ERP + CRM Graphics (1) ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) and CRM (Customer Relationship Management ) software are fundamental elements for the management of the business trend and its sales.
Although the two systems cover different functional areas, ERP and CRM are solutions that go hand in hand: they can work autonomously, but both reach their maximum potential when integrated.
Integrating the two solutions allows, in fact, significant advantages for the company, which saves time and money by managing, among many things, to improve customer service, business productivity and its forecasting capacity.
In this article, we will see where ERP and CRM meet and when a company should evaluate an integrated solution, trying to shed light on the advantages and possible risks of this choice.
The relationship between ERP and CRM
Typically, with a CRM the company manages relations with its contacts and customers. Specifically, CRM is used to trace, collect and analyze data on its customers to guide the sales force to plan and execute commercial actions: all in order to improve relationships and customer retention.
The business management it can manage all the typical small business processes, such as: invoicing, purchases, accounting; in a simple, standard and fully integrated way. To perform all these functions, these software are usually composed of multiple modules integrated together, each dedicated to specific functions (and therefore accounting module, warehouse and so on).
ERP Software solutions in UAE is therefore the backbone of the company: it organizes and coordinates the different departments and the related flows to improve productivity and corporate competitiveness.
Usually, the CRM is considered a tool intended for the front office (call centers, vendors, agents, switchboard etc. track all their activities here); while ERP operates “behind the scenes”, in the world of the back-office.
If it is true that CRM helps sales to better organize activities and therefore to close more commercial negotiations, the successful management of the sales negotiation, or the acquisition of the sales order, the management software necessarily enters the scene. In fact, the ERP will take care of the management of the sales order and the whole process of fulfillment, invoicing, collection and accounting.
ERP and CRM are therefore two complementary solutions: by integrating them, the property will equip its employees with an end-to-end solution.
When to opt for an integrated management CRM
If you are reading this article you are probably considering purchasing a CRM (or perhaps ERP) software for your company and you are wondering how to choose the right one, in the vastness of options available.
The world of CRM in fact, it may seem overwhelming: this image shows “only” some of the Marketing and CRM software on the market and the complexity is evident.
Metrics must necessarily be identified to narrow the search . The first thing you should ask yourself is: what do I want to get from my CRM?
For example, if your company is looking for a tool to manage email communications with customers (sending emails, newsletters, massive communications), you do not need a CRM system, but platforms such as MailChimp or His ender they can be more than enough.
If, again, the need is to increase the corporate presence on social networks and effectively manage the various channels, platforms such as HootSuite are designed for this use.
If, on the other hand, your company wants to increase the number of potential customers, it will need a platform dedicated to lead generation, which allows you to effectively manage marketing and contact management activities in a presale phase, more than anything else. we recommend looking at marketing automation platforms with integrated CRM, such as HubSpot .
If you want to equip your sellers with a tool that simplifies their work and helps them effectively manage the deals assigned to them, you can look at pure CRM, like B.com CRM.
If, however, you want a tool that allows you to effectively manage the entire customer portfolio, sellers and partners, you need a solution capable of gathering all the relationships with them, giving you a truly 360 ° vision. You therefore need a CRM integrated with a management platform, such as AAS CAS and CRM.
Integrated ERP and CRM: the qualitative leap
As we said, ERP manages and automates more back-office activities, such as accounting, purchasing, warehouse, production, with the aim of optimizing business processes.
CRM, on the other hand, is a front-office system dedicated to sellers, which should simplify and standardize interactions with customers, manage sales flows, track customer information and create dashboards and reports thanks to the data thus collected.
But are the sellers really the only ones who interact with your customers?
As you know, at the company level, the administration can also communicate with customers (for the issue of invoices, any outstanding payments, etc.); marketing (for the promotion of offers, events); the warehouse (for checking the availability or delivery of goods); customer support (for assistance).
Furthermore, external actors may also be included in the relationships, such as, for example, business partners, outsourced suppliers, external consultants, etc.
As you can understand, the only place where it is possible to convey all this information in a clear, coherent and organized way is the ERP management software, as the company’s nerve center. As such, in order to be truly useful, the ERP must be able to connect with all the actors of corporate life (collaborators, customers, suppliers, potential customers, etc.).
Considering the amount of time and money usually invested in CRM and ERP software, it is clear that a single and integrated solution involves savings. However, many companies prefer to purchase the two systems from different suppliers, often finding themselves having to invest further to integrate them later.
The need for integration between ERP and CRM is obvious, but it can be very difficult to integrate two systems that were not born to communicate with each other.
For this reason, those who are evaluating an integrated system are faced with two paths:
- Integrate ERP and CRM solutions independent of each other through connectors available or developed ad hoc;
- Look for one complete solution, which manages CRM as a natively integrated ERP module.
- Our experience teaches that investing in the integration between ERP and CRM of two different suppliers can prove to be an expensive, complex and risky choice.
With connectors, data communication between ERP and CRM takes place through data synchronizations (automatic or manual), which usually take place on a regular basis. However, this entails the risk of not working on updated data , since the two archives are separate and do not communicate with each other in real time.
Even when a company manages to integrate the two systems, any updates to the ERP or CRM could lead to many integration problems.
To avoid these obstacles, many companies opt for a single integrated ERP and CRM solution.
When CRM is negatively integrated into the management system, in fact, synchronization becomes natural and the company must invest in a single system: the sharing of information is managed in real time so data is always updated. Furthermore, the use of a single integrated solution for the company allows a consistent and punctual management of all its flows, without hiccups or interruptions in certain departments.
The 3 indisputable advantages of the integration between ERP and CRM
Depending on its methods and depth, integration between ERP and CRM brings significant advantages for the company: fewer errors and greater productivity, less costs and improved customer service.
Let’s see them a little more in detail by giving some examples.
1) Less errors and higher productivity
Centralization of information . Since both ERP and CRM contain fundamental information such as companies, contacts, offers, orders, payments, integrating these areas avoid the need to manually populate multiple databases – reducing the risk of human errors – and allow you to have the data in one place, instead of having to intervene in both CRM and ERP to find or update information.
Transparency and access to data . Let’s take a couple of examples.
Imagine that a customer contacts his sales representative for help with a new project: your seller, unaware of the customer’s credit situation, only helps him to find out that this customer has never paid the latest invoices and owes the company thousands of Euros.
Or again. Your administration contacts the customer for an unpaid and the customer raises asking for explanations on an unenforced discount that the salesperson had told him about on their last appointment. The administration, which does not access CRM data, cannot verify the truthfulness of what it claims and will have to send it back to the salesperson, or contact him on his behalf: losing and wasting precious time.
This type of scenario occurs all too frequently when there is not the right connection between the back and front office . With the integration, the customer details (including the history of his invoices and payments) reside in one place and are accessible by all employees: fewer mistakes and risks for the company.
Better forecasts. The integration between ERP and CRM ensures greater completeness and visibility of the data, improving the accuracy of the reports. Accurate reports allow more precise financial planning, reduce inventory costs and budget wastage, improve margins and optimize cash flow – to name just a few benefits.
2) Cost savings:
Licensing. ERPs are hardly cheap and, usually, the more users you need, the more they cost you: with an integrated ERP and CRM solution, you can give access to the most salient ERP data to your CRM users, without these being ERP users at all the effects, with savings on software fees.
Training and maintenance. With separate ERP and CRM, you need to train your employees to use both; by integrating them, the entire corporate team will work with the systems to which they are accustomed or, in the case of native integration, in the same operating environment, thus sharing the same user experience. Any future updates or developments will be the same, to be charged to a single system.
In general, corporate. The company can achieve many savings thanks to the integration, which allows to standardize flows in a single system, speeding up management. For example, the integration between ERP and CRM allows better management of offers and orders: the company can convert the offer created and issued with CRM directly into order in the ERP, using the same system and saving a great deal of time (and therefore money).
3) Improvement of customer service
360 ° view of the customer. Everyone now knows that it costs much more to get a new customer than it costs to maintain and do up or cross-selling on a customer in the park: to do this correctly, however, a company must have excellent customer service, be at the forefront in marketing strategies, and truly understand the hidden needs of each of its customers. When it comes to integration between ERP and CRM, it is always highlighted how it allows a 360 ° view of its customers: CRM offers a starting point, collecting all the information that emerged in the pre-sale, but if we combine this information with economic indications like annual spending to your company, their most recent purchases, credit limits, overdrawn invoices we have a truly complete picture of the individual and his company.
The 360 ° view allows you to understand customer loyalty, preferences and economic potential faster, so marketing can convey the right message for him, sales can look for up-selling opportunities tailored to the customer and the customer service anticipates your problems.
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Greater business reactivity. When all employees have access to the same data and work with systems that save time in unnecessary technicalities, they have a free mind to devote themselves to activities useful for business growth.
In this article, we have highlighted the close connection between ERP and CRM and the advantages that a single integrated solution guarantees to the company.
In our opinion, the company that wants to start from its customers to grow and improve can only choose the path of integration: only by putting in front and back office communication will you have a 360 ° view not only of your customers, but also of your company.
For small and medium-sized enterprises that are looking for an integrated system to manage the whole company, namely CRM and ERP , Making has created the Customized ERP Software’s in Dubai and Cloud platform which has the CRM functionality fully integrated with the management data. In this way all information resides in a single database and users can share and collaborate in real time in the Cloud, using any device.