ERP and CRM systems are both very powerful software applications. But they have very different features and functions for your business. CRM systems manage the details of your relationships with your customers. Most of your ‘front-end’ employees use CRM daily when they work with customers for marketing, sales and customer service. ERP systems handle more of the finances and operations.
Together, ERP and CRM will complete the entire sales cycle from turning a prospect into a customer, tracking orders and then supporting them after the sale. These two systems work even better if they are integrated together. That is probably why most ERP vendors have purchased CRM software from other companies.
CRM Integrations in ERP provide a holistic view of the customer
The main reason manufacturers integrate their ERP and CRM systems is to provide a 360-degree view of your customer. Even small companies will have multiple touch points with customers. Salespeople try and uncover business challenges faced by prospects that they can solve. Product experts turn those challenges into advantages and opportunities. At the same time, customer service addresses and corrects any issues immediately.
Managing all these interactions and communications your customers can become disorganized and confusing. Especially when it’s done in silos with a mix of different software and other technologies. ERP and CRM integration can end miscommunication and mixed messages with your customers. In other words, it allows a company to have a single source of truth. Everyone has a visible history of interactions between your team and your customers.
This sort of visibility can improve the effectiveness of your in-house sales team. Team members can avoid contradictory messages about pricing or product features. And they don’t miss following-up with promising prospects or existing customers. These same efficiencies can also extend to outside vendors, suppliers and manufacturing representatives.
Visibility into the supply chain
Integration of your ERP and CRM can also go a long way towards becoming more responsive to customers. One way this happens is because integration can optimize your supply chain. With the right CRM and ERP integration, you get real-time insights into your inventory. These insights can come from procurement, warehouse and production scheduling and delivery.
This visibility helps manufacturers identify ways to become more efficient in their operations. But it also provides insights that can improve the overall customer experience.
For instance, customers understandably get upset when orders arrive late or have mistakes. With integration, manufacturers can monitor their processes and access real-time information. This allows companies to proactively identify and avoid any problems. Nevertheless, sometimes late deliveries are inevitable. However, having the visibility to the information early, you can take steps to communicate with the customer before they get angry.
CRM and ERP integration has many other benefits that help better serve customers. For example, sales reps can use their mobile CRM to get instant and accurate information about inventory, pricing or the status of an order. Integrating your marketing data will send the right messages to the right audience at the right time.
An investment in CRM will benefit your customers. A CRM that can integrate with your ERP and other technologies is that much more powerful.
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