Modern day technologies have had significant effects on business operations, and have changed every aspect of the way businesses operate. ERP, CRM, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Voice-first computing are some of them which have revolutionized marketing.
Irrespective of the size of your business and the type of distributor or manufacturer you are, every company needs a methodology for it to be profitable and productive. ERP and CRM, in this case, come surprisingly handy and go beyond Excel spreadsheets. They enable businesses to have greater insights and visibility allowing them to make critical business decisions when needed. Ideally, both the systems should talk to one another to avoid redundancies and encourage transparency, efficiency, collaboration.
According to Technology Evolution, manufacturers are the #1 buyers and users of the ERP system.
What is ERP?
An ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) is a software developed for company management which offers reliable information for all its departments. It allows organizations to use a system of integrated applications to manage and automate many back-office functions.
What is CRM?
CRM, a short form of Customer Relationship Management helps improve profitability and builds lasting relationships with customers. It is a strategy for managing and organizing organizations relationships and interactions with potential customers.
How are ERP and CRM linked together?
ERP & CRM are similar in many ways and are used to increase the overall profitability of a business. Though their core functionalities are entirely different, they can be wholly integrated with others. ERP and CRM are known as the two sides of the same profitability coin, and businesses often employ two systems to make sure that they run effectively.
ERP often focusses on reducing overhead and cutting costs and makes the business process more efficient by reducing the amount of capital spent on those processes. CRM often works to increase profits by producing greater sales volume. CRM’s standardized repository of customer’s data makes it easier for everyone from sales reps to other account executives to improve customer relations.
Key Benefits of integrating ERP and CRM:
Connecting ERP and CRM systems can yield ultimate customer service management program, as one can expect a full view of each customer, like how they feel about your company, and what you deliver to them. Also, merging this two software gives a 360-degree view of your customer, from prospect to sales and support, finance and accounting, together these systems provide full visibility into customer’s needs, their buying habits, order history, account standing, preferences, etc.
A CRM and ERP solutions when fully integrated gives your employees the ability to access customer’s critical information in real-time.
Merging your ERP and CRM software is its enhanced productivity through streamlining processes and automating workflow. Also, an integrated solution cuts down on the amount of duplication of manual data entry tasks.
The following article will share the 5 reasons to Integrate ERP and CRM Systems into Sales and Marketing:
1. Avoid data duplicity or Eliminate tedious data entry:
Although ERP and CRM are used for different purposes, they grab data from the shared database. As discussed in the earlier section, data in ERP section is primarily used for billing and shipping purpose while CRM focusses on prospects and sales. The integration process helps remove tedious data by providing identical rules for all systems. For example, any modifications made on the ERP database will reflect on CRM systems and any changes in CRM will reflect on ERP systems. This principle applies to the addition and removal of custom fields, changes, or any new entries in the database. It also avoids overlapping of data and duplicates data generation.
2. Reduce IT and training cost:
Integration of ERP and CRM systems makes them function as a single unit. Where there is just one system to maintain instead of two, there will be no need for integration nor the need for interfacing. Which in turn eliminates the need for IT staff, where one person can handle the whole system and do the corresponding job.
Likewise, when the integration of ERP and CRM is achieved, the administrative costs for training the employees also reduces as the staff need not be trained separately on 2 different systems. Thus reducing the training hours by a considerable amount and hence saving a lot on training cost.
3. Increased Mobility:
ERP and CRM are critical requirements of any system. When your sales team is in the middle of the crucial touch point, having on the go access to customer’s inventory and related products alongside with the pricing information will help close deals more efficiently.
Some of the ERP systems like Pegasus software allows sales and marketing team to view customers information like their credit limit, list of outstanding invoices, current balance and previous orders placed that will give the full information of customers purchasing patterns.
Also, mobile devices are used in all aspects of business to improve the performance and efficiency, while being used as a source of real-time information.
4. Faster access to crucial information:
Today the world would not function without the quick and easy access to vital and critical information. Running the risk of becoming less efficient is equally crucial to losing the data. Timely access to pertinent information is not just a need but the necessity.
For example: When a customer calls requesting for information about the product or order or status update, a customer representative should not trawl through different systems to access the data. For the delay in response could only create a negative experience and therefore a loss in business.
The fully integrated ERP and CRM system will provide employees with access to relevant information in real-time. With the click of the button, the sales rep can retrieve data in real-time about shipments, inventory levels, order history, payments, returns, customer financials, pricing and more.
5. Better user adoption:
If there were two disparate systems for CRM and ERP, there would have been a necessity to continually update both the systems. Which would have again made end-users to become disengaged with one or both of them. With ERP being used out of the need, CRM would get neglected. The seamless integration between the two systems will ensure that the end-users engage with both even without realizing it.
When CRM and ERP exist within the same software, it becomes apparent to be adaptable only on one system and likely be more productive.
6. Improved Contact Management:
Through CRM and ERP integration, users or sales rep’s will be able to easily access account information without having to toggle between the screens. This will make it easier to keep track of prospects and clients without losing the critical information that is needed to drive sales and close deals. This also helps users to enhance the visibility into daily business operations which will significantly increase the revenue.
Yes, the old ways may always seem comforting and easy to stay through, thanks be for that. However, it’s high time to best leverage the capabilities offered by both CRM and ERP in an organization. As the technology evolves, these new systems are sure to be more and more rooted in offering limitless possibilities.
We live in the age of augmented reality where there is always a room for future to unfold unpredictably. Most importantly, the only prediction to hope for is to adapt and accept change. It seems inevitable that ERP and CRM would move towards integrating with most of the social, sales and marketing platforms.