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How well do you think your business knows its customers? Did you know the answer to that may well stem from your ERP-CRM integration? After all, your ERP system will help you manage your back-office activities while your CRM focuses on your front-office. So, an integration will allow you to access the right data at the right time.

Here are some of the main benefits of an ERP-CRM integration:

  • A 360-degree view of your customers - data in your ERP, such as sales proposals and quotes, can feed into your CRM. And CRM data, such as customer buying preferences and cases, will feed into your ERP, giving you a true end-to-end view
  • Fast access to the data you need - as key data will flow freely between your two systems, it’s easy for you to find the most up-to-date versions of the information you need
  • Better internal productivity - leading on from the above, centralised data means finding the data you need is fast and easy. Plus, it reduces the likelihood of data duplication, errors and tedious manual work which boosts overall productivity
  • Enhanced task/process efficiency - as data duplication, the chance of errors and manual work are drastically reduced, tasks and processes can become more efficient
  • Improved cross-departmental collaboration - real-time data can be shared, viewed and collaborated on by multiple employees across teams, departments and even office locations

However, we’re not just focusing on the benefits of an ERP-CRM integration today. What about the value it can offer your business?

ERP vs CRM

Opens up more sales opportunities

An ERP-CRM integration can increase sales opportunities because your salespeople can access the precise information they need. For example, if they can look into a customer’s order history, they can see the frequency at which a particular customer may place an order. They can then proactively reach out to the customer, with the intention of cross or upselling.

Here’s another example. Let’s say they can see a customer’s previous interactions with the customer service team. They spot that the customer has experienced several equipment issues. Using this information, the salesperson can contact the customer to ask if they’d like to upgrade to a new model which isn’t as susceptible to breakdowns.

In addition to opening up a sales opportunity, this also contributes to customer satisfaction as customers appreciate proactive service. We’ll get onto that later.

Ability to create more accurate sales proposals

When your ERP is integrated with your CRM system, your sales team can offer customers the most accurate information. Take sales proposals and pricing quotes, for example. The salesperson can cross-reference pricing information (stored in the ERP) with customer information (stored in the CRM) and tailor proposals to the individual customer.

They can also view real-time warehouse/stock insights and balance shipment dates with customer deadlines.

Access to more qualified sales

ERP CRM differences

When your sales team can view a customer’s complete financial history, such as their current balance, outstanding invoices (if any) and order history, this can influence the proposal. Leading on from our above point on more accurate sales proposals, this can allow your salespeople to make more informed decisions.

For example, they may decide to require payment in advance.

Ability to accelerate approvals

If your ERP and CRM systems aren’t integrated, you’d need to take information from one and input it into the order. For example, if a proposal from the CRM system generates into an order, you’ll need to re-enter the data into your ERP.

Not only is this a tedious, repetitive task, it’s also highly impractical and not so appropriate for time-sensitive tasks. An ERP-CRM integration will allow data to pull through automatically between the two systems.

In addition to improved visibility, your sales team can move customer contracts through the approval process more quickly. You may even see same-day signings!

More efficient invoicing process

As mentioned above, an ERP-CRM integration means proposals created in CRM can automatically turn into orders and inputted into the ERP system. No manual work required.

This can accelerate the invoicing process as customers can be automatically billed. Notifications can remind them of the deadline and any payment updates can feed through into both systems. So, both your front and back-office teams can be kept up-to-date.

Improves customer satisfaction

Benefits of ERP CRM integration

Outcomes such as accelerated billing, the ability to personalise interactions and automatic order updates can impact your customer satisfaction. For the better, of course.

For example, your customers will receive a better service and experience if the salesperson they’re interacting with can tailor the conversation to the customer’s precise needs. The most efficient way to do that if your salesperson can easily access the customer information they need, when they need it.

Delivering an excellent, engaging customer experience is one of the best ways to differentiate your business from the competition and boost customer retention.

Enhances product forecasting

An ERP-CRM integration can improve product forecasting and overall cost efficiency. For example, if you can see data such as your best-selling products, the quantities sold and whether that’s impacted by season, demand etc, forecasting can be more accurate. You can prevent excess inventory from building up and leading to dead stock.

Improved forecasting can help you order the right amount of stock at the right time, improving overall cost efficiency and maximising your bottom line.

 

A CRM system can maximise the ROI of your ERP system

Integrating these two systems is a key step to maximising the ROI of your ERP solution. It’s all about creating a single source of data truth.

Want to find out more about how a CRM system fits in with your ERP and vice versa? Our guide, entitled ‘CRM in an ERP world’, covers the relationship between the two systems and how you can successfully navigate an integration project.

Download it below.

ERP vs CRM

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Your CRM system centralises your customer data so finding what you need to personalise customer engagements can be fast and easy. Your ERP system centralises your back-office data so again, finding what you need can be fast and easy. Integrate these two systems and you can centralise the data from both of these systems.
Having been involved with ERP over a number of years from a customer perspective, I’ve seen how the right ERP solution can help transform the way a business performs and brings all the relevant data and processes together under ‘one roof’. 
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An ERP and CRM system may both centralise data, eliminate siloes and boost the efficiency and profitability of a business. But they’re not the same thing. The biggest difference is an ERP system can manage back-office tasks to help you reduce overheads and improve process and cost efficiency. It is the official and legal transactional system of record for your business while a CRM system, which manages front-office tasks to help you boost sales volume, is not transactional in the same way.
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