How ERP-CRM Integration Can Help Your Business
If your business uses a separate ERP and CRM, you might not have realised what the benefits of integrating them are. But there are many, particularly if your business is growing and handling ever-larger numbers of customers.
And if you’re not growing right now? Then integration will provide the base you need to make growth easier.
Smoothing the way
Integrating systems simply makes everything in your business run more smoothly. Your CRM is there to help you manage your customers, while your ERP is there to help you manage your business. When you think about it, it just doesn’t make sense to separate the two. Without your customers, you don’t have a business…separation seems foolish.
This article in Industry Week even argues that CRM-ERP integration is vital to business survival in the modern age.
Here are 8 ways we think integration will help your business.
1) Integration helps you win sales
With an integrated system, a member of your sales team will be able to see everything about each customer’s habits, history and financial information, instantly.
That makes it much easier for them to work proactively to win more sales and to keep existing customers on board. For example, if your sales team can see when a particular customer usually orders a certain product, they can contact them and remind them to buy.
2) Integration helps you improve your financial management
With an integrated ERP and CRM, your sales team can see exactly what each customer’s credit history and buying patterns are and tailor their work with them accordingly. They can focus their efforts on customers with good credit history and lots of past high-value orders, while being able to better manage expectations for those with poorer history.
3) Integration means you can manage on the move
In today’s world, you and your staff work on the move. Even if you don’t have staff working remotely on a formal basis, we all want to be able to log in and catch up while travelling to meetings or on the morning commute.
An integrated ERP and CRM means that you can access all the information you need very easily on your mobile. You can do this with separate systems too, of course, but not all ERPs are mobile-accessible. Even those that are can be difficult to use on mobile, especially in conjunction with another system.
Data integration makes remote and mobile access much simpler and quicker – vital when you’re snatching time on the go.
4) Integration helps you make better-informed decisions
Integrating ERP and CRM systems means that you can see all the data you need about every aspect of your business at a glance. Quotes, invoices, account details, purchases, enquiries, referrals – everything is there in one place.
That means that it’s easy for you to make predictions about the future and develop your business strategy on that basis.
5) Integration means you can develop stronger customer relationships
The purpose of a CRM is to build your customer relationships, but you can’t do this so effectively if you don’t have all your customer information in one place.
If you and your team are able to contact customers when they might want to buy again, anticipate problems and respond easily to questions, you’re building a strong two-way relationship with each customer that will last.
Again, it’s not that you can’t do this without an integrated system, it’s just that it’s so much easier with one. This is particularly true as your business grows and relationships become more complex and harder to keep track of.
6) Integration helps your staff develop stronger internal relationships
When you have separate systems, your sales and marketing people are working from a different system, and possibly seeing different information, to your accounts, logistics and other staff. That means that there can be internal misunderstandings and even conflict, particularly if information is being carried from one system to another and errors introduced in the process.
With integrated systems, everyone knows what everyone else is doing, understands each other’s roles and needs, and helps each other out.
7) Integration means better productivity
Manually copying data between systems takes time. So does looking things up on more than one system, and dealing with mistakes when things go wrong because you didn’t have the right information to hand easily.
Integrated systems help you ensure that everything in your business flows easily and work gets done faster.
8) Integration means lower costs
Having two systems incurs cost in several ways. The first is simply that with two systems, you’ll likely end up spending time copying data between them manually. That takes up staff time and therefore costs money. It means that staff who might otherwise be free to concentrate on business development are spending time on a basic admin job that doesn’t really need to be done.
There are also training costs. Every time you have a new starter, they’ll need to learn two systems rather than one, which costs you more.
And then finally, there’s the cost of lost opportunities. Two systems don’t work as well as one, and mean you lose opportunities to grow that you never even knew existed.
Integrated CRM and ERP systems work better, for businesses of all sizes and stripes. Wondering how to integrate? There are simple off-the-shelf packages that can do the job for you, as well as custom solutions.