The more visibility you have over your business and its processes, the more efficient your operations can become. Investing in technology, like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, can unlock that visibility and efficiency potential. If that technology integrates with each other and can work as one unit, you can take those benefits to another level.
In this blog post, we’ll be discussing those benefits in more depth.
The role of a CRM and ERP
Let’s briefly cover the roles CRM and ERP solutions play within a business. If you’re already 100% sure on this, skip ahead to the next section by clicking here.
A CRM system is responsible for customer data management, from their contact information to purchases and previous interactions with customer service. A good CRM system can boost your customer satisfaction and loyalty because it centralises customer data, making it easier for your service teams to find the information they need, cross and up-sell, gain a complete view of customers and more.
Where a CRM manages customer data, an ERP system is responsible for centralising your core business processes, from planning, scheduling and other data-driven workflows. A good ERP system simplifies your core processes and gives you total visibility across your business.
The benefits of an ERP and CRM integration
1. A truly complete view of your customers
A CRM will already give a full view of your customers but when you combine this with what your ERP stores, you can gain a truly end-to-end view.
For example, an ERP system will store information on sales proposals and quotes. Paired with CRM data, your sales and service teams will gain a true 360-degree view of a customer’s buying habits, order history, preferences and more.
This can help your team provide more personalised experiences, build lasting relationships and track changes in customer behaviour to determine opportunities for future growth.
2. Faster access to the information you need
Let’s say a customer contacts you to ask about the status of an order or proposal. Your customer service representative shouldn’t have to search through multiple systems or ask around various departments to find the answer. Not only is this inefficient for your team, it also puts the customer experience at risk.
An integrated ERP and CRM will provide all employees with access to critical information in real-time. They can easily find what they need, whether it’s inventory levels, shipments, order history, payments, customer financials and more.
3. Improved efficiency and productivity
While an ERP and CRM might have different purposes (ERP is focused on back-office operations such as inventory, warehouse and financials while CRM is focused on customer relationships), some areas may cross over. That can lead to data duplication and manual data entry.
An ERP and CRM integration eliminates these two tedious tasks by providing identical rules for each system. So, when alterations or additions are made to the ERP, they’ll automatically reflect in the CRM and vice versa. Then there’s the benefit of the data being centralised which makes it easier for any team member to quickly find what they need.
Both lead to boosts in process efficiency and team productivity.
4. Better cross-team collaboration
When your teams are able to collaborate across departments, they can work much more productively. An ERP and CRM integration allows real-time data to be shared, viewed and worked on by multiple members of different teams at the same time.
Not only does this mean your employees can quickly find the answers to their questions/tasks, it also means they’ll finally be on the same page and use their combined knowledge to ensure data accuracy.
5. Enhanced order, inventory and quote management, and sales approvals
Once a proposal from the CRM has generated into an order in your ERP, having to switch systems and re-enter the data several times isn’t efficient, practical or great for time-sensitive tasks.
With an ERP and CRM integration, your sales and operations teams gain real-time access to data. Now they can move customer contracts through the approval process much quicker, reducing the need for data management and improving overall efficiency. Same-day approvals can even become a realistic goal because the information needed is readily available.
Here’s another example: your sales reps can provide the most accurate pricing quotes to customers, using the ERP system to find the latest pricing information. They can then refer to the CRM to view customer history and if they’re a legacy customer, offer further tailored promotions to boost customer satisfaction and experience. This entire process would be more complicated and cumbersome if the two systems weren’t integrated.
Ensure a successful ERP-CRM integration when you have the right CRM system
Make sure you’re getting the most out of your ERP-CRM integration by ensuring you have the right CRM for your business needs. In our guide to CRMs, we cover the features you should be looking for in your CRM, FAQs about the system and more.
Whether you’re looking for a new CRM or you want to ensure your existing one is up to scratch, download a copy of the guide to get started.