Why You Should Unify Your ERP and CRM

Everyone in your organization is heroically working towards a common goal. Whether it’s simply to “sell more things” or “make more money,” the goal is understood and your teams are trying hard to progress. It is all too common, however, for each team to be using a separate set of tools that satisfy its needs but don’t necessarily integrate with the rest of the company.

Getting sales, marketing, accounting, and operations all reading from the same playbook is often a difficult and intimidating challenge.

This is where the importance of unifying your ERP and CRM comes in.

What’s the difference between ERP and CRM systems?

When describing the differences between Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems, I like to focus on timing. Specifically, the moment in time a customer is within during their buying journey.

Let me explain…

If a customer is just starting to identify their problem and beginning to find a solution, their courting is going to fall within the responsibility of the marketing department.

If a customer feels you offer a viable solution to their problem, the sales department steps up to close the deal.

What’s produced by your operations team will now be provided to the customer and the accounting department will collect payment.

During this buying journey, there will be multiple touchpoints with the customer from your various departments. Maintaining a record of each interaction is vital for internal efficiency and achieving a positive customer experience.

Your marketing and sales departments will be reliant on a strong CRM platform to track customer interactions from the top of the sales funnel through becoming an actual customer.

The accounting and operations folks will be leveraging the strength of an ERP system to keep an eye on billing, warehouse inventory levels, product parts, and much more.

Bringing Your Teams Together

As you can see, while each team is doing what they do best, they can easily [and unintentionally] fall into their own silo. While there may be overlap, much of what each team is keying into their preferred system is out-of-sync with the rest of the organization.

Understanding the buying journey concept outlined above, you can see how its possible for operations, for example, to miss an important customer request shared with the sales or marketing teams. This request could affect the end deliverable, leading to a disappointed customer and loss of efficiency (or revenue) due to a make-good.

As another example, you can see how certain post-sales interactions with operations or accounting [not shared with the sales team] could lead to a hazardous annual renewal effort for your account representative.

These pitfalls can be avoided by unifying your ERP and CRM platforms and, thus, aggregating the data among your marketing, sales, accounting, and operations teams.

A Full-View of your Business

You need to have a clear understanding of where the performance of your company is to be able to forecast where it’s going. While most ERP and CRM platforms offer some variation of reporting, analytics sourced from separate systems simply don’t provide you with the full picture.

The disconnect between how a customer looks through the lens of sales and marketing in contrast to the view from accounting and operations can lead to key information falling through the cracks. These missed details can translate into lost dollars and unrecoverable time.

The combined, company-wide performance view not only thwarts missteps but can also reveal opportunities.

In Summary

We are just scratching the surface of all the efficiencies gained from combining your ERP and CRM platforms. While we covered this topic in broad terms, there are certainly benefits specific to your business and industry that can be discovered and harnessed.

To learn more about how a cloud-based ERP/CRM solution can help your organization, Contact Us today!

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