Independently, Contact Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions provide enormous benefit in growing and maintaining a business. On the surface, they are vastly different solutions, serving very different purposes.
While CRM is an “outbound” solution helping in handling customer accounts, enabling you to provide personalized attention to clients, and managing resource needs out to that organization, ERP systems track business resources within your organization such as cash, raw materials, and production capacity as well as the status of business commitments such as orders, purchase orders, and payroll.
It’s easy to see why traditionally CRM and ERP systems have been considered separate solutions. However, to properly leverage your investment in each, it is imperative to view these tools holistically from a business process perspective.
Consider the steps in selling to clients:
- find a prospect,
- qualify them,
- sell to them,
- deliver product,
- invoice them,
- service them, and
- then come back and (hopefully) resell to them.
When you “dumb it down” in this way, it’s obvious why these separate solutions should be integrated. Once they are, you will experience dramatic increases in ROI for both investments.
Writing for a Forrester Research report, analyst Ray Wang says, “ERP systems provide much-needed internal information that can be shared with new stakeholders. CRM systems provide the entry point for stakeholders to engage with an organization. You can’t really have one without the other and be successful in the marketplace.”
At a high level, integration eliminates redundant data entry, significantly saving time and reducing opportunities for errors. Also, consider the quality of that data. If you ask members of your organization, “Who knows the customer better?” the sales team would probably say the salesperson, while the accounting team would most likely say the accountant. Perhaps the answer is simply that both sides know different and equally valuable information about the customer. Integrating CRM and ERP ensures both sides of the business can record and access information valuable in presenting a complete view of the customer.
Integration also enables you to fulfill orders faster and accelerate collections with automated workflows to trigger order and fulfillment processes and to generate automated payment reminders to customers, or to alert finance personnel that their cash flows are running lower than normal. In addition, CRM and ERP integration give the sales team access to the latest pricing updates from the ERP system.
Therefore, sales reps have access to the latest promotional pricing from marketing campaigns and can target their customers better when trying to meet their quotas. Finally, the key to the success of any business software implementation is end-user adoption. Having two solutions that are built specifically with “both sides of the house” in mind means different users can work in an environment they are comfortable in and familiar with, thus increasing user adoption. And by using two separate systems that integrate with each other, your users get the best of both worlds.
LBMC Technology Solutions and ERP software as well as implementation and integration services to make sure your project fits your business needs. Visit our website to learn more or contact us to discuss the ROI of CRM and ERP software integration.