ERP and CRM software integration is fast becoming an essential requirement for businesses currently operating via various standalone software solutions. When ERP and CRM software systems are not integrated, each is managed by different departments with little or no visibility among them. Information cannot flow seamlessly from one department to another, causing inefficiencies, delays, errors and communication breakdowns.
Consider this typical scenario:
An electronic manufacturer supplying multiple distributors across North America operates an ERP software system that is not linked to its CRM software system. It uses CRM to manage relationships with existing and prospective customers, provide support and place orders. Its ERP software system separately manages the company’s Finance, Receivables, Materials, Inventory, etc. However, because the company’s ERP and CRM system are not integrated, there is no visibility among these areas of the business. The sales department has no visibility of inventory levels, product shipments, delinquent customer accounts, etc. Each order is first recorded in CRM and then manually recorded again in ERP. Imagine what happens when a sales rep takes a customer’s order only to later discover the product is out of stock or the account is on hold. Not only does this scenario lead to unhappy customers, it also creates more work for the business, equating to lower profits.
You can see how ERP software and CRM software integration is becoming a crucial requirement in today’s competitive market. Merging your company’s ERP software system with a CRM software system boosts productivity by providing many benefits:
- Better access to critical information. Easily and quickly retrieve inventory levels, shipments, customer financials, order history, returns, payments, product pricing, etc.
- Increased data accuracy and improved productivity due to fewer errors, delays and inefficiencies.
- Quote to sales order automation. Faster and more accurate quotes based on real-time inventory and pricing.
- Enhanced visibility leads to better customer service, support and insight into your customer base.
- Improved planning, forecasting and reporting.
If you are considering an integrated CRM and ERP approach, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is my company committed to the vision of an integrated communications enterprise? Do all department realize the value in this?
- Are my sales revenue and transaction volume high enough to warrant a CRM and ERP integration? Does it make financial sense to automate?
- Is the CRM system I’m considering capable of integrating with my existing ERP system? Some software companies offer a customizable ERP package paired with award-winning CRM software.
To gain a competitive advantage, ERP and CRM integration is often the right decision for many businesses.