Both customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) are powerful tools. But combined, they give your company full access to both front-office and back-office activities. In this three-part blog series, Intelestream dives into both the why and how you should connect these two systems.
This blog focuses on the benefits of integration. Stay tuned to blogs 2 and 3 for more information on what data to integrate and best practices to sync.
Understanding the Difference
The first step in understanding why you should integrate CRM and ERP software is to understand the difference between them.
While both systems keep track of information, they are designed to reach different goals. On the most basic level, CRM software handles your front-office activities, while ERP focuses on the back office.
Customer service and sales teams use CRM to track essential information about customers as they move through the sales funnel. It can also provide useful insights about the ways the sales team interacts with their customers, and provides hard data to managers in the form of reports and analytics.
On the flipside, your ERP system allows you to track customer activity. Sales reps check ERP if they want to know when an order was placed, what products were on the invoice, or what packages left the warehouse.
An ERP system may show some customer data, and a CRM system may show specific sales or details about customers. But in essence, these two systems don’t overlap much.
When these two systems are separate, you’re not getting a full view of your customer. And when customers call your sales department to find out the status on an order, valuable time is wasted as the sales rep contacts the back office, or tries to figure out an unfamiliar ERP system.
Whether you’re a salesperson or a technician, you need to be efficient.
Here are three of the biggest benefits to linking CRM and ERP systems:
A technician in the field does not have time to log into CRM and look up customer information, then pull up details about past orders and pricing from ERP. So these systems are in one platform, valuable information is now at the technician’s fingertips.
All of the data your team members need will be in the CRM system, which helps eliminate information silos. It also keeps employees out of systems they don’t need to be in (such as a salesperson going through the accounting system), just to find out details about a payment or quote.
CRM has an opportunity forecast online, while ERP shows historical data, lagging indicators, and past orders. When your team has easy access to all of this information, they will be able to forecast more accurately.
Now that you know why you should connect your CRM and ERP systems, are you wondering what data should be integrated, or how to sync it? If so, check out the next two blogs in this series, which will be available on March 22 and April 5.