If we think of it, the number of software that an average person uses today is baffling. Every day, from dusk till dawn, we use 9-10 mobile apps, half a dozen web tools, and several SaaS software for various purposes. And not just individuals, modern businesses also use a number of software to simplify their tasks and enjoy a range of benefits.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software are among the most commonly-used tools used by businesses today. This is because the two software types mentioned above serve the most fundamental goals of a business. While CRMs help companies identify prospects and keep them engaged and informed, ERP software helps firms plan and manage their resources. Thus, while ERPs offer an internal overview of the organization’s resources, CRMs offer an outward sketch of the market, demand, and consumer tastes.
Both ERP and CRM software have evolved rapidly in the past decades and helped unify several business verticals. They also offer key organizational insights and manage multiple processes. Modern ERPs also integrate seamlessly with CRM software, offering companies a holistic view of their consumer demands, and improving marketing efforts. Several companies have therefore begun using the two in tandem, resulting in a number of benefits, which are discussed below:
Easier access to information:
Both ERP and CRM software contain databases that need to be updated frequently. While CRMs take care of customer support and selling, the best ERP software takes care of stocks, storage, and shipping. As both databases have a lot of common data, having separate data repositories just increases the complexity makes it cumbersome to access and update information.
With ERP-integrated CRM, employees get access to data in real-time, which improves their efficiency and helps them serve customers better. Thus, businesses can find their customers and their contact details and discover their payment history, previous orders, pricing, inventory, etc., through a single platform.
Reduced data entry and duplication:
Employees also spend a lot of time updating data in separate systems and tallying them later. However, integrating ERPs with CRM software saves time and offers a single database where all information is updated in real-time without duplication. With the integration, the data updated on one system is reflected instantly in others, allowing everyone to be on the same page.
Better understanding of customers:
The first step to serving customers is understanding what they desire. Integrating your ERP system with CRMs offers a holistic view of customers’ mindsets and buying habits, helping you know them and build lasting relationships. This enables you to grow steadily with your customers, identify mistakes, and anticipate their future needs.
Speaking of future needs, the combined data from your CRM and ERP databases can also help you make better demand forecasts and market predictions with the help of analytics.
Merging CRM software with ERP also reduces the cost of maintaining two databases, learning to operate them, and updating them frequently. This is why the best CRM software makes it a point to offer easy integrations with other business tools.
Training employees not only takes up a great deal of time; businesses spend about $1200 annually on training. Having a unified CRM and ERP system drastically brings down the training times along with maintenance costs. Employees also find it much easier to learn a single software rather than two separate and unrelated ones.
Closing sales deals also becomes easier with an integrated database. When salespeople have access to crucial customer data points such as previous credit, order history, outstanding invoices, and pricing information, it becomes easier for them to negotiate and close deals.
A common database would also help employees from different departments collaborate on everyday tasks and stay updated about their sales and inventories’ status. Additionally, a unified database with real-time insights facilitates better and more accurate decision-making for managers.
Improved inventory & quote management:
Another significant advantage of having an ERP integrated into your CRM software is improved workflow. For instance, a proposal generated in your CRM software can easily be converted to an actual purchase order upon approval, which is then monitored and managed using the ERP system.
Besides improving process efficiency and saving time, it also proved better visibility regarding orders’ status and location. Delays, changes, and customizations are also easier to incorporate, keeping everyone in the loop. Moreover, any changes, discounts, or offers updated by management become instantly available to salespersons, speeding information relays, and reducing communication barriers.
Combining ERP with CRM software can do businesses a world of good and significantly reduce their burden. Not only does it simplify communication and improve overall efficiency, but it also helps you be on top of things and serve customers better. Hence, while purchasing CRMs for your company, it would be wise to check how well it integrates with your existing ERP. This will help you gain comprehensive reports, accurate sales forecasts and more happy customers.