Both customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems can help businesses organise and find ways to optimise their operations and sales strategies. CRMs typically focus more on sales, marketing, and customer service (i.e., managing customer-facing activities) while ERPs tend to excel more at managing areas behind the scenes, like finance and logistics.
But operating CRMs and ERPs completely on a separate basis can create inefficiencies and missed opportunities. Instead, CRM and ERP software integration can provide several benefits and create synergies to help companies get more out of both tools.
In this guide, we’ll explore seven benefits of CRM and ERP software integration, including:
- Deal flow clarity
- Inventory updates
- Accurate pricing
- Better scheduling
- Marketing insights
- Better collaboration
- Data consistency
What does CRM and ERP integration involve?
Before we dive into the benefits of integrating CRM and ERP systems, it’s important to understand what that entails.
When sorting through ERP recommendations, you might have come across the fact that some ERP systems also have CRM capabilities. However, you don’t necessarily need an all-in-one tool.
Selecting ERP tools that have CRM functionality might work for some businesses, but perhaps you want certain features that a standalone CRM tool provides. Or perhaps a standalone CRM tool is easier to manage, such as if your sales and marketing team have their own CRM recommendations based on what they’ve used at previous companies. Making them then use a more finance/operations-oriented ERP system to manage customer data might not be the best experience for them, especially if they’re already comfortable with another type of CRM.
Instead, you may be able to integrate two separate systems together, either through built-in integration capabilities, a third-party API tool, or custom coding. The specific integration between a CRM and ERP can depend on factors like the systems you choose and how easily they can communicate with one another, but in general, this software integration means that relevant data from one system can automatically get pulled into the other. For example, an integration might enable purchasing data from an ERP to flow into a CRM to enable sales reps to see what customers have bought in the past.
The 7 benefits of CRM and ERP integration
Among the many benefits of CRM and ERP integration, some of the top ones include:
1) Deal flow clarity
By sharing data on the progress of current deals, sales teams can more easily keep finance teams in the loop on expected revenue. As deals close, finance teams can then account for this revenue right away. And, as mentioned, if sales reps can see past purchasing activity, that can inform their approach to new deals.
2) Inventory updates
If everyone isn’t on the same page about current inventory, that can affect areas like customer experience and sales. Suppose an email campaign is being set up to promote an item that’s currently out of stock. Yet if a marketing team can see that information from the ERP in the CRM, then they can change course, like promoting another item. That way customers won’t get upset about purchasing an item that’s on backorder.
3) Accurate pricing
ERP data on pricing that flows into a CRM can similarly help avoid mishaps. In that same marketing campaign, for example, it’s important to have up-to-date pricing for any items being promoted, rather than running into issues later on when a customer sees a different price at checkout.
4) Better scheduling
When selecting an ERP, you may have been looking for one that can help in areas such as HR. Some tools can help streamline areas like managing time-off requests. Yet before these schedules get approved, it’s useful to integrate with a CRM, such as to see if a major marketing campaign is in the works that might affect staffing needs.
5) Marketing insights
In addition to planning marketing campaigns better logistically, CRM and ERP software integration can facilitate more marketing insights based on financial data. For example, analysing the correlation between the timing of marketing actions like email blasts and customer purchases can give companies a better idea of what works well.
6) Better collaboration
Sharing data between CRM and ERP systems can also facilitate better collaboration among teams. With marketing campaign insights, for example, if both marketing and finance teams can look at the same data, rather than only having the information that relates to their own department, they may be able to work together more easily to find ways to boost revenue from future marketing activities.
7) Data consistency
Lastly, CRM and ERP integration can help companies improve data consistency. If numbers need to be manually copied over from one tool to the other, or if a sales rep sends an accounting team member deal information via email, it’s easy for mistakes to happen. Yet if data can automatically flow from one tool to the other, teams who use each tool can have more confidence in the data that they’re looking at.
Start integrating your CRM and ERP
As you can see, CRM and ERP software integration provides several benefits for a variety of departments. If you already have CRM and ERP tools, see if there’s any built-in compatibility to exchange data between the two. Or, if you’re looking for solution advice to find new CRM and ERP systems that can integrate well together, YourShortlist can help.
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