Posted by Patricia Jones
With a plethora of consumer data, being generated on a daily basis, business owners are presently experiencing more complex business environments than ever before. Since, if this customer centric data is not handled in a proper manner, it can become the biggest pain point for efficiency with decision-making, forecasting and ultimately- the purchase and sales processes.
Happy customers are the most valuable and possessed assets to any business. But, how can you successfully deal with all these challenges, whilst building up profitable customer relationships?
To combat this dilemmatic issue, businesses typically buy CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software solutions separately or mostly integrate a CRM with ERP.
The advantage of integrating these two enterprise business solutions help CRM to deal with front end information such as prospecting, recording customer interactions, sales tracking, pipeline management and creating/evaluating marketing campaigns.
So, while CRM helps businesses to manage relationships and sales pipelines, understand prospect and clients, and upsell and cross-sell products, ERP software is entrusted to handle critical backend processes. These ERP back end processes include supply chain management details, purchase history, accounting information, financial data, and billing and shipping details.
Although apparently having separate systems might appear more manageable, but integrating into one complete software solution certainly, boosts productivity and streamlines business processes to a greater extent.
Statics indicates that ERP provides an inventory accuracy level of 98% whilst it increases the order-to-shipment time by 24% and considering satisfied customers are the most precious assets to any business, it is not hard to understand the benefits of a unified system.
With these in mind, here are some of the other advantages of CRM and ERP integration for business owners, pertaining to all ranks.
Why is this integration so crucial?
Firstly, if you implement ERP and CRM systems as a unified business process you do not have to constantly worry about keeping these two databases synchronized. Any changes in one system will not have to be transferred to the other manually, which most often results in slower operations and an increased risk of database errors.
So implementing an integrated CRM process to your ERP solution will make certain that both these systems use one common shared database, whereby any update in any of the systems will be visible instantaneously.
This will not only help in faster billing but it will also provide a clearer look at all levels of your commercial enterprise’s sales process.
360-degree customer view
One of the major rewards of ERP and CRM integration is that it allows an overall view of your customers. Right from sales and support to accounting and finance departments, these systems provide an unparalleled visibility on your customer’s buying habits, order history, and general needs, which in turn helps in building long lasting relationships with the customers, and finding out if there is potential for any other future growths.
This data also provides you with enhanced analytics and reporting, so that you can track any changes that may happen in your customer’s preferences and loyalty towards your products or services.
Imagine your sales team is in the middle of an important touch-point thought a customer’s journey having access to all the orders and customer inventory, alongside pricing and product information- will it not help in closing deals more efficiently? Having up-to-date data during customer interactions and not afterward, indeed make a lot of difference while closing sales.
Effective integration of ERP with CRM not only streamlines information but it also helps in keeping everyone in your business on the same page.
Managers can also keep track of all critical operational issues in real time, integrating these systems that help them to make more informed business decisions on the go.
Faster access to vital information
A fully integrated CRM with ERP provides employees with access to information with a push of a button in real time. Data like inventory levels, customer financials, shipments, order history, payments, pricing, returns and more are instantaneously synchronized across different platforms, which makes employees more efficient in serving the customers.
In other words, CRM and ERP help in cutting down of loss in business which mostly happened in the past due to negative experiences of the customers, when customer service representatives had to trawl through different systems or inquire with other employees for a customer’s requested order status update.
Eliminate mind-numbing data entry and duplication
Although both CRM and ERP hold the same data (account and contact information), it is used for different purposes.
While CRM focuses on sales, support, and prospecting, ERP, on the other hand, centers on keeping track of warehouse inventory, shipping, billing address and more. The ERP/CRM integration terminates the tedious necessity of duplicating data entry, whereby eliminating human errors during the duplication process.
Moreover, any change, addition, removal of new entries, custom fields, or database is also instantly altered in an integrated CRM/ERP system, which lessens the time needed for editing of the data.
In addition, while quoting for a customer or a prospect in CRM, sales reps can quote the most accurate prices and discount pricings using the integrated ERP solution to retrieve real time inventory and updated pricing information.
Reduced IT and training overheads
In a report published by Association for Talent Development, it showed that businesses spend an annual average of around $1,208 and approximately 31.5 working hours on training their employees, which is a substantial amount and time lost on the part of the company.
So, when CRM is integrated into an ERP, the training session also goes down, as instead of individual systems the training can be implemented on a combined platform.
Moreover learning ERP and CRM as silo software at the same time can be a challenging task for any employee, which can result in poor adoption rates.
Now that you have learned about the core advantages of integrating these two most important systems required for running your business, we would also like to hear your comments on this article below.