Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are powerful tools in today’s businesses. Like most discrete manufacturers, you’re probably using both, or considering pairing one of these two to the other existing system. But did you know that integrating the two using a CRM ERP integration solution will help you enhance what each is able to deliver separately?
ERP systems primarily handle the back-end processes and internal information, like order placement, tracking, billing, shipping, accounting, and supply chain details, while CRM systems deal with front-end activities, like customer interactions, sales tracking, pipeline management, and prospecting. By integrating their databases, companies are able to further improve efficiencies.
Here’s a look at the way an integrated system benefits businesses:
Synchronized information. Ordinarily, businesses buy an ERP system and a CRM system and put them to use separately. Their functions are distinct, with CRM dealing specifically with front-end information (recording customer interactions, pipeline activities, prospecting information, etc.), with the goal of understanding the behaviors and needs of prospects and clients so companies can better manage and foster their relationships. ERP systems, on the other hand, manage and optimize back-end processes like purchasing, billing, warehousing, transportation, and financial information activities, with the goal of reducing waste and optimizing overall efficiency.
But when your ERP and CRM work on a single database, you eliminate the time needed to synchronize data from the two. When integrated, an update or modification made in one system is automatically reflected in the other. If, for instance, you change an order quantity in the CRM, the change is made to all relevant components of the ERP, like inventory, shipping, and A/R, making the adjustments necessary to ensure accuracy and timely orders. Additional benefits of synchronized data:
- Employees from multiple departments can more easily collaborate because each sees and operates from the same set of real-time data
- Salespeople are able to provide answers to a variety of prospect and customer questions, relating not just to the front-end activities but to those related to backend information like order status and billing
- When quoting, a sales rep has access to the most updated pricing information and can see promotional or discount pricing that’s available to the customer
Greater visibility. Integrating data from your CRM and ERP solutions gives you a complete 360-degree view of your customers and your relationships with them, allowing those with access to see every activity, from initial sales outreach through delivery and invoicing. When a customer calls the sales rep to ask about the company’s capacity to double its order, the rep can view inventory and current costs to create the most accurate quote.
Better customer service. With knowledge of every customer’s purchase history, returns, invoices, preferences, purchase patterns, and more, you’re far better able to serve them in the way they want to be served. In addition, integrated databases allow you to create proposals and execute orders directly from those proposals, without having to change systems and re-enter data. This helps reps improve the OTC cycle and reduce the likelihood of order error.
Each of these solutions is proven to improve efficiencies in their respective areas within a manufacturing organization; when they share data, “talk” to one another, and deliver collective insights, the decisions made by everyone from sales to customer service are more informed, and more valuable to prospects and customers. Reach out to the manufacturing experts at Wipfli to talk about adding power to your ERP and CRM by integrating the two. Several integration packages are available today, and we can provide valuable guidance for choosing the most appropriate, then configure to align with your specific needs. Reach out today.