurate demand forecasts that even take into account “big picture” factors such as seasonality, market trends, and external influences.

Coming soon…

HubSpot AI forecasting is in the works. Using this functionality, you’ll be able to leverage HubSpot’s machine learning algorithms to predict future sales using the data you have on historical trends. While it’s currently in BETA, this feature will take a lot of the manual work out of your forecasting processes while potentially improving the accuracy of your forecasts for better business results. Read more about HubSpot AI forecasting here.

 

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6. 4 tips for unlocking HubSpot's potential in manufacturing

We’ve worked with a range of manufacturing clients over the years, helping them to retool their technology, align sales with marketing, and drive new revenue. Here’s our advice on how to make the most out of HubSpot's features and capabilities across your operations.

1. Automation: from the factory floor to your lead generating machine 

By leveraging HubSpot’s automation features effectively, manufacturers can not only attract potential customers but also nurture those leads to eventually convert them into loyal buyers. The key to making the best use of HubSpot's automation features lies in understanding the target audience and designing effective workflows that align with its needs and preferences. 

As one example, manufacturers could create personalised email campaigns that are triggered based on specific actions or lead behaviours. This would allow them to deliver relevant content at the right time, increasing the chances of engagement and conversion.

They could also create a campaign based on lifecycle stages. For example, when a contact becomes a customer, they trigger an automated email containing maintenance handbooks. This could be further built on by setting up the workflow so that if the customer doesn’t engage with those maintenance handbooks, their account manager is notified. Not understanding maintenance procedures could cause the customer issues in the long-term, but because they have been notified, the account manager can pick this up with the customer.

 

2. Implementing personalised content

Building on the ability to target specific audiences using HubSpot, manufacturers can leverage their data on customer browsing behaviour, preferences, and purchasing history to create and deliver content that serves them. By tailoring their messaging and offers to individual customers, manufacturers can improve customer satisfaction, increase engagement, and drive more sales, buoyed by HubSpot’s analytics and reporting, which allow manufacturers to track the effectiveness of their content with its target audience.

 

3. Analysing and optimising data for continuous improvement

Analysis and optimisation are the bricks with which continuous improvement is built. With HubSpot's robust analytics capabilities in their hands, manufacturers can gain valuable insights into their sales, marketing, and customer service efforts. By analysing data on customer preferences, purchasing patterns, and satisfaction levels, they can identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions to enhance their products and processes. 

These insights can help manufacturers identify bottlenecks in production, process inefficiencies, and opportunities for streamlining operations and increasing productivity.

 

4. Leveraging IoT data for predictive maintenance

The integration of IoT devices is one strategy that can prove effective at improving operations. IoT data gathered from across the site provides manufacturers with real-time insights into equipment/machinery performance. HubSpot then offers a practical way for manufacturers to harness this data, not only collecting IoT data for analysis but also making it possible to automate maintenance processes. By using HubSpot, manufacturers can: 

  • monitor systems health
  • identify potential issues before performance suffers
  • schedule maintenance tasks accordingly

This not only saves time and resources but also helps production lines to run more smoothly and efficiently. With HubSpot, manufacturers have the tools they need to leverage IoT data for predictive maintenance, ultimately leading to increased productivity and cost savings.

7. Case studies: manufacturing companies leveraging HubSpot

Unlocking the full potential of your operations

Discover two real-life success stories of manufacturing businesses that have embraced HubSpot.

 

VFE: unlocking a single source of truth across the manufacturing process

Vacuum Furnace Engineering (VFE) provides a range of equipment, sales, servicing and upgrade options to the global heat treatment industry. To meet its ambitious growth plans, it recognised the need for a central hub that gave everyone in the business a view of everything, from sales activity and marketing performance to contact data. A single source of truth, consolidating data management and bringing traditionally disparate business units together. A platform from which the whole business could better connect with its customers.

Here’s how we implemented the right combination of HubSpot solutions, in the right way, to help our client achieve its goals and generate a pipeline in excess of £1m in three months.

Check out the full VFE case study.

 

Emtez: rebranding and aligning a global manufacturing group 

Where other companies measure success through units sold and profit banked, Emtez Group can also track its impact in lives saved, pollution prevented, and customer property secured. At a time when crises of all kinds stretch costs and push global supply chains to their limits, the group works together to ensure its spill control and containment solutions arrive on time, to scope, in budget, so its customers everywhere can protect more than just what’s inside the box. 

But when recently appointed Group CEO David Byrne approached BabelQuest in 2022, this mission was far from formed. The group operated under various different names, region by region. Its brand, outdated. Critically, the group approach was not unified. Across its companies, it lacked universal processes and the technology systems to support this.

We began by working with David, his investors and senior leadership from across the group on a complete rebrand.

Check out the full Emtez case study.

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